Christmas Island, YouTube, Alphabet, More: Wednesday Buzz, April 25, 2018


Google Blog: Shellebrating Christmas Island’s extraordinary nature with Street View and Google Earth. “In December, we took the Street View trekker to Christmas Island, a remote tropical territory of Australia just south of Indonesia. With Parks Australia, we joined the island’s red crabs as they marched in the millions from the forest to the sea for their annual migration. Now it’s time to shellebrate. Starting today on Google Maps Street View and Google Earth, you can explore Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands’ unique wildlife, dazzling ocean vistas and lush rainforests, including the grand finale of the red crab migration—the spawning. ”


Neowin: YouTube removed over eight million videos in last quarter of 2017. “YouTube released a transparency report on how it is enforcing its community guidelines, which do not allow contents related to ‘pornography, incitement to violence, harassment, or hate speech’, for example. With the help of machine learning algorithms, the company announced it removed almost 8.3 million videos from its platform in the period covering October to December of 2017.”

CNET: Alphabet beats estimates with Nest in Google fold. “Alphabet, Google’s parent company, started the year off strong, reporting sales and profit Monday that topped analysts’ expectations in the first quarter. It’s got advertising demand to thank for much of that upside. But the roles that the Nest smart home device maker, along with an investment in Uber, played in its gains are still a little tricky to tell.”

TechCrunch: Facebook’s new authorization process for political ads goes live in the US . “Earlier this month — and before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress — the company announced a series of changes to how it would handle political advertisements running on its platform in the future. It had said that people who wanted to buy a political ad — including ads about political ‘issues’ — would have to reveal their identities and location and be verified before the ads could run. Information about the advertiser would also display to Facebook users. Today, Facebook is announcing the authorization process for U.S. political ads is live.”



Pacific Content: Inside The New Google Podcasts Strategy That Could Double Audiences Worldwide. “Zack’s team is taking a different approach from anything we’ve seen to build Google’s first dedicated podcast product. In addition to all the features you’d expect from a podcast app, shows and episodes are also ‘integrated with Google Search and Google Assistant.’ ”

The Nation (Thailand): Mahakan Fort Community to live on in the virtual world . “After decades of fighting to save one of the last living historic quarters of Bangkok, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has successfully evicted all the residents from the area. Tomorrow will be the last day that the Mahakan Fort Community physically exists. That is when all of the remaining residents will have to move out and their antique wooden houses will be torn down to make way for the construction of a public park.” The first thing I thought when I read this was, “Why do people live in a fort in Thailand? Why are they being evicted?” Lonely Planet has a bit of skinny.

Nooga: Historic Chattanooga newspapers to be digitized, project seeks investors. “Founders of two online Chattanooga history organizations are asking for help to make over 6,000 pages of historic newspapers available online….Picnooga founder, David Moon, along with Sam Hall, founder of Deep Zoom Chattanooga, are seeking investors who see the ‘long-term positive value of local digitized newspapers.'”

Arizona State University: ASU scholars save priceless manuscripts from obscurity. “‘You never think you’re going to discover an unknown library ever in your career,’ said Corine Schleif, Arizona State Univeristy professor of art history. She and Volker Schier, a musicologist and visiting faculty at the Institute for Humanities Research, were leading the fortuitous scholars on a tour of European women’s monasteries. The Altomuenster monastery, just northwest of Munich, was their last stop. Left undisturbed for 500 years, the library contained over a thousand previously unknown manuscripts, as well as works of art and devotional objects. If it had belonged to another order, such as the Benedictines or Franciscans, about whom a great deal is already known, it probably wouldn’t have been as monumental a find.”


Boing Boing: IoT Inspector: Princeton releases a tool to snoop on home IoT devices and figure out what they’re doing. “IoT Inspector is a new tool from Princeton’s computer science department; it snoops on the traffic from home IoT devices and performs analysis to determine who they phone home to, whether they use encryption, and what kinds of data they may be leaking…. The first 50 devices are basically a security/privacy dumpster fire.”


The Next Web: CIA plans to replace spies with AI. “Human spies will soon be relics of the past, and the CIA knows it. Dawn Meyerriecks, the Agency’s deputy director for technology development, recently told an audience at an intelligence conference in Florida the CIA was adapting to a new landscape where its primary adversary is a machine, not a foreign agent.”

ScienceDaily: Earth BioGenome Project aims to sequence genomes of 1.5 million species . “An international consortium of scientists is proposing a massive project to sequence, catalog and analyze the genomes of all known eukaryotic species on the planet, an undertaking the researchers say will take 10 years, cost $4.7 billion and require more than 200 petabytes of digital storage capacity. Eukaryotes include all organisms except bacteria and archaea. There are an estimated 10-15 million eukaryotic species on Earth.” Holy mackerel.

Techradar: Nvidia’s amazing deep learning tool can reconstruct incomplete photos. “It might look like witchcraft, but researchers at Nvidia have developed an advanced deep learning image-retouching tool that can intelligently reconstruct incomplete photos. While removing unwanted artefacts in image editing is nothing new – Adobe Photoshop’s Content-Aware tools are pretty much the industry standard – the prototype tool that Nvidia is showcasing looks incredibly impressive.”


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