Voting, Honi Soit, Vocabulary, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, November 3, 2016

Please pass it on: no matter what you might see on Twitter, you cannot vote via text. “AMERICA’S ELECTORAL SYSTEM is already kind of a mess. Now, Twitter trolls are doing their best to make it even more confusing by spreading disinformation about how to cast a ballot on election day. The latest example: Donald Trump supporters are spreading memes on Twitter in both English and Spanish, trying to trick Hillary Clinton supporters into thinking they can vote by text.”


The University of Sydney, in Australia, has created a digital archive of its Honi Soit student newspaper. “The often fragile issues of the newspaper were digitised in early 2016, resulting in more than 18,000 pages from 1530 issues, and over 1 TB of data. With the new website, the back issues of Honi Soit are now available as PDFs online for anyone to view and download, and there are plans to enable better search and greater functionality to this rich source of cultural and social history.” The online archive covers the years 1929-1990.


Collins has announced its words of the year. “throw shade” just got listed? “‘Brexit’ has emerged ahead of ‘Trumpism’ and ‘hygge’ to be named the word of the year by Collins after seeing an “unprecedented surge” in use. The dictionary publisher said that Brexit saw its first recorded usage in 2013, but has since increased in use by more than 3,400% this year as the referendum approached in June, and as the ramifications have played out since. Such an increase, said Collins, is ‘unheard of’ since it began monitoring word usage.”

Want to build a chatbot? You’ve got more options! “Enter Octane AI, a newly formed startup launched by media personality Ben Parr, serial entrepreneur Matt Schlicht and Omegle founder Leif K-Brooks. The team has already built up a following in the bots community after creating a popular Facebook group and a digital magazine. Their business is like web design platforms Wix or Weebly, but for chatbots. It’s a paint-by-numbers for bot creation that’s so easy, I could do it.”

Heck, I could have told you that: Google’s algorithms do not favor WordPress sites. “There are some rumors in the industry that Google’s algorithms have a positive bias towards WordPress powered content management systems. The truth is, that is not true. WordPress blogs and CMSs are designed to be very search engine friendly – which makes it easy for GoogleBot to consume the content. But there is no algorithm that says to rank this site/page higher because it is built in WordPress.”


SFGate: Social media ‘influencers’: A marketing experiment that’s become a mini-economy. “What was an experimental marketing practice only a short time ago has morphed into a mini-economy with dizzying financial stakes. The social-media analytics firm Captiv8 estimates that big brands are spending a collective $255 million per month for sponsored posts on Instagram alone. Captiv8 says Instagram influencers who have more than 7 million followers command an average rate of more than $150,000 per sponsored post.”


Financial Times: Google set to hit back at Brussels over competition probe. “Google is set to hit back at Brussels over charges that it has abused its market clout in mobile, search and advertising products, marking the latest salvo in the company’s long-running antitrust battle in Europe. The Google cases are flagship investigations in Brussels’ wide-ranging crackdown on alleged misconduct by various Silicon Valley groups — a drive that has caused deep disquiet in Washington, most notably over a €13bn tax bill served to Apple in August.”

Motherboard: How Hackers Could Steal Your Cellphone Pictures From Your IoT Crock-Pot. “Security researchers found that the Android app for internet-connected gizmos made by Belkin had a critical bug that let anyone who was on the same network hack the app and get access to the user’s cellphone. This gave them a chance to download all photos and track the user’s position, according to new research by Scott Tenaglia and Joe Tanen, from Invincea Labs.”

From the Kaspersky Blog: Why you should NOT pay ransom to malware creators. “Usually when we talk about encryptor ransomware, we recommend that victims do not pay the ransom. To begin with, paying encourages malware creators to continue their operations. It’s simple supply and demand: more people pay, increasing the market volume, leading to the creation of more malware — and more trouble for all.”


This seems like it could go really, really wrong: Researchers Claim AI Can Identify Gang Members on Twitter. ” Researchers from the Ohio Center of Excellence in Knowledge-enabled Computing (Kno.e.sis) at Wright State University, in a paper posted to the arXiv preprint server, say they’ve devised a deep learning AI algorithm that can identify street gang members based solely on their Twitter posts, and with 77 percent accuracy.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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