morningbuzz

Anti-Muslim Legislation, Energy Infrastructure, Facebook, More: Tuesday Buzz, May 1, 2018

NEW RESOURCES

Berkeley: New database exposes anti-Muslim legislation across the US. “The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley on Wednesday released a searchable, public database of anti-Muslim bills designed to institutionalize the exclusion of Muslims from society and the state legislators across the country who supported them.”

US Department of Energy: NETL-Led Team Creates First-Ever International Database for Use in Preventing Natural Gas Infrastructure Failures. “The first-ever database inventory of oil and natural gas infrastructure information from the top hydrocarbon-producing and consuming countries in the world is now available online. The database was born from a massive information acquisition, evaluation, and resource integration project led by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). NETL has now released the database on the Laboratory’s Energy Data eXchange (EDX), which is an online collection of capabilities and resources that advances research and customizes energy-related needs.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The Next Web: Facebook rolls out its downvote button to more users . “Earlier this year, Facebook confirmed it was trialling Reddit-style upvote and downvote buttons on public posts, with the aim of improving the quality of discourse on the platform. Now, it appears the feature is rolling out to a greater number of users.”

USEFUL STUFF

Quartz: Here are 300 free Ivy League university courses you can take online right now. “The eight Ivy League schools are among the most prestigious colleges in the world. They include Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, and Columbia universities, and the University of Pennsylvania. All eight schools place in the top fifteen of the US News and World Report 2017 national university rankings. These Ivy League schools are also highly selective and extremely hard to get into. But the good news is that all these universities now offer free online courses across multiple online course platforms.”

MIT: Introducing a user-friendly, step-by-step guide to conducting comparative product evaluations. “According to the World Bank, over 1.1 billion people have lifted themselves from extreme poverty since 1990. But even as the global outlook on extreme poverty improves, billions of people continue to struggle to access basic human needs, like water, food, shelter, health care and energy. In response to these challenges, innovators around the world have developed a preponderance of cost-effective, locally implemented solutions, from solar lanterns and water filters to improved cookstoves and refugee shelters. With such a dizzying array of products on the market, development professionals often struggle to cut through the hype associated with novel technologies, and many are hesitant to pursue innovative approaches to stubborn development challenges, given the high stakes of working with economically vulnerable populations.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Arizona State University: How do we amend Arizona’s archives?. “Arizona State University archivist Nancy Godoy begins her ‘Archival and Preservation’ workshop with a startling statistic: Minority communities constitute 42 percent of Arizona’s population, but their photographs and documents only make up 2 percent of materials in state archives. The workshop, led by ASU archivists, looks at methods of organizing family archives. The series, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to teach archival methods to underrepresented communities in Arizona.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison: NEH grant to reunite radio history. “The $217,000 grant will fund the creation of a comprehensive online collection of early educational public radio content from the National Association of Educational Broadcasters. The forerunner of CPB and its arms, NPR and PBS, the NAEB served as the primary organizer, developer, and distributor for noncommercial broadcast production and analysis between 1925 and 1981. These broadcasts, mostly stemming from university- and public school-run radio stations, provide an in-depth look at the engagements and events of American history, as they were broadcast to and received by the general public in the 20th century. They document educational, political and cultural events as diverse as the national census, atomic energy, American labor, religion, United States history, agricultural engineering, mathematics and foreign relations.”

China.org.cn: Alibaba to help Chinese courts go on cloud. “Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has said it will supply its artificial intelligence technology to help thousands of Chinese courts share live-broadcasting and cloud services. At Alibaba’s computing conference on Thursday in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province, Alibaba Cloud, the cloud service arm of Alibaba, said it would team up with Jiangsu Xinshiyun Technology Co., Ltd. to improve an online cloud service platform to link up 10,000 courts.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Chicago Reader: Public outcry kills proposed FOIA law tweak that would’ve hidden police misconduct records. “On Monday, April 23, within hours of Democratic state rep Anthony Deluca filing a bill to amend Illinois’s Freedom of Information law, a crescendo of opposition arose from civil rights lawyers and government transparency advocates. The amendment would’ve made misconduct complaints against police officers (and other records associated with pending criminal cases) off-limits in FOIA requests. Dozens of opponents filed witness slips, written statements, against this suggested change, and ultimately DeLuca backed down: he decided he would not be calling the bill for a debate.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

RPI: Applying Network Analysis to Natural History. “A team of researchers is using network analysis techniques – popularized through social media applications – to find patterns in Earth’s natural history, as detailed in a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). By using network analysis to search for communities of marine life in the fossil records of the Paleobiology Database, the team, including researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was able to quantify the ecological impacts of major events like mass extinctions and may help us anticipate the consequences of a ‘sixth mass extinction.'”

TechCrunch: Facebook’s dark ads problem is systemic. “Kremlin-backed political disinformation scams are really just the tip of the iceberg here. But even in that narrow instance Facebook estimated there had been 80,000 pieces of fake content targeted at just one election. What’s clear is that without regulatory invention the burden of proactive policing of dark ads and fake content on Facebook will keep falling on users — who will now have to actively sift through Facebook Pages to see what ads they’re running and try to figure out if they look legit.”

USGS: USGS Tracks How Hurricane Floodwaters Spread Non-Native Freshwater Plants and Animals. “Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate may have spread non-native freshwater plants and animals into new water bodies, where some of them can disrupt living communities or change the landscape. To help land managers find and manage these flood-borne newcomers, scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey have created four online maps, one for each hurricane.” Good morning, Internet…

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