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Pay Phones, Beer Nutrition, World War I, More: Tuesday Buzz, March 28, 2017

NEW RESOURCES

New-to-me but apparently around for a while: an online database of pay phones. “By the 1990s there were nearly three million pay phones in America. But now just a small fraction remain. Mark Thomas keeps track of the ones that are left. He created the Payphone Project, an online database of pay phones from around the world.”

Now available: a database of beer nutrients. “Using a robust analytical testing program, the [Brewers Association] has built a database that reflects average nutritional value of nine lesser nutrients (total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, dietary fiber, sugars, and protein). This database, which currently has 41 styles as defined by the BA Beer Style Guidelines, will expand over time as more analytical testing is conducted.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

World War I Social Media Day is April 11. “Museums, archives, and other educational institutions around the world will share a day of social media activity focused on World War I history. Follow these institutions on social media and you’ll discover interesting content almost every single day. But on April 11, experts and educators will be online to answer questions, test your knowledge in pop quizzes, and take you behind the scenes with live video.” If you’re at all interested in WWI, I recommend the YouTube Channel The Great War. Terrific stuff. They’re not a Patreon of mine and have no idea who I am. I’m just a big fan of theirs.

Ubergizmo: Google Home Just Gained A Bunch Of New Skills. “In a report from VentureBeat, it seems that Google has recently added about 15 new skills/services to Google Assistant (and in turn Google Home). These new services aren’t really related to each other and will vary, ranging from getting motivational quotes from Jaden Smith (Will Smith’s son, for those wondering), getting movie ratings from IMDB, finding out the weather on Mars, and so on.” Motivational quotes from Jaden Smith? Do what now?

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Medium: How Elsevier plans to sabotage Open Access. “It was a long and difficult road to get the major publishing houses to open up to open access, but in the end the Dutch universities got their much awaited ‘gold deal’ for open access. A recently revealed contract between Elsevier and the Dutch research institutes lays bare the retardant tactics the publishing giant employs to stifle the growth of open access.”

Plus55: Brazil’s “Social Media Funerals” Include Live Video Streaming and Message Sharing. “Throughout Brazil, funeral homes are taking on a new business. Offering live video streaming and message sharing, these ‘social media funerals’ cater to an increasingly online lifestyle. Many Brazilian family and friends live in different states, or even different countries, making it difficult to attend every funeral. As a result, more and more funeral homes are offering the service. In fact, an estimated 10 percent of the 5,500 funeral homes in Brazil offer an online streaming service.”

The Guardian: Hopping rockets and flying washing machines in Google’s wacky race to moon. “By the end of the year, space engineers hope to fulfil one of their greatest dreams. They plan to land a privately funded probe on the moon and send a small robot craft trundling over the lunar surface. If they succeed they will open up the exploitation of the moon for mining and ultimately human colonisation – and earn $20m prize money as winners of the Google Lunar XPrize.”

Mashable: Snapchat desperately wants businesses to pay for geofilters. “Snapchat needs to make more money, sure. But even more than that, the now-public company needs to attract more advertisers — even to its lower cost ad options — in hopes of turning them into big spenders and cementing the app as a must-buy digital ad platform. To do so, Snapchat is turning to one of its oldest tools: Geofilters.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Naked Security: LastPass steps up quickly to fix vulnerabilities spotted by researchers. “LastPass suffers occasional software vulnerabilities, including the odd very serious one – nothing unusual in that perhaps – but then immediately sets to work fixing them. We mention this not to laud LastPass to the skies with a tear in our eye but because it’s what all software companies with millions of users should do in this situation. Serious flaws shouldn’t be there in the first place, but before a single line of code has been re-written it’s a question of attitude.”

Neowin: Microsoft sued over Windows 10 ‘destroying user data and damaging PCs’. “The case has been certified as a class-action lawsuit filed in Chicago’s US District Court on behalf of every user who upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10. The attorneys of the trio claim that their clients were affected by the aforementioned issues within 30 days after upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and that similar issues plague ‘hundreds of thousands’ of users.”

Australia has passed its “Google Tax” law. “Ultimately, the new laws will see some companies that book their profits in international regions that claim a lower tax rate than Australia’s standard 30 per cent company rate slugged with a tax bill based on a rate of 40 per cent.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Lauren Weinstein: How YouTube’s User Interface Helps Perpetuate Hate Speech. “Specifically, can user interface design unintentionally help to spread and perpetuate hate speech? The answer may be an extremely disconcerting affirmative. A key reason why I suspect that this is indeed the case, is the large numbers of YouTube users who have told me that they didn’t even realize that they had the ability to report hate speech to YouTube/Google. And when I’ve suggested that they do so, they often reply that they don’t see any obvious way to make such a report.” Good morning, Internet…

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