Mashable: New app helps refugees and immigrants get crucial translations in real time. “Tarjimly, which launched Tuesday, connects volunteer translators to refugees and immigrants who need to speak with doctors, aid workers, legal representatives and other crucial services in a new country. It acts as a Facebook Messenger bot, allowing for easy, real-time translations on any smartphone.”
TWEAKS AND UPDATES
The USDA has removed a great deal of animal welfare information from its Web site. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday abruptly removed inspection reports and other information from its website about the treatment of animals at thousands of research laboratories, zoos, dog breeding operations and other facilities. In a statement, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service cited court rulings and privacy laws for the decision, which it said was the result of a ‘comprehensive review’ that took place over the past year.” Accessing these records will not require an FOIA request, and the Obama Administration set a terrible precedent for that with its record-breaking number of FOIA refusals.
The IMDB comments sections are shutting down. “Good riddance to one of the worst places to socialize on the internet. Amazon-owned IMDb announced today it will be closing down its discussion board later this month, and turning off the ability for users to private message each other. The company claimed the decision was made because the boards were ‘no longer providing a positive, useful experience for the vast majority of our more than 250 million monthly users worldwide.'” This is not my experience with IMDB, but I tend to look up fairly obscure or really old movies.
It looks like Snap will widen the availability of Spectacles. “We’re not sure how Snap plans to increase the availability, whether it be by selling it through its website, third-party retailers, or if they will set up permanent locations, but if you’ve been eyeing the device, this year could be your year to get your hands on it.”
If you’re not interested in the football but don’t want to miss the commercials, Quartz has a full list of them for you along with links.
Open Culture has a list of 250 MOOCs starting in February. Thanks to Esther S for the heads-up!
AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
Yahoo News: The authors are real. The articles are fake. Who is behind the sinister ‘CGS’ website? “Bruce Riedel is a widely known expert on the Middle East who helped guide U.S. policy in the region as a member of President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council. So he was more than a little surprised recently when an obscure website ran an article about Saudi Arabia he had never seen before — with his byline.”
Quartz: Obama’s White House webmaster says we should cut Trump’s team some slack. “Since his inauguration, Trump has personally struggled with digital illiteracy, but notable changes also immediately befell whitehouse.gov: The pages for civil rights, climate change, disability, and LGBT rights, among others, disappeared. A Spanish-language version of the site is no longer available. One eagle-eyed user also discovered that signatures on the White House’s digital petitions portal didn’t seem to be getting recorded correctly. Some have called the changes malicious, others simply negligent. But there’s plenty of reason to believe they’re also entirely par for the course.” In 1996 I tried to approach some political folks and ask them what they were doing with the Internet. Most of them had no idea what I was taking about. That was only 21 years ago.
I see a lot more colleges and universities getting into Snapchat, based on the press releases and event announcements I see in Google Alerts, but I love this headline from Illinois State University: 3 reasons to follow the Dean of Students on Snapchat. I kind of want to see their awesome geofilter now.
Reuters: Google, unlike Microsoft, must turn over foreign emails: U.S. judge. “A U.S. judge has ordered Google to comply with search warrants seeking customer emails stored outside the United States, diverging from a federal appeals court that reached the opposite conclusion in a similar case involving Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O). U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter in Philadelphia ruled on Friday that transferring emails from a foreign server so FBI agents could review them locally as part of a domestic fraud probe did not qualify as a seizure.”
From the AP: Court: Law Enforcement Can View Private Twitter Messages. “A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that law enforcement agencies can view private messages and tweets posted on Twitter. The court on Thursday ruled in favor of Essex County prosecutors who attempted to access video posts from two unidentified Twitter profiles.”
CBR: Uber patents feature for mining riders’ social media data. “Currently the UberPool system operates by locating other users of the service heading in the same direction. By doing this it lowers the overall cost at the expense of a slightly longer travel time. The problem with this situation is that because it’s a stranger things can be quite awkward. This new patent details how Uber could potentially access your Facebook data and notify you of anything that you and the other passengers have in common. It could be that you and the other person attended the same school or workplace, or that you have mutual friends or interests on social media.” Good morning, Internet…
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