afternoonbuzz

Science Search, Tourette Syndrome, Coral Reefs, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, January 17, 2018

NEW RESOURCES

Nature: Science search engine links papers to grants and patents. “The marketplace for science search engines is competitive and crowded. But a database launched on 15 January aims to provide academics with new ways to analyse the scholarly literature — including the grant funding behind it. Dimensions not only indexes papers and their citations, but also — uniquely among scholarly databases — connects publications to their related grants, funding agencies, patents and clinical trials. The tool ‘should give researchers more power to look at their fields and follow the money’, says James Wilsdon, a research-policy specialist at the University of Sheffield, UK.”

University of Florida: Deep brain stimulation shows promise for select Tourette patients in new UF-led worldwide registry. “University of Florida neuroscientists are leading a multinational effort to track outcomes for patients with Tourette syndrome who undergo deep brain stimulation surgery, an established treatment for other movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease that’s now being tested as a potential means to decrease the motor and vocal tics of Tourette syndrome in certain patients. Data collected thus far in a registry of a small international group of patients with uncontrolled Tourette syndrome show a link between deep brain stimulation, or DBS, and some symptom improvement as well as some adverse events, the neuroscientists report in today’s issue of JAMA Neurology.”

Quartz: Despite global warming, some reefs are flourishing, and you can see it in 3D. “The videos themselves are an astonishing and important part of the project. Although the corals look computer generated, the videos represent actual reef systems shot with off the shelf DSLR cameras. They are assembled from as many as 4000 photographs, shot by divers who swim lawnmower patterns over the reef, snapping a picture every second. The images are then run through a software process called photogrammetry, which stitches the images together into a 3-dimensional whole, allowing the viewer to glide across the reef with resolution down to one centimeter.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The Next Web: WhatsApp now warns users against annoying chain hoax messages. “Whatsapp is reportedly testing a new feature designed to curb the proliferation of spam chain letters throughout the service. The feature, which was spotted by Whatsappen.nl and WABetaInfo, warns users that certain messages have been ‘forwarded many times’. ”

Lifehacker: What’s Going On With the Spectre and Meltdown Patches? . “Earlier this month, computer security expects dropped a bombshell on the internet. A pair of vulnerabilities titled Spectre and Meltdown that date back to 1995 were putting a wide variety of computers, smartphones and internet browsers at risk. Since then, companies like Microsoft and Apple, along with chip-makers like Intel and AMD, have been racing to release patches, but it hasn’t been the smoothest process. Over a week later, the effort to fix these exploits is far from finished. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about the state of Spectre and Meltdown patches.”

TechCrunch: The Awl is shutting down . “The Awl, the hard-to-classify site that published compelling personal essays, media commentary and much more, announced today that it will be shutting down at the end of January, along with its sister site The Hairpin. The site was founded in 2009 by Gawker alums Choire Sicha and Alex Balk, and while you could definitely hear echoes of the Gawker style, it soon established itself as a home for a much wider range of writing.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Motherboard: Indonesian Fishers Are Building a DIY Fish Database to Protect Their Industry. “Muhammad Amin Sidik was out recently on a fishing trip in Saleh Bay on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia. His boat rocked with a new haul of high-value reef fish: groupers and snappers. He took out his smartphone, a Huawei model, and prepared to measure their length, an effort intended to protect these two locally threatened species. Sidik is in a pilot group of small-scale fishers involved in the Sustainable Grouper and Snapper Fisheries Program in Saleh Bay—a collaborative effort spearheaded by Indonesia’s Directorate of Ocean and Fisheries, district and provincial authorities, and the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Society’s Indonesia Program. The program aims to document stock conditions of grouper and snapper fisheries through a combination of community-based monitoring and scientific analysis.”

Library of Congress: Calling All Photo Fans and History Detectives: Flickr Commons, 10th Anniversary. “A fantastic community of people who enjoy looking at old pictures has developed through the comments they exchange online. That communication can be as simple as flagging favorite photos, and a display of top favorites appears in a Flickr album and is also being featured on the Library of Congress home page this month. Thank you for a rich and growing experience! You inspire the Prints and Photographs Division staff to keep diving deeper into our collections to share the pictures we love. Your subject expertise and impressive research skills also provide much-needed help to identify the many fascinating images that arrived at the Library with only one or two words of description.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Newsweek: How Google’s Viral Selfie App Matches You To A Famous Painting—and Why It’s Raising Privacy Concerns. “Facial recognition software has its pitfalls—serious ones like racial representation as well as other hilarious ones—but it’s becoming an ever-larger part of the social media landscape. Facebook recently raised similar concerns when it helpfully offered to locate photos of users that they hadn’t been tagged in, according to Slate. Instructions on the Google app include an assurance that it ‘will only store your photo for the time it takes to search for matches.’ Still, the app’s light-hearted nature notwithstanding, it’s begun to raise concerns about how exactly this sudden wealth of biometric facial recognition data might end up being repurposed. ” Good afternoon, Internet…

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