Surgery Video, Google Drive, Podcasts, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, January 6, 2019


USC News: Innovators of USC: Doctors have an eye on GIBLIB, the ‘Netflix of medical education’. “Imagine a surgeon being able to watch multiple surgical procedures in 360 virtual reality in order to determine the best way to operate on their current patient. In the past, surgical videos were difficult to locate and often of poor quality, with many being filmed on a cellphone or through a surgical instrument’s video feed. Believing that medical professionals would be interested in studio-quality educational videos, USC alums Brian Conyer and co-founder Jihye Shin created GIBLIB, an online library of curated, on-demand educational videos in 4K or 360 virtual reality. It ain’t cheap, but considering the cost of other educational resources it’s not ridiculous.


How-To Geek: [Updated] Google Drive Has a Serious Spam Problem, But Google Says a Fix is Coming. “Google Drive’s sharing system is the problem. Since it doesn’t offer any sharing acceptance, all files and folders shared with your account are automatically available to you in Drive—they just show up. To make matters worse, if you only have ‘View’ permission, you can’t remove yourself from the share. It’s a mess. And to make matters even worse, this is far from a new problem, but Google still hasn’t done anything to fix it.” The article has been updated with a statement from Google saying it’s going to be fixed.

Lifehacker: See What Podcasts People Are Listening to Right Now. “Listen Notes, Lifehacker’s favorite podcast search engine, has a new real-time feed that shows you what podcasts its users are currently listening to. These people are streaming the podcasts on the site, not in their usual player, so this won’t tell you the most popular podcasts overall. In fact, while you’ll see a lot of popular shows, you’ll also discover stuff that would never show up on Google or Apple’s top charts.”


India Today: Angry Pixel user puts up anti-Google posters in town, slams company’s aftersales service. “With so many smartphones in a market the size of India, manufacturers struggle to keep up with a uniform after sales service for various models. Customers, therefore, often end up dissatisfied and expressing their displeasure against that particular brand on social media channels. However, some people, like Manu Aggarwal from Haryana for instance, think that there’s a better way to publicise their problem with a particular brand, i.e. through banners and billboards. Therefore, when Google failed to offer him an unsatisfactory service, he took to the real world to express his emotions for Google.”

The Verge: An economist explains what digital technology means for the future of popular culture. “Pirating remains a problem, and traditional gatekeepers aren’t as powerful as they once were. But revenue for recorded music is growing, and there are more books, movies, television, and music than ever before. In his new book Digital Renaissance: What Data and Economics Tell Us about the Future of Popular Culture (Princeton University Press), [Joel] Waldfogel argues that digital technologies haven’t killed creative industries, but they have created a renaissance of new cultural products that consumers like and that wouldn’t have made created otherwise.”

The Diplomat: YouTube Emerges as a New Tool for South Korean Whistleblowers. “It is an undeniable fact that YouTube has become a daily obsession for many people worldwide. The platform is used by 1.8 billion logged-in users each month, and that figure is only growing. In South Korea, however, YouTube is emerging as more than an entertainment hub. The video platform is becoming a new channel for whistleblowers.”

The American Bazaar: A casualty of the US government shutdown: American embassy Twitter, other social media accounts. “If you follow the Twitter handles of the US Embassy and the country’s four consulates in India and have missed seeing any new tweets from them on your timeline, do not think that the missions are still on an extended holiday mode.”


Associated Press: German politicians’ data posted online, govt probes source. “Personal data and documents on hundreds of German politicians and others have been posted online, and German cyber-defense experts were trying to figure out Friday how the information was obtained.”

The Register: Full frontal vulnerability: Photos can still trick, unlock Android mobes via facial recognition. “Smartphones have boasted facial recognition for some time, but tests in the Netherlands suggest it still falls short of properly securing many devices. The tests, conducted by the country’s Consumers Association, identified 42 smartphones out of 110 tested could be unlocked with only a high-quality photograph of the phone’s owner.”


Bellingcat: Heavy Rains in Hasakah: An Open-Source Analysis of Catastrophic Damage. “When the season of heavy rainfall began in war-torn Syria, the misery local residents and internally displaced persons (IDPs) have faced over the years was compounded by environmental setbacks. This open-source monitoring blog of the situation in north eastern Syria, currently controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), will look how the rains in the area have impacted the living and working conditions of civilians in local communities and IDP camps. The information available is based solely on remote sensing and open source information collected over the period of November and December 2018.”

Science: Will the world embrace Plan S, the radical proposal to mandate open access to science papers?. “How far will Plan S spread? Since the September 2018 launch of the Europe-backed program to mandate immediate open access (OA) to scientific literature, 16 funders in 13 countries have signed on. That’s still far shy of Plan S’s ambition: to convince the world’s major research funders to require immediate OA to all published papers stemming from their grants. Whether it will reach that goal depends in part on details that remain to be settled, including a cap on the author charges that funders will pay for OA publication. But the plan has gained momentum: In December 2018, China stunned many by expressing strong support for Plan S. This month, a national funding agency in Africa is expected to join, possibly followed by a second U.S. funder. Others around the world are considering whether to sign on.”

Quartz: 150 years ago, a philosopher showed why it’s pointless to start arguments on the internet. “Wildly inaccurate facts and spurious arguments are unavoidable features of social media. Yet no matter how infuriatingly wrong someone is, or just how much counter-evidence you have at your disposal, starting arguments on the internet rarely gets anyone to change their mind. Nearly a century-and-a-half ago, British philosopher John Stuart Mill explained, in a few clear sentences, why certain arguments simply won’t go anywhere. As historian Robert Saunders notes, Mill’s analysis neatly applies to heated and futile internet debates.” Good morning, Internet…

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