John Henry Newman, Creative VR, Google Wifi, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, October 18, 2017


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Heavenly hosting: Pittsburgh institutions helped digitize the archives of the late English Cardinal. “Devotees of the late Cardinal John Henry Newman believe he has a spot in heaven, and they’re hoping the pope soon formally declares him a saint. In the meantime, the 19th century English Catholic priest has already achieved a durable perch in another ethereal location: cyberspace.”

Creative Applications Network: Radiance – A database of artistic VR experiences. “There are moments when looking for decent VR projects is kind of like scanning the countless stars in the sky in hopes of finding intelligent life; many creators are making VR but a lot of that work is built around film and videogame industry expectations. Enter Radiance VR, a new initiative by researchers/curators Philip Hausmeier and Tina Sauerlaender that collects and collates artist-created VR projects and posts them to a public database.”


BetaNews: Google Wifi update brings site blocking to parental controls. “An update is rolling out to the Google Wifi app which gives parents greater control over the websites their children can visit. The update adds Site Blocking to Google Wifi’s family controls, making it possible to block more than 8 million sites at the flick of a switch. These are sites that Google has determined are inappropriate for children.”

TechCrunch: Google revamps its Security Checkup feature with personalized suggestions for your account. “Google today is rolling out a revamped version of its longtime Security Checkup feature – a service that helps users make sure their Google accounts are safe by checking those items that could impact your account’s security. This includes connected apps, connected devices, account permissions and other things. Now, Security Checkup will be improved by offering more personalized suggestions, says Google.”

Google Blog: Google’s strongest security, for those who need it most. “Sometimes even the most careful and security-minded users are successfully attacked through phishing scams, especially if those phishing scams were individually targeted at the user in question. To address this need, we’re introducing the Advanced Protection Program. Advanced Protection provides Google’s strongest security, designed for those who are at an elevated risk of attack and are willing to trade off a bit of convenience for more protection of their personal Google Accounts.”


Smithsonian: Smithsonian Launches Kickstarter for Culture-Defining “Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap”. “The Smithsonian has launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign today for the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap, a powerful cultural statement told through an unequaled combination of music, text and stunning visuals. The compilation, to be produced and released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, includes nine CDs, more than 120 tracks and a 300-page book with extensive liner notes, essays by artists and scholars, and never-before-published photographs from the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s collection.”

Bloomberg: Facebook Is Looking for Employees With National Security Clearances. “Facebook Inc. is looking to hire people who have national security clearances, a move the company thinks is necessary to prevent foreign powers from manipulating future elections through its social network, according to a person familiar with the matter. Workers with such clearance can access information classified by the U.S. government. Facebook plans to use these people — and their ability to receive government information about potential threats — to search more proactively for questionable social media campaigns ahead of elections, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is sensitive. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.”


MyBroadband: Massive South African database leak reveals private data of 30 million people. “A database which contains the private data of millions of South Africans – including ID numbers, contact details, addresses, and income estimates – has been exposed. Security researcher and creator of Have I Been Pwned?, Troy Hunt, discovered the data and took to Twitter to solicit advice from South Africans.”


MIT Technology Review: AI Algorithms Are Starting to Teach AI Algorithms. “At first blush, Scot Barton might not seem like an AI pioneer. He isn’t building self-driving cars or teaching computers to thrash humans at computer games. But within his role at Farmers Insurance, he is blazing a trail for the technology.”

Nature: Forecasting the onset and course of mental illness with Twitter data. “We developed computational models to predict the emergence of depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Twitter users. Twitter data and details of depression history were collected from 204 individuals (105 depressed, 99 healthy). We extracted predictive features measuring affect, linguistic style, and context from participant tweets (N = 279,951) and built models using these features with supervised learning algorithms. Resulting models successfully discriminated between depressed and healthy content, and compared favorably to general practitioners’ average success rates in diagnosing depression, albeit in a separate population.” Good morning, Internet…

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