Infectious Diseases, Brain Lesions, Google Assistant, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, February 26, 2018


University of Pennsylvania: New Open-access Data Resource Aims to Bolster Collaboration in Global Infectious Disease Research. “A single epidemiological study—tracking the acquisition of functional resistance to malaria, or the relationship of diarrheal disease to developmental outcomes—may involve tens of thousands of clinical observations on thousands of participants from multiple countries. To overcome these hurdles, an international team of researchers has launched the Clinical Epidemiology Database, an open-access online resource enabling investigators to maximize the utility and reach of their data and to make optimal use of information released by others.”

University of Southern California: Shared database of brain images aims to boost stroke patients’ recovery. “A USC-led team has archived and shared hundreds of brain scans from stroke patients, which researchers hope will help to forecast which patients will respond to a variety of rehabilitation therapies. The study of the data set, known as Anatomical Tracings of Lesion After Stroke (ATLAS), was published in Scientific Data, a Nature journal.”


Search Engine Journal: Google Assistant Updated With Routines and Location-based Reminders. “In the coming weeks, Google Assistant will be updated with routines and location-based reminders. Routines are a customized series of events that are performed when a particular command is spoken. For example, saying ‘OK Google, I’m home’ could trigger the Assistant to turn on the lights, share home reminders, play your favorite music, and so on.”


Hongkiat: 6 Ways to Save WebP Images as JPG and PNG. “Google’s proprietary image format WEBP is arguably better than the standard JPG or PNG format. It creates much smaller file size than JPG and still supports transparency feature of PNG without much loss in quality…. As ideal as it may be, it is still not supported by many image editors and online submission forms. I personally have to deal with WEBP images often in my work, and so I have found many ways to save WEBP images to JPG or PNG with each having its own advantage. In this post, I am going to share my findings with you.”


Indiana University Bloomington: Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology salvaging endangered data. “Archaeologists spend days, months, even years at digs sifting through mud and dirt searching for artifacts that will lead to an understanding of another time and place. Now, the staff at Indiana University Bloomington’s archaeology lab is embarking on a dig of its own — a data dig.”

Radio Canada International: Public broadcaster music library closing, CD’s to be digitised, destroyed. “Canada’s public broadcaster CBC (English) and Radio-Canada (French) is going through massive changes. With huge funding cuts from the government and increasing costs, this has meant equally massive staff and production cuts. Rapidly developing technological developments are also driving the changes.The broadcaster, with its stations across the country has, over the decades, amassed a vast collection of recorded music and other artefacts.”

Financial Times (yes, really): Voices of the new ‘Instagram poets’. “Rupi Kaur is a millennial publishing sensation, famous for her Instagram poetry and her heartfelt stage performances. At the moment she is touring India, where her first major stop was the Jaipur Literature Festival. Droves of young women came to watch, their faces bright with anticipation, ready to snap their fingers in appreciation at her best lines. ‘I want to feel like you’re all up here on stage with me, right?’ said Kaur, 25, working her audience like a pro, poetry’s Beyoncé.”

New York Times: Bahrain Activist Gets 5-Year Sentence for ‘Insulting’ Tweets. “A court in Bahrain sentenced a prominent democracy advocate on Wednesday to five years in prison for tweets about abuses in prisons and the Saudi-led war in Yemen, continuing the crackdown that crushed the Arab Spring uprising there seven years ago.”


Motherboard: ‘Critical’ T-Mobile Bug Allowed Hackers To Hijack Users’ Accounts. “Hackers could have hijacked and taken control of T-Mobile’s customer accounts thanks to a severe bug on the company’s website. The vulnerability was found and reported by a security researcher on December 19 of last year, but it hasn’t been revealed until now. Within a day, T-Mobile classified it as ‘critical,’ patched the bug, and gave the researcher a $5,000 reward. That’s good news, but it’s unclear how long the site was vulnerable and whether any malicious hackers found and exploited the bug before it was fixed.”

Wired: Facebook’s Mandatory Malware Scan Is An Intrusive Mess. “WHEN AN OREGON science fiction writer named Charity tried to log onto Facebook on February 11, she found herself completely locked out of her account. A message appeared saying she needed to download Facebook’s malware scanner if she wanted to get back in. Charity couldn’t use Facebook until she completed the scan, but the file the company provided was for a Windows device—Charity uses a Mac.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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