Mountains, Self-Driving Vehicles, NC Disaster Recovery, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, October 25, 2017


USGS: New Tool Allows Users to Explore Mountains Worldwide. “A new tool that gives users the most detailed view yet of the world’s mountains is now available from the USGS. And it’s as close as your computer or cellphone. The Global Mountain Explorer can help a variety of users – from hikers planning their next adventure, to scientists, resource managers and policy makers seeking information that is often sparse in these prominent yet often understudied landscapes. Mountains occupy anywhere from 12 to 31 percent of the land surface of the Earth, but despite their importance, surprisingly few attempts have been made to scientifically define and map these regions worldwide with detail.”

StateScoop: Autonomous vehicle map showcases 53 city initiatives around the world. “Called the Global Atlas of Autonomous Vehicles in Cities, the site presents visitors a map of cities that are either preparing for AVs through policy and research, or that are coordinating pilot projects. A searchable listing of the 53 municipalities accompanies the map, providing summaries of the initiatives and links to documentation.”

Coastal Review Online: State Launches Tool to Track Disaster Work. “The site was initially built to track Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts. The expanded and improved site will track efforts for any natural disaster that strikes the state going forward. Information will include aggregated data about the number of requests for assistance received for various programs and the total amount of aid provided. The site will also provide detailed spending data by funding source, agency and county.”


CNET: Twitter will publicly share identity of political ad buyers. “Pressure has been mounting for social media sites like Facebook to reveal information about the people and groups who advertise on such platforms. On Tuesday, Twitter announced a new policy to be more transparent about ads that run on its platform and reveal the identity of who bought them.”

BetaNews: Google launches Gmail Add-ons and brings a range of business tools to the inbox. “Integration is the name of the game these days, and Google is taking steps to ensure that its own services offer integration with the tools and services people need to get their work done. With this in mind, the company today launches Gmail Add-ons after a beta testing period as a developer preview earlier in the year.”

The Next Web: Instagram integrates video calls as Shared Stories in most recent bid for your attention. “Instagram now allows users to broadcast a live Story with a friend. The feature was tested with select users in the past few months, and it’s finally out for everyone to use. Shared Stories allows users to pick anyone who’s currently watching their live broadcast to join in. Once its linked, the screen splits into two and anyone who follows each user will be able to see the combined live Story — it’ll show up as a stacked circle on the Stories timeline.”

TechCrunch: LinkedIn boosts its messaging with smart replies, pre-written, AI based interactions. “LinkedIn — the Microsoft-owned platform for those who want to network with professional contacts and advance their own careers — has been in the middle of a long-term makeover of its social tools, as it looks to drive more usage. Today comes the latest chapter in that story: the site is unveiling a new smart reply feature in its messaging app, which gives users prompts with different phrases to use while they are chatting to keep the conversation flowing.”


University of Kentucky: Social Theory Journal disClosure to Publish Issue on Archives. “The editorial collective of disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory is pleased to announce the call for papers for its 27th volume to be published in the summer of 2018. The volume will explore ‘archives’ and the editors seek submissions that look at a range of archives, including national, personal and community archives, to investigate the ways in which documents, images, objects and places serve various purposes and occupy different types of cultural, intellectual and physical spaces. ”


Economic Times: Google loses 6 year battle, must pay tax on remittances made to Google Ireland . “Bad news for the world’s favourite search engine. On Tuesday, the Indian tax office gained an upper hand in its six-year-long battle with Google India in a ruling that would set a precedence for some of the other multinational companies. The rift owes its origin to the arrangement and fund flow between Google India and the global giant’s office in Ireland — a jurisdiction known for its lax tax rules.”

RESEARCH & OPINION Fact checkers outperform historians when evaluating online information. “How do expert researchers go about assessing the credibility of information on the internet? Not as skillfully as you might guess – and those who are most effective use a tactic that others tend to overlook, according to scholars at Stanford Graduate School of Education. A new report released recently by the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) shows how three different groups of “expert” readers – fact checkers, historians and Stanford undergraduates – fared when tasked with evaluating information online.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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