School Boards, SnapChat, Twitter, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, October 11, 2017


NationBuilder: NationBuilder,, and BallotReady create the first public database of school board positions for all 50 states. “Nine months ago, NationBuilder and embarked on a uniquely ambitious project: to map all the electable positions in school districts in the US with the help of dedicated volunteers. Since then, a total of 275 people have contributed at least 3,491 total hours of work to research 13,090 districts, resulting in 81,361 school board positions available for public search.”


CNET: SnapChat’s Context Cards help you interact with the world. “SnapChat’s newest feature wants to help you stay informed while you’re sharing pics on the popular social network. Swipe up on any Snap that says ‘More’ and you’ll see Context Cards, starting Tuesday. At launch, Context Cards can show you basic information about a restaurant or store nearby, such as reviews and a map.”

Mashable: Twitter tries to win over sports fans with game updates at the top of your timeline. “Twitter is adding a new feature to help users figure out what’s ‘happening now.’ The company introduced a new feature today that will highlight sports games, breaking news, and other topics at the top of its users’ timelines.”

TechCrunch: Medium now lets anyone publish behind its paywall. “Medium is expanding its subscription efforts today by allowing any author or publisher to join its partner program. That’s the program where readers can pay a monthly fee (currently $5) to access content behind a metered paywall (plus, they get early access to new features). The writers who participate will then get a share of the revenue, based on what CEO Ev Williams (pictured above) said is an evolving formula that includes things like how long people spent reading an article, as well as claps, where readers can explicitly show how much they liked it.”

Digital Trends: Russian Search Engine Yandex Debuts Its Own Voice Assistant, Alice. “The Russian search engine known as Yandex has officially launched Alice — its own voice assistant. Alice only speaks Russian, but is specifically built to interact with others, understand users’ requests, and provide answers to their questions.”


BetaNews: PornHub users hit by sustained, targeted malvertising campaign. “Millions of PornHub users in the US, UK, Canada and Australia were targeted by a malicious advertising campaign lasting for more than a year. The malvertising attack tried to trick users of the world’s most popular porn site into installing fake browser updates.”

ZDNet: Accenture left a huge trove of highly sensitive data on exposed servers. “Technology and cloud giant Accenture has confirmed it inadvertently left a massive store of private data across four unsecured cloud servers, exposing highly sensitive passwords and secret decryption keys that could have inflicted considerable damage on the company and its customers.”

MacKeeper Security: Patient Home Monitoring Service Leaks Private Medical Data Online. “Kromtech Security Researchers have discovered another publically accessible Amazon S3 repository. This time it contained medical data in 316,363 PDF reports in the form of weekly blood test results. Many of these were multiple reports on individual patients. It appears that each patient had weekly test results totaling around 20 files each. That would still be an estimated 150,000+ people affected by the leak. The database appears to be connected to a ‘Patient Home Monitoring’ company that provides a in-home testing program that is aimed at improving clinical patient outcomes, and saving patients from weekly office visits.”


The Conversation: Nobody reads privacy policies – here’s how to fix that. “Have you ever actually read an app’s privacy policy before clicking to accept the terms? What about reading the privacy policy for the website you visit most often? Have you ever read or even noticed the privacy policy posted in your doctor’s waiting room or your bank’s annual privacy notice when you receive it in the mail? No? You’re not alone. Most people don’t read them.”

Wired: Retracting Bad Science Doesn’t Make It Disappear. “Scientists form a giant altruistic community. There are turf considerations and funding to compete for, as in any other walk of life, but by and large, scientists are doing what they do because they’re motivated by the greater good, and collaboration is in their DNA. So when a paper is retracted, potentially jeopardizing everything that came after it, the scientific community goes into self-correction mode and pulls all the papers that, at one point or another, directly or indirectly, have made a reference to that work. Right? Until further notice? Not exactly.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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