Firefox, WordPress, Chronicling America, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, May 22, 2019

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CNET: Faster Firefox 67 blocks fingerprinting, crypto-naughtiness. “The new Firefox 67, released Tuesday, concentrates its attention on important parts of website code, speeding up Instagram, Amazon and Google by 40% to 80%, the nonprofit said. It also puts background tabs on hold when you have less than 400MB of free memory to try to avoid slowdowns.”

WordPress 5.2.1 is now available. “This maintenance release fixes 33 bugs, including improvements to the block editor, accessibility, internationalization, and the Site Health feature introduced in 5.2.”

Library of Congress: Chronicling America: 15 Million and Counting!. “Since 2005, libraries, historical societies, and other institutions throughout the country have contributed newspapers from their collections to Chronicling America. This process is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a collaborative program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress. To date, we have more than 2800 newspapers from 46 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. To mark the 15 million milestone, we are throwing a #ChronAmParty on Twitter to highlight all of the things to be found in 15 million newspaper pages – from the funny and fantastic to the historically significant!”


Lifehacker: How to Save Your Jump VR Content Before Google Deletes It. “According to Google, all Jump VR media saved in the service will be deleted once it goes offline. Projects can be downloaded and saved elsewhere via the Jump Manager software, but you only have until June 28th to get them backed up.”

Make Tech Easier: “Serious Games” Want to Teach You Real Skills. “If ‘serious game’ sounds like a bit of an oxymoron to you, you’re not using your imagination to its fullest potential. Don’t worry, though – there’s probably a serious game out there that can help you, just as they’re already helping teach people things like flying planes and cutting better deals.”

Gizmodo: Google Photos Fixed the Bad Photo Organization That I Spent Years Creating. “If you’ve lived long enough to remember the early days of digital photography, you may well have hundreds of thousands of pictures squirreled away on your computer, from various cameras and phones and the web, all terribly organized and almost beyond hope as far as sorting and cataloging goes. That was my situation—until Google Photos came along.”


Quartz: “Voice skins” will make the internet a freer—but more dangerous—place. “For many, anonymity frees us from accountability. Untethered to our physical selves, free from our names and the possibility of injury to reputation, we can say and do things we might not otherwise because the societal consequences are eliminated. As Oscar Wilde put it in 1891, ‘Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.’ That’s got both upsides and downsides.”

NBC News: Parents are poisoning their children with bleach to ‘cure’ autism. These moms are trying to stop it.. “When they aren’t working or taking care of their autistic children, Melissa Eaton and Amanda Seigler are moles. Eaton, 39, a single mother from Salisbury, North Carolina, and Seigler, 38, a mom to six in Lake Worth, Florida, have spent much of their free time in the last three years infiltrating more than a dozen private Facebook groups for parents of autistic kids. In some of these groups, members describe using dubious, dangerous methods to try to ‘heal’ their children’s autism — a condition with no medically known cause or cure.”

Wired: As Social VR Grows, Users Are the Ones Building Its Worlds. “When Rec Room launched in the summer of 2016, it didn’t feel like a platform for social virtual reality as much as it did a collection of mini-games. You could change the clothes your avatar was wearing, sure, and you could talk to folks you met in the game’s gym-like central hub. You could even play dodgeball or paintball against them. But despite its fun, cartoonish aesthetic and its up-with-people vibe, it was very much a work in progress. But that was three very long years ago.”


Forbes: What Does AI See When It Watches A Week Of Television News?. “Television news forms a critical source of information for populations around the world yet has been little-studied compared with the textual world of digitized print and online news. At the same time, deep learning has advanced to the point where today we have AI algorithms that can richly annotate not only text, but also speech, imagery and even video. What might it look like to use Google’s off-the-shelf cloud AI algorithms to ‘watch’ a week of television news from the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive?” Good afternoon, Internet…

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