Maryland Licenses, West Virginia Finance, Pigeon Research, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, February 13, 2018


StateScoop: Maryland ‘OneStop’ portal gathers hundreds of licenses in one location. “With an eye on making state government run more efficiently, the State of Maryland has announced a modern online portal to host information about all license and permits available in the state — more than 300 in total. The portal, now in beta, is called Maryland OneStop and provides a single location for users seeking all types of licenses from across the state government’s many agencies and departments.”

Journal News: New state website lets citizens see tax dollars at work. “West Virginians can now see how their tax dollars are being used, courtesy of a new state website. West Virginia State Auditor John McCuskey held press conferences in Martinsburg on Monday morning and then in Charleston Monday afternoon to unveil the state’s new website…that will provide citizens a graphic snapshot on spending by the various state government departments.”

Via my Reddit alert: an online museum / archive of pigeon research. Not sure how new it is, but the domain name was registered at the beginning of February. From the front page: “The online pigeon library and museum is the personal collection of Adam Archer, NSW Australia. The resources here were gathered over many years, and are published on this site for the benefit of anyone seeking to learn more about these wonderful creatures. Items are slowly being uploaded to the online collection.” There are 260 items at this writing.


Google Blog: Read web pages offline with Chrome on Android. “Last year, we introduced the ability to download any webpage, so you can view the whole page completely offline. More than 45 million web pages are downloaded every week—and today we’re adding improvements to make it even easier to download pages.”


Wired: Inside The Two Years That Shook Facebook—and The World. “[Benjamin] Fearnow, a recent graduate of the Columbia Journalism School, worked in Facebook’s New York office on something called Trending Topics, a feed of popular news subjects that popped up when people opened Facebook. The feed was generated by an algorithm but moderated by a team of about 25 people with backgrounds in journalism. If the word ‘Trump’ was trending, as it often was, they used their news judgment to identify which bit of news about the candidate was most important. If The Onion or a hoax site published a spoof that went viral, they had to keep that out. If something like a mass shooting happened, and Facebook’s algorithm was slow to pick up on it, they would inject a story about it into the feed.”

Futurism: Politicians and Innovators Agree: It’s Impossible to Govern AI. “This weekend, Futurism got exclusive access to a closed-door roundtable on the global governance of AI. The event was organized by the AI Initiative from the Future Society at Harvard Kennedy and H.E. Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence. With over 50 of the world’s foremost thinkers, leaders, and practitioners of AI in attendance, the conversation was—to be cliché—a hotbed for debate.”

The Independent: US military adds more than 4,000 names to gun background check database after Texas mass shooting. “The US military has added more than 4,000 names to a federal background check database in the three months since a mass shooting revealed the organisation had consistently failed to report troubling convictions to the FBI.”


The Star: German court rules Facebook settings violate data protection laws. “The Berlin state court ruled in a suit brought by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations that Facebook’s ‘real name’ clause violated the country’s regulation that providers of online services must allow users to remain anonymous.”


The Telegraph: Government develops artificial intelligence program to stop online extremism. “The £600,000 software can automatically detect Isil propaganda and stop it from going online, and ministers claim the new tool can detect 94 per cent of Isil propaganda with 99.9 per cent accuracy.” For the purposes of this article, Isil = ISIS, as far as I can tell.

The Next Web: Need labels for your product? A new logo? A new website? Have AI design them. “As we’re sliding into 2018, it’s safe to say AI-powered machines can do just about anything. They can detect breast cancer. Paint a new Rembrandt. Even tell us if there’s fresh coffee in the kitchen. So it was only a matter of time before artificial intelligence found its way into design.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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