afternoonbuzz

Amateur Astronomers, Google Pixel, Windows 10, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, November 20, 2018

NEW RESOURCES

Sky & Telescope: Amateur Planet Hunters Have a New Online Resource. “Searching for planets outside our solar system might seem like a task best left to the pros. But amateurs have quite a bit to contribute as well. That’s the impetus for a new online database for collecting and archiving amateur exoplanet observations. The database, managed by the non-profit American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), will provide a central hub for the long-term monitoring that is essential for refining the orbits and properties of known exoplanets as well as looking for hints of worlds that have yet to be discovered.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Engadget: Pixel 3 bug disables the phone’s camera. “Pixel 3 owners are dealing with another software glitch, and this one could prove to be a showstopper for some. Owners on Google’s forums, Reddit and elsewhere (including an Engadget staff family member) report a flaw that prevents them from using the Pixel 3’s official camera app.”

How-To Geek: Windows 10’s October Update Breaks Apple’s iCloud. “Windows 10’s October 2018 Update has more bugs. Microsoft won’t offer the update if you have iCloud installed, and Apple won’t let you install iCloud if you’ve already upgraded. You’ll also have trouble if you have F5 VPN software installed.”

Business Insider: Google is updating Maps — and positioning it as a B2C app . “Google launched a slew of new features in its Google My Business app last week in an effort to help businesses better engage with consumers through Google Maps.”

USEFUL STUFF

Quartz: What’s the best way to learn the programming language R? (Preferably, for free). “As data becomes an ever larger part of work, for many people spreadsheets just are not enough. Programs like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are powerful tools, but they have limitations in terms of the amount of data you can work with, the kind of analyses you can do, and the types of charts you can make. When data users reach these limitations, the obvious next step is learning a programming language.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Ars Technica: Russia’s Cozy Bear comes out of hiding with post-election spear-phishing blitz. “Attackers suspected of working for the Russian government masqueraded as a US State Department official in an attempt to infect dozens of organizations in government, military, defense contracting, media, and other industries, researchers from security firm FireEye warned on Monday.”

Lifehacker: Don’t Fall For That ‘Secret Sister’ Facebook Scam. “This week a bunch of invitations started popping up again for a ‘Secret Sister’ holiday gift exchange. You’ve probably seen the same, or something similar, pop up in yours as well. In case you haven’t realized: it’s a scam. The Better Business Bureau issued a warning against the exchange earlier this week.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Nieman Lab: If you hate the media, you’re more likely to be fooled by a fake headline. “Don’t like the media? Think it’s all ‘lies’ or ‘fake’? Then you’re probably not as good at reading the news as your less perpetually annoyed peers. That’s one finding from a new study from the News Co/Lab at Arizona State, in collaboration with the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas. Those who have negative opinions of the news media are less likely to spot a fake headline, less likely to differentiate between news and opinion — but more confident in their ability to find the information they need online.”

Nature: How Facebook and Twitter could be the next disruptive force in clinical trials. “Amber Sapp was browsing the Internet late one night in August when she happened to find out that her 12-year-old son’s clinical trial had failed…. The thought of wasting Garrett’s limited time with a failed trial was hard enough. The news was all the more disturbing because it didn’t come from the trial organizers, but through a Facebook post from another parent.”

The Next Web: Breakthrough neural network paves the way for quantum AI . “Italian researchers recently developed the first functioning quantum neural network by running a special algorithm on an actual quantum computer.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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