Australia Prisoners, Refugee Scholars, Twitter Bots, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, October 26, 2017


ABC News (Australia): Prisoners in pictures: A history of incarceration in NSW told with newly digitised archive. “A newly digitised archive detailing the stories of nearly 50,000 prisoners incarcerated in New South Wales between 1870 and 1930 is the foundation of a new exhibition, and one that is hoped to stimulate more investigation. Captured: Portraits of Crime is an exhibition and major project of State Archives and Records NSW, which has selected 37 of the prisoners to tell their stories in-depth.” The exhibition publication is easily found and interesting reading. I’m having more difficulty finding the full archive.

Northeastern University: Professors Uncover Lost Stories Of WWII Refugee-Scholars. “Some of the greatest scientists of our time came to the U.S. as migrants or refugees during World War II—Albert Einstein, Hans Bethe, and Rita Levi-Montalcini all fled the growing influence of the Nazi party and wound up making groundbreaking contributions to their fields while in the U.S. But what about the scholars whose work we might never know because they didn’t reach U.S. shores? Those are the stories an interdisciplinary group of Northeastern faculty members—Laurel Leff, Michelle Borkin, and John Wihbey—sought to tell when they started digging through migration records at the New York Public Library….The result is the Refugee Scholars project, a digital database and data storytelling platform that follows the lives of dozens of these scholars.”

Quartz: This new Twitter account hunts for bots that push political opinions. “One account features a photo of a middle-aged woman, and a bio that reads ‘Patriot, self employed, loving mother and grandmother.’ Another has a photo of a younger woman in sunglasses, described in the bio as a ‘NonProfit Exec born to LEGAL Immigrants who owned laundromat for 30 yrs to earn our #AmericanDream. #PresidentTrump #ProIsrael🇮🇱 #ThankAVet #BackTheBlue #MAGA.’ Both Twitter accounts frequently tweet or retweet in support of US president Donald Trump and in opposition to everything from immigrants, to the National Football League, to CNN. They’ve both had accounts on Twitter since 2012—and they both appear to be bots.”

TechCrunch: MrOwl wants to be your new sharing platform. “The app is what would happen if a social network had a baby with Evernote. Users can create public or private stores of data – this is my branch about Rolex – and put in images, text, and links. There are popular branches like this one about secret menus and you can create private ones just for yourself. I found the app interesting if a bit quiet right now. With a few more users it could become a vibrant information-sharing location.” I registered – of course I did! – but I was not thrilled with some of the things required for registration (birth date? I barely know this site) and the UI felt a little unfriendly. I’ll spend some more time with it, but I’m not thrilled.


Google Blog: Family fun with your Google Assistant on Google Home and phones. “The Google Assistant now has more than 50 new games, activities and stories designed for families with kids. Now you can learn, play and imagine together—available today in the U.S. with the Assistant on Google Home, other smart speakers and eligible phones.”

CNBC: Google and Cisco team up in the cloud wars against Amazon. “When Chuck Robbins was promoted to CEO of Cisco in 2015, the company’s technology was in danger of losing relevance. When Google named Diane Greene as head of its cloud division that same year, her unit was desperate to close the gap with Amazon Web Services. Two years later, Robbins and Greene are teaming up to develop and sell cloud technology and services in a whole new way and to take on AWS.”


Forbes: How To Engage Your Facebook Live Audience. “Why is Facebook Live worth mastering? Every week, when [John] Haydon reviews Facebook Insights for his page, Facebook Live video is ‘hands down’ the most popular content he publishes. The broadcasts also result in a regular weekly spike of signups for his email list, which he promotes as the best way of finding out about future programs. In addition, he can download the replay recordings from Facebook as MP4 files and edit them, pulling out excerpts to publish as separate videos. So if he did a Facebook Live on ‘3 Things You Need to Know’ about topic X, each of the three things could become its own video.”


Wired: When Government Fails, Social Media Is The New 911 . “Social media has often sprung up in times of disaster, amplifying the voices of dissenters and the damned. It has a history of instigation, most famously during the Arab Spring and the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine. But in the past few months of epic catastrophes, it has served for another sort of recruitment. It has created a new set of first responders to step in where traditional aid has failed.”


Gizmodo: Researchers Hack Tinder, Ok Cupid, Other Dating Apps to Reveal Your Location and Messages. “Security researchers have uncovered numerous exploits in popular dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OK Cupid. Using exploits ranging from simple to complex, researchers at the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab say they could access users’ location data, their real names and login info, their message history, and even see which profiles they’ve viewed. As the researchers note, this makes users vulnerable to blackmail and stalking.”

Tubefilter: Conservative Organization PragerU Sues YouTube Over Alleged Censorship Of Conservative Voices. “Does YouTube, as a private company, have free license to restrict any videos uploaded to its platform? Should the voices of creators be protected, even if they peddle controversial ideas? These questions are at the center of a new lawsuit filed by Prager University, a conservative organization that has accused YouTube of violating the first amendment rights of its creative team.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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