Minnesota Methodists, Poverty Reduction, Campaign Finance, More: Sunday Buzz, May 28, 2017


Minnesota United Methodists: Minnesota Conference archive online catalog makes history accessible. “Who were the Minnesota United Methodist pioneers? Which churches were part of our conference long ago? What are the significant artifacts from our denominational history? The answers to these questions just became easier to access thanks to a new archive online catalog containing documents, photographs, and other material from the Minnesota Conference archives.” World’s 1st poverty reduction database in tree diagrams . “The Global Poverty Reduction Online Knowledge Sharing Database was launched on Friday at the 2017 China Poverty Reduction International Forum in Beijing being attended by officials and representatives from international organizations, embassies as well as businesses. Created by the Global Poverty Reduction & Inclusive Growth Portal (GPIG), the database … is a platform to share successful models of poverty reduction from both China and the international community, which is distinguished by its use of tree diagrams, standardized templates and a strong network of contributors.”

Fedscoop: New FEC website aims to simplify access to campaign finance data. “The Federal Election Commission recently launched a new website intended to improve its user experience through a cleaner layout and additional features. Built in conjunction with General Services Administration office 18F, the updated site presents a striking contrast from the previous version, which grew organically and erratically — and often made life difficult for visitors trying to access campaign finance information.”


The Next Web: Raspberry Pi and CoderDojo team up to create world’s biggest coding school. “Raspberry Pi, the makers of those affordable single-board computers, and the CoderDojo Foundation, which runs a network of coding clubs for school-age children, have announced they’re merging in order to give more young people opportunities to get into compsci.”


Recode: Google refuses to hand over salary data to the U.S. government. “Google, whose mission is to organize the world’s information, is still refusing to hand over salary information requested by the Labor Department, saying that it would cost too much to retrieve the data.”

Wired: For Modern Astronomers, It’s Learn to Code or Get Left Behind. “Fledgling astronomers take maybe one course in coding and then informally learn whatever language their leaders happen to use, because those are the ones the leaders know how to teach. They usually don’t take meaningful courses in modern coding, data science, or their best practices. But today’s astronomers don’t just need to know how stars form and black holes burst. They also need knowledge of how to pry that information from the many terabytes of data that will stream from next-generation telescopes like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Square Kilometer Array.”

TVO: Do the Twitter-bug: How social media is connecting citizens and scientists. “It was 10 p.m. in Chicago when a Twitter user posted a photo of a small luminous object he’d found in his backyard. At first, Sean McConnell, a molecular geneticist and biochemist at the University of Chicago, thought it was one of his kids’ toys glowing in the grass. But on closer inspection, he realized it was a worm. He took to social media hoping someone could tell him what species it was. Hundreds of kilometres away and an hour ahead, in Guelph, Morgan Jackson came across the Twitter image. He recognized the mystery worm instantly.”

Digiday: Snapchat is wooing ad buyers with discount coupons and bonuses. “Snap needs to show good results in the second quarter, and it’s looking to goose its ad business with offers of discounts and incentives to ad buyers. The platform is incentivizing brands and media buyers, offering bonuses, discount coupons and media credits for ad buys carried out in the second quarter of 2017, said multiple agency executives whom Digiday interviewed.”


Sigh. USA Today: Chipotle says malware hack stole customer payment info . “Chipotle Mexican Grill on Friday said new information on a March-April data breach at its restaurants indicates hackers using malware stole customer payment information. Consumers’ account numbers, expiration data and verification codes were accessed by the malware from payment card systems at the fast-casual chain over three weeks between March 24 and April 18. Chipotle said the malware that breached its system has been removed. Most of its 2,249 restaurants were affected, said company spokesperson Chris Arnold.”

BBC: ‘Thousands’ of known bugs found in pacemaker code. “Pacemakers, insulin pumps and other devices in hospitals harbour security problems that leave them vulnerable to attack, two separate studies warn. One study solely on pacemakers found more than 8,000 known vulnerabilities in code inside the cardiac devices.”


The Guardian: It’s time for academics to take back control of research journals . “‘Publish or perish’ has long been the mantra of academics seeking to make a success of their research career. Reputations are built on the ability to communicate something new to the world. Increasingly, however, they are determined by numbers, not by words, as universities are caught in a tangle of management targets composed of academic journal impact factors, university rankings and scores in the government’s research excellence framework.”


Digital Trends: Prototype Device Lets You Easily Switch Between Privacy Options Online. “Even people who consider themselves to be in the know about tech can get flummoxed when it comes to the subject of online privacy. Who is tracking you and how is something many users don’t follow, and there are few simple means of learning this information. That’s something a nifty piece of hardware created by Spanish designers Roman Torre and Angeles Angulo hopes to address. What they’ve developed is a 3D-printed prototype of a desktop device, called Thero, that allows users to switch between encrypted communication methods simply by turning a dial.” How cool is that? Good morning, Internet…

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