Disaster Buyouts, Hyperlink Data, Political Advertising, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, March 5, 2019


NPR: Search The Thousands of Disaster Buyouts FEMA Didn’t Want You To See. “NPR analyzed records from a Federal Emergency Management Agency database of more than 40,000 property acquisitions, or ‘buyouts,’ funded by the agency from 1989 through 2017. The program buys homes from eligible homeowners who opt in. It then turns those lots into open space.”

Boing Boing: Open dataset of 1.78b links from the public web, 2016-2019. “GDELT, a digital news monitoring service backed by Google Jigsaw, has released a massive, open set of linking data, containing 1.78 billion links in CSV, with four fields for each link: ‘FromSite,ToSite,NumDays,NumLinks.'”


Reuters: Google plans to ban political ads before Canada election. “Alphabet Inc’s Google will ban political advertising on its platform before the Canadian federal election, after the country introduced stringent transparency rules. The Bill C-76, which was passed in December, requires online platforms to keep a registry of all political and partisan advertisements they directly or indirectly publish.”

TechCrunch: After more than 10 years, Flickr frees its login system from Yahoo . “Oh joy, oh rapture, unsubdued, Flickr’s login is no longer tied to Yahoo. The photo-sharing platform announced today that it will roll out a new system to members over the next few weeks that doesn’t require a Yahoo ID. This is welcome news to long-time Flickr users who are still bitter over the requirement, introduced in 2007, two years after Yahoo acquired Flickr, that forced everyone to use Yahoo credentials to sign in.”


WVNews: Gov. Justice announces new Facebook fiber-optic network project. “Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday that a Facebook subsidiary plans to build a fiber-optic network across the state, stretching from Virginia to Ohio. The project, which should begin sometime this year, will stretch about 275 miles across West Virginia. The project will take about a year and a half to two years to complete. It will be a part of a larger, 600-mile ‘long-haul’ project.”

Dazed: The Instagram shining a light on trans masc history and culture. “‘Before I started this research, I could barely think of any historic or pop cultural trans masculine figures,’ admits artist and bookmaker Izzy Kroese, … While individuals like spoken word poet Kai Isaiah Jamal, artist Chella Man, and upcoming model Krow are paving the way for greater visibility, the trans masculine experience and its history are still largely absent from the media.”

Suburban Times: Tacoma’s Shanaman Sports Museum receives multiple grants to bolster online archives. “The Ben B. Cheney Foundation recently approved a $9,000 grant to support writing of descriptions for thousands of historical photos, game programs and other artifacts… Additionally, a $5,000 grant from the Pierce County Historic Preservation Society and a grant from Tacoma South Sound Sports, will help cover the project’s expenses as sportswriters are already at work adding more details to the digital history.”


The Verge: Over 300 million Chinese private messages were left exposed online. “Over 300 million private messages from Chinese users on popular messaging apps were sitting exposed on the internet on Saturday, according to security researcher Victor Gevers, who works for the nonprofit organization GDI. The database of 364 million records left users’ personal identities searchable to anyone who found the IP address, as reported by the Financial Times.”

Engadget: US could soon end mass phone surveillance program exposed by Snowden. “The US government might put an end to the controversial NSA phone surveillance program Edward Snowden exposed by the end of 2019. Republican congressional national security adviser Luke Murry revealed during a Lawfare podcast that Congress might not renew the USA Freedom Act, which authorizes the agency’s call data bulk collection, when it expires later this year. He also said that the NSA hasn’t even been using the system for the past six months, putting into question the agency’s previous claim that data collection is vital to national security.”


CNET: The World Wide Web at 30 feels a lot like the early days. “In the middle of an industry obsessed with youth, I don’t often like to admit it, but my first email address came in the form of an undergraduate VAX (virtual address extension) account. I recall that email address being at least partly comprised of my social security number, which gives you an idea of the state of online security at the time.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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