Los Angeles Culture, London Archaeology, Walt Mossberg, More: Wednesday ResearchBuzz, December 19, 2018


New-to-me, from L.A. Taco: Vintage L.A. Forever: This Archivist Is Preserving Los Angeles Pop History In A Massive Digital Archive. “Before he started preserving vintage Los Angeles, J. J. Englender visualized his life as a vintage movie montage. When he was 22, he got on a motorcycle in Venice Beach, hit the clutch, turned the throttle, and rolled right onto a 405 traffic jam. ‘I envisioned it being more of a cinematic journey across the vast landscapes and meeting all sorts of people, a la Easy Rider meets Vanishing Point,’ Englender told L.A. Taco…. Today, Englender is a cultural archivist, which means he keeps popular history alive in the form of a massive digital archive – like this collection of LA Weekly covers – known as ADSAUSAGE. The eclectic collection includes a lot of defunct L.A. publications, vintage car ads, fashion catalogs, and more.”

Bloomberg: New Digital Archive Preserves Memories of London’s Greatest Archaeological Discovery. “In 1954, the chance discovery of the remains of a Roman temple to the God Mithras in the rubble of post-war London captured public imagination, with tens of thousands of visitors flocking to the site to marvel at the remains. Today – one year after the restored temple was re-opened to the public at London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE – a new digital archive published by Bloomberg and MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) invites the public to explore first-hand accounts of what it was like to be part of London’s greatest archaeological discovery.”


Mashable: Veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg quits Facebook, because yeah. “Facebook will be losing yet another prominent user: Walt Mossberg, one of the most respected technology journalists of our era, said that he will delete his account at the end of this year. The former Wall Street Journal, Verge, and Recode writer announced on Facebook his Facebook and Messenger accounts will be deactivated ‘around the end of the year’ (or in other words, any day now) and he will no longer be posting content on the social network.”

CNET: Google’s China search project gets stung by confrontation over data. “Google’s Dragonfly project, an effort to bring a censored search engine to China, reportedly took a major blow after an internal confrontation over data privacy, according to a report Monday by The Intercept.”

AdWeek: 6.2 Million-Plus Accounts Were Reported for Violating the Twitter Rules in the First Half of 2018. “Twitter released its 13th biannual Transparency Report, covering the first six months of 2018 and, for the first time, the social network shared data on enforcement of the Twitter Rules and platform manipulation. The new Twitter Rules enforcement section covers six topics: abuse, hateful conduct, private information, child sexual exploitation, sensitive media and violent threats.”

TechCrunch: The Google Assistant can now alert you of potential flight delays . “If you’re an experienced traveler, you know that plenty of your delays are due to your plane being stuck somewhere else or because the weather at your local or arrival airport isn’t ideal (I’m looking at you, fogged-in SFO in the morning). So you also know to check on your incoming flight, even when the airline tells you everything is fine, and the FAA’s airspace status pages. But maybe you are not a frequent flier (be glad and rejoice) or don’t care to go through that process. In that case, you’ll be happy to hear that Google today announced that its Assistant will soon proactively notify you on your phone when its algorithms predict that your flight will be late.”


Slash Gear: This new tool reveals if your Facebook photos were exposed. “Facebook has launched a tool allowing users to check if they were among the 6.8 million people whose private photos may have been exposed to third-party apps, the latest in the social network’s ongoing series of data lapses. News of the security goof broke last week, with Facebook admitting that its photo API had been giving much greater access to user images than intended – including even photos that had never been shared.”


New York Times: Voter Suppression and Racial Targeting: In Facebook’s and Twitter’s Words. “A report submitted to a Senate committee about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election says that social media companies made misleading or evasive claims about whether the efforts tried to discourage voting or targeted African-Americans on their platforms.”

Digital Trends: These activists are hacking housing problems in NYC using apps and data . “These do-gooders informally identify as the Housing Data Coalition and consist of a variety of principled hacktivists who are building easy-to-use, intuitive tools that employ data as a weapon to combat illicit and unethical housing practices in a city that houses nearly 9 million people. They call their tools ‘civic technology’ and employ their skills in service of the people, not the landlords who prey on vulnerable populations.”


Ars Technica: Archaeologists reconstruct pre-Columbian temple with 3D-printed blocks. “The unfinished temple in a southern valley of the Lake Titicaca Basin in modern-day Bolivia has been a mystery for at least 500 years. Now known as the Pumapunku—’Door of the Jaguar’ in the Quechua language—the complex stone structure is part of a sprawling complex of pyramids, plazas, and platforms built by a pre-Columbian culture we now call the Tiwanaku. Construction began around 500 CE and proceeded off and on, in phases, over the next few centuries until the Tiwanaku left the site around 900 or 1000 CE.”

Route Fifty: Crowdsourcing King Tides to Better Understand Rising Sea Levels. “King tides are especially high tides that are amplified by astronomical events including the perihelion, when the Sun is closest to Earth in its orbit in early January. In low-lying coastal cities, like Miami Beach, Florida and Norfolk, Virginia, the highest tides of the year can bring flooding and give planners, local officials and the public a good opportunity to measure the incremental impacts of a changing climate. But like all tides, they’re also influenced by local topography. Washington state has more than 3,300 miles of coastline, which includes the various islands and inlets that comprise Puget Sound and its adjacent waterways.”

Arab News: How social media evolved from enabler to disruptor . “Such open spaces for unlimited, unhindered and mostly unregulated interaction offer mouthwatering opportunities for malicious actors to manipulate minds and hearts. In the new age of information wars, technology has made the manipulation and fabrication of content simple, and some users of the social networks dramatically amplify falsehoods and spread them like wildfires, unchecked and unstoppable. It is not only terrorist groups that use social media to propagate their propaganda; faceless state-sponsored groups have entered the game at a more sophisticated level.” Good morning, Internet…

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