Washington Health, Fake News, Facebook Messenger, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, March 23, 2019


University of Washington: New interactive mapping tool ranks Washington communities most impacted by environmental health risks. “For the first time, people in Washington state will be able to compare how their neighborhoods rank for environmental health risks with the help of a new interactive mapping tool. The Washington Environmental Health Disparities Map combines the most comprehensive data available to rank communities by the cumulative risk each faces from environmental factors that can contribute to inequitable health outcomes and unequal access to healthy communities.”


Fortune: Google Introduces New Tools to Help Journalists Fight Fake News. “A year into a $300 million push to support journalism, Google is introducing new tools to fight fake news. On Wednesday, the company unveiled a tool that helps news organizations tag stories that debunk misinformation so that Google News can more easily feature it. Another new tool provides journalists with a database of all stories with that tag so that they can find those fact-checking stories.”

CNET: Facebook Messenger rolls out threaded replies to help you follow conversations. “On Wednesday the company rolled out a message replies feature that lets users respond to a specific message in a chat. Long-press a message and hit Reply to quote it above your response so everyone’s clear what you’re responding to.”

The Register: Google sparks online outcry after its currency converter goes haywire for third time this year . “The online ad giant has expressed its regret to the government of Ghana for a software bug that made it appear last week that the country’s cedi currency had collapsed.”


PC World: Best password managers: Reviews of the top products. “…password managers vary widely in their capabilities and cost, so we compared six of the most popular. All support Windows Mac OS, Android, and iOS, as well as the major browsers. And all will let you sync your data across multiple devices, though you may have pay extra for the privilege.”


New York Times: For Sale: This Massive, Obsessive and (Probably) Obsolete VHS Boxing Archive. “There’s a small apartment on 137th Street in Hamilton Heights that contains one of the most peculiar videotape collections in New York. The dusty VHS archive fills a vast library that contains the analog history of a sport: 8,000 cassettes with recordings of over 55,000 boxing matches that span 40 years.”

Business Wire: National Comedy Center, Carl Reiner Announce Preservation of Historic “Dick Van Dyke Show” Archive (PRESS RELEASE). “The scripts, which are heavily annotated in Reiner’s own hand, have been stored away since the series wrapped production in 1966, and have never before been made available to a cultural institution for conservation or exhibition. Scripts for all 158 episodes, totaling more than 7,500 pages, feature detailed edits and additions made in real-time during the writing, read-throughs and rehearsals for each episode – providing extraordinary access into the script development and creative process for the 15-time Emmy-winning situation comedy.”

AdAge: Facebook Stopped A Bangladeshi Ad Farm Targeting Utah In The Midterms. “One day in mid-October at 11:24 a.m., an alert went off in Facebook’s election War Room. Political news in a Utah congressional district wasn’t coming from inside the U.S.—a mismatch Facebook had tuned its software algorithms to detect. A data scientist in the election-monitoring center at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, inspected the activity manually and discovered, at 11:47 a.m., that the source spreading the content was an ad farm in Bangladesh. Ten minutes later, an operations specialist removed all the suspect activity.”


CNN: FEMA shared 2.3 million disaster survivors’ personal information with contractor . “Millions of hurricane and wildfire survivors are learning that they’re at ‘increased risk of identity theft and fraud’ because the Federal Emergency Management Agency shared their banking and other private information. The Department of Homeland Security inspector general said Friday that FEMA had unlawfully disclosed the private data of 2.3 million survivors with a federal contractor that was helping them find temporary housing.”

Ars Technica: Two serious WordPress plugin vulnerabilities are being exploited in the wild. “Attackers have been actively exploiting serious vulnerabilities in two widely used WordPress plugins to compromise websites that run the extensions on top of the content management system.”

Mashable: Website secretly livestreamed 1,600 unwitting hotel guests for paying members. “Four individuals have been arrested for a scheme allegedly involving spy cams in 42 motel rooms across South Korea and the livestreaming of up to 1,600 unwitting guests. The intended audience, however, was much larger than just those four — a website broadcast the videos to its over 4,000 members, at least some of whom paid for access.” Nice reading this right before I’m about to spend three days in a hotel.


Knowledge@Wharton: Using a Company’s Own Words to Assess Its Risks. “When analysts or academics want to assess the risks that a company faces, they usually look at macroeconomic factors or internal firm metrics such as a declining sales trend to calculate those risks. But research from Wharton doctoral candidate Alejandro Lopez Lira takes a different approach. He asked this question: What if, instead of letting the outside world tell us what risks a company faces, we let the company tell us itself? After all, a company knows its business best. Lopez Lira used machine learning to read through the annual reports of all U.S. public companies to find out which risks they identified as the most serious ones they face. And the results can be surprising.” Good morning, Internet…

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