Government Web Sites, The American Legion, Home Solar Use, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, May 29, 2019

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MuckRock: Release Notes: Introducing Civc Pulse, a new tool for monitoring government websites. “Last week, we saw a lot of progress on our new tool for monitoring government agency websites. Building off data from the MuckRock API, it checks and grades agency web pages on criteria such as privacy, accessibility, and speed.”

The American Legion: Discover Legion history with more than 50 years of digitized newsletters. “The American Legion Library & Museum works to encourage membership growth and public support of the Legion by providing access to key documents that tell the national organization’s continuing story. In our most recent initiative, the Library & Museum has completed the digitization of more than 50 years of American Legion national newsletters. These newsletters cover a timeframe, 1950-2000, that complements previously digitized material.”

TechXplore: Release of solar panel dataset helps cities make power grids more safe, reliable. “Engineers from the Australian National University and Fraunhofer-Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Germany, have provided a freely available quality-controlled and tuned dataset from 1,287 residential installations across Australia. The dataset is presented in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. Describing the dataset as ‘a gift’ for solar researchers, author Jamie Bright said, ‘No one has delivered a freely accessible piece of data that has six months’ worth of measurements from three different cities. That is a significant amount.'”


Drug and Alcohol Testing Association of Canada: FMCSA prepares to launch Clearinghouse database. It’s a little confusing because I’m using a Canadian news source, but the FMCSA is a United States government agency, not Canadian. “The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created a website which provides answers for frequently asked questions regarding the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a national online database which will list, in real time, the names of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers who have failed drug and alcohol tests.”

CNET: Reddit gets its first female board member. “Personal Capital chief marketing officer Porter Gale is joining Reddit’s board of directors, the company announced Tuesday. Gale will be the first female to sit on the board in Reddit’s history.”


AM New York: How the NYPD keeps tabs on cops . “The NYPD is expanding an extensive electronic database to keep tabs on its officers, giving the department real time feedback about how cops are performing. Known as RAILS — short for ‘Risk Assessment Information Liability System’ — the system acts as what one police commander called an online personnel file providing commanders with crucial information on officers.”

BBC: The tablet computer pulled by donkey. “Back in 2016, mobile technology the like of which had not been seen before rolled into the remote community of Funhalouro, in Mozambique. Pulled by donkey, the container consisted of four LCD screens, powered by solar panels. It was a mobile roadshow, starting with music to draw a crowd and then switching to a three-minute film on the biggest of the screens.”


Phys .org: You could be unknowingly loading malicious content from ‘trusted’ sites. “Researchers found that around half of the Internet’s most popular websites are at risk of malicious activity because they depend on a chain of other third parties to import external resources—such as ad providers, tracking and analytics services and content distribution networks—which are often required to properly load content.”


Lifehacker: Track Rare Cicadas With The Cicada Safari App. “A better way to track and document the cicadas in your area is to download the Cicada Safari app (free on Android and iOS) from Mount St. Joseph University. Right now, I can check a map for sightings, and as soon as my local cicadas begin to emerge, I can snap pictures of them for cicada scientists to study.”

Medium: The Dark Forest Theory of the Internet. “The internet of today is a battleground. The idealism of the ’90s web is gone. The web 2.0 utopia — where we all lived in rounded filter bubbles of happiness — ended with the 2016 Presidential election when we learned that the tools we thought were only life-giving could be weaponized too. The public and semi-public spaces we created to develop our identities, cultivate communities, and gain knowledge were overtaken by forces using them to gain power of various kinds (market, political, social, and so on).” Good afternoon, Internet…

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