Education Standards, Phyllis Diller, Twitter, More: Thursday Buzz, March 2, 2017


PR Newswire: ‘Evidence for ESSA’ Website Is Live: New National Resource Ranks K-12 Reading and Math Programs According to Evidence (PRESS RELEASE). “Today the Center for Research and Reform in Education (CRRE) at Johns Hopkins University has released its much anticipated new website called Evidence for ESSA … a free web-based resource that provides easy access to information on programs that meet the evidence standards defined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The website is designed for education leaders at the state, district and school levels, to provide information to state chiefs, superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, and anyone else interested in which programs meet the ESSA evidence standards.”

The Smithsonian has started a project to digitize the joke cards of Phyllis Diller. I did a bunch yesterday; I am a big Diller fan. “Phyllis Diller’s groundbreaking career as a stand-up comic spanned almost 50 years. Throughout her career she used a gag file to organize her material. Diller’s gag file consists of a steel cabinet with 48 drawers (along with a 3 drawer expansion) containing over 52,000 3-by-5 inch index cards, each holding a typewritten joke or gag. These index cards are organized alphabetically by subject, ranging from accessories to world affairs and covering almost everything in between.”


Twitter: Our Latest Update on Safety . “We’re continuing our work to make Twitter safer, moving faster than ever to do so. During the past few weeks alone, we’ve made a number of changes on this front including updating how you can report abusive Tweets, stopping the creation of new abusive accounts, implementing safer search results, collapsing abusive or low-quality Tweets, and reducing notifications from conversations started by people you’ve blocked or muted. … This week we’re introducing additional updates that leverage our technology to reduce abusive content, give you more tools to control your experience, and communicate more clearly about actions we take.” The “communicate more clearly” bit has been needed for a while.

PETA is contributing to the restoration of the USDA inspection archives. “To protect taxpayers’ right to information after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scrubbed its website of all records related to puppy mills, roadside zoos, traveling animal shows, and other enterprises that use and exploit animals, PETA is releasing every USDA inspection report of captive-animal exhibitors in its archives—nearly 21,000 records, the oldest of which dates back to 1984.”

A new version of Zorin Linux is now available. “Zorin OS developers on Tuesday released Version 12.1, offering Linux users a patchwork of software and hardware updates with some performance enhancements and bug fixes.”

Facebook: Building a Safer Community With New Suicide Prevention Tools. “There is one death by suicide in the world every 40 seconds, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15-29 year olds. Experts say that one of the best ways to prevent suicide is for those in distress to hear from people who care about them. Facebook is in a unique position — through friendships on the site — to help connect a person in distress with people who can support them. It’s part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook.”



WIRED: After 3 Years, Why Gmail’s End-to-End Encryption Is Still Vapor. “NEARLY THREE YEARS have passed since Google announced it would offer an end-to-end encryption add-on for Gmail, a potentially massive shift in the privacy options of a piece of software used by more than a billion people. It still hasn’t materialized. And while Google insists its encryption plugin isn’t vaporware, the company’s latest move has left critics with the distinct impression that Gmail’s end-to-end encrypted future looks cloudy at best—if not altogether evaporated.”

Washington Post:
How alleged ISIS videos are creating a headache for WordPress
. “Some tech companies have complied with requests to remove content when flagged by the Counter Extremism Project, and has done so as well in some instances. But overall,, citing concerns about free speech, has declined to comply with most requests despite several letters of complaint from the advocacy project since May, the group said. Wednesday’s letter was addressed to Automattic Inc., the San Francisco-based parent company of”


Ars Technica: Google’s anti-trolling AI can be defeated by typos, researchers find. “Jigsaw’s Perspective project is an application interface currently focused on moderating online conversations—using machine learning to spot abusive, harassing, and toxic comments. The AI applies a “toxicity score” to comments, which can be used to either aide moderation or to reject comments outright, giving the commenter feedback about why their post was rejected. Jigsaw is currently partnering with Wikipedia and The New York Times, among others, to implement the Perspective API to assist in moderating reader-contributed content. But that AI still needs some training, as researchers at the University of Washington’s Network Security Lab recently demonstrated.”

Yahoo Beauty: Instagram Is Good for People With Insecurities and Depression, Says Study. “Great news, Instagram addicts: The photo-sharing platform is good for you if you have insecurities or depression. According to new research from Drexel University, the social media site has become an outlet for people in pain looking for ways to overcome silence and express their feelings.”

Daily News Egypt: Twitter reveals increase of users’ activities in Ramadan. “Twitter has revealed the affect Ramadan and Eid have on people’s communication, and how people transfer their excitement and celebrations of the holy month to the virtual world. People’s interactivity increase with an average of 26.3% throughout the month of generosity, this was verified last year, when over 10.7bn users shared their thoughts regarding the month with the trending hashtag of #Ramadan.”


From NewAtlas, wow! Posters and t-shirts turned into (very) local FM radio stations. “What if a band’s poster could actually transmit a sample of their music to your phone, or your t-shirt could monitor your vital signs while you exercise? Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have pioneered a technique where everyday objects can be embedded with transmitters that piggyback ambient FM signals to send data to nearby smartphones and radios using almost no power.” Can you imagine using this technology in a museum exhibit? Good morning, Internet…

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