Japanese Genetics, Facebook, Snapchat, More: Thursday Buzz, July 20, 2017


Asahi Shimbun: Genome index could help study on rare diseases among Japanese. “Scientists have created a genome database with samples of 3,554 Japanese citizens, which identified genetic characteristics unique to Japanese. The database, one of the world’s largest, will help in studying the genetic characteristics behind rare diseases only a few in every 10,000 people develop, according to the team who announced the achievement July 18.”


TechCrunch: Facebook fights fake news spread via modified link previews. “Until now, any Facebook Page that posted a link could change the headline, body text and image that appeared in the News Feed preview. That allowed fake news distributors to bait-and-switch readers into visiting articles they didn’t expect, or make it look like legitimate news publishers were posting inflammatory or false headlines. But it also let real news outlets A/B test link previews, tailor content to different audiences and update previews as news stories evolved.”

Nieman Lab: NBC News invents the script for a twice-daily Snapchat news show. “As part of NBC Universal’s $500 million investment in Snap, Inc., the network is launching a daily news show, two to three minutes long, that will be published on Snapchat Discover at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET during the week and at 1 p.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays on Snapchat accounts in the U.S. and Canada.”

Search Engine Land: Google Now is dead, long live ‘the feed’. “Google Now was launched at Google I/O in June 2012. It was part of a package of updates and UI changes for mobile search, which included a female-voiced mobile assistant to compete with Apple’s Siri. Google Now was initially a way to get contextually relevant information based on location, time of day and your calendar. It evolved to become much more sophisticated and elaborate, with a wide array of content categories delivered on cards. For a time it was being called ‘predictive search,’ although that term has faded.”

Advertising Age: Sound and Maybe Fury: Facebook Turns Up Volume on Video Ads, Spins It as Good News. “Facebook is making (sound) waves with autoplay videos that start running with the volume already turned up. Some users have begun seeing messages describing the shift — away from autoplay video that at least started on mute — as convenient.” “convenient”? You misspelled “annoying”.


Wired: At, Untested Stem Cell Clinics Advertise For Free!. “Advocates of the therapy say that’s just the cost of doing cutting-edge medicine. Except, any proof they have that it is effective comes from data collected on patients who pay thousands of dollars for the treatment. Usually people pay money for medicine after there’s proof it works. In the last few years, some of these stem cell clinicians have begun posting large-scale studies on a government-run website called, even though they’re often not up to medical research standards or even in compliance with federal regulations. This allows them to masquerade their pay-to-participate studies as legit science.”

The Conversation: The real reason you can’t quit Facebook? Maybe it’s because you can judge your friends. “Facebook recently announced that it now has over 2 billion monthly users. This makes its ‘population’ larger than that of China, the US, Mexico and Japan combined. Its popularity, and with it the influence it has in society, is beyond dispute. But for many the experience of actually using the site fluctuates somewhere between the addictive and the annoying. Our new research shows that the reason for this is very simple. It’s all to do with other people, and how we feel about them.” Interesting article, not sure I agree with the conclusions.

Ubergizmo: Microsoft And Baidu Are Working On Self-Driving Cars. “Baidu, often referred to as the Google of China, has been working on its own self-driving car technology and it has now teamed up with one of the biggest tech companies on the planet to further advance the futuristic technology. While Microsoft has long worked with car manufacturers on software for connected cars, this appears to be the first instance of the company venturing into the self-driving car turf.”


Digital Trends: FBI Warns Parents About The Risks Of Using Internet-Connected Toys. “Taking a cautious approach to the upcoming deluge of smart toys hitting store shelves for the holiday shopping season, the FBI has issued a public service announcement warning parents about the risks of bringing an internet-connected toy into the household. Specifically, the FBI is concerned about the amount of personal information that could be ‘unwittingly disclosed’ during normal use of the toy.”

Reuters: U.S. appeals court upholds gag orders on FBI data surveillance. “A U.S. federal appeals court on Monday upheld nondisclosure rules that allow the FBI to secretly issue surveillance orders for customer data to communications firms, a ruling that dealt a blow to privacy advocates.”


Beyond Search: Google: Making Search Better. But What Does Better Mean?. “I read a darned interesting (no, not remarkable, just interesting) article called ‘The Google Exec in Charge of Designing Search: “There’s Always This Internal Debate about How Much Functionality Should We Add”‘. At first, I thought this was an Onion write up, but I was wrong. The article is a serious expression of the ‘real’ Google. Now the ‘old’ and now ‘unreal’ Google is not applicable. That’s why I thought the write up was like the content I present in HonkinNews.” Stephen E. Arnold pan-fries Google.

Forbes: Why We Need To Archive The Web In Order To Preserve Twitter. “As social media has become an ever-more central medium through which global society communicates, there has been considerable discussion about just how libraries and archives can work to preserve these walled gardens in the same way that web archives like the Internet Archive have worked to preserve the open web. Twitter in particular has been a keen focus of the social archiving community due to its streaming APIs and default public nature of most communications sent through the platform. Indeed, in 2010 the Library of Congress received a donation of the entire historical backfile of Twitter and continues to archive all public tweets through present day. Is this doomsday archive by itself truly sufficient to fully preserve Twitter for future generations?” Great article. Not particularly encouraging, but great. Good morning, Internet…

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1 reply »

  1. Vis-a-vis “ cell” – article in current edition of Science Magazine titled “Surviving the cure: A stem cell transplant helped beat back a young doctor’s cancer. Now, it’s assaulting his body.” Try untested therapies at one’s own risk…

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