FBI, Colors, Twitter Advertising, More: Sunday Buzz, September 2, 2018


FBI: The FBI Launches a Combating Foreign Influence Webpage. “Today the FBI is launching a webpage on combating foreign influence. This information is provided to educate the public about the threats faced from disinformation campaigns, cyber attacks, and the overall impact of foreign influence on society. The FBI is the lead federal agency responsible for investigating foreign influence operations.”

New-to-me, from Boing Boing: Picular, a search engine for colors. “Picular is a simple, very nicely-done search engine for colors. Above is is puce, french for ‘flea’, the color of laundered but still-bloodstained fabric. The green swatch is legit, as it has a second meaning of uncertain etymology (perhaps ‘puke’) attached to it.”


Washington Post: Twitter will begin labeling political ads about issues such as immigration . “Twitter said Thursday that it would begin requiring some organizations that purchase political ads on topics such as abortion, health-care reform and immigration to disclose more information about themselves to users, part of the tech giant’s attempt to thwart bad actors, including Russia, from spreading propaganda ahead of the 2018 election.”

New York Times: The Village Voice, a New York Icon, Closes. “Staff members said they were not surprised that the end had come. The paper’s last editor in chief, Stephen Mooallem — the third top editor to serve under Mr. Barbey during his three-year tenure as owner — left in May and was not replaced. Some staff members will stay on to make the paper’s print archive digitally accessible; the rest will be out of a job at a time when the local news industry finds itself in crisis.”


Code (Love): 21 of the best free resources to learn SQL. “I self-taught myself SQL after I bombed a technical interview that involved SQL. It got me a bit mad at myself, so I went ahead and started looking for different resources to help me practice and learn SQL. I wasn’t looking to spend any money so I focused on getting the best free resources. The list below is the fruit of my efforts. I hope that it helps you on your journey to learn SQL.”

Productivity Bytes: How to Stream on Twitch, for Newbies. “Chances are that by now, even if you don’t yet know how to stream on Twitch, you’ve heard a lot about it. The popular platform for livestreaming video games and other kinds of media gets 100 million unique visitors every month — around the same amount that YouTube and Netflix get. If you’re wondering what all the buzz is about, and you’re looking to get in on the action, now is a great time to get started. This guide will tell you the basic of how to stream on Twitch so you can get streaming today.” This is a short, basic, if-you-have-no-idea-where-to-start-look-here kind of article.


CNET: At Facebook and Twitter hearings, Congress needs to bring its A-game. “Next week, some of Silicon Valley’s most powerful leaders will descend on Capitol Hill to face a grilling from lawmakers. And if we’re judging from the last high-profile tech hearings — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s showdown in the Senate and House in April — lawmakers have nowhere to go but up when it comes to holding the tech industry accountable for cleaning up its messes.”

Tubefilter: Here’s Exactly How Much Money One YouTuber Made Off His First Million Views. “YouTuber ‘Toobz’ started uploading short commentary videos about internet trends in January 2017, and since then has amassed a modest following of a little over 5,500 subscribers. He also recently hit a YouTube milestone: one million views. Toobz took the opportunity to review exactly how much ad revenue those views have pulled in for him. The answer is…not much.”

The Verge: Twitter rival Mastodon isn’t safe from online mobs either. “For social media users who are sick of Twitter, open-source platform Mastodon offers a familiar refuge. Its use of local communities, or “instances” that are connected through federation, allowed users to carve out smaller, and hopefully safer, spaces. When Twitter drove entire communities off its platform, Mastodon gave them a new online home. But a recent flare-up around actor Wil Wheaton has sparked concerns about how effective the platform truly is at acting against dog-piling and online mobs.”


The Register: Chinese hotel chain warns of massive customer data theft. “China’s largest hotel chain is investigating an apparent data theft that is said to involve as many as half a billion pieces of information. The Xinhua state news agency says Shanghai Police are investigating what looks to be a credible post on a darknet site advertising the sale of nearly 500 million pieces of data reportedly belonging to people who stayed at the chain of hotels Huazhu operates in China.”


Nieman Lab: Republicans who follow liberal Twitter bots actually become more conservative. “Social media companies have been big on injecting “alternative views” into users’ feeds — the idea, seemingly, being that exposing people to values and beliefs that conflict with their own will expand their worldviews or making them more tolerant. (See also: a zillion different ‘burst your bubble’ efforts. In some ways, this makes all the sense in the world. On the other hand, changing people’s minds is hard.” There are limitations to this study and I’m not here to make RB political. However I have severe problems with those folks who say, “All you have to do is explain your side and people will understand.” Would that were true, but it’s not.

Google Blog: Forecasting earthquake aftershock locations with AI-assisted science. “Earthquakes typically occur in sequences: an initial ‘mainshock’ (the event that usually gets the headlines) is often followed by a set of ‘aftershocks.’ Although these aftershocks are usually smaller than the main shock, in some cases, they may significantly hamper recovery efforts. Although the timing and size of aftershocks has been understood and explained by established empirical laws, forecasting the locations of these events has proven more challenging.” Good morning, Internet…

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