Yahoo Hack, California Business, Islamic Studies, More: Thursday Buzz, December 15, 2016

The big story is Yahoo was hacked. Looks like a billion accounts were compromised. There are going to be many more stories on this in the days to come – new details, fallout on the Yahoo Verizon deal (I might have to drop my buy price estimate of $12 and a broken gas grill) and so on – but This Bloomberg story provides a lot of background. I put a lot of this on Marissa Mayer – read this NYT article for why. The only good thing to come out of this mess is a huge public vindication for Alex Stamos.


The state of California has announced a new business search tool. “The new and improved California Business Search tool provides access to more than 5.3 million records related to corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships along with almost 5 million downloadable PDF images of Statements of Information.”

George Mason University has launched a new Islamic studies online publication. “The Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies is pleased to announce the launch of Maydan, our new online publication which offers expert analysis for academic and public audiences on a wide variety of issues in the field of Islamic Studies.”

The CAMEL Lab at the University of Chicago has launched a new online data repository. “The Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL Lab) at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago would like to announce that a substantial subset of its digital holdings of maps and geospatial data are now available for online public search and download…. CAMEL’s database includes over 20,000 unique objects of spatial data that relate to the archaeology, anthropology, and history of the Middle East, almost 9000 of which are now publicly available. ”


Google Maps is now wheelchair-friendly. “Google Maps is now wheelchair-friendly. The wildly popular map app will now tell you whether locations are suitable for people with access needs — and it’s thanks to a group of Googlers who worked on the feature in their ‘20% time.'”

Snapchat has added group chat. “You can create a Group while sending a Snap or by selecting friends’ names when starting a Chat. When your friends are present in a Group Chat, you will be able to see their name at the bottom of the screen.”


Washington Post:
Seven simple ways to master your Instagram account
. “Instagram, at first glance, seems like a pretty simple social network: Snap, post, repeat. But while the service started as a way to share artful pictures from your smartphone, it has evolved into a far more complex network for sharing photos and videos with friends — or an adoring public. Just within the past few weeks, the company has released a bunch of new updates. To keep up with those changes, we offer some tips to help you master your own Instagram account.”


From The Gulf News: Parliaments told to harness power of social media. “Senior parliamentarians and experts called for using communication technologies and social media not just to educate and inform, but also to communicate and engage, a global parliamentary summit was told yesterday. Under the title ‘The changing dynamics of political communication’, a session of the Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament examined the role of parliaments in maximising the use of communication technologies and social media.” The Gulf News is published in Dubai and its audience seems to be mostly the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, though it is also available in Pakistan.

The AP: New report says Ethiopia blocked social media, news sites. “Ethiopia’s government illegally blocked social media and news websites during the months of turmoil that led to the country’s ongoing state of emergency, a new report says.”


Neowin with the Patch Tuesday roundup. “With this final patch release for 2016 Microsoft published 11 security bulletins, six of which address critical issues found in Windows, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Office, and the .NET framework. As you can see that spans quite the gamut of Microsoft products, so let’s jump in and see what got fixed.”


Washington Post: Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump. “Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.” While I appreciate the concern here – boy, do I appreciate it – I wish the Washington Post and other media had before now focused more on the difficulty in accessing much government data in the first place. Like Congressional Research Service reports (this is a Washington Post link, to be fair.) Like declassified CIA files (though this is finally getting better.). Like PACER and its goony fees. My point is that public access to government data has been a problem for a long time, and was not initiated by the election of Donald Trump.


This is not cool, but it needs to be known. You probably heard the story of the terminally-ill child who died in the arms of a man who works as a Santa Claus. I have seen it on my Facebook, Twitter, I’ve had it e-mailed to me, etc. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be true. It is however a terrific example of how false news can spread – it gives you the feels (by reinforcing your opinions or in this case making an unapologetic lunge for your heartstrings), the feels drown out your cynical parts, and away it goes. Good morning, Internet…

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