Research Labs, UK Burglaries, ProPublica, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, January 25, 2017


Now available, though it’s early days yet: a database of university research labs. “University of Connecticut student Spencer Matonis recently launched a start-up company called Coalesce, which provides a database of university research laboratories with the purpose of connecting the global scientific community, Matonis said. A fourth-semester honors student majoring in both material science and engineering, Matonis currently works in the International Water Resources Laboratory at UConn.” Recently launched and nowhere near complete, but what a great idea.

A new database estimates the changes of a home in the UK being burgled. “…homeowners across the country can check a simple online tool which will show the risk of burglary in their local area. For example houses the DT4 postcode have a 0.203 per cent chance of being burgled. Out of the 2,195 UK postcode areas, it is the 2,037th most likely to put in a home insurance claim for burglary”


ProPublica is now available on IFTTT. Five triggers, no actions.

The ESA Planetary Science Archive has gotten a new look. ESA stands for European Space Agency. “ESA launches a new version of its Planetary Science Archive (PSA) website, the online interface to data from the agency’s space science missions that have been exploring planets, moons and other small bodies in the Solar System. With a new design and enhanced search functionalities, the platform now provides a direct and simple access to the scientific data, helping scientists to discover and explore the archive content.”


From Art21: The Role of Online Archives in Contemporary Art and Activism. “The strategic practices of creating and maintaining an archive—the collecting, organizing, storing, and presenting of documents—are appealing to artists as methods to make sense of today’s constant bombardment of information and images. Whereas trained archivists typically led the production of archives, increasing numbers of artists are assuming this responsibility, particularly within the context of social-documentary photography.”

Bloomberg News: News outlets seeing few returns from social media partnerships. “Newspapers and other media outlets are struggling to make money from their partnerships with tech giants such as Facebook and Snapchat, raising concerns over their business models in a news landscape increasingly dominated by social media platforms.”


BBC: Massive networks of fake accounts found on Twitter. I thought lots of those had been discovered. “Massive collections of fake accounts are lying dormant on Twitter, suggests research. The largest network ties together more than 350,000 accounts and further work suggests others may be even bigger. UK researchers accidentally uncovered the lurking networks while probing Twitter to see how people use it.”

Microsoft is preparing to go head-to-head with the Justice Department in court. “The case, known as Microsoft v. Department of Justice began in 2016 when Microsoft sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) to challenge a part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) under which the government serves warrants to tech companies. The lawsuit is targeting the constitutionality of accompanying gag orders that prevent tech companies from notifying their users that the federal government is investigating their data.”


Marketwired, and I’m pretty sure this is a press release: New Research Reveals Global Social Media Use Increased by 21 Percent in 2016. “Hootsuite, the most widely used social media management platform, and We Are Social, the global social media agency, today release Digital in 2017, a report of social media and digital trends around the world. Examining data from 238 countries, the 6th annual report finds 50% of the world is now connected to the internet and examines the opportunities that increasing connectivity has for organizations worldwide.”

From the Financial Times, which is usually paywalled but I got to this article fine: Genes determine how young use internet and social media. “More than one-third of differences between individuals’ online behaviour — for example, how much time they spend playing games or in chat rooms — can be attributed to genetics rather than environmental factors such as family circumstances and availability of computers and smartphones.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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