Fake Airbnb, Black History Month, Oregon Wine History, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, February 21, 2019


I’m not sure how useful this is, but it’s fascinating. Futurism: This Site Uses Deep Learning to Generate Fake Airbnb Listings. “A new website called This Airbnb Does Not Exist uses machine learning to whip up plausible-yet-slightly-incoherent apartment listings — from a description to ersatz photos of the interior. The site’s creator, Christopher Schmidt, was inspired by This Person Does Not Exist, another recent viral site that uses a neural network to generate photos of nonexistent people. Schmidt trained This Airbnb Does Not Exist’s image generator using a dataset of apartment interiors and its text generator using actual Airbnb listings. The result: fully furnished figments of the digital imagination.” Also gloriously weird.

CNET: Google Earth offers interactive journey in honor of Black History Month. “Google wants you to learn more about how black culture has shaped American history. Google Earth has made an interactive map in honor of Black History Month in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University. The journey shines light on how black history has shaped the American experience in areas like advocacy, business, film, TV, education and technology.”

Linfield College: Oregon Wine History Archive debuts new projects . “The Oregon Wine History Archive (OWHA) at Linfield College has three new projects covering various aspects of Oregon winemaking and winemakers available on its website to the general public. The first is a series of themed oral history videos showcasing common themes in the Oregon wine industry. The series consists of 209 videos on 26 different topics, such as ‘Advice to Newcomers,’ ‘All About Pinot Noir’ and ‘Oregon Wine’s Pioneer Spirit.’ The videos were funded by the Oregon Wine Board, Oregon Heritage Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust, and are freely available to promote the wine industry. ”


TechCrunch: YouTube revamps its strike system to include a one-time warning, consistent penalties. “YouTube today announced a significant change to its strike system — the penalty system used when YouTube’s reviewers identify a video has violated the site’s Community Guidelines. These strikes could be issued against videos containing nudity or sexual content, violent or graphic content, harmful or dangerous content, hateful content, threats, spam, scams or misleading metadata. In the past, YouTube’s penalties have been criticized for being unevenly applied and for being less than transparent — something YouTube now wants to change.” This is a nice idea, but wasn’t it just in the past week that YouTube banned channels playing Pokemon Go because it was accidentally flagged as salacious content? Oh yeah, it was February 18.

Bloomberg Quint: Google Takes New Policy Approach Amid Growing Global Threats. “Alphabet Inc.’s Google is reorganizing its approach to global policy, including the addition of resources to emerging markets, according to a person familiar with the moves, which come as the internet giant faces new threats and regulations around the world. In an internal email, the company’s new global policy chief, Karan Bhatia, described the reorganization as a reaction to policy makers who are increasingly empowered to regulate the company’s core businesses, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel decisions.”


MakeUseOf: How to Download Periscope Videos. “Periscope is one of the most widely adopted live streaming services. Whether you use it for broadcasting events or something more personal, the Twitter-owned platform is a solid option. Unfortunately, Periscope is far from perfect. It can be unreliable during streams and, more importantly, there’s no obvious way to download Periscope videos for offline viewing. However, there are some third-party alternatives available to help you download Periscope broadcasts. And in this article we’ll show you the best ways to download Periscope videos.”


The Irrawaddy: Archivist Salvages Myanmar’s Neglected Photographic History. “Austrian photographer and archivist Lukas Birk collects vintage images by local photographers and exhibits them with the aim of reinterpreting Myanmar’s history and reviving the stories told by photographers of bygone eras. His major project, the Myanmar Photo Archive, is an ongoing labor of love comprising more than 20,000 images so far. Lukas is himself a photographer but has devoted the past decade to working on historical research in various countries. He started his Myanmar project in 2015 after learning of the country’s rich photographic history.” An online archive is in the works.

Ars Technica: Vox lawyers briefly censored YouTubers who mocked The Verge’s bad PC build advice. “Last week, The Verge got a reminder about the power of the Streisand effect after its lawyers issued copyright takedown requests for two YouTube videos that criticized—and heavily excerpted—a video by The Verge. Each takedown came with a copyright ‘strike.’ It was a big deal for the creators of the videos, because three ‘strikes’ in a 90-day period are enough to get a YouTuber permanently banned from the platform.” After the description I now kind of lowkey want to see the video.

ABC News (Australia): Why large swathes of countries are censored on Google Maps. “From self-driving cars to smart bins, global satellite positioning (GPS) is fundamentally changing the world around us, but as more of Earth becomes accessible from our keyboards, there are a number of groups who want to swat prying eyes away.”


Business Insider: Google says the built-in microphone it never told Nest users about was ‘never supposed to be a secret’. “In early February, Google announced that its home security and alarm system Nest Secure would be getting an update. Users, the company said, could now enable its virtual-assistant technology, Google Assistant. The problem: Nest users didn’t know a microphone existed on their security device to begin with.”

The Register: Git money, git paid: GitHub waves larger wads of dollar bills to tempt bug hunters . “Social code storage biz GitHub, now a ward of Microsoft, on Tuesday divulged plans to make itself more attractive to hackers by flashing larger sums of cash and offering better indemnity.”


WARC: Internet in decline beyond Google and Facebook. “Total internet advertising spend – including desktop, mobile, and tablet – will decline by 7.2% this year, if you take the Google and Facebook ‘duopoly’ out of the equation…. Combined, the duopoly’s share of the global online ad market is expected to rise to 61.4% (up from 56.4% in 2018), with combined ad income forecast to reach $176.4 billion – an increase of 22%.” Good morning, Internet…

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