Pennsylvania Bridges, Windows 10 Updates, Fake News, More: Sunday Buzz, October 7, 2018


The Citizens’ Voice: PennDOT’s online map shows condition of area bridges. “About a quarter of the 668 state and locally owned bridges in Luzerne County are in poor condition, according to a new online tool from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.”


ZDNet: Microsoft pulls Windows 10 October Update (version 1809). “Microsoft has paused the rollout of Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809), the latest version of the Windows 10 operating system, which Microsoft released this week, on Tuesday, October 2. In a support document updated today, October 6, the Redmond-based OS maker said it took this decision after users complained that v1809 had deleted files after the update.”

Washington Post: Fake-news ecosystem still thrives, two years after the 2016 election, new report says . “With the congressional midterm elections just weeks away, the report prepared for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which supports research on journalism, the arts and other subjects, found that more than 80 percent of the Twitter accounts that it says frequently shared links to phony news reports during the 2016 election remain active. As a group, they publish more than a million tweets in a typical day.”

CNET: Firefox to support Google’s WebP image format for a faster web. “Firefox has joined Google’s WebP party, another endorsement for the internet giant’s effort to speed up the web with a better image format.”


MakeUseOf: 5 Easy Ways to Remove Backgrounds From Images Without Specialized Software. “Users might want to remove the background from an image for different reasons. If you’re selling things online, creating presentations, or even making collages, you can remove the background to highlight the object of the photo or to remove the distracting details. Instead of trying to accurately enclose a region with the Lasso or Magic Wand tools in Photoshop, you can easily remove the background with these web apps. The bonus being they’re either free or affordable for most people.”

Noupe: 5 Free JPG to PDF Converters: Combine Images Easily Into PDFs. “After a little digging, we found some of the best and, more importantly, free websites out there that can turn images into PDF files seamlessly, regardless of whether you’re using a macOS or Windows operating system. The websites that we’ve found can create PDF files without compromising the quality of the original images.” Has steps for using each one, which is nice.


The Wire: Internet Taxes Could Stifle Africa’s Free and Vibrant Social Media. “The government of Benin has cancelled a recent decree that imposed a tax on users of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. Known as ‘over-the-top’ platforms, they can deliver media content directly to users without using traditional telecommunications infrastructure such as terrestrial broadcast or satellite signals. Local and international activists protested against the decree in Benin arguing that it was a blatant attack on the freedom of expression and net neutrality.”

Ars Technica: Here are the top ways people die while taking selfies and “being cool”. “A group of health researchers in India have tried to tally the death toll from selfie taking, counting 259 deaths worldwide from October 2011 to November 2017. In doing so, they also caught a blurry glimpse of the leading ways in which people perish during dicey photo ops. The top three were drowning, transportation related (mostly being hit by trains), and falling off of things, such as cliff edges.”

France24: Indonesia battles fake news after quake-tsunami disaster. ” Indonesia has cracked down on ‘fake news’ about its deadly quake-tsunami disaster, with police arresting nine people for spreading hoaxes in a bid to prevent further panic spreading among survivors. False reports claiming that another huge quake was about to hit Sulawesi island — which is already reeling from last Friday’s double tragedy that has killed over 1,400 people — have circulated online in recent days.”


Bloomberg Quint: Google Settles Age-Bias Lawsuit for Undisclosed Amount. “Google agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to settle the claims of job applicants who said the company discriminated against them on the basis of age. Daniel Low, a lawyer for the applicants age 40 and older, said the parties agreed to a dollar amount during a settlement conference Friday but agreed to keep the amount confidential until it is approved by the court.”


Phys .org: Harmless science to heal artworks. “A newly developed ‘diagnostic kit’ that allows to address if an artwork is showing symptoms of deterioration and premature ageing, detecting degradation markers, is presented in the papers published by the group led by Principal Investigator Massimo Lazzari at CiQUS (Center for the research on Biological Chemistry and Molecular Materials at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain). The most relevant feature of the kit is the noninvasiveness of the sampling, so that there is no harm for the artwork. ”

The Guardian: Font of all knowledge? Researchers develop typeface they say can boost memory. “Australian researchers say they have developed a new tool that could help students cramming for exams – a font that helps the reader remember information. Melbourne-based RMIT University’s behavioural business lab and design school teamed up to create ‘Sans Forgetica’, which they say uses psychological and design theories to aid memory retention.” Good morning, Internet…

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