WWI Casualties, Instagram Stories, Government E-Mail, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, November 13, 2017


Somerset Live: Remembrance Day: On Armistice Day 2017 search for those in your family or street who died in The Great War. “If you have ever wondered whether any members of your family or if people who used to live on your street, were among the fallen during the 1914-1918 war, then this database allows you to search for them easily.. You can search by any combination of first name (or initial), surname, street or town/city. You don’t have to fill in all the boxes – you can fill as many or as few as you like.” Pretty sure this is UK-only. The search interface is at the bottom of the article. Update: After I posted this to my personal Facebook and tagged a couple of genealogists, genealogist Amy Johnson Crow responded: “Thanks for sharing that, Tara. You’re right — it’s a UK/Canada/Australia/New Zealand database; it’s from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It looks like it includes only those who are buried in military cemeteries or who have their names included on a memorial.” I am including the comment here with her permission. Thanks Amy!


Gizmodo: Instagram Stories Now Lets You Post Old Photos Without a Workaround. “I have an evening routine where I lay in my bed, tapping from Instagram story to Instagram story, mindlessly consuming what feels like a mundane montage of all of my friends’ days. That’s because, up until today, users were limited to posting photos and videos from within the last 24 hours. But now, Instagram has updated the feature to let you go wild from your camera roll. No more limitations, no more tediously bypassing the rules by screenshotting an image or editing its metadata. Time is meaningless, baby.”


CBC: 9-year-old emails deteriorating in government archives; may be inaccessible. “The ministry of social services says emails written between Donna Harpauer and senior ministry staff in 2008 and 2009 are on tapes that ‘deteriorate and breakdown over time’ which means ‘there may be no viable tapes available for that time period.'”

Washington Post: FBI database for gun buyers missing millions of records. “The FBI’s background-check system is missing millions of records of criminal convictions, mental illness diagnoses and other flags that would keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands, a gap that contributed to the shooting deaths of 26 people in a Texas church this week. Experts who study the data say government agencies responsible for maintaining such records have long failed to forward them into federal databases used for gun background checks — systemic breakdowns that have lingered for decades as officials decided they were too costly and time-consuming to fix.”

PopSugar: Meet Replika, the AI Bot That Wants to Be Your Best Friend. “On the day before Replika was officially made available to the public, more than 1.5 million people had already queued up on the app’s waiting list, in addition to the several hundred thousand who had already been granted access as part of a beta testing program. What kind of app could possibly amass an initial user group that’s the size of the entire population of Philadelphia? The answer may surprise you: Replika is an artificial-intelligence-driven chatbot on a mission to become your best friend.”


CNN: Google says hackers steal almost 250,000 web logins each week. “Google is digging into the dark corners of the web to better secure people’s accounts. Looking at cybercriminal black markets and public forums, the company found millions of usernames and passwords stolen directly through hacking. It also uncovered billions usernames and passwords indirectly exposed in third-party data breaches.”

Ars Technica: How AV can open you to attacks that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. “Antivirus programs, in many cases, make us safer on the Internet. Other times, they open us to attacks that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. On Friday, a researcher documented an example of the latter—a vulnerability he found in about a dozen name-brand AV programs that allows attackers who already have a toehold on a targeted computer to gain complete system control.”


Salon: Twitter is not that important. “If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to tweet about it, does it make a sound? Physics says yes; the digerati may disagree. Call it Twitter Supremacy: the idea that one’s Twitter following, habits and adroitness at manipulating public opinion via the microblogging site are the sole indicators of success. Too many of us are guilty of believing this aphorism; this is self-evident on the site itself, where power-users and trolls alike revel in mocking each other for not having very many Twitter followers, or having fewer than they do. Lately, the insult du jour is to mock someone’s ‘ratio’ — Twitter slang for a post’s proportion of replies to likes, a high ratio being supposedly indicative that the tweet is making people mad rather than engaged.”

Digital Trends: Ditch the 3D stitch — updated algorithm means a clearer Google Street View. “Nothing quite disrupts the ‘being there’ experience of a 360 photo like a bad stitch line. But Google Street View panoramas will soon have fewer disruptions thanks to new research by Google. On Thursday, November 9, Google Research shared a new algorithm to create more seamless stitches.”

Medium: Instagram, Meme Seeding, and the Truth about Facebook Manipulation, Pt. 1. “My following analysis shows that Facebook’s sibling property, Instagram — a service larger than Twitter and Snapchat combined — should be seen as a major influence, targeting and engagement hub for the spread of political propaganda. How do I know? Because I amassed a huge trove of content, analytics numbers, and did the analysis to prove it.” In this article the author references the “IRA” without defining it. I’m pretty sure that in this context he means the Internet Research Agency of Russia. There’s an extensive article in the New York Times that can give you some background on it. Good afternoon, Internet…

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