Open Heritage 3D, Tiananmen Square Massacre, Google Maps, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 18, 2019


Google Blog: On World Heritage Day, explore historic sites in 3D. “In addition to bringing new heritage locations and their stories to Google Arts & Culture, this year Historic Environment Scotland and the University of South Florida—organizations with a shared commitment to opening their 3D datasets to the world—have also joined the Open Heritage project. Together, we’re launching Open Heritage 3D, a dedicated portal for sharing 3D cultural heritage data and its results with everyone.”

TIME: The Tiananmen Massacre Is One of China’s Most Censored Topics. Here’s a Look at What Gets Banned. “More than 1,000 posts related to the Tiananmen Square Massacre that were removed from the Internet by Chinese censors were made public on Monday. The database contains images of 1,256 posts that were deleted from Sina Weibo, a popular micro-blogging site with more than 400 million users, between 2012 and 2018. Researchers at the University of Hong Kong collected the posts as part of a project called Weiboscope, which tracks censorship on several Chinese social media networks.”


Google Earth on Medium: Explore 400 Years of Maps in Google Earth. “Today we’re bringing back a layer that has long been a favorite of ours on Google Earth — the Historical Map Collection from David Rumsey. Long-time users might recognize some of these maps from a previous collection, but they’ve never been easier to explore on the web or on your phone or tablet.”

CNET: Facebook is working on a rival to Amazon’s Alexa. “Facebook is working on a voice assistant that could be used in its Portal video chat device. ‘We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products,’ a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.” I’m sure that an ongoing flow of stories about Facebook’s privacy gaffes will in no way impact the success of a device which may require you to have a 24/7 microphone in your living space.

BetaNews: Microsoft revives TechNet and MSDN blogs. “After a wave of apparently unexpected complaints, Microsoft has announced that it is to restore the TechNet and MSDN blogs it recently started to retire. The company warns that this is not something that’s going to happen overnight — there is a lot of content to re-activate — but the announcement is great news for anyone who has found the blogs to be invaluable sources of information.”


FStoppers: New Instagram Account That’s Shaming The Folks Who Treat Public Lands Like Crap. “How many of you have ever been to a national park or hiking trail only to find people disregarding the rules and trails all in pursuit of an ever better selfie or photo for Instagram? Then check out this Instagram account that’s getting traction right now for calling out those very people and their bad behavior.”


Ars Technica: The wave of domain hijackings besetting the Internet is worse than we thought. “The wave of domain hijacking attacks besetting the Internet over the past few months is worse than previously thought, according to a new report that says state-sponsored actors have continued to brazenly target key infrastructure despite growing awareness of the operation.”

New York Times: We Built an ‘Unbelievable’ (but Legal) Facial Recognition Machine. “Most people pass through some type of public space in their daily routine — sidewalks, roads, train stations. Thousands walk through Bryant Park every day. But we generally think that a detailed log of our location, and a list of the people we’re with, is private. Facial recognition, applied to the web of cameras that already exists in most cities, is a threat to that privacy.”


Phys .org: Research explores ways to bridge gaps in science communication. “‘Give me a break!’ ‘Fake News!’ ‘Blah Blah Blah…’ These retorts are symptoms of a fundamental problem in science communication—new research from the Tepper School of Business shows that when we hear something that doesn’t make sense to us, it’s much easier to respond with derision than to work to understand what is being said. It’s difficult to bridge these gaps in understanding because they are driven by fundamental differences in values, perspectives, and knowledge bases. It means that debates escalate into arguments unless people work to build trust, respect, and common ground.”

The Guardian: Would life be happier without Google? I spent a week finding out . “Halfway through my week without Google, my wife mentions that she would like to go out to see a film that evening, and I agree to deal with the logistics. In what I initially think is an inspired move, I drop by the local cinema on the way home and scribble down all the film times in my notebook. Then my wife insists on going to a different cinema.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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