Ottawa Politics, Arizona Railroads, Tripadvisor, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, April 16, 2019


Ottawa Start: Help OttWatch enter data for 2018 municipal election donations. “After about two weeks of effort, OttWatch and volunteers have digitized almost all campaign donation records for the 2018 municipal election. The website for city hall nerds, run by Kevin O’Donnell, now has more than 2,700 (over 78 per cent) of 3,490 donations for the 2018 vote entered into their database. It’s a much improved way of tracking donations — otherwise you’d have to sift through PDF filings for individual candidates.”

Arizona Secretary of State: Arizona Memory Project Is Chugging Along With New Rail Road Collection. “The Arizona State Railroad Museum Foundation, located in Williams, Arizona, recently uploaded 22 full-size, color land grant application maps of the historic Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company on the Arizona Memory Project….The Land Grant Filing Maps are first generation enhanced images scanned from the original ink-on-lined color drawings and filed with the National Archives and Records Administration. The maps represent the railroad from 1881 to 1883.”


Travel Weekly: Tripadvisor (TA) Will Incorporate Cruise Travel Experiences Into Its Reviews Database, Allowing Travellers Around The World To Compare Maritime Trips.. “Currently only available in the United States and United Kingdom, TripAdvisor Cruises will give travellers the TripAdvisor treatment: the ability to review and post photographs of cruise trips, by expanding maritime getaways to an audience of up to half a billion monthly users. The database will expand to other markets in the coming months, TripAdvisor said in a release, with additional cruise lines, cruise ships, cruise ship deck plans, features and content to be on offer.”

The Verge: Twitch’s first-ever video game is a free karaoke title built for live streaming. “Since becoming the de facto game streaming platform of the modern generation, Twitch is finally ready to design its own video games, starting with a karaoke title built specifically to take advantage of the Twitch platform. The news, announced this morning on the first day of TwitchCon Europe, marks the Amazon-owned live streaming platform’s first-ever foray into game development.”

Mashable: Amazon reportedly preparing free, ad-supported music streaming service . “According to Billboard, ecommerce giant Amazon is currently in talks with major music labels to provide a free, ad-supported music streaming service. The service would offer a limited catalog of tunes and would be made available through Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, on the company’s Echo devices.”


MEL Magazine: The Unheard History Of Bodybuilding Forums, As Told By The Trolls And Counter-trolls Who Made Them Huge . “During the rise of the ‘alt-right,’ many articles attempting to trace the genealogy of the movement pointed to 4chan and 8chan (and related information repositories such as Encyclopedia Dramatica) as the furnaces in which all this rebellious, nihilistic, world-hating clay had been forged. The comedy website Something Awful, by contrast, launched the careers of plenty of so-called “dirtbag left” podcasters as well as ‘weird Twitter’ figures like dril. The bodybuilding forums, however, covered a vast sort of middle ground, exemplified by my Grantland-reading, anabolic steroid-loving cousin Doug Alexander.” This is probably the most unlikely long read you’re going to see today, but I encourage you to check it out.

BBC: How social media is changing comedy. “Social media is now the go-to platform to showcase everything we do, and comedians have been quick to use it to promote their work. Whether it’s with pranks, sketches or jokes, making your audience laugh is one of the easiest ways to go viral. But can traditional stand-up comedy survive in the new comedy climate?”


Digital Trends: Internet Explorer zero-day exploit makes files vulnerable to hacks on Windows PCs. “There were already a number of reasons to not use Internet Explorer. But if you needed another one, here it is. According to ZDNet, a security researcher named John Page has published evidence of an Internet Explorer zero-day exploit that renders Windows PCs vulnerable to having their files stolen by hackers.”

New York Times: Google’s Sensorvault Is a Boon for Law Enforcement. This Is How It Works.. “Law enforcement officials across the country have been seeking information from a Google database called Sensorvault — a trove of detailed location records involving at least hundreds of millions of devices worldwide, The New York Times found. Though the new technique can identify suspects near crimes, it runs the risk of sweeping up innocent bystanders, highlighting the impact that companies’ mass collection of data can have on people’s lives.”

Reuters: EU countries back copyright reform targeting Google, Facebook. “The European Union’s bid to overhaul its two-decade old copyright rules cleared its final hurdle on Monday as EU governments backed the move forcing Google to pay publishers for news snippets and Facebook to filter out protected content.”


Wolfram Alpha: Fishackathon: Protecting Marine Life with AI and the Wolfram Language. “The first global competition was held in 2014 and has been growing massively every year. In 2018 the winning entry came from a five-person team from Boston, after competing against 45,000 people in 65 other cities spread across 5 continents. The participants comprised programmers, web and graphic designers, oceanographers and biologists, mathematicians, engineers and students who all worked tirelessly over the course of two days. To find out more about the winning entry for Fishackathon in 2018 and how the Wolfram Language has helped make the seas safer, we sat down with Michael Sollami to learn more about him and his team’s solution to that year’s challenge.”

Phys. org: Texts as networks: How many words are sufficient to identify an author?. “People are more original than they think—this is suggested by a literary text analysis method of stylometry proposed by scientists from the Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences. The author’s individuality can be seen in the connections between no more than a dozen words in an English text. It turns out that in Slavic languages, authorship identification requires even fewer words, and is more certain.” Good morning, Internet…

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