Scotland and Brexit, Kiowa Language, PDF Editing, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, November 12, 2018


The Ferret, and I’m not sure when these were released: The Brexit Papers. “In September 2018 The Ferret submitted more than 130 freedom of information (FoI) requests to Scottish public bodies to find out what measures they had taken to prepare for Brexit. This has produced more than 350 documents, which we’ve published below in a single, public, searchable archive.”


University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma: NASNTI Program Awarded Over $36,000 For Cultural Preservation, Financial Literacy Projects. “The Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions program at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma received over $36,000 for cultural preservation and financial literacy projects including a website to preserve and disseminate the Kiowa language, as well as develop financial literacy workshops tailored to the needs of Caddo and Grady county residents.


MakeUseOf: 5 Free PDF Editor Websites to Create, Fill, Annotate or Alter PDF Files. “PDF is the default file format for important documents. Whether it’s a form you need to fill or something you need others to read, these web apps will help you get everything done with a PDF, without ever installing any software. You probably interact with PDFs many times a week, or even every day. Since these files look the same on any device, we still rely on PDFs heavily.” The comments in this article note accurately that if you have a PDF with sensitive information on it, it’s poor security practice to just randomly upload it to a Web site you don’t have thorough knowledge of. But it’s been my experience that there are plenty of PDFs that are not sensitive and just need editing, which is why I’m posting this here.

Lifehacker: Get Real-Time Smoke Reports From the California Wildfires Using These Maps. “In addition to the obvious fire danger, all three fires are creating a substantial amount of smoke that can pose a health and safety risk to those who live nearby, even when that ‘nearby’ in a few hundred miles from where the fire is burning. In San Francisco, for instance, the smoke smell is overwhelming at points despite the fires being rather far away. Those with asthma and other breathing issues have also been advised to use face masks when they go outside and limited their exposure to the smoky air.”


TechCrunch: Bubble lets you create web applications with no coding experience . “Meet Bubble a bootstrapped startup that has been building a powerful service that lets you create a web application even if you don’t know how to code. Many small and big companies rely on Bubble for their website. I have to say I was quite skeptical when I first heard about Bubble. Many startups have already tried to make coding as easy as playing with Lego bricks. But it’s always frustratingly limited. Bubble is more powerful than your average website building service. It recreates all the major pillars of web programming in a visual interface.”

Ubergizmo: Restaurant Creates $10,000 Table Designed For Instagram. “While marketing efforts such as running advertisements on TV and newspapers and the internet is one of the ways that you can attract new customers, a new way for restaurants to draw customers to their establishments is by creating food that is ‘Instagrammable’, which is basically to say that these food items look so good in photos that it makes you want to visit. In fact a steakhouse called Boston Chops has taken it to the next level by spending $10,000 on a customized table that is designed to help Instagrammers make their food look especially tasty.”

Make Tech Easier: Browser Wars 2018: Microsoft Edge versus Google Chrome. “According to October 2018 figures, Google Chrome’s top position among browsers remains unchallenged. Another browser, Microsoft Edge, is winning rave reviews with its redesigned features and smoother navigation. But is Edge really the future of browsers as Microsoft would have us all believe? To find out, we pitted Edge against Chrome in a toe-to-toe contest to see which is the better browser.”

Quartz: Vietnam’s Lady Gaga is pressuring Facebook to stop complying with censorship laws. “Now 34 years old, Khoi is trying to use her celebrity to pressure Facebook to stop complying with, and instead push back against, government censorship. The singer said she became disenchanted with Vietnamese pop music because of how artists would censor themselves, leading her to spend time with the country’s dissident artists. One of them persuaded Khoi to use her platform to run as an independent candidate for Vietnam’s national assembly in 2016. She was eventually barred from the ballot, and used that publicity to get a sit down with then US president Barack Obama when he was in the country that year.”


Penn State News: IST researchers develop tool to expand deep learning into security domains. “Deep learning is a segment of artificial intelligence that focuses on algorithms that can learn the characteristics of text, images or sound from annotated examples provided to it. The team’s technique, named LEMNA, could help security analysts and machine-learning developers to establish trust in deep learning models by correctly identifying, explaining and correcting errors that the models make.”


Boing Boing: Researchers claim to have permanently neutralized ad-blocking’s most promising weapons. “Last year, Princeton researchers revealed a powerful new ad-blocking technique: perceptual ad-blocking uses a machine-learning model trained on images of pages with the ads identified to make predictions about which page elements are ads to block and which parts are not. However, a new paper from a group of Stanford and CISPA Helmholtz Center researchers reveals a powerful machine learning countermeasure that, they say, will permanently tilt the advantage toward advertisers and away from ad-blockers.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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