I apologize for the really erratic schedule over the last couple of weeks. Work.. well, work got weird and I’m not on top of it yet. My friends in Texas, I’m wishing you peace and safety.
British Library: New Online Resources on the History of Kuwait. “A series of archival documents that contain a wealth of information about Kuwait during the 1930s and 1940s have recently been digitized and uploaded on to the Qatar Digital Library. These documents are preserved in a file from the archive of the British Political Agency in Kuwait (now a part of the India Office Records) and consist of several reports covering a broad range of topics including Kuwait’s geography, history, flora and fauna, climate, leading personalities and political structure.”
TWEAKS AND UPDATES
Engadget: Google search uses a medical quiz to help diagnose depression. “Only half of Americans who face depression get help for it, and Google is determined to increase that percentage. As of today, it’s offering a medically validated, anonymous screening questionnaire for clinical depression if you search for information on the condition.
Wall Street Journal (and apparently not paywalled; I could read the whole thing): Google Issuing Refunds to Advertisers Over Fake Traffic, Plans New Safeguard. “Alphabet Inc.’s Google is issuing refunds to advertisers for ads bought through its platform that ran on sites with fake traffic, people familiar with the situation said, as the company develops a tool to give buyers more transparency about their purchases. In the past few weeks, Google has informed hundreds of marketers and ad agency partners about the issue with invalid traffic, known in the industry as ‘ad fraud.’ The ads were bought using the company’s DoubleClick Bid Manager.
TechCrunch: Amazon’s social media ‘Influencers’ program opens up to YouTube stars. “Amazon’s Influencer Program, a service that allows social media personalities to earn commissions on the Amazon products they promote, is now accepting sign-ups from YouTube influencers who want to participate. Last Thursday, Amazon quietly enabled a self-service tool for YouTube stars that lets them request to join the highly-vetted program, which had first launched into beta in late March.”
Tech News 18: Google: Now Google expands Public Wi-Fi to Indonesia After India. “After a successful run in India, Google has brought its public Wi-Fi programme ‘Google Station’ to Indonesia that will help improve access to the Internet at railway stations and other locations. “We are partnering with CBN and Fiberstar to bring high-speed public Wi-Fi to hundreds of locations across Indonesia,” Google said in a blog post on Friday.”
AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
The Verge: Transgender YouTubers had their videos grabbed to train facial recognition software . “Individuals undergoing HRT often document their progress and post the results online, sometimes keeping regular diaries, and sometimes making time-lapse videos of the entire process. ‘I shared my videos because I wanted other trans people to see my transition,’ says Danielle, who posted her transition video on YouTube years ago. ‘These types of transition montages were helpful to me, so I wanted to pay it forward,’ she tells The Verge. The videos also happen to be gold for AI researchers, as each contains dozens of varied, true-to-life photos.” This is appalling.
Phys.org: Iran in talks to unblock Twitter, says new minister. “Iran’s new communications minister said Tuesday that negotiations were underway with Twitter to unblock the service, which has been banned for years despite being used even by the country’s supreme leader. The micro-blogging platform was barred at the time of mass anti-regime protests in 2009 that followed allegations of massive rigging in the re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”
Recode: For 10 years, the Twitter hashtag has fueled both social activism and dad jokes. “Organizing tweets around topics was nearly impossible when Twitter first launched in March 2006. Twitter was merely a stream of thoughts and random musings. The suggestion to actually have group conversations using the # symbol came from Chris Messina, a Silicon Valley product and design guy who created the hashtag idea while working at a startup before going on to stints at both Google and Uber. And while the hashtag had been used before — like for IRC chat room names — using it on Twitter finally allowed people who wanted to talk about the same thing to actually find each other. What made it even more perfect was that Messina was just a user of Twitter, not an employee. So the fact that Twitter took the idea of the hashtag and ran with it says a lot about the platform and how it can embrace ideas from its community.”
My Broadband: Hands-on with Google’s Street View backpack. “Google recently hosted a Street View event, which it used to show off the tech behind the images we see in Google Maps. The focus of the event was the Google Street View Trekker backpack, which sports a similar camera to the unit on Google’s Street View cars.”
SECURITY & LEGAL
Engadget: Judge orders DreamHost to hand over data from anti-Trump site. “Earlier this week, after DreamHost challenged its warrant in court, the Department of Justice narrowed what sorts of information it would seek from the website host in regards to activity on the site disruptj20.org. The website was used to help organize protests against Donald Trump on Inauguration Day and the government claims visitors to the site used it to plan violence. Today, a judge ordered DreamHost to comply with the newly refocused warrant.”
RESEARCH & OPINION
Fast Company Design: This Breakthrough Tool Detects Racism And Sexism In Software. “Last year, Amazon was figuring out where it should offer free same-day delivery service to reach the greatest number of potential Prime customers. So the company did what you’d expect: It used software to analyze all sorts of undisclosed metrics about each neighborhood, ultimately selecting the ‘best’ based on its calculations. But soon journalists discovered that, time and time again, Amazon was excluding black neighborhoods.”
USA Today: Study: Using emojis in email makes you look dumb . “Adding an emoji to an email increases perceptions that you’re incompetent, according to a study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. In one experiment, participants were asked to read emails and rate them based on warmth and competence. Some of the messages contained a smiley face. The experiment also measured how much information was shared in participants’ responses.” Good afternoon, Internet…
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