Inventions, Facebook Pages, Anti-Vaxxers, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, March 7, 2019


Google Blog: Explore millennia of human inventions in one exhibition. “Today, we’re celebrating the objects dreamt up and created by inventors, scientists and dreamers. Thanks to over 110 institutions, as well as dedicated curators and archivists from 23 countries around the world, you can explore a millennia of human progress in Once Upon a Try, now available on Google Arts and Culture. With over 400 interactive collections, it’s the largest online exhibition about inventions and discoveries ever created.”


CNET: Facebook pages get face-lift with new page layout design. “If you think your Facebook page looks a bit different today, you’re not alone. The social networking giant appears to have rolled out a new page design on Tuesday, eschewing the previous three-column layout for one that incorporates only two. On the right is static information about the page, while the left side contains the feed of recent posts.”

UPI: Social media platforms move to stem vaccine misinformation. “Doubts about vaccines, fueled by inaccurate information, could be fracturing the benefits of herd immunity brought on by vaccine acceptance, experts say. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube have been used to spread misinformation about the perceived dangers of getting immunized and have started taking action to stem it.”


TorrentFreak: As More Universities ‘Ditch’ Elsevier, Sci-Hub Blossoms. “The University of California (UC) is the latest institution to cancel its subscription to leading academic publisher Elsevier. UC cites high costs and the lack of open access research among the reasons. This likely means an increase in traffic for Sci-Hub, the site that’s often referred to referred to as ‘The Pirate Bay for Science’, which may actually play a bigger role than some suspect.”

Ars Technica: China’s “democracy” includes mandatory apps, mass chat surveillance. “While China’s growth as a surveillance state has been well-documented, the degree to which the Chinese leadership uses digital tools to shape the national political landscape and to control Chinese citizens has grown even further recently. That’s because authorities have been tapping directly into Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members’ and other Chinese citizens’ online activities and social media profiles.”

Wired: How Amazon’s Algorithms Curated a Dystopian Bookstore. “Once relegated to tabloids and web forums, health misinformation and conspiracies have found a new megaphone in the curation engines that power massive platforms like Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Search, trending, and recommendation algorithms can be gamed to make fringe ideas appear mainstream. This is compounded by an asymmetry of passion that leads truther communities to create prolific amounts of content, resulting in a greater amount available for algorithms to serve up … and, it seems, resulting in real-world consequences.”

Apt 613: Maps and data freedom: How one man wants to put historic maps of Ottawa… on the map. “With a little more effort, Bryan [Frankfurth] believes, all this kind of information could be open and transparent. As part this, he has started Free the Pixels, an initiative to encourage Library and Archives to make Canada’s records of its collective history and culture to become more accessible for everyone, as part of the government’s commitment to open data and information. Bryan believes this will not only make it easier for Canadians to learn and enjoy about their own history, but it would also open up opportunities for research, innovation, and creativity.”


Business Wire: Patterson Belknap Launches False Advertising Blog (PRESS RELEASE). “Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP today announced the launch of Misbranded, a blog covering false advertising litigation from the industry perspective, with an emphasis on FDA-regulated products: foods/beverages, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and dietary supplements.

Bleeping Computer: Vulnerable Docker Hosts Actively Abused in Cryptojacking Campaigns. “Hundreds of vulnerable and exposed Docker hosts are being abused in cryptojacking campaigns after being compromised with the help of exploits designed to take advantage of the CVE-2019-5736 runc vulnerability discovered last month.”

ZDNet: Saudi caller ID app leaves data of 5+ million users in unsecured MongoDB server. “Dalil, an Android app that provides caller ID services similar to Truecaller but for Saudi and other Arabian users, has been leaking user data for a week because of a MongoDB database that has been left accessible online without a password.”

CNN: FBI Director Wray says foreign influence campaigns targeting US have continued ‘virtually unabated’. “FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday that while the US had not seen a “material impact on election infrastructure” from foreign adversaries in the recent midterm elections, foreign influence campaigns pitting Americans against each other on social media have continued ‘virtually unabated.'”


Pew (PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW): What our transition to online polling means for decades of phone survey trends. “The fact that many public opinion surveys today are conducted online is no secret to avid poll watchers. What is not well known, however, is what this migration to online polling means for the country’s trove of data documenting American public opinion over the past four decades, on issues ranging from abortion and immigration to race relations and military interventions. Specifically, can pollsters just add new online results to a long chain of phone survey results, or is this an apples-to-oranges situation that requires us to essentially throw out the historical data and start anew?” Good morning, Internet…

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