Firefox, Machine Learning Tools, Drawing Software, More: Monday Evening ResearchBuzz, January 21, 2019


ZDNet: Firefox to remove misleading button after months of complaints. “After months of user complaints, Mozilla will remove a misleading “dark pattern” from its page screenshot utility. The problematic feature is the ‘Save’ button that appears when Firefox users take a screenshot. The issue is that the Save button doesn’t save the screenshot to the PC, as most users would naturally expect, but uploads the image to a Mozilla server.”


Analytics India: 15 Machine Learning Tools For ML Enthusiasts To Hone Their Skills. “Machine learning has grown to be one of the hottest job markets in India with tech giants and startups poring billions to this emerging field. Given the slew of opportunities that it has opened up, both fresh IT graduate and experienced enthusiast are reaching out to learn more about coding and various programming languages to set a better foot in the ML field. In the midst of this buzz, there are numerous non-programmers who don’t exactly know how to code and yet want to delve into machine learning and stay abreast of this field. In this article, we list 15 such machine learning tools for those who have a rough hand in programming.”

Digital Trends: The best free drawing software. “…Adobe’s popular titles aren’t your only options. The following solutions are highly competitive with Illustrator and Photoshop, but don’t break the bank. They are backed by a community of developers who believe you should have the best tools possible through an open-source platform.”

Lifehacker: Remove All The Ads and Sponsored Products From Amazon With This Extension. “Amazon Lite is a Chrome extension that removes all of the ads, sponsored products and clutter from the site, allowing you to make a beeline to the thing you actually came to the site to buy.”


VietnamPlus: Localities told to collect data for national digital map. “All provinces and cities in the country need to finish collecting data on local addresses by the end of January so that Vietnam’s digital map project… can be operational by February. In a meeting held earlier this week to mark the start of nationwide data collection, Bui The Duy, deputy minister of science and technology, said one of the fundamental information databases for any country is a complete map with a full address list and associated geocodes.”

BuzzFeed News: People Are Renting Out Their Facebook Accounts In Exchange For Cash And Free Laptops. “The rental economy for Facebook accounts is yet another example of how people attempt to exploit the platform’s ad system in order to avoid bans and conceal who is really behind a campaign. With a rented account, a person can create a new page and quickly begin running ads. And even if Facebook eventually blocks those ads and bans the account, an ad launderer can move to another rented account and start over — without Facebook or anyone else knowing who they are.” This is not new, unfortunately. I wrote about a weird Craigslist ad almost three years ago.


Slate: Practice Hacktivism at Your Own Risk. “People launch cyberattacks for all sorts of different reasons—to steal money, to steal secrets, to show off their skills, to wreak havoc, but also for (what they consider to be) altruistic reasons. Martin Gottesfeld did it to draw attention to the case of Justina Pelletier, a Connecticut teenager who was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital in 2013 and kept in a psychiatric ward there, against her parents’ wishes, for more than a year. Pelletier was ultimately returned to her family, but before that, Gottesfeld launched distributed denial-of-service attacks on two Massachusetts medical facilities involved in Pelletier’s care.”


Phys .org: As shutdown drags on, scientists scramble to keep insects, plants and microbes alive. “Three days a week, Don Weber shows up to work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture campus in Beltsville, Md. The parking lot is empty and the hallways are dark. Like other federal facilities across the country, the lab is closed because of the partial government shutdown. ‘It’s like a ghost town,’ said Weber, an entomologist. But he has to perform an important task: feeding the hundreds of insects he raises in his lab, which keep hatching, mating and dying, oblivious to the political showdown in Washington, D.C.”

ScienceBlog: Research Reveals Strategies For Combating Science Misinformation. “Just as the scientific community was reaching a consensus on the dangerous reality of climate change, the partisan divide on climate change began to widen, a new study finds. That might seem like a paradox, but it’s also no coincidence, according to Justin Farrell, a professor of sociology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). It was around this time that an organized network, funded by organizations with a lot to lose in a transition to a low-carbon economy, started to coalesce around the goal of undercutting the legitimacy of climate science, Farrell said.”

Malta Today: Maltese scientists teach computer how to make airplanes land safely. “A research team at the University of Malta has developed a computer programme that can help aeroplanes land safely by learning from the data of thousands of flights from a NASA database. The research project Smart Flight Data Monitoring (SmartFDM) by the Institute of Aerospace Technologies uses machine learning techniques to analyse the recorded data and allow the computers to learn automatically – without much direct human intervention or assistance – high volumes of data at a fast rate.” Good evening, Internet…

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