Nature Photos, Oral Microbiomes, Facebook, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, March 22, 2018


Earther: This New App Is Like Shazam for Your Nature Photos. “In July of 2016, thousands of people wandered out into streets and parks under the guidance of a hugely popular wildlife app. The app was Pokemon Go, and the wildlife did not, in any real sense, exist. Yet while Pokemon fans were attempting to collect fantastic—if ultimately digital—animals, some inevitably found real ones as well… if you wanted an app that would mimic Pokemon Go but for existing species, you were largely out of luck. That changed in early March, when social media site iNaturalist released SEEK, an iOS app for people who want to search out local flora and fauna. The new app is part of an ongoing attempt to tempt people into citizen science—and to get them to see the wonder in species they might otherwise ignore.”


Dentistry Today: More Than 80 Species Added to Oral Microbiome Database. “The list of bugs in your mouth keeps growing, as the Forsyth Institute has added more than 80 species to its online expanded Human Oral Microbiome Database (eHOMD). It now indexes 772 microbial species present in the aerodigestive tract (ADT), which includes the mouth, throat, nose, sinuses, and esophagus.? Eww. Pardon me, I need to go chug some Listerine.

Washington Post: Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook will audit thousands of apps after ‘breach of trust’. “Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday said Facebook will audit thousands of apps in response to the ‘breach of trust’ created by Cambridge Analytica — the chief executive’s first comments since a crisis erupted Friday over data siphoned by the political marketing firm used by the Trump campaign. In a post on his personal Facebook page, Zuckerberg said the company would investigate thousands of apps that used large amounts of data at the time. He said that Facebook will give users easier access to tools to manage how their data is being used and shared, and will further restrict developers’ access to data to prevent abuse.”

CNET: Reddit removes several firearms-related forums. “Reddit removed several popular forums related to firearms on Wednesday as part of an update to the company’s content policies that prohibit transactions involving some goods and services. The policy affected subreddits that discussed firearms, ammunition, explosives, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, stolen goods, personal information, paid services involving physical sexual contact and falsified documents. With the move, Reddit joins other high-profile companies that are responding to growing calls for gun control after a rash of mass shootings.”

Fortune: Gun Owners Furious After YouTube Cracks Down on Popular Firearms Videos. “YouTube, a popular media site for firearms enthusiasts, this week quietly introduced tighter restrictions on videos involving weapons, becoming the latest battleground in the U.S. gun-control debate.”


TechCrunch: Get the latest TC stories read to you over the phone with BrailleVoice. “For the visually impaired, there are lots of accessibility options if you want to browse the web — screen readers, podcast versions of articles and so on. But it can still be a pain to keep up with your favorite publications the way sighted app users do. BrailleVoice is a project that puts the news in a touch-tone phone interface, reading you the latest news from your favorite publications (like this one) easily from anywhere you get a signal.”

PetaPixel: This New Instagram Shadowban Tester Examines Your Last 10 Posts. “Instagram has been accused of ‘shadowbanning’ users and posts starting about a year ago, preventing tagged content from properly appearing in searches for those tags. After photographers and others complained last year, someone made a tool for checking to see if you’ve been shadowbanned. Now there’s a new and improved one: Triberr’s Instagram Shadowban Test.”


University of St. Thomas: St. Thomas History Students Contribute to Anti-slavery Digital Archives. “A call for help from the Boston Public Library to historians around the country inspired a ‘Transcribe-a-thon’ hosted by the St. Thomas History Department on March 13. Thousands of scanned, original documents from early abolitionists need to be transcribed to make them digitally discoverable for research.”


Humane Society of the United States: The HSUS sues USDA for failing to release animal welfare records under sunshine law. “In February 2017, shortly after the new administration took office, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, without prior notice, removed from its website thousands of Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act inspection and enforcement records…. The USDA tried to spin the issue by saying that the public can simply obtain these documents by way of the Freedom of Information Act. But when The HSUS submitted requests last year under FOIA for records of inspections at three puppy mills in Ohio and at the Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia, where an HSUS undercover investigation discovered serious animal welfare violations, it was months later, and only after a threat to sue the USDA, that we finally received the requested documents. All relevant information, including the inspection dates, the number and species of animals at the facilities, and even the entire substance of the inspection reports (including whether or not there were any apparent AWA violations), was completely blacked out.”


The Next Web: Google is reportedly working on “blockchain-related” cloud technology. “Blockchain Kodak, blockchain taxis, blockchain pizza! What’s next? Why Google, of course. According to a report by Bloomberg, Google is working on ‘blockchain-related’ technology for its cloud business. It would theoretically help make customers feel their data is more secure. It could also differentiate Google from some of its competition in the cloud space. Athough at the rate things are being blockchain-ified, I’m not sure how long that would last.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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