Brazil Museum Fire, Skype, Open Access Journals, More: Thursday Buzz, September 6, 2018


CNET: Wikipedia seeks photos of 20 million artifacts lost in Brazilian museum fire. “Wikipedia is fighting to preserve the memories of the 20 million artifacts lost in Sunday’s Brazilian museum fire. The Museu Nacional in Rio — one of the largest museums in the Americas — was consumed by fire and irreplaceable objects like the oldest human fossil found in Brazil and a 5.5-ton meteorite found in 1784 are believed to have been lost.” I’m sorry if it seems I’m harping on this, but it’s an incredible, incalculable loss. The Rio Olympics cost over $13 billion while this museum couldn’t get funding. Sometimes reading the news makes me want to cry.

Skype finally adds call recording
. “Skype is the communication tool of choice (and necessity) for millions, but it has always lacked a basic feature that no doubt many of those millions have requested: call recording. Well, Microsoft finally heard our cries, and recording is now built into Skype on both desktop and mobile.”

Science Business: EU and national funders launch plan for free and immediate open access to journals. “The European Commission and a group of national research funders have laid out a controversial and perhaps precedent-setting plan to make thousands of research papers free to read on the day of publication, in a move that could force a major change in the business model of science publishers.”

Yahoo News: Russia warns Google against election ‘meddling’. “Russia on Tuesday said it has officially warned US internet giant Google against ‘meddling’ in next Sunday’s local elections by hosting opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s videos calling for mass protests.”


MakeUseOf: New to Instagram? 20 Common Terms You Should Know. “Thanks to its visual nature, Instagram can still bring joy to your life. As opposed to the anxiety and anger that some people feel when using Facebook and Twitter. However, if you’re new to Instagram you may be confused by some of the terms being thrown around without explanation. In this article, we explain the language of Instagram…”


Engadget: Facebook is building a ‘war room’ for the midterm elections. “In a bid to protect its millions of users from further instances of foreign interference, Facebook is building a physical ‘war room’ ahead of the upcoming US midterm elections. In an interview with NBC News, Facebook’s head of civic engagement, Samidh Chakrabarti, said the company is ‘laser focused on getting it right’ this time, after more than 126 million Americans were exposed to meddlesome posts from Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 presidential election.”

The Atlantic: What Was Lost in Brazil’s Devastating Museum Fire. “Over the past five years, the museum faced severe cuts and didn’t even receive its full allotted funds from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. It was recently forced to crowdfund money to repair the termite-damaged base of one of its grandest mounted dinosaurs. ‘For many years, we fought with different governments to get adequate resources to preserve what is now completely destroyed,’ Luiz Fernando Dias Duarte, the museum’s deputy director, has said.”

BuzzFeed News: How Duterte Used Facebook To Fuel the Philippine Drug War. “In August 2016, a handful of crude images began circulating widely throughout Facebook’s Filipino community: a middle-aged man and woman having clumsy sex atop a tacky floral bedspread. The man’s face, obscured by shadows, was impossible to make out. The woman’s was not. She appeared to be Sen. Leila de Lima — a fierce critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his bloody war on drugs. But the woman was not de Lima.”


TorrentFreak: Hollywood Studios Flag Their IMDb Listings as “Pirate” Links. “A rather persistent bug in the takedown code of a major reporting agency has caused an embarrassing situation for several Hollywood studios. For quite some time now, companies including Sony Pictures Television and Columbia Pictures have been inadvertently asking Google to remove the IMDb listings of their own work.”


Bloomberg Quint: Google At 20: How A Search Engine Became A Literal Extension Of Our Mind. “Make no mistake about it, this is a seismic shift in human psychology, probably the biggest we have ever had to cope with, and one that is occurring with breathtaking rapidity – Google, after all, is just 20 years old, this month. But although this shift has some good consequences, there are some deeply troubling issues we urgently need to address.”

EurekAlert: Online searches about cardiovascular disease follow strong seasonal and geographical patterns . “There is a strong seasonal pattern in seeking cardiovascular health information on Google, with higher search activity during winter months, according to a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Investigators also found that US states with higher deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) have higher CVD-related search volumes compared with regions with lower CVD mortality. By integrating artificial intelligence in healthcare research, the data generated by online cardiovascular health searches could be leveraged in the future to estimate disease activity in the community.”

Techdirt: There’s A Reason That Misleading Claims Of Bias In Search And Social Media Enjoy Such Traction. “President Trump’s tweets charging that Google search results are biased, against him and against conservatives, are the loudest and latest version of a growing attack on search engines and social media platforms. It is potent, and it’s almost certainly wrong. But it comes at an unfortunate time, just as a more thoughtful and substantive challenge to the impact of Silicon Valley tech companies has finally begun to emerge. If someone were truly concerned about free speech, news, and how platforms subtly reshape public participation, they would be engaging these deeper questions. But these simplistic and ill-informed claims of deliberate political bias are the wrong questions, and they risk undermining and crowding out the right ones. Trump’s charges against Google, Twitter, and Facebook reveal a basic misunderstanding of how search and social media work, and they continue to confuse ‘fake news’ with bad news, all in the service of scoring political points. However, even if these companies are not responsible for silencing conservative speech, they may be partly responsible for allowing this charge to gain purchase, by being so secretive for so long about how their algorithms and moderation policies work.” Good morning, Internet…

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