Exoplanets, Facebook, Open Access Articles, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, August 30, 2018


Phys .org: Scientist develops database for stellar-exoplanet ‘exploration’. “[Dr. Natalie] Hinkel built a publically available database, called the Hypatia Catalog, to help researchers explore thousands of stars, as well as potential star-exoplanet systems, observed over the last 35 years. It’s the largest database of stars and their elements for the population within 500 light years of our Sun. At last count, Hypatia had stellar chemical abundance data on 6,156 stars, 365 of which are known to host planets. The database also catalogs 72 stellar elements from hydrogen to lead.”


CNET: Facebook screws up again on the Holocaust, this time with photo of children. “The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect last week called on its 112,000 followers to sign a petition demanding that Facebook remove pages denying the Holocaust from its site. That didn’t happen. Instead, a week later, Facebook removed a news article that the center posted about Holocaust education ‘for apparently violating community standards,’ the center said. The violation: It included a photo showing naked, emaciated children from a Nazi concentration camp.”


LITA Blog: Finding Open Access Articles – Tools & Tips. “Open access can come in a rainbow of colors – gold, green, platinum – and determining what this means can often be confusing. The good news is that generally, this means there are open copies of articles available – whether they are a pre-print or an author’s accepted manuscript. You just need to know how to dig these copies up.”


New York Times: Dozens at Facebook Unite to Challenge Its ‘Intolerant’ Liberal Culture. “The post went up quietly on Facebook’s internal message board last week. Titled ‘We Have a Problem With Political Diversity,’ it quickly took off inside the social network.”

The Verge: The Secret Garden. “The story of the Mount Lico expedition began six years ago when Bayliss, a conservation scientist and butterfly expert, happened to spy a small forest atop a mountain using Google Earth. It wasn’t the first time he’d found such a place; Bayliss had been using Google Earth to explore high-altitude rainforests in Africa for around 15 years. In February 2017, the time was finally right: Bayliss brought a drone to the base of the 410-foot sheer rock protuberance (technically known as an inselberg) to confirm that there was a forest on top. This was no small feat. The area surrounding Mount Lico is a patchwork of smallholder farms, tea and eucalyptus plantations, and woodlands. There are no paved roads, no hotels — just rivers to cross, plants to hack away with machetes, and miles of dirt track to navigate.”

New Indian Express: Government mulls action against India heads of social media on failure to check fake news. “Abide by law or face prosecution — this is the tough message likely to be sent to the India heads of social media platforms if the recommendations of a high-level government panel, which discussed steps to curb fake news and misinformation besides child pornography, are accepted.”


BuzzFeed News: I Used AI To Clone My Voice And Trick My Mom Into Thinking It Was Me. “In January a man named Aviv Ovadya scared the shit out of me. I’d arranged to chat with him about the future of disinformation expecting a sober prediction of the coming years as incrementally worse. But Ovadya painted a far bleaker picture — a future in which an array of easy-to-use and seamless technology would democratize the ability to manipulate perception and falsify reality. What happens, he mused, ‘when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?'”

Google Blog: Protect your online accounts with Titan Security Keys. “There are many forms of 2SV—from text (SMS) message codes, to the Google Authenticator app, to hardware second factors like security keys. And while any second factor will greatly improve the security of your account, for those who want the strongest account protection, we’ve long advocated the use of security keys for 2SV. Today, we’re making it easier to get a security key by making Google’s own Titan Security Keys available on the Google Store.”


Human Rights Watch: Open Letter to Google on Reported Plans to Launch a Censored Search Engine in China. “Like many of Google’s own employees, we are extremely concerned by reports that Google is developing a new censored search engine app for the Chinese market. The project, codenamed ‘Dragonfly’, would represent an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights. The Chinese government extensively violates the rights to freedom of expression and privacy; by accommodating the Chinese authorities’ repression of dissent, Google would be actively participating in those violations for millions of internet users in China.”

The Atlantic: Why Google Doesn’t Rank Right-Wing Outlets Highly. “As a thought experiment, pick some markers of relevance (timeliness, impact, keyword density) and quality (originality, sourcing, depth). Now apply a ranking algorithm to the work of the mainstream media, which is to say the big networks, papers, and digital sites that abide by traditional journalistic values. Then apply the same standard to the conservative publications that PJ Media bemoaned the lack of.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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