Kansas City, Edmonton Photography, Skype, More: Monday Evening ResearchBuzz, April 8, 2019


Google Blog: Kansas City is buzzing: explore it with Google Arts & Culture. “If you’re parched for more historical information about this Midwestern metropolis, here are seven things you can now discover on Google Arts & Culture—no speakeasy password required for entry. Today, Kansas City is a place where BBQ smoke rings meet finer things, where contemporary creatives cross cultural icons and where architectural treasures are housed in vibrant neighborhoods.”

CBC: Picture this: thousands of Edmonton historical photos online. “Last October the City of Edmonton Archives launched a new website and began transferring selected black and while images from its massive collection onto the new system. So far, [Tim] O’Grady and the team have managed to upload more than half of their target of 50,000 photos.”


TechCrunch: Skype now supports up to 50 group call participants, topping rivals. “Skype is capitalizing on Apple’s struggles with Group FaceTime to attract attention to its own group calling features. Today, the company announced it’s doubling the number of people who can simultaneously participate in a group audio or video call. It now supports as many as 50 people at once, up from 25, previously.”

Ubergizmo: Twitter Testing Labels In Conversation Threads. “If you’ve been using Twitter long enough, then you are probably familiar with its interface. However, for those who might be new to the platform, it can look a bit messy, especially its threaded conversation feature, but the good news is that it looks like Twitter is testing out some new features to make things clearer.”


PRI: Archivists race to digitize slavery records before the history is lost. “When [Abu] Koroma started at the archives in 2004, Sierra Leone was emerging from civil war. He was fresh out of high school and his parents had died, so he needed the small salary badly. And the archives fascinated Koroma. They date back to the first treaty regional leaders made with British colonists in 1788. After Britain outlawed participation in the slave trade in 1807, British administrators in colonial Sierra Leone filled books with descriptions of each liberated African.”

The Verge: The golden age of YouTube is over. “YouTube relies on creators to differentiate itself from streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, it tells creators it wants to promote their original content, and it hosts conferences dedicated to bettering the creator community. Those same creators often feel abandoned and confused about why their videos are buried in search results, don’t appear on the trending page, or are being quietly demonetized. At the same time, YouTube’s pitch decks to advertisers increasingly seem to feature videos from household celebrity names, not creative amateurs.”

New York Times Magazine: How A.S.M.R. Became a Sensation. “In the A.S.M.R. scene, new trends evolve quickly, driven by the spirit of innovation, corporate product-placement deals and a process of human-algorithm interaction that pushes the best new material to the top. Any trigger that starts to find fans is endlessly taken up and reperformed — ripped off by different channels for ad dollars — at least until the next trigger takes its spot. One month, cranial nerve exams are in. The next month, creators are all shaving bars of soap, chewing bricks of raw honeycomb or eating buckets of KFC. The feeling that fuels this growth is little understood, like the dark energy pushing our universe outward.”


CNET: The dark web knows too much about me. “Though the stakes are high for individuals, it’s often challenging to understand how data breaches that result in the loss of millions of records can have a personal impact. So my colleague Graham Kates and I asked Wilson’s firm to scour the dark web for our personal details. What they found was unsettling.”


The Register: Facebook ad platform discriminates all on its own, say boffins . “Facebook has been taking a lot of stick over discrimination on its platform but a new paper suggests that the problems with the platform could go deeper….research just published through pre-print server ArXiv suggests preventing advertisers from distributing discriminatory ads is only part of the challenge for those favoring equity; Facebook also needs to examine the bias baked into its ad slinging infrastructure.”

MIT Technology Review: Machine learning is making pesto even more delicious. “What makes basil so good? In some cases, it’s AI. Machine learning has been used to create basil plants that are extra-delicious. While we sadly cannot report firsthand on the herb’s taste, the effort reflects a broader trend that involves using data science and machine learning to improve agriculture.” Good evening, Internet…

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