Foster Pets, Ocean Pollution, Vimy Ridge, More: Sunday Buzz, April 9, 2017


Launched in January, but I’m just learning about it: Eastwood Ranch Launches Foster Fur Kids. “Anyone interested in becoming a foster can sign up to connect with rescue groups and shelters that need temporary fosters. Fosters can set up their own profile and list their preferences including the type of animal they want to foster, breed, age, temperament, energy level and length of time they can commit to fostering. They can also select whether they want to be a volunteer or paid foster, and set their own rates. The rescues and shelters provide the food, supplies and veterinary care, imparting no cost to the foster family.”

Treehugger: Online database maps ocean pollution and its effect on animals. “Three scientists from the Alfred-Wegener Institute in Germany have created an online database called LITTERBASE, with the goal of centralizing scientific research on global ocean pollution. They have taken the results of 1,267 studies and turned them into interactive maps and infographics that make the information more accessible and searchable for the public.”


CTV News: Google Street View offers never-before-seen look at Vimy Ridge. “Canadians now have the opportunity to virtually walk the trenches, tunnels and battle-scarred hills of historic Vimy Ridge in France, thanks to a new Google Street View project that includes never-before-seen perspectives on the site.”

The Next Web: Skype will now translate Japanese for you in real-time. “Microsoft and Skype will now help you converse in real time with Japanese speaker — even if you don’t speak Japanese yourself. Skype announced this week that it was adding Japanese to its real-time translation software, which it introduced in 2014.”

TechCrunch: Facebook puts link to 10 tips for spotting ‘false news’ atop feed. “Today Facebook begins fighting misinformation with news literacy education, in addition to product features. This week, users in 14 countries, including the U.S., will see an alert above the News Feed several times over the next few days that links them to Facebook’s Help Center where they can read ‘Tips to Spot False News.’ Written while working with news standards nonprofit First Draft, these tips include being skeptical of sensational headlines and checking for phony URLs.” Over on the Firehose version of this article, I have images of a couple of fraudulent Facebook ads I’ve seen in the last few days, featuring the hoax deaths of Burt Reynolds and William Shatner.

Los Angeles Times: YouTube won’t put ads on channels with fewer than 10,000 views. “YouTube will no longer display ads on videos from channels with fewer than 10,000 views, a move the company says was in the works long before the current controversy over ads appearing before extremist videos.”


Make Tech Easier: Top 4 Markdown Editors for Google Drive. “Markdown is a great way to write cleanly-formatted text online. However, it doesn’t always play nicely with web services like Google Drive. Here are three editors and one script that will improve your Google Drive/Markdown relationship.”

MakeUseOf: 5 New Ways to Learn History on the Internet . “If you want to understand any place or any people in the world, you need to understand the history of that land. History can be boring though, especially if it’s not told right. And that’s where these five apps and storytellers differ. No one dislikes history. You can only dislike the way we were taught history. Find the right teacher and it’s like opening up a treasure trove of tales. There are stories of heroes and villains, warriors and saints, lovers and siblings. And here are the teachers you need to enrapture your mind.”


PLOS: Setting Your Cites on Open . “The Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) was launched on April 6th, 2017. Over the course of about 6 months, the initiative has made a large fraction of the citation data that link all scholarship freely available. Mark Patterson (eLife) and Catriona MacCallum (PLOS) were two of the people involved and below they describe how this initiative started and where it might lead.”

More Google Maps hijinx! From the Canberra Times: Google Maps shows image of Gold Coast when users search for Canberra. “Australians have enough trouble convincing foreigners that Canberra, not Sydney, is the nation’s capital. But a new claimant to the title has emerged, thanks to an algorithmic error on Google Maps matching searches for Canberra with an image of the Gold Coast.”


The Intercept: Facebook Failed to Protect 30 Million Users From Having Their Data Harvested by Trump Campaign Affiliate. “The Intercept interviewed five individuals familiar with [Aleksandr] Kogan’s work for SCL. All declined to be identified, citing concerns about an ongoing inquiry at Cambridge and fears of possible litigation. Two sources familiar with the SCL project told The Intercept that Kogan had arranged for more than 100,000 people to complete the Facebook survey and download an app. A third source with direct knowledge of the project said that Global Science Research obtained data from 185,000 survey participants as well as their Facebook friends. The source said that this group of 185,000 was recruited through a data company, not Mechanical Turk, and that it yielded 30 million usable profiles. No one in this larger group of 30 million knew that “likes” and demographic data from their Facebook profiles were being harvested by political operatives hired to influence American voters.”


New Scientist: Thousands of fake companies added to Google Maps every month. “Local businesses on Google Maps aren’t always as local as they seem. Tens of thousands of bogus listings are added to Google Maps every month, directing browsing traffic towards fraudulent schemes, finds a team of researchers at Google and the University of San Diego, California.” Good morning, Internet…

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