morningbuzz

Fort McMurray, Image Identification, Dungeons & Dragon, More: Saturday Buzz, May 7, 2016

Google has released satellite imagery of the Fort McMurray wildfire in Canada. The imagery is licensed CC-BY-4.0.

NEW RESOURCES

There’s a new image identifying possible-bot running around on Facebook. I’m not sure this is AI. I sent a picture of Lily Tomlin as Ernestine, and got back Your photo is person brushing the teeth, which seems odd syntax even for a bot. I sent a picture of a Thor action figure and got back Your image is a thor action figure. Finally I sent a picture of Raul Julia from Overdrawn at the Memory Bank and got Your photo is a girl in a dark room. I dunno….

Now available: a a library of Dungeons & Dragons printable 3D figures. “About a year and a half ago, US Army vet and hardcore Dungeons & Dragons player Miguel Zavala started what at the time must have sounded like an impossible project. Using his newly acquired hobby of 3D design and 3D printing, he decided that he was going to design and 3D print every monster in the legendary Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual Sourcebook. That is almost three hundred different 3D models, including dragons, orcs, trolls and every weird, bizarre and downright ridiculous creature that the classic roleplaying game had to offer. Now, after a ton of work and the almost constant running of his Printrbot Simple, Zavala has just released the last of his models.”

The Arkansas Parole Board has created an online database of upcoming hearings.

TWEAKS & UPDATES

This is so depressing. The Australia National Library’s online archive, Trove, will stop adding to its collections. “The National Library of Australia’s online archive Trove will cease to add to its collection after failing to secure dedicated funding in this week’s federal budget…. Trove was launched in 2009 and since has digitised millions of records from its own collection as well as items from state and local collections, placing them online for the public to access.”

WordPress has released WordPress 4.5.2.. This is a security release. “WordPress versions 4.5.1 and earlier are affected by a SOME vulnerability through Plupload, the third-party library WordPress uses for uploading files. WordPress versions 4.2 through 4.5.1 are vulnerable to reflected XSS using specially crafted URIs through MediaElement.js, the third-party library used for media players. MediaElement.js and Plupload have also released updates fixing these issues.”

Instagram is getting business profiles. “Instagram had confirmed earlier this year that it was developing business profiles – basically, the Instagram equivalent to a Facebook Brand Page. Now, we’re able to see what these profiles look like as they’ve been spotted in the wild.” I guess delineating Instagram businesses with profiles would be an easy way to identify them and crush their organic reach. Just saying.

Facebook has opened an office in Malaysia. “The local team, which will be based in KL Sentral, aims to not only enable Malaysian users to enhance their Facebook experience but also to connect more businesses with the company’s solutions.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Techdirt has an update on the fight between Elsevier and Sci-Hub. “We’ve written a few times now about Sci-Hub — the website put together by Alexandra Elbakyan, an academic from Kazakhstan. It’s a somewhat creative hack on the idea that many academics are more than willing to share PDFs of useful research with each other, basically building a search engine of such research, which is actually stored in a different repository (called LibGen). But the really clever part of Sci-Hub was that it also had some people sharing their login tokens to various research databases, so that if the LibGen doesn’t have the document, Sci-Hub uses a login to retrieve the document, deliver it to the user who requested it and then uploads it to LibGen to make it available for anyone else. Publishing giant Elsevier has been particularly upset by all of this — despite the fact that its argument appears to go 100% against the stated purpose of copyright law.”

Is Katie Couric going to leave Yahoo? “Multiple insiders tell Page Six that Couric — along with other talent including Yahoo Style’s Editor-in-Chief Joe Zee and tech writer David Pogue — have had long-standing frustrations because they believe the site makes it difficult for users to find their content. They also suspect the Silicon Valley firm has skimped on spending on ads that could drive traffic to their content.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

If you don’t think data leaks are a big deal, check out this announcement from New York’s Attorney General. “Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has received an over 40% increase in data breach notifications involving New Yorkers so far this year as compared to the same time last year…The office has received 459 data breach notices from the first of the year through May 2, 2016, as compared with 327 through the same time last year. In the year 2015 alone, the office received 809 data breach notices. The office is expecting to receive well over 1000 notices for the year, a new record.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Facebook and Twitter use in the Middle East is dropping. “The study by Northwestern University in Qatar and Doha Film Institute surveyed 6,058 respondents across Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. It found that Facebook’s popularity has declined in the last three years by six percentage points, while Twitter has seen the biggest decline over the period, with usage down 17 percentage points.” Good morning, Internet…

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