History of Television, Naturist Travel, Google Employees, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, May 16, 2018


WBAL: Something new to binge-watch: TV’s rich history of itself. “Diahann Carroll recalls a date with Marlon Brando that yielded a slap and career advice. Robert Adler tells how he co-invented the TV remote control. Walter Cronkite shares his dismay over learning that White House pressure trimmed a CBS report on Watergate. Their accounts are part of an extraordinary collection of 4,000-plus hours of video Q&As recorded over more than two decades by the Television Academy Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, organizer of the prime-time Emmy Awards. On Wednesday, a new website will make some 800 interviews — and more to come — available free to all comers…”

Lonely Planet: Clothing optional? A new website is offering holiday homes around the world for naturists. “A new Airbnb-style booking website for naturists promises to give those who enjoy shedding their clothes while relaxing better options for accommodation while on vacation. NaturistBnB offers over 200 properties worldwide for those who wish to go nude, with more being added all the time as the word is spreading.” This article does include some non-salacious pictures of nude rumps, which might be NSFW depending on where you work.


Gizmodo: Google Employees Resign in Protest Against Pentagon Contract. “It’s been nearly three months since many Google employees—and the public—learned about the company’s decision to provide artificial intelligence to a controversial military pilot program known as Project Maven, which aims to speed up analysis of drone footage by automatically classifying images of objects and people. Now, about a dozen Google employees are resigning in protest over the company’s continued involvement in Maven.”

TechCrunch: Twitter algorithm changes will hide more bad tweets and trolls . “Twitter is making some new changes that calls on how the collective Twitterverse is responding to tweets to influence how often people see them. With these upcoming changes, tweets in conversations and search will be ranked based on a greater variety of data that takes into account things like the number of accounts registered to that user, whether that tweet prompted people to block the accounts and the IP address.”

MakeUseOf: WhatsApp Rolls Out Group Chat Improvements . “WhatsApp has made a number of improvements to the way group chats work. Most of the improvements are on the admin side of things, but all of them are designed to help people use WhatsApp group chats more effectively. Or at least that’s the hope.”


Search Engine Journal: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Quick Q&A Chatbot. “Today we’re going to build a bot, step-by-step, starting with a simple informational bot based on a template create by Microsoft (my employer). Informational bots make it easy for you to quickly get information via simple text-based chat. In this how-to, we’ll create a bot to answer questions defined in a knowledge set or FAQ using QnA Maker and displayed in a Cortana bot using Azure Bot Service. The best part: it will take 30 minutes or less! And, it requires no coding skills!”


The Verge: This nonprofit plans to send millions of Wikipedia pages to the Moon — printed on tiny metal sheets. “A nonprofit with grand ambitions of setting up a library on the Moon is planning to send the entire English archive of Wikipedia to the lunar surface sometime within the next couple of years. Don’t worry: there won’t be reams of Wikipedia printouts sitting in the lunar soil. Instead, the organization says it will send up millions of Wikipedia articles in the form of miniaturized prints, etched into tiny sheets of metal that are thinner than the average human hair. The nonprofit claims that with this method, it can send up millions of pages of text in a package that’s about the size of a CD.”


New Scientist: Huge new Facebook data leak exposed intimate details of 3m users. “Data from millions of Facebook users who used a popular personality app, including their answers to intimate questionnaires, was left exposed online for anyone to access, a New Scientist investigation has found. Academics at the University of Cambridge distributed the data from the personality quiz app myPersonality to hundreds of researchers via a website with insufficient security provisions, which led to it being left vulnerable to access for four years. Gaining access illicitly was relatively easy.”

The Register: Facebook stuck with IRS bill after court tosses $7 BEEELION appeal. “Facebook has lost its bid to throw out a tax bill on $7bn worth of income it had stashed overseas. A Northern District of California judge ruled in favor of the IRS this week, finding the Social Network did not have standing to challenge the tax bod’s finding that Facebook underreported its revenues via its Ireland-based subsidiary.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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