Corporate Crime, Colorado Trails, The Holocaust, More: Wednesday Buzz, June 7, 2017


Washington Post: New database shows how prosecutors handled corporate crimes. Some corporations were never prosecuted.. “Crimes committed by corporations are often overlooked or undercovered by the news media. Though the dollar amounts and number of victims can be astronomical, corporate crimes — including areas such as securities fraud, money laundering and bribery — can be complicated, drawn-out matters which get lost in the daily blur of street crime and terrorism. But the need to hold large companies accountable remains, and a new way to understand and contextualize those crimes launches today — a vast database of corporate prosecutions dating back to 1992, showing how the government did, or didn’t, resolve criminal cases with fines, prison terms or, sometimes, nothing.”

Denver Post: Bookmark this: Colorado launches online guide to 39,000 miles of every kind of trail. “Spanning 226 jurisdictions, the interactive map…marks the first run at gathering every hiking, biking and multi-use trail in Colorado in a single location. For years that trail info has been stitched across a patchwork of websites, field offices and guidebooks.”

JTA: US Holocaust museum releases first 2 volumes of encyclopedia of Nazi camps, ghettos. “The first two volumes of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s comprehensive record of Nazi-established persecution sites are now available. The first two volumes of the Museum’s ‘Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945,’ are now freely accessible in their entirety on the Museum’s website, the museum announced.”

Stanford: Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” goes online. “No poem is more closely identified with the Beat Generation than Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl.’ From its first public reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco in October 1955 to the notorious obscenity trial that followed in the wake of its first publication in 1956, the poem is indelibly tied to the Beat Generation and their critique of the staid morals and customs of Eisenhower-era America. In cooperation with the Allen Ginsberg Estate, Stanford Libraries has recently digitized Allen Ginsberg’s original drafts of ‘Howl,’ providing a unique perspective on Ginsberg’s creative process and the creation of American literary classic.”


Digital Trends: Microsoft’s New Face Swap App Lets Users Insert Their Mug Into Any Image. “Face Swap is all about inserting the user’s face into an existing image without the need for any manual editing. The results are often quite silly, but the technology underpinning the app is actually rather advanced, bringing together the power of Bing image search with facial recognition technology developed by Microsoft Research.”

Search Engine Journal: Google: How to Create Better Meta Descriptions. “Google has released some recommendations regarding how to create better meta descriptions for search results. In addition, Google is doing its part to improve meta descriptions by making a notable update to how they are rendered.”


Medium: Spot a Bot: Identifying Automation and Disinformation on Social Media. “…the good news is that most bots ― and their close cousins, ‘sockpuppets’ and ‘trolls’ ― exhibit some clear tell-tale signs. What follows is a list of those signs, based on our research into bots, sockpuppets, and disinformation on Twitter. With these signs, anyone can spot a bot, and resist the spread of disinformation online.” A long read but a good one.

New Yorker: How To Call B.S. On Big Data: A Practical Guide. “‘Nothing that you will learn in the course of your studies will be of the slightest possible use to you,’ the Oxford philosophy professor John Alexander Smith told his students, in 1914, ‘save only this: if you work hard and intelligently, you should be able to detect when a man is talking rot.’ Smith might be pleased to know that this week, at the University of Washington, in Seattle, some hundred and fifty students will complete ‘Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data,’ a course less profanely and more prosaically known as INFO 198/BIOL 106B. Taught by Jevin West, an information scientist, and Carl Bergstrom, a biologist, it created something of an online sensation when its syllabus went up, in January, and when registration opened it filled to capacity in less than a minute.”


Salon: Meet the tech activists who want to turn Twitter into a user-owned co-op. “Twitter might not be earning much respect from Wall Street, but its users find tremendous value in it. Ironically, it’s the work users put into the platform — for free — that determines the value of the company. So if Twitter users are creating the company’s value, perhaps they should have a bigger stake in its future. That’s exactly the idea that some tech activists have.”

New York Times: 10,000 New Yorkers. 2 Decades. A Data Trove About ‘Everything.’. “Your phone, in all likelihood, knows more about you than your doctor. Your credit card company knows your likes and dislikes better than your closest friend. Google knows your thoughts, and even completes your sentences. Your telephone service provider knows where you are at all times. Facebook, for many, knows more than the rest combined. But Paul W. Glimcher, a neuro-economist at New York University, looks at all that data and sees a ‘train wreck.'”

Wired: Diversity in Open Source Is Even Worse Than in Tech Overall. “GitHub, the world’s leading repository of open-source code, surveyed 5,500 open source users and developers from around the world on a range of topics. It also asked for demographic information. And it was informative. Of that randomly selected cohort, a full 95 percent of respondents were male. Only three percent identified as female and one percent as non-binary.” I don’t recommend reading the comments.


Motherboard: Hacker Mimicked Thousands of Real Twitter Users to Build a Bot Army. “How would you go about creating a Twitter armada? Although the process may not completely work today, one researcher found that by writing code that autonomously mimicked real users, and then spread to other targets, he could quickly generate accounts that may reasonably pass off as real users.” Good morning, Internet…

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