Climate Change, Materials Engineering, Google Earth, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, July 12, 2017


From the University of Bern: Most comprehensive database on past global changes is online. “Past Global Changes (PAGES) is an international climate change research organization with its head office at the University of Bern. The PAGES2k database is the product of a community-wide effort of climate experts, coordinated by PAGES. The database gathers 692 records from 648 locations, with data sources covering all continents and oceans. Data were selected and vetted in a collaborative manner by members of the PAGES2k consortium, according to a consistent and transparent set of criteria. They are releasing the final database as ‘open data’, allowing anyone to download and use the data, which is provided in a standardized format with supporting code, ensuring the data is accessible to specialists and citizen-scientists alike.”

Edmonds Community College: New online open source library provides access to manufacturing tools, materials . “A new online open source library provides teachers and students with access to in-demand resources on manufacturing tools and materials…. The Hub features over 600 open source resources for teachers and students, who can search under topics such as design; synthesis; processing; testing/characterization; structure; mechanical, electronic, optical, and physical properties; and applications. Search results can also be filtered by age group/educational level (from K-5 to college), principal material, completion time, and material format (video, lab, lecture, and more).”


Search Engine Roundtable: Google Releases Google Earth Pro: Google Earth Free To Upgrade. “Google announced in the Google Maps Help forums that they have finally released Google Earth Pro 7.3.0 for Mac, Windows and Linux. With this release, Google Earth Free users will automatically be upgraded to the Pro version for free.”

TechCrunch: Google bans its ads on sites that use those annoying ‘pop-unders’. “Google today clarified a change to its ad policies, which have now been updated to include a ban on Google advertisements on any websites that utilize ‘pop-under’ advertisements. These obnoxious, irritating and often spammy advertisements are those that load ‘under’ your current window – meaning you don’t see them until you minimize your browser.” Good.

CNET: Coming soon to Facebook Messenger: More ads. “Your Facebook Messenger home screen may no longer be just an inbox for messaging friends. Facebook’s dedicated messaging app will be extending its beta test of ad placement on users’ home screens globally, building on successful tests in Australia and Thailand, according to the company’s blog post.”


Filed under “Useful-for-a-given-value, but neat,” from This Is Colossal: Text SFMOMA Your Favorite Emoji and Receive an Artwork From Their Vast Collection. “The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s newest tech tool allows any smartphone user to gain access to the artworks hidden behind their archive doors, a collection so large that it would stretch 121.3 miles if you placed each artwork end-to-end. With only 5% of this collection on view, the museum decided to create Send Me SFMOMA, a texting service that delivers an artwork to your phone based on a sent emoji or phrase.”


CNN: Can Snapchat snap back?. “Snapchat is probably not the next Facebook. The company generated enormous hype when it went public in March. But it continues to bleed red ink. User growth is slowing, an alarming sign for a social media platform that’s relatively young. And Facebook itself keeps introducing me-too products.”


The Hill: Trump sued for blocking Twitter users. “President Trump is getting sued for blocking dissenting Twitter users by a First Amendment group, which alleges his actions violate the Constitution. The case was filed Tuesday in a New York City court by the Knight First Amendment Institute, which represents seven Twitter users who claim to have been blocked by the president.”

EFF: Who Has Your Back? Government Data Requests 2017. “In this era of unprecedented digital surveillance and widespread political upheaval, the data stored on our cell phones, laptops, and especially our online services are a magnet for government actors seeking to track citizens, journalists, and activists. In 2016, the United States government sent at least 49,868 requests to Facebook for user data. In the same time period, it sent 27,850 requests to Google and 9,076 to Apple.1 These companies are not alone: where users see new ways to communicate and store data, law enforcement agents see new avenues for surveillance.”

The Register: Russia, China vow to kill off VPNs, Tor browser. “Russia and China are banning the use of virtual private networks, as their governments assert ever greater control over what citizens can see online. In Russia, the State Duma – the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia (legislature) – unanimously adopted the first reading of new legislation that would ban the use of VPNs as well as online anonymizers like the Tor browser if they don’t block access to a government-run list of websites.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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