Texas Pollution, Nebraska Agriculture, Literature Study Guides, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, April 26, 2017


Residents of Texas have a new tool to track air pollution. “Air pollution happens every day in Houston. Sometimes, that pollution is well within permit limits, considered safe by state environmental regulators, and sometimes, it’s not. So how do Houston residents who care about air quality tell the difference? Several environmental groups have recently debuted a handy new tool that notifies people when a Texas industry anticipates releasing air pollution that exceeds permitted limits.” This tool is for the whole state of Texas, not just Houston.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln: New Online Tool Helps Growers Find On-Farm Research Results. “A new tool is available on the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network website that allows growers to click on a map of Nebraska to find out about research projects conducted on farms in their area. The result finder contains over 600 studies and is updated annually. The finder is also mobile friendly and allows growers to select one, several or all counties. The database behind the map allows growers to search by keyword, filter results by year, crop, irrigation, topic and subtopic, or explore using the map.”

PRNewswire: 200+ Free Literature Study Guides Now Available on Course Hero (PRESS RELEASE). ” Course Hero, an online learning platform that empowers millions of students and educators to succeed, has developed more than 200 ‘Literature Study Guides and Infographics’ with detailed analyses on some of the most taught literature books in high school and college. Each study guide includes a visually stunning infographic, a character and plot diagram, a timeline highlighting key events, and more. The comprehensive and practical guides also feature historical and literary context to help students recognize the complex themes and symbolism in each work. ”


Bloomberg Quint: Google Rewrites Its Powerful Search Rankings to Bury Fake News. “Google isn’t planning to rid fake news from its search results — but it’s trying to purge it from the top. The Alphabet Inc. company is making a rare, sweeping change to the algorithm behind its powerful search engine to demote misleading, false and offensive articles online. Google is also setting new rules encouraging its “raters” — the 10,000-plus staff that assess search results — to flag web pages that host hoaxes, conspiracy theories and what the company calls ‘low-quality’ content.” I hope they’re better at filtering this stuff than Facebook’s ads team.

TechCrunch: Facebook shows Related Articles and fact checkers before you open links. “Facebook wants you to think about whether a headline is true and see other perspectives on the topic before you even read the article. In its next step against fake news, Facebook today begins testing a different version of its Related Articles widget that normally appears when you return to the News Feed after opening a link. Now Facebook will also show Related Articles including third-party fact checkers before you read an article about a topic that many people are discussing.”


CNET: Apple offering free classes at all 495 of its stores. “Turns out Apple isn’t too cool for school. The company said Tuesday it would launch educational sessions globally with seminars called ‘Today at Apple.’ The free program will be open to the public and include more than 60 different classes on topics such as art, design, coding and photography.”

How-To Geek: How to Disable the Profanity Filter In Google Assistant. “By default, Google Assistant will filter any bad words that you wouldn’t want to use in front of children. It’s the safer choice, but for adults who prefer their language a little spicier, you might want to turn the *!@$ing filter off.” Not that I think any of you ever swear. I’m sure you’re all lovely.


LawnStarter: Calling All Green Thumbs and Helping Hands: Get Involved with a Gardening Organization Near You. “As part of the LawnStarter Go Garden Initiative, we are collecting basic contact information (name, location, phone, etc.) to build a searchable database of gardening organizations across the US. If you would like your organization to be featured on our map, we would love to hear from you.”


TorrentFreak: Spammers Populate Google Maps With Pirate Links. “Spammers are using Google Maps to promote pirated content. Thousands of links to pirate sites have appeared on the platform in recent months. Copyright holders are not happy with this unintended use and are targeting the pages with various takedown notices. Whether Google Maps search results will be downranked is doubtful though.”

Techdirt: Malware Hunts And Kills Poorly Secured Internet Of Things Devices Before They Can Be Integrated Into Botnets. “Researchers say they’ve discovered a new wave of malware with one purpose: to disable poorly secured routers and internet of things devices before they can be compromised and integrated into botnets.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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