Informed Investing, New York Public Records, Instagram, More: Thursday Buzz, June 28, 2018


PR Newswire: First of Its Kind Web Tool Lets You Know if You’re Funding Gun Violence and War (PRESS RELEASE). “Weapon Free Funds, covering 3,000 of the most commonly-owned U.S. mutual funds from major asset managers like Vanguard, Fidelity and BlackRock, allows investors to find out if their mutual fund investments are being used to finance makers of military weapons and civilian firearms, and to find alternative, socially-responsible options that avoid the war economy. Investors can easily see how their investments support major military contractors, cluster munitions (banned in 100+ countries), nuclear weapons, gun manufacturers and gun retailers.”

News10: New website makes it easier to access public records in NY. “New York officials announced the launch of a new website they say will make it easier to access public records. The website, called Open FOIL New York, will provide a uniform method to submit requests for government records.”


CNET: Instagram’s new 4-way group video chat lets you browse, too. “Instagram could be worth more than $100 billion, and has one billion users a month. So it’s not surprising that the company would roll out its own group video chat service separate from its owner Facebook.”

Google Blog: Now available: new ways to explore with Google Maps. “Last month, we introduced new ways to experience your city with Google Maps—helping you find the best spots to eat, drink, and play based on the things you’re into. Many of these features start rolling out worldwide today. Read on for seven tips on how you can use Google Maps to see your neighborhood in a whole new light.”

The Conversation UK: How tech companies are successfully disrupting terrorist social media activity “In June 2017, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft announced the formation of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). The aim of this industry-led initiative is to disrupt the terrorist exploitation of its services. Recently, GIFCT members hailed the achievements of its first year of operations. But, while this progress must be acknowledged, significant challenges remain.”

Mashable: Facebook isn’t building massive drones anymore. “Four years ago, Facebook shared with the world its ambitious dream of building massive drones. Today, that dream is dead. In a Tuesday blog post, the company announced the end of its Aquila program, an effort to construct a ‘high altitude platform station system’ (read: massive drones) that sought to bring high-speed internet access — and, of course, access to Facebook — to an estimated 4 billion people across the globe who do not have it.”


The Next Web: Expert predicts ‘AI nationalism’ will change geopolitical landscape. “The US and China are leagues ahead of any other country when it comes to AI technology. And it’s because they know how to prioritize their own programs. Rather than waste time discussing the dangers of AI with the UN, or crafting global policy, the two countries have become AI nationalists.”

Daily Maverick: David Goldblatt: Documenting a country’s values in visuals. “As the world hears of the death of renowned photographer David Goldblatt at the age of 87 on 25 June, 2018, his photographs remind us of the life and times of generations living under apartheid – and beyond.” A digital archive is planned for Mr. Goldbatt’s work.

Bloomberg: If You Steal It, the Art Vigilante Will Find You. “For days, Christos Tsirogiannis had been hitting refresh on his laptop, waiting for a chance to snatch ancient artifacts from one of the world’s biggest auctioneers. At the dining room table of his tidy house on a quiet street in Cambridge, England, the 45-year-old archaeologist was stalking Christie’s website, where the catalog for an upcoming antiquities auction in New York would soon be posted. It was important to his vigilante mission that he see the lots quickly. Tsirogiannis had work to do to repeat previous exploits in which he’d cost Christie’s and rivals Sotheby’s and Bonhams millions of dollars in sales—and the sale was in less than a month.”


New York Daily News: You can Google it: New York lawmakers give presumption of accuracy to Google Maps. “State lawmakers have given Google Maps and other web mapping services the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their accuracy. A bill approved in the final hours of the state Legislature’s annual session would give Google Maps and other global imaging websites the presumption of accuracy when they are used as evidence in New York courts.” This makes me REALLY uncomfortable.


Nova Southeastern University: Using Twitter as a Pedagogical Resource to Teach First-Year Composition. “This study examines the incorporation of Twitter in a first-year composition classroom, and addresses the following question: ‘How can using Twitter as a pedagogical resource to teach writing benefit both students and professors?’ The study employs mixed-methods, including surveys, textual analysis of student tweets, and an interview with the professor to assess the application and outcomes of using Twitter.”

Smithsonian Magazine: Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia. “The scrolls represent the only intact library known from the classical world, an unprecedented cache of ancient knowledge. Most classical texts we know today were copied, and were therefore filtered and distorted, by scribes over centuries, but these works came straight from the hands of the Greek and Roman scholars themselves. Yet the tremendous volcanic heat and gases spewed by Vesuvius carbonized the scrolls, turning them black and hard like lumps of coal. Over the years, various attempts to open some of them created a mess of fragile flakes that yielded only brief snippets of text. Hundreds of the papyri were therefore left unopened, with no realistic prospect that their contents would ever be revealed. And it probably would have remained that way except for an American computer scientist named Brent Seales, director of the Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments at the University of Kentucky.” Good morning, Internet…

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