Python Programming, Mixmax, Wikipedia, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, August 24, 2018


TechXplore: Researchers compile a new database of executable Python code snippets on GitHub. “A team of researchers at North Carolina State University has recently carried out an empirical analysis of the executable status of Python code snippets shared on GitHub. Their study, pre-published on arXiv, also presents Gistable, a new database of executable Python code snippets on GitHub’s gist system, which could enable reproducible studies in the field of software engineering.”


TechCrunch: Mixmax launches IFTTT-like rules to help you manage your inbox. “Mixmax, a service that aims to make email and other outbound communications more usable and effective, today announced the official launch of its new IFTTT-like rules for automating many of the most repetitive aspects of your daily email workflow.”

National Archives: A Call to Action for Scholars of American History: Contribute to Wikipedia. “As the National Archives, along with many other organizations, prepares for the 19th Amendment’s centennial we are working hard to increase access to the records we hold around women’s suffrage. One way we are doing this is by collaborating with Wiki Education, a nonprofit focused on empowering people to expand and improve Wikipedia content for the benefit of all. Through this collaboration, Wiki Education is launching a new virtual, immersive training course designed to give participants the skills and practical experience necessary to improve Wikipedia coverage of the history of women’s voting rights in the United States.


Yahoo Finance: Google might be hiding the fact that its own reviews are shoddy. “If you Google ‘Chiropractor Bethesda Maryland,’ you’ll see Google’s famous 10 blue links. But you’ll also see a box with a map — a snippet — at the top with local results, star ratings, and buttons for phone number and directions. Clicking further will show you reviews people left on Google Maps. Google is ostensibly providing a service to make it easy to get what you want: a chiropractor in Bethesda. But what if these reviews aren’t particularly good or reliable? This is a question that has come up based on the fact that Google’s library of local reviews is no longer available apart from the Maps platform or the box above search links.”

Poynter: Here’s how an anti-refugee hoax went viral across Europe. “It was one of the biggest hoaxes in Europe this week — and a prime example of how hyperpartisan groups regularly take footage out of context. A minute-long video, now removed from YouTube, shows a group of veiled women in the water and a production crew standing on the beach. In Czech, a male voice claims that a TV news crew is staging a scene of drowning migrants on a beach in Ierapetra, Crete, in late July.” Because I don’t want to be part of the problem, let me add that this was absolutely not what the video was about. Please read the story for more.


The Register: Back to school soon – for script kiddies as well as normal kids. Hackers peddle cybercrime e-classes via Telegram . “Russian criminals have for some time now taught classes over the internet on how to rip off folks and credit card companies. Digital Shadows, which chronicled this trade last year, said this week there has been a shift over the past 12 months from publicizing these courses on marketplaces to attracting wannabe hackers via Telegram.”

Google Blog: An update on state-sponsored activity. “Our Threat Analysis Group, working with our partners at Jigsaw and Google’s Trust & Safety team, identifies bad actors, disables their accounts, warns our users about them, and shares intelligence with other companies and law enforcement officials. This week, there has been a lot of news about attempted state-sponsored hacking and influence campaigns. We wanted to provide an update on some of our ongoing work in this area…”

Los Angeles Times: Net neutrality activists and state officials are taking FCC to court. Here’s how they’ll argue the case. “Opponents of the Federal Communications Commission have outlined their chief arguments on net neutrality to a federal appeals court in Washington, in hopes of undoing the FCC’s move last year to repeal its own rules for internet service providers. The legal briefs reflect a widening front in the multi-pronged campaign by consumer groups and tech companies to rescue regulations that originally barred providers from blocking websites or slowing them down. With the FCC’s changes, internet service providers may legally manipulate internet traffic as it travels over their infrastructure, so long as they disclose their practices to consumers.”


NIH: NIH makes STRIDES to accelerate discoveries in the cloud. “The National Institutes of Health has launched a new initiative to harness the power of commercial cloud computing and provide NIH biomedical researchers access to the most advanced, cost-effective computational infrastructure, tools and services available. The STRIDES (Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability) Initiative launches with Google Cloud as its first industry partner and aims to reduce economic and technological barriers to accessing and computing on large biomedical data sets to accelerate biomedical advances.”

Phys .org: Social media’s not all bad – it’s saving lives in disaster zones . “Social media was recently credited with reducing the number of casualties caused by air strikes in the Syrian civil war. The early warning system, developed by tech startup Hala Systems, uses remote sensors to detect aircraft flying over the opposition-held northern province of Idlib. Alerts are then sent via Facebook and instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp to civilians and aid workers in affected areas. These messages give relevant information such as the areas likely to come under heavy bombardment and the duration of these raids.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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