Religion in Europe, Facebook, TechCrunch, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, March 1, 2018


IDW Online: New Database Offers More Intelligence on Religious Affiliation in Europe. “Researchers of the University of Lucerne launched a new open research data tool providing a wealth of statistics on religious affiliation for no less than 50 European or Eastern neighbouring countries. The new ‘Swiss Metadatabase of Religious Affiliation in Europe (SMRE)’ was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). For the first time, the SMRE-metadatabase provides transparent and comparable data for all European countries for two periods. Data are free of charge and open to researchers, journalists and the public.”


Axios: Exclusive: Facebook to launch a Local News Subscription Accelerator. “There’s a newfound focus on subscription revenue within the media industry, as advertising dollars become harder to rely on due to Google and Facebook’s dominance in that space. The pilot program is designed to help publishers learn about what works to drive people to subscribe to local outlets. The Accelerator will work with 10-15 metro news organizations to unlock strategies that help publishers build digital customer acquisitions on and off Facebook.”

TechCrunch: New, new, new TechCrunch. “Today, we’re launching new, new, new TechCrunch to about 10 percent of our readers. If you’re in that group, you’re going to see a very, very 1.0 version of our new site that we’re going to build on over the next few years to deliver what we hope is an experience that aligns perfectly with what we cover as well as how we cover it.”


Texas Medical Center: Big data to show how mixed toxins affect children. “Rice University researchers have won a prestigious National Institutes of Health grant to build data analysis tools and analyze how exposure to mixed toxins in the environment affects a population, especially children. The four-year $1.7 million R01 grant will allow a team led by Marie Lynn Miranda, Rice’s Howard R. Hughes Provost and a professor of statistics, to analyze the massive set of data she and her colleagues gathered for the entire state of North Carolina over more than 20 years.”

Santa Maria Times: Researchers explore how activities affect brain development in kids. “Parents wondering how video games, athletic pursuits or sleeping habits may affect their kids’ brains may get some answers thanks to a massive effort underway at 21 institutions across the country. Researchers are recruiting 11,500 kids aged 9 or 10 to participate in the largest study of its kind on the affects — good and bad — of myriad activities on adolescent brain development. They plan to create a giant new database available to researchers everywhere that could inform everything from public policy to education to parenting.”

Tribune India: Documents at Bhai Vir Singh residence to be digitised. “Newspapers, periodicals, booklets, books and manuscripts along with other documents lying at the residence of Bhai Vir Singh here are all set to be digitised in the coming months. Spread over four acres, the house has preserved most of his belongings, writings, pristine newspapers in form of Bhai Vir Singh museum-cum-library. At present, the house is being managed by a local committee on behalf of New Delhi-based Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan. A digital library shall be constructed at the residence.” To learn more about Bhai Vir Singh, you can read an extensive article at SikhiWiki.

The Verge: China censors social media responses to proposal to abolish presidential terms. “Negative social media reactions in China toward the government’s interest in abolishing presidential term limits have sparked a crackdown on memes since Sunday evening. China’s constitution currently restricts the president and vice-president to 10 years of leadership, meaning that President Xi Jinping would have been out of power by 2023.”


Wired: Microsoft’s Supreme Court Case Has Big Implications For Data . “FIVE YEARS AGO, US law enforcement served Microsoft a search warrant for emails as part of a US drug trafficking investigation. In response, Microsoft handed over data stored on American servers, like the person’s address book. But it didn’t give the government the actual content of the individual’s emails, because they were stored at a Microsoft data center in Dublin, Ireland, where the subject said he lived when he signed up for his Outlook account. In a case that begins Tuesday, the Supreme Court will decide whether those borders matter when it comes to data.”


Bloomberg: ‘Success’ on YouTube Still Means a Life of Poverty. “New research out of Germany billed as among the first to review the chances of making it in the new Hollywood shows a vanishingly small number will ever break through—just like in the old Hollywood. In fact, 96.5 percent of all of those trying to become YouTubers won’t make enough money off of advertising to crack the U.S. poverty line, according to research by Mathias Bärtl, a professor at Offenburg University of Applied Sciences in Offenburg.” I subscribe to many, many YouTube channels and the vast majority of them have a) sponsors for their videos or b) Patreon or c) both.

The New School: SGPIA Research Finds ‘Digital Divide’ in Google Street View of Environmental Issues, Slums. “For years, Arroyo Sarandí, a stream that snakes through the working class suburb of Avellaneda in Buenos Aires, has fallen victim to industrial use. Pollution and trash have caused serious flooding and health issues for the people living in villas misérias, or slums, along the river banks. But you wouldn’t know any of that by looking at Google Street View of Avellaneda: Neither the slums nor the environmental issues impacting it appear there.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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