Hair Dyes, Huffington Post, Instagram, More: Friday Buzz, January 19, 2018


NCSU: Designing the Next Generation of Hair Dyes. “North Carolina State University researchers have created the largest publicly available chemical database of hair dye substances as a resource for developing a new generation of hair color products that are safer for consumers, stylists and the environment. The online Hair Dye Substance Database contains detailed information about the structure and properties of 313 substances in current and past commercial hair dyes. Using computer-based classification – what’s known as cheminformatics – researchers grouped the dyes into clusters with similar structures and properties. The results revealed some surprises and promising new avenues for research.”


TechCrunch: Farewell, unpaid blogger: HuffPost drops free contributor platform that drove its growth. “As the US media, tech world and the powers that be in Washington continue to try to figure out how to tackle things like fake news, the level of discourse, and how to keep the business of publishing from falling off a virtual cliff, one of the media properties that has been instrumental in influencing how news is framed online is making a big change. HuffPost in the US today announced that it is sunsetting its contributors platform — also known as its unpaid blogger platform.”

Popular Mechanics: How to Turn Off Instagram’s Creepy New Feature. “Instagram is one of the internet’s biggest time sinks, encouraging you to share every exciting moment of your life in the app and spend the rest of your time looking at photos from your friends. Now, Instagram implemented a new feature called ‘Activity Status’ that takes this dynamic to a new, creepier level.”

CNET: Google will penalize websites that load slowly on phones. “Want people with phones to find your website? Better make sure it loads fast, because otherwise Google will punish you in its search results. Google long has given fast-loading web pages preferential placement in search results, but for now that only happens when people search on personal computers. Starting in July, particularly slow websites will be penalized in search results, Google said in a blog post Wednesday.”


Krebs on Security: Some Basic Rules for Securing Your IoT Stuff. “Throughout 2016 and 2017, attacks from massive botnets made up entirely of hacked IoT devices had many experts warning of a dire outlook for Internet security. But the future of IoT doesn’t have to be so bleak. Here’s a primer on minimizing the chances that your IoT things become a security liability for you or for the Internet at large.”


The Times-Picayune: Carnival season celebrates art of Latin America in New Orleans. “The Latin American Library, a unit of Tulane University’s Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, has been awarded a Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to support the project Bringing Back the Soaps: The Louis J. Boeri and Minín Bujones Boeri Collection of Cuban American Radionovelas. The project was only one of 14 selected from a total of 125 applications nationwide. The grant awards $229,189 over two years to digitize 36 program titles from the Radionovelas Collection of master audio recordings contained on reel to reel tapes produced between 1963 and 1970. ”

University of Washington: Civil War-era U.S. Navy ships’ logs to be explored for climate data, maritime history. “The new $482,018 grant to the UW, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and the National Archives Foundation will support ‘Seas of Knowledge: Digitization and Retrospective Analysis of the Historical Logbooks of the United States Navy.’ This will allow the project to digitize the logbooks, muster rolls and related materials from U.S. naval vessels, focusing on the period from 1861 to 1879.”

NBC News: Monitoring fake news was never a priority, says ex-Facebook worker. “Facebook’s team of content reviewers focused mainly on violence and pornography, making it ‘incredibly easy’ for Russian trolls to fly under the radar with their fake news, according to a former Facebook content monitor who worked at the social network for eight months in the lead-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” Oh yes, because election tampering is nowhere near as important as censoring cartoon breasts promoting breast cancer awareness.


PCMagazine: Most Google Accounts Don’t Use Two-Factor Authentication. “Despite its security benefits, two-factor authentication still isn’t popular among Google users. On Wednesday, a Google security engineer said less than 10 percent of all active Google accounts have adopted the extra layer of protection.” That number is way, way lower than I thought it would be.

CBR Online: Hackers cast out 300% more phishing attacks via messages . “There has never been a time when more cybersecurity caution has been required when traversing the online world, with the volume of messages carrying malicious phishing payloads spiking by a massive 300 per cent. Emails and messages are not the only dangerous delivery methods employed by hackers when phishing for unsuspecting users, social media accounts are also being used as vehicles to instigate attacks. Since the third quarter of 2017, a 70 per cent increase in phishing links in social media accounts was recorded by security specialist, Proofpoint, also responsible for noting the massive rise in message based attacks.”


Digital Trends: Tweeting during a game actually improves engagement, new study suggests. “Tweeting during a game while watching it at the same time isn’t necessarily going to make you less engaged with the game. In fact, a new study commissioned by the Twitter suggests mid-game tweets may actually improve the experience. A study by Neuro-Insight, shared on January 18, says tweets during a game increases engagement with both tweets and ads on the platform.”

eWeek: Microsoft’s AI-Powered Drawing Bot Turns Text into Images. “Microsoft already has already developed an artificial intelligence application that turns images into descriptive text. For example, the software maker’s Seeing AI app for Apple iOS devices turns images captured by the camera into text that is then spoken aloud to visually impaired users. Now, the company’s researchers have built a new AI system, simply dubbed ‘drawing bot,’ that can turn text descriptions into images.” Good morning, Internet…

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