Change My View, Gmail Networking, Sneakers on Instagram, More: Rare Sunday Evening ResearchBuzz, April 7, 2019

My Pocket queue was overflowing, so enjoy this rare Sunday evening RB as I try to get things back to a reasonable level.


Boing Boing: Reddit’s wonderful “Change My View” forum launches its own independent website. “As I’ve written before, Change My/A View is a fascinating use-case, but it’s also got heavy selection bias going for it. It doesn’t so much prove that reasoned debate can change people’s minds, but rather than, if you’re the kind of person who goes looking for reasoned debate, your mind may change.”


Lifehacker: See Someone’s Facebook and LinkedIn Info Right in Gmail With This Extension. “One of the features of being a reporter is you get a significant amount of unsolicited email, often from people that you don’t know. Discoverly is a Chrome extension that can help put those stranger’s emails into perspective.”


BuzzFeed News: A Man Created An Instagram About Church Leaders In Expensive Designer Shoes. It’s Sending People Down An Existential Morality Spiral.. “A 29-year-old man named Tyler started an Instagram account two weeks ago that spawned from a joke he shared with friends. The account PreachersNSneakers has now become a place of both celebration and controversy over pastor influencers and their expensive shoes. The Instagram account features pastors and other church leaders who have large followings on social media, screenshots of the shoes they wear, and the shoes’ price tags.” I had no idea there were sneakers that cost so much money!

The Verge: Webcomics: An Oral History. “Webcomics creators often went online after being rejected by newspaper syndicates, gatekeeper conglomerates that grew increasingly conservative in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The best ones grew into beloved phenomenons, and the nascent funny T-shirt industry allowed many artists to make a living on daily cartoons throughout the 2000s. Social media and a glut of internet merchandise have shifted the economics.”

This Magazine: Will Our Data Lead Us To The Virtual Afterlife?. “When his father, John James Vlahos, was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, at the age of 80, James began racing to record his life stories. For months, he sat across from his dad with an audio recorder, asking questions and recording long answers and jokes he’d heard ‘a hundred times.’ In the end, he recorded 91,970 words. What began as an oral-history project quickly evolved into a quest to give his dad virtual immortality.”

Wired: Want to Know How to Build a Better Democracy? Ask Wikipedia. “Pity the poor public-relations specialist hired to influence what is said about his clients on Wikipedia. The sprawling, chaotic storehouse of knowledge is governed by thousands of independent-minded volunteers committed to being neutral and allergic to self-serving manipulators. The barriers are formidable, but so is the temptation to do some reputational polishing there. What appears on Wikipedia matters.”


Zee Business: In a first, Facebook acts like cops, visits users’ homes to verify posts. “Facebook, already facing the election heat in India, is busy doing something never heard of: Sending its representatives to users’ home to verify if the post with political content was actually written by them. IANS has contacted one such Facebook user in New Delhi who was recently visited by a Facebook representative for the verification process related to the content the user had posted.”


Berkeley Lab: Berkeley Lab Team Uses Deep Learning to Help Veterans Administration Address Suicide Risks. “Researchers in the Computational Research Division (CRD) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are applying deep learning and analytics to electronic health record (EHR) data to help the Veterans Administration (VA) address a host of medical and psychological challenges affecting many of the nation’s 700,000 military veterans.”

TechSpot: Security researchers fake cancerous nodes in CT scans with machine learning. “We expect that when we have a CT or MRI scan that the results are accurate. After all we are talking about equipment that can cost millions of dollars and radiologists with years of training and sometimes decades of experience. However, hospital security can be lax and researchers have now shown they can fake CT and MRI scans using a generative adversarial network (GAN).”

PLOS One: Reliance on Facebook for news and its influence on political engagement. “This paper examines the link between reliance on Facebook for news, political knowledge, and political engagement in the Philippines. We tested five hypotheses using data gathered from an online survey of 978 Filipinos conducted from February 1 to March 31, 2016. Findings support the hypothesis that those who rely less on social media as a news source exhibit higher levels of perceived knowledge about politics than those who rely more on it for news.” Good evening, Internet…

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