California Cropland Ownership, Trans-Atlantic Slave Voyages, Social Media, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, March 22, 2019


Berkeley: CalLands maps cropland ownership across California. “To build the CalLands’ interactive website, Luke Macaulay and Van Butsic — both assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialists based in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management — combined satellite-generated maps of land cover created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with publicly available land ownership records. Next, they anonymized ownership identity and pulled data from all 58 California counties to include parcels of land larger than five acres. The result is a database that features 543,495 privately-owned properties across the state, creating a data-rich map of crops and ownership boundary lines in every county.”


UCI News: UCI co-leads project adding 11,400 intra-American journeys to Slave Voyages database. “Blending the power of big data and history, an expanded and redesigned version of Slave Voyages – one of the most utilized resources in the digital humanities – is now available. Housing both trans-Atlantic and intra-American slave trade databases, the Slave Voyages website illuminates the ubiquity of the slave trade from the 16th century to the 19th century. A research team co-led by the University of California, Irvine focused on the intra-American database, adding 11,400 records on slave voyages within the Americas – stretching from Boston to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and involving both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.”

CNET: Facebook, YouTube called to meet lawmakers about New Zealand shooting video. “The US House Homeland Security Committee is asking CEOs from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft to prioritize the quick removal of violent terrorist content following posts about the New Zealand mosque shooting last week.”

TechCrunch: Patreon’s new fees are surprisingly low . “Patreon announced today that it was creating multiple pricing tiers for its membership service, with varying levels of features offered depending on price. The company will now offer a ‘Lite’ offering that charges a 5% commission, a ‘Pro’ offering at 8%, and a ‘Premium’ option at 12%, with discounted rates for existing founders.”

National Post: First artificial intelligence Google Doodle features Bach. “Google is celebrating composer Johann Sebastian Bach with its first artificial intelligence-powered Doodle. Thursday’s animated Google Doodle shows the composer playing an organ in celebration of his March 21, 1685, birthday under the old Julian calendar. It encourages users to compose their own two-measure melody.” I tried it and it was fun ( ) but the AI part took longer than I expected.


The Guardian: The Internet’s Dirtiest Secrets review – the human toll of detoxifying social media. “We don’t know the name of the woman haunted by images that still make her voice shake when she speaks of them. She is one of tens of thousands of moderators employed by companies in the Philippines, themselves hired by big tech firms, to purge social media platforms of the worst that humanity offers when you give it the chance. Like the rest of her colleagues, she could only speak without risk anonymously.”

New York Times: The New Social Network That Isn’t New at All. “My favorite new social network doesn’t incessantly spam me with notifications. When I post, I’m not bombarded with @mentions from bots and trolls. And after I use it, I don’t worry about ads following me around the web. That’s because my new social network is an email newsletter.”

The Verge: Facebook’s former chief security officer Alex Stamos on protecting content moderators. “Facebook’s former chief security officer Alex Stamos joined The Verge’s Casey Newton onstage at SXSW to discuss the difficult issues that plague Facebook and democracy. You can listen to their discussion in its entirety on The Vergecast right now. Below is a lightly edited excerpt from this interview between Stamos and Newton about how to better serve the mental health of content moderators.”


Reuters: Lithuanian pleads guilty in U.S. to massive fraud against Google, Facebook. “A Lithuanian man on Wednesday pleaded guilty to U.S. charges that he helped orchestrate a scheme to defraud Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google out of more than $100 million, federal prosecutors announced.”

Krebs on Security: Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain Text for Years. “Hundreds of millions of Facebook users had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by thousands of Facebook employees — in some cases going back to 2012, KrebsOnSecurity has learned. Facebook says an ongoing investigation has so far found no indication that employees have abused access to this data.” Un-freaking-believable.

Google Blog: Building a safer internet, one secure domain at a time. “HTTPS is a certificate that works just like the lock on your front door at home. By ‘locking’ your connection to a website, it helps prevent interception or alteration of content on the site you’re visiting. We want every website to have a lock on it. That’s why Google Registry created so you can understand the most direct steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe while browsing the internet.”


Creative Commons: CC Search: A New Vision, Strategy & Roadmap for 2019. “At the Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain at the Internet Archive, I teased a new product vision for CC Search that gets more specific than our ultimate goal of providing access to all 1.4 billion CC licensed and public domain works on the web. I’m pleased to present that refined vision, which is focused on building a product that promotes not just discovery, but reuse of openly-licensed and public domain works. We want your feedback in making it a reality.” Good morning, Internet…

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