Curb Data, Video Editing, Open Data for Charities, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, April 6, 2019


Engadget: Open Curbs database could make it easier to catch an Uber. “Curb data can be intensely useful to city planners and transportation companies alike, but it’s usually fenced off. What if everyone had access to it? They will now. Alphabet spinoff Coord has launched Open Curbs, a public repository for curb info like parking signs, fire hydrants and other vital details. The information could help cities identify safe places for delivery and ride hailing stops, not to mention aid in urban planning as the transportation grid evolves.”


Digital Trends: The best free video-editing software for 2019. “People like movies — no question about it — but not everyone likes to go through the painstaking task of filming and editing their own feature-length film. However, simple editing can be done on the cheap if you’re willing to ditch powerful, high-end software such as Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premiere, in favor of a more modest program. Let’s face it, you’re probably not going to be taking home the Palme d’Or with the film you cut on your laptop, but your home movies and YouTube uploads can take on a whole new shine with a few straightforward tools.”

Charity Digital News: The best data resources for UK charities. “In this article we’ve catalogued some of the best data resources for charities, looking at the partners and educational hubs that charities can use to get a step up into the world of data, and some of the best sources of open data to start exploring once they get a grasp on the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’.” Extensive list, mostly well-annotated.

Make Tech Easier: How to Create Your Own Wiki Site. “A wiki is a great tool for communicating and working with other people on a project. It helps teams and organizations collect and capture knowledge and gather content from several sources, while sharing ideas and plans. If you’d like to actively capture and build knowledge, whether for your personal wiki or an organizational one, here’s how you can create your own wiki site.” Basic but a good way to dip your toe.


SCV News: Budman Donates Vast Signal Photo Archive to Historical Society. “The owner of the Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper has donated the entire Signal Photo Archive – an estimated 1 million individual negatives, prints and digital images documenting the goings-on in the SCV from at least the 1960s to the early 2000s – to the nonprofit Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society.” So nice to read about an archive ending up somewhere besides destroyed or in a dumpster.

The Verge: Chinese developers use GitHub to protest long work hours. “Chinese tech workers are protesting long work hours, and they’ve taken the fight to GitHub. If you checked GitHub’s trending list in recent days, you may have seen a repository called 996.ICU — a reference to working from 9AM to 9PM for six days a week, then being sent to an intensive care unit for exhaustion. Instead of code, the repository holds a collection of workplace grievances against China’s biggest and most well-known tech companies, including Alibaba, Huawei, Bytedance, DJI, and others.”

Business Insider: Facebook is partnering with a big UK newspaper to publish sponsored articles downplaying ‘technofears’ and praising the company. “Facebook has partnered with The Daily Telegraph, a broadsheet British newspaper, to run a series of features about the company, Business Insider has found — including stories that defend it on hot-button issues it has been criticised over like terrorist content, online safety, cyberbullying, fake accounts, and hate speech.” I have linked to The Daily Telegraph in RB before. I will not be doing that in the future. If I forget I hope you will call me on it.


The Guardian: Social media bosses could be liable for harmful content, leaked UK plan reveals. “Social media executives could be held personally liable for harmful content distributed on their platforms, leaked plans for a long-awaited government crackdown obtained by the Guardian reveal.”

TechCrunch: Thousands of ‘take action’ messages to lawmakers exposed by political advocacy giant. “VoterVoice says its ‘grassroots advocacy system’ allows lobbying firms and groups to alert concerned citizens about hot-topic issues — as well as messaging their lawmakers as part of coordinated campaigns. To most, it’s little more than filling out a form on a website with a prewritten statement, signing your name and hitting send. The company says to date more than 21 million people have sent 36 million messages. But the company’s exposed storage server has exposed hundreds of thousands of email addresses and other campaign data.”

Ars Technica: FTC hits predatory scientific publisher with a $50 million fine. “An India-based predatory publisher has been hit with a $50 million dollar judgement for deceptive business practices, along with permanent injunctions against most of the activities that made it money.”


MIT Technology Review: Crowdsourced reports could save lives when the next earthquake hits. “In Japan and California, huge networks of sensors and seismic stations can alert citizens to an earthquake. But these networks are expensive to install and maintain. Earthquake-prone countries such as Mexico and Indonesia don’t have such an advanced or widespread system. A cheap, effective way to help close this gap between countries might be to crowdsource earthquake reports and combine them with traditional detection data from seismic monitoring stations. The approach was described in a paper in Science Advances today.”

Brookings Institution: Mark Zuckerberg’s call for internet rules only goes part way. “That a Silicon Valley leader would step forward and call for legislation and regulation is a noteworthy act of leadership that should not go unrecognized or unappreciated. The four proposals he makes open the door to a meaningful discussion about the effects of internet capitalism. Now what is needed is a similar look at the issues underlying the market dislocations caused by a handful of internet companies.” Good morning, Internet…

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