Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity, Corporate Trademarks, 2018 Elections, More: Sunday Buzz, December 10, 2017


Curacao Chronicle: Tropical Dutch Biodiversity Now In One Database. “Naturalis Biodiversity Center (NBC) is proud to announce the launch of the Dutch Caribbean Species Register… For the first time ever, NBC presents a complete overview of the known biodiversity (animals, plants, fungi) from the Dutch Caribbean: over 7.500 species. This online database is the result of an effort of Naturalis Biodiversity Center – the biodiversity research center and Dutch national natural history museum- to gather all relevant publications on the biodiversity and natural history of the six islands of the Dutch Caribbean: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten.”

OpenCorporates: Introducing Trademarks. “Here at OpenCorporates, our core mission has always been about making official public data about companies more widely available, more usable and more useful. Much of this comes from one of the 120+ company registers we use as a primary source, but an increasing amount comes from other public sources, which now includes US and global trademark registers.”


Google Blog: All the data you need to cover 500 local elections. “Next year, nearly 500 local elections for Senate and House seats are taking place across the United States. As part of our mission to help journalists report on the stories that matter, we worked with ProPublica to build the Election Databot: a tool that provides data about all of those elections, from campaign spending to Google Search Trends for candidates. We launched the Databot for the 2016 general election, but this new version shows complete information for all the House and Senate races through November 8, 2018.”

IFTTT has made some updates to its Google Docs and Google Drive service. “Historically, Applets that interact with Google Sheets or Google Docs have fallen under the umbrella of Google Drive. Today, we’re excited to introduce new, separate services for Google Sheets and Google Docs — and some big improvements to the original Google Drive service.”


Poynter: This website helps you find related fact checks — and it was built by a 17-year-old. “Instead of pool days and part-time jobs, Sreya Guha spends her summers with lines and lines of code. A senior at the Castilleja high school in Palo Alto, California, Guha has spent the past two summers creating software. Her most recent project, Related Fact Checks, lets internet users paste article links and search to see if that topic has been already debunked by a fact-checking organization.”


Hindustan Times: India starts work on Rhino DNA database to curb poaching. “India is creating a DNA database to hold genetic information of its rhino population in a bid to curb poaching of the endangered species whose horns are in great demand in the illegal wildlife trade.”

Frontline: As “Climate Change” Fades from Government Sites, a Struggle to Archive Data. “When the Environmental Protection Agency’s website underwent an overhaul of climate change information on a Friday in late April, Toly Rinberg and Andrew Bergman, both Harvard Ph.D. students in applied physics, set off to figure out what was gone. Sitting in their shared Washington, D.C. apartment, they started a spreadsheet to track the changes. Suddenly missing, they noticed, were scores of pages dedicated to helping state and local governments deal with climate change. The EPA site where those pages lived, titled ‘Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments,’ would disappear for three months, only to come back in July without the word ‘climate’ in its title. The new website now focuses only on energy policy and resources, and is down to 175 pages from 380.”

BBC News: Calls for Twitch to police ‘sexual streaming’. “Scroll through the In Real Life (IRL) section of streaming site Twitch and you could be forgiven for thinking, now and then, that you have landed on a camgirl site. Scattered among the artists, cooks and professional eaters are a growing band of young women wearing revealing clothing while they game. Some go further and entertain fans by dancing or by doing a series of suggestive exercises, like squats, to tempt people to subscribe to their channel or to hand over Twitch’s micro-currency – bits.”

CNET: From #FakeNews to #MeToo: Twitter was hard to handle in 2017. “From fears about Russia manipulating US public opinion, to the #MeToo hashtag encouraging women from all walks of life to speak up about sexual assaults, Twitter has been at the center of memes and movements that shook society in 2017. Revelations that millions of messages are being generated by bots and fake accounts have prompted many of us to question what we’re reading. And as the preferred platform for President Donald Trump, Twitter has become a facilitator of the nation’s divisive chatter.”


Krebs on Security: Phishers Are Upping Their Game. So Should You.. “Not long ago, phishing attacks were fairly easy for the average Internet user to spot: Full of grammatical and spelling errors, and linking to phony bank or email logins at unencrypted (http:// vs. https://) Web pages. Increasingly, however, phishers are upping their game, polishing their copy and hosting scam pages over https:// connections — complete with the green lock icon in the browser address bar to make the fake sites appear more legitimate.”


BuzzFeed: Twitter Users Like Long Tweets More Than Short Ones. “Given the deluge of complaints about Twitter’s 280-character limit when it debuted this fall, you’d think people would be ignoring the new, lengthier tweets. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. Early data shows tweets above 140 characters are being liked and retweeted at a rate approximately double that of their shorter counterparts. BuzzFeed News obtained the data from SocialFlow, a publishing tool used by approximately 300 major publishers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.”

One unexpected benefit of my Google Alerts: academic papers randomly pop up. Like this one: A Twitter-based Recommendation System for MOOCs based on Spatiotemporal Event Detection. “Nowadays, students utilize MOOCs (e.g., Coursera, edX) and SNS services (e.g., LINE, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr) in courses for learning. This paper presents a Twitter-based recommendation system to search and communication, and it is associated with a web page by detecting spatiotemporal events such as opinions, questions, or impressions about courses on Twitter. Through it, users can grasp popular courses or avoid crowded courses referring to time periods while they browse any web pages. Moreover, the system also enables users to communicate with others browsing the similar pages or users’ locations about the similar pages. For this, the system extracts relevance between different pages by detecting tweets of each page in each time period with machine learning algorithms and the number of unique Twitter users. Thus, the system presents a ranking of recommended pages, a tag cloud of tweets and a list of tweets which are related to recommended pages to help users obtain the latest information about recommended pages.” This is a short read for an academic paper (4 pages), but it’s got plenty of interesting ideas.

The Verge: DeepMind’s AI became a superhuman chess player in a few hours, just for fun. “The end-game for Google’s AI subsidiary DeepMind was never beating people at board games. It’s always been about creating something akin to a combustion engine for intelligence — a generic thinking machine that can be applied to a broad range of challenges. The company is still a long way off achieving this goal, but new research published by its scientists this week suggests they’re at least headed down the right path.” Good morning, Internet…

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