Chiang Kai-Shek, Twitter, Google Drive, More: Tuesday Buzz, January 3, 2017


In development and launching soon: an online archive for the declassified papers of Chiang Kai-Shek, former president of Republic of China (Taiwan). “The new system will be launched on Jan. 5 with the initial publication of 50,000 documents pertaining to Chiang, which will be accessible free of charge on the website of the country’s top national archive.” By end of April, 260,000 documents are expected to be in the archive.


Twitter’s bringing CES to you in several different ways. “If you’re not attending (or if you are and can’t possibly tour the nearly 2.5 million net square feet of exhibit space), join The Verge live on Twitter for a tech-packed 90-minute show on Jan. 4, 5, and 6 at 4:30pm PT/7:30pm ET.” There’s also 360 Periscope, livestreaming from the Twitter CMO, etc.


How-To Geek: How to Download Files and Webpages Directly to Google Drive in Chrome. “We’ve all downloaded files from the web to our computer. However, if you’d rather download files directly to your Google Drive account, there’s an extension for Google Chrome that allows you to do just that.”

Jon Udell: A toolkit for fact checkers . “Mike Caulfield’s Digital Polarization Initiative (DigiPo) is a template for a course that will lead students through exercises to analyze and fact-check news stories. The pedagogical approach Mike describes here is evolving; in parallel I’ve been evolving a toolkit to help students research and organize the raw materials of the analyses they’ll be asked to produce. Annotation is a key component of the toolkit. I’ve been working to integrate it into the fact-checking workflow in ways that complement the use of other tools.”


The latest victim of arbitrary Facebook censorship is a nude Renaissance statue of Neptune and his nude Renaissance junk. “A virile, muscled statue of the sea god Neptune has fallen foul of Facebook’s prudish policies on nudity after an Italian art historian was told to remove it from her web page. The sixteenth century Renaissance statue dominates Piazza del Nettuno, a grand square in the heart of Bologna.”

BuzzFeed – 2016: The Year We Stopped Listening To Big Tech’s Favorite Excuse. “In 2016, more than any year before it, our world was shaped by the internet. It’s where Donald Trump subverted the media and controlled the news cycle. Where minorities, activists, and politicians from both sides of the aisle protested Trump’s candidacy daily. And where emergent, swarming online hate groups (including but not limited to the so-called alt-right) developed a loud counterculture to combat liberalism. Startups like Uber and Airbnb didn’t just help us navigate the physical world, but were revealed as unwitting vectors of bigotry and misogyny. This year, the internet and its attendant controversies and intractable problems weren’t just a sideshow, but a direct reflection of who we are, and so the decisions made by the companies and platforms that rank among the web’s most prominent businesses became harder to ignore.”

The New York Times: Google Helping Mobile Publishing? Some Publishers Are Not So Sure. “Last month, Federico Viticci, who runs MacStories, a news site devoted to Apple and its products, made a change in how the site publishes articles for mobile gadgets. MacStories, he declared, would no longer support a Google-backed method for faster loading of mobile web pages, called AMP.”


Oh good grief. From PC Magazine: Luggage Tag Code Unlocks Your Flights, Identity to Hackers. “Each traveler on a GDS [Global Distributed Systems] is identified by a six digit code which is also the booking code (known as a PNR Locator). That ID is printed on boarding passes and luggage tags, meaning anyone near your luggage or who views your pass can see it and easily snap a shot of it with their smartphone. With that one code, all traveler information can be accessed, including home and email addresses, phone numbers, credit card number, frequent flyer number, and the IP address used to make a booking online ”

ZDNet: US government subcontractor leaks confidential military personnel data. “A Pentagon subcontractor has exposed reams of highly sensitive details belonging to active military healthcare professionals online, some of which hold top-secret security clearances. Potomac Healthcare Solutions, a subcontractor brought on board to supply healthcare professionals to the US government and military organizations through its Washington, DC.-based contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, was the source of the data leak.”

Google has fixed a recent security/privacy flaw in its Pixel phone. “In case you’re wondering what the big deal is, the serial number essentially identifies phones individually. It could be used to pinpoint your phone specifically and also track you, which is clearly not good for both security and privacy reasons. It seems that with this patch, it will restrict access to the serial number and prevents other apps from accessing it.”


From The Lancet: Medical journals and Wikipedia: a global health matter. “Wikipedia is particularly relevant for LMICs [Low-income and Middle-Income Countries – TJC], where internet access is often slow and expensive. We have been involved in developing mobile apps for offline use which contain all of Wikipedia’s anatomy, pharmacology, medicine, and sanitation content in an attempt to address this issue. We have seen tens of thousands of downloads of the apps, with the majority from LMICs.7 There is clearly a huge unmet need for health-related information, to the extent that some mobile network operators in LMICs do not charge for data costs when users are accessing Wikipedia (Wikipedia Zero8). However, this generous practice has been cautioned against because some people feel it infringes upon internet neutrality (the principle that internet providers should treat all data equally).”


A teenager in Arkansas bought a newspaper. “[Katie] Jacques last week sold the assets of the Central Delta Argus-Sun to Hayden Taylor, 19, whose family’s roots in the county go back five generations. Taylor is a throwback to the time decades ago when a few young men his age ventured into owning newspapers, but it was rare then and is almost unheard of now in the age of the Internet. Following a ‘Man Bites Dog’ theme, Taylor has never taken a single course in journalism.” Good morning, Internet…

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