Seattle Mass Transit, Facebook, Firefox, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, April 11, 2019

Hey y’all, I’ve started a new gig as tech columnist (No Sweat Tech) for the Saturday Evening Post online. It’s a little more consumer-level than what I do with RB but as always I’m here to make it useful and interesting (and fun if I can possibly manage it.) My first article went up yesterday. It’s called “Put Artificial Intelligence to Work on Your Photos” and it’s available at . I hope you like it!


Seattle Times: New tool helps you track all kinds of transit through the Seattle region, from buses and trains to ferries. “Have you ever run to a bus stop just in time for its scheduled arrival only to end up waiting for the bus to show up University of Washington junior Kona Farry has, so he built a website, unveiled late last month, that lets transit users track the whereabouts of all the buses, ferries, streetcars and light-rail trains in service in the Seattle region.”


NBC News: Facebook launches new tool to help users memorialize loved ones. “Facebook on Tuesday announced changes to how it handles the profiles of users who have died, including using artificial intelligence to help keep the profiles of deceased people from showing up in places that might cause distress.”

TechCrunch: Mozilla adds fingerprinting and cryptocurrency mining protection to Firefox. “Mozilla is adding a new feature to protect you against web annoyances in future releases of Firefox. The new feature is currently available in the beta version of Firefox 67, and the nightly version of Firefox 68. They will be available in the stable release of Firefox in a few weeks.”

YouTube Blog: YouTube delivers Coachella 2019 to millions of global music fans with official two-weekend live stream. “For the ninth year in a row, YouTube continues to take the magic of Coachella beyond the Indio desert and into the homes and phones of millions of people around the world with the exclusive two-weekend live stream of Coachella 2019. … YouTube Music is turning it up a notch at Coachella 2019, making sure music fans — no matter where they are — can enjoy the world’s preeminent music festival in convenient and immersive new ways.”


MakeUseOf: 5 Ways to Watch Netflix and Still Learn a New Language . “Netflix streams to more than 190 countries around the world. While most of the content is in English, the streaming platform also supports 22 languages that include Arabic, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese. It could be a great way to pick up a second or third language and learn how it is spoken colloquially. Or, you could just pay attention and improve your English too. The right movie or TV show is fine alone. But these Chrome extensions for Netflix will help to immerse you into your favorite languages immediately. And you won’t feel guilty either!”

Center for Health Journalism: How to use Twitter to find a treasure trove of real patient voices. “Thousands of patients spend time on Twitter talking about their cancer, or diabetes, or psoriasis, or almost any diagnosis you can imagine. As a reporter, you can find patients to interview while absorbing valuable background here. You can find an individual to be the face of your story, or sharpen your perspective on a chronic disease by reading about the experiences of dozens of patients living with it. These insights can change the questions you ask and the direction of your reporting.”


Ars Technica: Congress is about to ban the government from offering free online tax filing. “Just in time for Tax Day, the for-profit tax preparation industry is about to realize one of its long-sought goals. Congressional Democrats and Republicans are moving to permanently bar the IRS from creating a free electronic tax filing system.”

Quartz: Pro-Modi Twitter bots manipulated a hashtag at a record-breaking rate. “In February, two duelling hashtags—one in support of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and one opposing him—used bots to boost their messaging. The overall traffic driving both hashtags was heavily automated, finds a report by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFR Lab), but the pro-Modi hashtag far more so.”

Knowledge@Wharton: Will AI Save Journalism — or Kill It?. “AI lets newsrooms operate more cost effectively since a bot can generate a much larger volume of stories than humans. The AP uses AI to expand its corporate earnings coverage to 4,000 companies from 300. The Washington Post is now able to cover all D.C.-area high school football games, thanks to its Heliograf bot. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution became a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize after investigating sexual abuse by doctors. It used machine learning to scour more than 100,000 disciplinary documents. Reuters’ AI takes government and corporate data to generate thousands of stories a day in multiple languages.”


Press-Herald: Scammers peddling bogus tax breaks find traction on Facebook. “Hundreds of ads on Facebook promised U.S. homeowners that they were eligible for huge state tax breaks if they installed new solar-energy panels. There was just one catch: None of it was true. The scam ads used photos of nearly every U.S. governor — and sometimes President Trump — to claim that with new, lucrative tax incentives, people might actually make money by installing solar technology on their homes. Facebook users only needed to enter their addresses, email, utility information and phone number to find out more. Those incentives don’t exist.”

CBR Online: This Dark Web Store Deals in “Digital Doppelgangers” – Unique Chromium Plugin, Anti Fraud-Busting Tools. “Criminals behind a shop on the Dark Web that is trading over 60,000 ‘digital identities’ have developed a wide range of sophisticated tools to help users bypass machine learning-based anti-fraud systems, researchers at Kaspersky Lab say. Customers using Genesis marketplace can purchase unique ‘digital masks’, or hijack those of legitimate online shoppers; piggybacking on the behavioural characteristics of innocent users to circumvent anti-fraud software, the company said.”


George Mason University: Verification on Twitter does not signal credibility for consumers, says Mason researcher. “The social media platform responded by stating it was time for the process to come under review as the label, meant to confirm the authenticity of accounts of public interest, became a symbol of importance and endorsement. But do consumers consider the little blue check a mark of credibility? ​That’s what George Mason University associate professor of communication Emily Vraga and Stephanie Edgerly from Northwestern University wanted to find out. They examined public perception of the verification mark and whether people use it as an indicator of credibility. Their research was recently published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.​”

Arizona State University: Go ahead, try this at home. “From phone apps that measure light pollution to crowdsourced maps that track parasites, the process of collecting scientific data has never been so accessible or so scalable. ‘Scientists are looking for information, and people like to contribute. Citizen science is making that happen on a major scale,’ said ASU Librarian Dan Stanton, who specializes in citizen science and is coordinating Arizona State University’s participation in the fifth annual Citizen Science Day, a global event scheduled for Saturday, April 13.” Good morning, Internet…

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