Landslides, Women’s Suffrage, Google Go, More: Wednesday Buzz, August 29, 2018


EOS: Landslide Database Reveals Uptick in Human-Caused Fatal Slides. “Researchers now have an idea of how many such landslides are occurring around the globe. They have compiled the most comprehensive database of landslides that took place between 2004 and 2016. This database includes information on the landslides’ causes as well as their death tolls.”

California Secretary of State: Newly Digitized Records Mark 98 Years of Women’s Suffrage Movement in California. “This August marks 98 years since the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified and formally adopted, giving women the right to vote. To celebrate this anniversary the California State Archives has launched a new digital compilation of records relating to the women’s suffrage movement in California. This is the first time that these records have been compiled into a publicly available digital compilation.”


Google Blog: Make Google read it. “We launched Google Go last year as a lightweight, faster way to search the web on devices which may have less space or less reliable internet connections…. Today, we’re launching a new feature which will let everyone using Google Go’s browser listen to webpages out loud. Powered by natural language processing and speech synthesis AI, this technology can read aloud billions of webpages in 28 languages smoothly, and in a natural sounding voice, even on 2G connections. It also uses minimal cellular data.”

TechCrunch: Twitter suspends more accounts for “engaging in coordinated manipulation” . “Following last week’s suspension of 284 accounts for ‘engaging in coordinated manipulation,’ Twitter announced today that it’s kicked an additional 486 accounts off the platform for the same reason, bringing the total to 770 accounts.”

The Verge: Tumblr is explicitly banning hate speech, posts that celebrate school shootings, and revenge porn. “Tumblr is changing its community guidelines to more explicitly ban hate speech, glorifying violence, and revenge porn. The new rules go into effect on September 10th.”

BetaNews: Now you can get verified on Instagram. “While getting a verified account is something that’s usually associated with Twitter, other social media services have similar schemes — Facebook, for instance. The latest to join the verification party is Instagram which is now giving users the option of applying for a verified badge.”


New York Times: These Cultural Treasures Are Made of Plastic. Now They’re Falling Apart.. “Of an estimated 8,300 million metric tons of plastic produced to date, roughly 60 percent is floating in the oceans or stuffed in landfills. Most of us want that plastic to disappear. But in museums, where objects are meant to last forever, plastics are failing the test of time.”

ABC News: Trump accuses Google of biased searches, warns ‘be careful’. “President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Google and other U.S. tech companies of rigging search results about him ‘so that almost all stories & news is BAD.’ He offered no evidence of bias, but a top adviser said the White House is ‘taking a look’ at whether Google should face federal regulation.”


BetaNews: Microsoft Windows task scheduler 0-day outed on Twitter. “A privilege escalation bug has been discovered in Windows’ task scheduler and revealed on Twitter. A proof-of-concept has been published, and the vulnerability has been confirmed to be present in a ‘fully-patched 64-bit Windows 10 system’.”

MIT Technology Review: Crowdsourcing the hunt for software bugs is a booming business—and a risky one. “This cybersecurity gig economy has expanded to hundreds of thousands of hackers, many of whom have had some experience in the IT security industry. Some still have jobs and hunt bugs in their spare time, while others make a living from freelancing. They are playing an essential role in helping to make code more secure at a time when attacks are rapidly increasing and the cost of maintaining dedicated internal security teams is skyrocketing .”

Ars Technica: Researchers find way to spy on remote screens—through the webcam mic. “Ever wonder what the people on the other end of a Hangouts session are really looking at on their screens? With a little help from machine learning, you might be able to take a peek over their shoulders, based on research published at the CRYPTO 2018 conference in Santa Barbara last week. All you’ll need to do is process the audio picked up by their microphones.”


The Register: AI image recognition systems can be tricked by copying and pasting random objects. “You don’t always need to build fancy algorithms to tamper with image recognition systems – adding objects in random places will do the trick.” Good morning, Internet…

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