Refugee Experiences, FRED Cryptocurrency Tracking, Facebook Groups, More: Thursday Evening Buzz, June 21, 2018

I PROMISE you I am not sitting over here eating bonbons.


Berkeley News: New website amplifies refugee voices amid immigration crackdowns. “To humanize the growing refugee crisis, researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Davis have launched an interactive website that maps the perilous ordeals of thousands of displaced people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia through their own personal stories and social media posts.”


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: FRED Adds Cryptocurrency Series . “FRED has added four series on the prices of different cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The price data are updated daily and span from as early as 2014 to the present.” That’s interesting. FRED in this case stands for Federal Reserve Economic Data.

TechCrunch: Facebook tests ‘subscription Groups’ that charge for exclusive content . “Facebook is starting to let Group admins charge $4.99 to $29.99 per month for access to special sub-Groups full of exclusive posts. A hand-picked array of parenting, cooking and ‘organize my home’ Groups will be the first to get the chance to spawn a subscription Group open to their members.”

Sunshine State Digital Network: SSDN Welcomes Florida Memory. “Florida’s Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN) is pleased to announce that more than 62,000 new records from Florida Memory are now discoverable through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Florida Memory is a digital outreach program of the State Library and Archives of Florida, administered by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services. With this new content, SSDN has now contributed more than 148,000 records to DPLA. This expands the network of people, communities, and stories that we represent and can share with you, our community.”

Neowin: Bing now lets you search the web using your phone’s camera. “Today, Microsoft announced new visual search features for Bing, allowing you to search the web using your phone’s camera. All you have to do is tap the camera icon, snap a pic, and Bing will search for similar things. It’s not just going to search for similar images though. The idea is to allow you to find out more about an item that you’re looking at, such as a landmark or a flower. If you’ve ever been looking at a flower and wanted to know what kind it is, you now have a solution.”


BuzzFeed: Twitter Locked Accounts Of Media Outlets And Reporters For Tweeting Stephen Miller’s Number. “Another day, another test of the limits of Twitter’s harassment rules. This time, Twitter’s challenge came from Gizmodo Media Group and its news and politics site Splinter, which, on Wednesday afternoon, tweeted out what it reported is White House adviser Stephen Miller’s phone number alongside a piece titled, ‘Here’s Stephen Miller’s Cell Phone Number, If You Need It.’ Miller is the reported architect of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy, which has resulted in the forceful separation of children from their families at the border.”

CNET: Project Maven wasn’t alone: Googlers reportedly boycotted another military tool. “Google withdrew from Project Maven, a military initiative to use artificial intelligence to power targeted drone attacks, because of protests from its own employees. It turns out, it wasn’t the only government contract that elicited internal backlash.”


EurekAlert: New tool using Facebook data shows worldwide gender gap. “This tool produces a metric, called the Facebook Gender Divide, based on the aggregate statistics of almost 1,5 billion users from 217 countries. The research team validated their measurements against survey data and showed a strong relationship between the Facebook Gender Divide and standard measurements of social and economic gender inequality from the World Economic Forum.”

Mashable: Upholding my online identity gives me so much anxiety. “Social media is a sound bite, a snapshot. You get to show neatly manicured moments without the burden of life’s small talk and unflattering angles. Unfortunately, this presents a problem for our real selves. How can we not feel like failures compared to those other versions of ourselves?” I find being just as foolish and goofy on social media as I am in real life helps.

A Virginia Tech Master’s Thesis: Trending in the Right Direction: Using Google Trends Data as a Measure of Public Opinion During a Presidential Election. “During the 2016 presidential election, public opinion polls consistently showed a lead in the popular vote and Electoral College for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Following Trump’s surprise victory, the political pundits and public at large began to question the accuracy of modern public opinion polling. Fielding a representative sample, convoluted and opaque methodologies, the sheer amount of polls, and both the media’s and general public’s inability to interpret poll results are among the flaws of the polling industry. An alternative or supplement to traditional polling practices is necessary. This thesis seeks to investigate whether Google Trends can be effectively used as a measure of public opinion during presidential elections. This study gathers polling data from the 2016 presidential election from states that were considered swing states. Specifically, this study examines six total polls, three from states that swung in the way the polls predicted they would – Nevada and Virginia – and three from states that swung against the prediction – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.” Click on the View/Open link to get the whole thesis as a PDF. Good evening, Internet…

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