Texas Archaeology, Android Phones, Newspaper Archives, More: Wednesday Buzz, September 6, 2017


My Statesman (Texas): Archaeologists work to gather data from fading rock art sites. “Everywhere, limestone is gradually flaking away, taking with it stories of the ancient people who lived here. That’s why the Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center in Comstock has launched a four-year effort, dubbed the Alexandria Project, to gather baseline data about the artwork before it disappears. Researchers are working with private land owners to gain access to sites to snap detailed photos, record GPS coordinates and gather information for three-dimensional models that can be studied by scholars long after the artwork has deteriorated. They are creating an online library of rock art.”


The Next Web: Xiaomi teams up with Google on the $234 Mi A1, its first Android One phone. “The juicy report that did last month is true: Xiaomi has indeed partnered with Google for its next phone, an Android One handset dubbed the Mi A1 that’s priced at Rs. 15,000 ($234) and will be available across Asia, Europe, and Mexico later this month.”


Times of Israel: Israel Hayom pulls archive after revelations on calls between PM, editor. “Israel Hayom removed its public archive of past editions from the newspaper’s website on Tuesday, amid allegations that phone logs showing calls between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the paper’s editor pointed to the Israeli leader wielding outsize influence over editorial decisions at the free daily….A spokesperson for the newspaper said that the archive was being moved to a new digital system and its removal ‘had nothing to do’ with the publication of the prime minister’s phone log.”

Wired: Google’s New Street View Cameras Will Help Algorithms Index The Real World. “As you might expect if you think back to the camera in your 2009 cell phone, Street View imagery is about to get a lot clearer. Look forward to sliding through the world from your couch in higher resolution and punchier colors. But Google’s new hardware wasn’t designed with just human eyes in mind. The car-top rig includes two cameras that capture still HD images looking out to either side of the vehicle. They’re there to feed clearer, closer shots of buildings and street signs into Google’s image recognition algorithms.”

Quartz: This aid agency is using chatbots to beat world hunger. “The UN’s World Food Program (WFP), has been experimenting with text and Facebook messenger chatbots to monitor food insecurity in hard-to-reach areas, turning smartphones and social media into lifelines for the most vulnerable of refugees.”

CNET: Facebook loses bid to stream Indian cricket tournament tourney. “The social network took a swing at a five-year, $610 million deal for local streaming rights to the Indian Premier League, NDTV reported. Facebook’s hopes were dashed, however, by 21st Century Fox’s Star India unit, which bid $2.55 billion for both digital and TV rights worldwide.”


TorrentFreak: Sci-Hub Faces $4,8 Million Piracy Damages and ISP Blocking. “Sci-Hub, which is regularly referred to as the ‘Pirate Bay of science,’ faces another setback in a US federal court. After the site’s operator failed to respond, the American Chemical Society now requests a default judgment of $4.8 million for alleged copyright infringement. In addition, the publisher wants a broad injunction which would require search engines and ISPs to block the site.”

Hindustan Times: Citing official complaint, Twitter tells Kashmiri handles they are breaking laws. “Several Kashmiri Twitter users who frequently post about the Valley’s conflict have claimed to have received an email from the micro-blogging site on Saturday saying that an ‘official correspondence’ was received about the content on these profiles violating ‘Indian law’.”

Amnesty International: Human rights activist arrested by Palestinian security forces over Facebook posts. “Issa Amro, a Hebron-based coordinator for Youth Against Settlements and a former field researcher for the Israeli NGO B’Tselem, was detained at around midday local time today by Palestinian Preventive Security Forces, after he posted comments on his Facebook page criticizing the arrest of a local radio journalist yesterday by the same Palestinian security forces.”


TheEdWire: 73% of Teachers Think Social Media and Texting is Bad for Grammar and Spelling. “According to a study released today by, the leading online and mobile English-language resource, a vast majority (73%) of teachers think social media and texting are bad for grammar and spelling but half (50%) use it to better understand their students. Perhaps the online world is making both teachers and students apathetic to these skills because one-third (32%) of teachers say they see their students struggle with grammar, yet admit they care very little about it (15%) in comparison to other skills, like meaning and comprehension (64%).”

Arizona State University: ASU professor wins PLuS Alliance prize for SolarSPELL innovation. “In a highly connected world where nearly everyone is just a text or tweet away, there still exist many remote, off-grid regions where communities don’t have access to information and resources that open up educational opportunities. Arizona State University Assistant Professor Laura Hosman is working to change that with SolarSPELL, a portable, solar-powered digital library that comes with its own digital Wi-Fi hotspot, able to function without electricity or existing internet connectivity.”

Engadget: Google’s comment-ranking system will be a hit with the alt-right. “A recent, sprawling Wired feature outlined the results of its analysis on toxicity in online commenters across the United States. Unsurprisingly, it was like catnip for everyone who’s ever heard the phrase ‘don’t read the comments.’ According to ‘The Great Tech Panic: Trolls Across America,’ Vermont has the most toxic online commenters, whereas Sharpsburg, Georgia, ‘is the least-toxic city in the US.’ There’s just one problem.” Good morning, Internet…

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