NOTE: You may have noticed that the publishing schedule for last several days has been erratic, and not the 5AM-ish / 2PM-ish schedule I prefer. It’s because we took one of our two cats to the vet Friday and after a long weekend of her being in the hospital found out she has cancer. She’s only seven so this was a bit of a shock. Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot they can do.
Her quality of life is currently excellent, however, so we brought her home Monday for what I guess you would call kitty hospice. The extra time I have to devote to her medications and general care (not to mention my ceaseless blubbering because I am not handling this well) is getting things out of whack. So if your Morning Buzz turns up at 1pm and the Afternoon Buzz turns up at 1am, it’s my fault. I hope she lives long enough that her care gets routine and I get back on track.
If you have an animal friend at home, give them an extra hug tonight — even a treat if you’re feeling it — and tell ’em it’s from me and my little pal Eggo.
And now the news.
National Institute on Aging: A Wealth of Shared Data, Specimens for Aging Research . “As part of NIA’s mission, we conduct and support various longitudinal and clinical studies on aging that generate a vast collection of biospecimens and related phenotypic and clinical data. When these grants end, it is often hard to maintain such collections with no support for them. And sometimes the cost of maintaining and distributing these resources taxes even funded awards. To address this issue, we are pleased to announce the establishment of the AgingResearchBiobank, a central biorepository to provide a state-of-the-art inventory system for the storage and distribution of these collections to the broader scientific community.”
TWEAKS AND UPDATES
CNET: Americans were slammed with more than 26 billion robocalls last year. “If you got a call from a number you didn’t recognize last year (odds are, you got a few of those) it was likely part of the 26.3 billion robocalls made in the US in 2018, according to a report from Hiya. That breaks down to an average of 10 monthly calls per person.” I was at my grandmother’s today and just in that period of time she got three. So this seems low.
BBC: Facebook users continue to grow despite privacy scandals. “Facebook users have continued to rise despite a series of data privacy scandals and criticism over its attempt to stem toxic content. The social media giant said the number of people who logged into its site at least once a month jumped 9% last year to 2.32 billion people.”
Neowin: Google+ is shutting down on April 2, APIs to stop working in March. “In October of last year, Google revealed that it had leaked its users’ personal data and that it had decided to shut down Google+ in August 2019 as a consequence. Then, in December, another security issue involving an API bug caused the Mountain View giant to kill off the social network even sooner – in April. Until now, it wasn’t clear when exactly the service would bid its farewell to consumers, but Google announced that today.”
Search Engine Journal: Google Chrome to Warn Users About Impostor Sites With Lookalike URLs. “Google will be implementing a new warning in its Chrome browser alerting users when they’re visiting a possible impostor website. An impostor site is one with a URL that looks like the URL of a more established website.”
AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
The Verge: These YouTubers are owed $1.7 million, and they’re probably never going to get it. “A group of approximately 50 YouTube creators allegedly owed more than $1.7 million following the collapse of network Defy Media are unlikely to see that money. Ally Bank, one of Defy Media’s financial backers, tweeted a statement on January 25th following a video from popular YouTube creator Matthew ‘MatPat’ Patrick asking Ally to give him and other YouTube creators the money they’re owed by Defy.”
SECURITY & LEGAL
Data management giant Rubrik leaked a massive database of client data. “A server security lapse has exposed a massive database of customer information belonging to Rubrik, an IT security and cloud data management giant. The company pulled the server offline Tuesday within an hour of TechCrunch alerting the company, after the data was found by security researcher Oliver Hough. The exposed server wasn’t protected with a password, allowing access to anyone who knew where to find the server.” This was an IT security company? WOW.
The Intercept: Prisons Across The U.S. Are Quietly Building Databases Of Incarcerated People’s Voice Prints. “In New York and other states across the country, authorities are acquiring technology to extract and digitize the voices of incarcerated people into unique biometric signatures, known as voice prints. Prison authorities have quietly enrolled hundreds of thousands of incarcerated people’s voice prints into large-scale biometric databases. Computer algorithms then draw on these databases to identify the voices taking part in a call and to search for other calls in which the voices of interest are detected. Some programs, like New York’s, even analyze the voices of call recipients outside prisons to track which outsiders speak to multiple prisoners regularly.”
RESEARCH & OPINION
Techdirt: Deep Fakes: Let’s Not Go Off The Deep End. “Much of the fear of deep fakes stems from the assumption that this is a fundamentally new, game-changing technology that society has not faced before. But deep fakes are really nothing new; history is littered with deceptive practices — from Hannibal’s fake war camp to Will Rogers’ too-real impersonation of President Truman to Stalin’s disappearing of enemies from photographs. And society’s reaction to another recent technological tool of media deception — digital photo editing and Photoshop — teaches important lessons that provide insight into deep fakes’ likely impact on society.”
UVA Today: After Court Case, UVA Students’ Tool Could Help Veterans Get Key Benefits. “How can families – and the VA officials assessing their claims – prove that a particular ship was in the Agent Orange exposure zone, defined by the legislation as within 12 nautical miles of a boundary off the coast of Vietnam Currently, that process involves looking through handwritten deck logs or other archived documents to prove eligibility. It’s a time-consuming process for veterans, their families and the VA. That’s where Brian Harris, Jackson Sutherland, Alexi Himarios and Matthew Jacobs come in. They knew there had to be a better way.” Good evening, Internet…
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