The Himalayas, Antibody Research, Google Scholar, More: Sunday Buzz, October 15, 2017


The Adventure Blog: The Himalayan Database Will Soon be Available for Free. “When it comes to climbing the big mountains in Nepal – and lesser extent Tibet – The Himalayan Database is the definitive record for everything has been accomplished there over the past 50 years. The information contained in the database has been meticulously compiled by Ms. Elizabeth Hawley for five decades, and soon all of those records will be available to the general public online for free.”

Smithsonian: Smithsonian Launches Antibody Initiative Centered on Medical History Collections. “The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is launching the Antibody Initiative today with the unveiling of a new website that will provide scholars and the general public in-depth access to the museum’s historical antibody-related collections for the first time. The collections include early vaccines and antibody-based diagnostics, monoclonal antibody drugs and lesser-known technologies such as antivenom and allergy treatments.”


Google Scholar Blog: Follow Related Research for Key Authors. “Scholar provides several ways to keep up with research in your area. You can set up keyword alerts, get recommendations related to your publications and follow your colleagues’ profiles. Today, we are adding another approach to stay up to date in areas of your interest. Now, in addition to following articles by and citations to an author, you can follow research that is related to her work.”

TechCrunch: Twitter CEO promises to crack down on hate, violence and harassment with “more aggressive” rules. “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took to…Twitter today to promise a “more aggressive” stance in its rules and how it enforces them. The tweet storm was based in a response to the #WomenBoycottTwitter protest, as well as work that Dorsey says Twitter has been working ‘intensely’ on over the past few months. Dorsey says that critical decisions were made today in how to go about preventing the rampant and vicious harassment many women, minorities and other users undergo daily on the platform.” Sorry, Jack, I just don’t believe you anymore.


Gizmodo: How to Spot Fake Photos on the Web. “Take a moment before you reshare that hilarious or terrifying image on your favorite social media channel of choice—is it, in fact, as authentic as it first appears? From political scenes to shark invasions, the web is rife with fake photos thanks to easy-to-use image editing tools and gullible viewers. Here’s how to make sure you don’t get caught out.”


Politico: Twitter deleted data potentially crucial to Russia probes. “Twitter has deleted tweets and other user data of potentially irreplaceable value to investigators probing Russia’s suspected manipulation of the social media platform during the 2016 election, according to current and former government cybersecurity officials. Federal investigators now believe Twitter was one of Russia’s most potent weapons in its efforts to promote Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, the officials say, speaking on the condition of anonymity.”

BBC: Facebook bans rapper Lil B for ‘hate speech’ posts. “US rapper Lil B, known for his outspoken views on social media, is facing a 30-day ban under Facebook’s hate speech policies. The musician has expressed anger over the suspension and fans have criticised the ban on Twitter.”


Wandering by Santa Clara Law Digital Commons (as you do) and came across what looks like a class-action lawsuit filed against Google, one with which I was not familiar. The 72-page filing is available here, but MediaPost also has a writeup: Google Hit With New Privacy Suit For Sharing Data With App Developers. “Google is facing a new lawsuit over allegations that it shared the names and other personally identifiable information of people who purchased apps with developers. This latest complaint was brought by Minnesota resident Adam Gurno, who alleges that he purchased nine apps totaling more than $26 from the Google Play Store between 2012 and 2014. Gurno alleges that Google transmitted his name, email address and ZIP code to the developers without his consent.”

Washington Post: Hackers have turned Politifact’s website into a trap for your PC . “PolitiFact has been an invaluable resource for debunking politicians’ misstatements and falsehoods. But now, it seems, some unknown actor is trying to profit off the website’s popularity — by hooking visitors’ computers into a virtual currency mining operation. The hack was discovered Friday by security researcher Troy Mursch, who noticed that visiting caused his computer’s CPU to run at its maximum capacity.”


ScienceNews: On social media, privacy is no longer a personal choice. “Some people might think that online privacy is a, well, private matter. If you don’t want your information getting out online, don’t put it on social media. Simple, right But keeping your information private isn’t just about your own choices. It’s about your friends’ choices, too. Results from a study of a now-defunct social media site show that the inhabitants of the digital age may need to stop and think about just how much they control their personal information, and where the boundaries of their privacy are.”

Foreign Policy: Russia Has Invented Social Media Blitzkrieg. “The tank was a British invention, built to penetrate German trenches during World War I. But it was the Germans who, during the interwar period, figured out how to most effectively utilize the tank, in coordination with aircraft and infantry, for offensive operations. Thus was born the blitzkrieg (‘lightning war’) that allowed the Germans to overrun much of Europe in 1939-1940. The British and the French, who still had more and better tanks, were helpless to resist the onslaught. Something similar seems to have happened with social media networks. All of the leading social media platforms — Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Google — are American inventions. Yet the Russians weaponized them to wage political war.”

Medium: Facebook, news publishers, and the ‘demand’ for video. “Facebook traffic and engagement is way down for so many small to medium size publishers… and some bigger ones too. And the whole video thing is nuts. In my opinion, Facebook has and still is creating a fake ‘demand’ for video. Video only looks so popular because Facebook’s algorithm is making it that way. It intentionally prioritises and shows us all more and more video so there is a corresponding meteoric rise in video views.” Good morning, Internet…

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