Paris Agreement, Siri Search, Snapchat, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, September 26, 2017


World Resources Institute: New Database Can Help Countries Chart a Course for Implementation of NDCs. “As countries pivot toward the implementation of the Paris Agreement, many will face shared challenges in translating their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) into climate action. While every country’s path will be different, they all have a clear need for analytical tools and resources to overcome these challenges. The NDC Toolbox Navigator was designed to meet this need. The Toolbox Navigator acts as a manual for practitioners to chart their country’s path under the Paris Agreement by providing access to hundreds of tools and resources that can help countries reach specific NDC targets.”


Quartz: Siri will now search the web with Apple’s smartphone competitor instead of its computer rival. “Since the beginning, Siri has been the wind beneath Microsoft’s Bing. But those winds have died down—Apple will switch the default web search in Siri and Spotlight from Bing to Google, starting today (Sept. 25).”

TechCrunch: Snapchat’s new Filters can transform the sky above your head. “Snapchat’s latest augmented reality feature is another implementation of the tech that applies to the world, rather than the faces found in frame when you take a picture. They’re called ‘Sky Filters,’ and they can automatically detect sky in your images, and repaint them with totally different atmospheric looks.”


MakeUseOf: Is a Free OCR Scanner Good Enough? Microsoft OneNote vs. Nuance OmniPage. “The internet has blessed us with tons of free OCR options, but paid options exist a well. So here’s what I want to know: Is paying for an OCR tool worth it, when you could just use a free one In this post, I’ll put one of the best free OCR tools to the test against one of the best paid OCR options. Get ready for Microsoft’s OneNote (Free) versus Nuance’s OmniPage 18 ($60).”


Washington Post: Obama tried to give Zuckerberg a wake-up call over fake news on Facebook. “Nine days after Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg dismissed as ‘crazy’ the idea that fake news on his company’s social network played a key role in the U.S. election, President Barack Obama pulled the youthful tech billionaire aside and delivered what he hoped would be a wake-up call.”

Engadget: Russia-linked Facebook ads sought to exploit US social divisions. “There’s been a lot of fuss over a Russian group buying Facebook ads in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, to the point where it’s handing the ads to Congress as it investigates the scope of Russia’s influence campaign. But what’s in those ads, exactly? We might have a better idea. Washington Post sources say that the 3,000 ads headed to Congress were built to exploit American social divisions. Some championed activist groups like Black Lives Matter, while others portrayed them as existential threats. Others aimed to split opinions through hot-button issues like Islam, LGBT rights, gun rights and immigration.”

Coindesk: Centers for Disease Control to Launch First Blockchain Test on Disaster Relief. “For public health practitioners, the ability to quickly collect, analyze and take action on data is paramount to containing the spread of a deadly new virus or disease. But despite the advent of big data technologies, collecting this information today remains a highly cumbersome and time-consuming process, explains Jim Nasr, chief software architect at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tasked with combating the spread of preventive and chronic disease. Now in search of a better solution, Nasr is eyeing a blockchain proof-of-concept he believes could facilitate the more rapid and reliable capture of epidemiological data in crisis situations.”


The Guardian: Deloitte hit by cyber-attack revealing clients’ secret emails. “One of the world’s ‘big four’ accountancy firms has been targeted by a sophisticated hack that compromised the confidential emails and plans of some of its blue-chip clients, the Guardian can reveal. Deloitte, which is registered in London and has its global headquarters in New York, was the victim of a cybersecurity attack that went unnoticed for months.”


Federal Times: More people are using federal websites; and more hate them. “More Americans than ever are interacting with the government online. Yet experiences with the federal websites are getting worse, according to a study by the Forrester consultancy. Fully 44 percent of customers used a federal website in 2016. ‘That’s 14 percentage points more than in-person interactions, which garner the second-highest number of visitors among all channels, and 26 percentage points more than email, the second-most-popular digital channel,’ Forrester noted.”

BuzzFeed: Mark Zuckerberg Can’t Stop You From Reading This Because The Algorithms Have Already Won. “There’s a decent chance that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will see this story. It’s relevant to his interests and nominally about him and the media and advertising industries his company has managed to upend and dominate. So the odds that it will appear in his Facebook News Feed are reasonably good. And should that happen, Zuckerberg might wince at this story’s headline or roll his eyes in frustration at its thesis. He might even cringe at the idea that others might see it on Facebook as well. And some almost certainly will. Because if Facebook works as designed, there’s a chance this article will also be routed or shared to their News Feeds. And there’s little the Facebook CEO can do to stop it, because he’s not really in charge of his platform — the algorithms are.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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