Biomedical Research, Fishing Regulations, Australia Renewable Energy, More: Monday Buzz, December 26, 2016


The National Institutes of Health have launched World Report. (Though on the actual site it’s called World RePORT.) “The project is intended to provide a public means to track international research activities and partnered investments, increase awareness of funding opportunities and share results with the broader research and funding community. In addition to providing information about direct awards, World Report also tracks indirect research activity, which often occurs in collaborations between the domestic research organizations and foreign institutions. The goal is to improve understanding of the research landscape, identify gaps in funding and areas where there might be a duplication of effort, and enable funders to more effectively synergize investments.” The focus, as you might expect, is biomedical research.

A new app helps fishers stay on the right side of fishing regulations (PRESS RELEASE). “When a fisherman feels a tug on the line, he never knows what he might reel in. Sometimes identifying a fish species can be difficult, and without that knowledge it is impossible to determine whether or not it is in season or within the size and catch limit. Now there’s an iOS app, FishVerify™, to help fishermen instantly identify their catch and learn local fishing regulations related to that specific fish.” The app is in private beta right now but expects a public launch in February.

A new database aggregates information on grid integration of renewable energy in Australia. “The ‘Renewables Integration Stocktake’ details 233 projects, both in Australia and abroad, in order to share information quickly and help grids and renewables teams to learn from past experiences. Other aims include improving cost-efficiencies and informing the regulatory environment for renewable energy.”


Digiday: 5 new automated fact-checking projects underway. “The spread of fake news online has come to light as a serious problem in the aftermath of the U.S. election. And while fact checking has been integral to quality newsrooms since, well, forever, automated fact checking hasn’t. Today, the sheer volume of sources from which information is spread makes verification a strain on newsroom resources. That’s why there are a myriad of projects underway aimed at automating the process. Time is of the essence, with a raft of national elections set across Europe in 2017. Here’s a look at five automated fact-checking projects:”

ProPublica is going to Illinois. “ProPublica will open its first regional publishing operation, ProPublica Illinois, with headquarters in Chicago, in 2017. Our plan is to publish investigative journalism on key issues across the state of Illinois and in the city of Chicago.”

Some complaints are coming in Google Home. “t’s been a month since Google launched it Amazon Echo rival, Google Home in the US market and there are already complaints regarding the device’s functionality. Numerous users have complained on Google Home’s support forum that the device randomly stops playing music in the middle of a song. Users have even tried to reboot the speaker but the problem keeps arising again.”

Snapchat apparently bought itself a company for Christmas. “Snapchat sewed up its first acquisition in Israel this week, according to the outlet Calcalist News. It acquired four-year-old Cimagine, whose augmented reality platform lets consumers instantly visualize products they want to buy in their intended location, paying what Calcalist says was between $30 million and $40 million.”


From Go to Hellman (really): How to check if your library is leaking catalog searches to Amazon. “Content embedded in websites is a a huge source of privacy leakage in library services. Cover images can be particularly problematic. I’ve written before that, without meaning to, many libraries send data to Amazon about the books a user is searching for; cover images are almost always the culprit. I’ve been reporting this issue to the library automation companies that enable this, but a year and a half later, nothing has changed.”

MakeUseOf: 8 Easy Ways to Supercharge Your LastPass Security . “There are lots of password managers to choose from, each with different strengths and weaknesses. The most popular is LastPass. It has the highest number of users, the most features, and the best support. But it’s not as simple as just signing up and forgetting about it. All your passwords are stored there. You need to make sure your account is watertight. Here are eight steps you can take to make your LastPass account even more secure.”


From the Texas State Library and Archives: How one library is using Facebook Live. “In December’s public library newsletter, we asked for your technology success stories, and I’m so pleased to publish our very first submission from Amy Mullin, Electronic Resources Librarian at the Austin Public Library about their use of Facebook Live. ”

From Rolling Stone, and how often does ResearchBuzz get to link to an article in Rolling Stone? Are Teens Replacing Drugs With Social Media?. “Today’s teens are a bunch of squares, according to the Monitoring the Future study from Michigan University, which has measured drug and alcohol use among teenagers since 1975. Every year, researchers survey approximately 45,000 eighth, 10th, and 12th graders, and their 2015 results show the lowest percentage of teens using alcohol and drugs since 1990. … This sounds like good news, right? But there’s a catch: Some researchers believe that social media might be at least partly responsible for this decline.”


Ars Technica: A modest proposal for Facebook News Feed. “In short, Facebook needs a team of trained editors. But wait, you are saying. Facebook already had a group of editors the company fired earlier this year. So obviously human workers couldn’t solve the problem, right? Wrong. Very few of Facebook’s editors were highly experienced, nor were they full-time employees. They were contract workers, treated like outsiders at Facebook and given very little in-depth training or decision-making power. Not surprisingly they grew disgruntled with their work, and a few who had been fired talked about Facebook’s slapdash editorial policies in a tell-all with Gizmodo. The point is, Facebook has never made an honest, concerted effort to create an internal team of humans devoted to making the News Feed a good experience for users.” Good morning, Internet…

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