Asian Activists, Japanese-Canadians, App Accessibility, More: Saturday Buzz, December 9, 2017


Splinter: The Forgotten History of America’s Radical Asian Activists. “Gidra—whose name is a misspelling of King Ghidorah, a kaiju from the Godzilla franchise—ran for five years, from 1969 to 1974. It was started by five students from UCLA who decided to each pitch in $100 of their own seed money (“a huge amount for students at that time,” according to Mike Murase, one of the Gidra’s founders) to ensure that the paper would have editorial independence from the university. It ran pieces on everything from the war and the drug crisis among Japanese American youth to recipes and diagrams on how to fix your toilet.”


Libraries and Archives Canada: Images of Japanese-Canadians from the Second World War now on Flickr . “December 8, 1941—Canada invokes the War Measures Act and declares Japanese-Canadians and recent immigrants as enemy aliens to strip them of individual and property rights. Over 1,200 fishing boats owned by Japanese-Canadian fishermen are confiscated off the coast of British Columbia as a defensive measure against Japan’s war efforts on the Pacific Front.” Small collection. I had not realized that Canada also put its Japanese-descent citizens in internment camps.

Ars Technica: Public outcry causes Google to rethink banning powerful ‘accessibility’ apps. “A month ago, Google started warning developers about a coming crackdown on apps that use the Android accessibility APIs for things other than accessibility. For years, the accessibility APIs have been a way for power-user apps to hook into the operating system, but Google apparently had a change of heart last month, telling developers they had 30 days to explain how an app using the Accessibility APIs was helping a user with disabilities or face removal from the Play Store.”

TechCrunch: Following controversies over kids’ content, YouTube makes several YouTube Red family shows free. “Amid controversies over how YouTube has been handling content aimed at children on its network, YouTube is making a number of its previously subscription-only YouTube Red shows available on its YouTube Kids application for the first time as part of a new promotion.”

Search Engine Land: Have a question about Will Ferrell? Google may show you a video response directly from him. “Curious if Will Ferrell can actually play the drums? Or if Tracee Ellis Ross can sing? Now, when you ask Google a question about a specific celebrity, you may get a self-recorded video from them answering your question.” Um, okay.


Bonner County Daily Bee (great name!): Idaho Mythweather Receives Grant To Help Preserve Tribes’ Recordings. “The group has spent the past six months developing a major project to preserve — digitize, transcribe and copy — dozens of aging cassette tape recordings of Idaho tribal elders made between 1989-1999. These existing 60- and 90-minute recordings were the original source material for public radio documentaries and feature stories that were produced by the Mythweaver — with the support of the Idaho tribes — and broadcast during that same time period. The broadcast productions have been preserved, but the ‘raw’ tapes have not. This new project is focused on preserving the raw tapes and is called ‘Native Voices: Preserve Recordings.’ It is being coordinated by media director, Jane Fritz.”

The Daily Beast: Facebook’s Algorithm Hijacked This $8 Billion Company to Sell Cat Blindfolds. “Over the past few months, Wish ads have dominated Facebook by hawking bizarre items like hamster leashes, giant human-sized balls of yarn, toenail extenders, mysterious car goo, and a myriad of other strange things for extremely low prices. Thousands of these ads are displayed daily, not only on Facebook itself, but in a plethora of other apps that pull in Facebook ad inventory.”

The Next Web: World’s first AR app for Twitter is a preview of what’s to come. “Twitter in augmented reality is exactly as cool as it sounds. TweetReality brings tweets, search, mentions, profiles and all your favorite features and displays them neatly on a virtual screen that overlays your iPhone or iPad display (sorry Android fans).”


Slate: One way to improve cybersecurity: Make users slow down.. “On Sept. 26, 1983, a Soviet military officer by the name of Stanislav Petrov avoided ending the world by taking a few extra seconds to think. The computer screen he sat before ordered him to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States after the Soviet missile detection system picked up five missiles heading their way. The system reported he had 20 minutes before total annihilation so every second of hesitation mattered. Had Petrov received the same noncivilian training as his comrades in arms, he may have simply reacted to the order, initiating the nuclear holocaust. Instead, he correctly judged that if the United States had actually fired their missiles, they would have likely sent many more than five. Petrov decided to ignore the computer system, and in doing so, avoided World War III. Since the world learned about the incident, it’s become a famous example of the importance of slowing down to think in the face of a critical decision.”

BetaNews: ‘New Mafia’ cyber attacks on businesses up 23 percent in 2017. “A new report from anti-malware specialist Malwarebytes says that the volume and sophistication of cyber attacks is growing thanks to an increase in organized cyber crime it dubs the ‘New Mafia’. Ransomware attacks up to the end of October have surpassed total figures for 2016 by 62 percent. In addition, there has been an almost 2,000 percent increase in ransomware detections since 2015 — rising to hundreds of thousands in September 2017 from less than 16,000 in September 2015.” Good morning, Internet…

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