Iowa Wells, Medical Device Reports, WhatsApp, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, June 23, 2019


Iowa Public Radio: Where Are Iowa’s Private Wells? New Online Map Shares Location, Water Quality Data. “Iowans now have a new way to find out about private drinking water wells in their area. A team of researchers at the University of Iowa has built an interactive online map for residents, engineers and well drillers to better access well location and water quality information.”

StarTribune: FDA releases millions of records of incidents involving medical devices. “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday published millions of previously undisclosed reports of problems and post-surgical complications involving medical devices, including reports on implantable cardiac defibrillators, pacemaker electrodes and dental implants.”


NiemanLab: As of December, publishers will no longer be allowed to send out newsletters on WhatsApp. “In an effort to crack down on ‘automated or bulk messaging, or non-personal use’ on the platform, WhatsApp will no longer allow publishers to send out newsletters through the app as of December 7, 2019.”

CNET: YouTube comments hidden by default in new test by the video site. “YouTube’s comments section can be a mix between no man’s land in a war zone and the Wild West. Translation: The place can be dangerous. So instead of making you read what the New Statesman called ‘the worst of the internet,’ YouTube is working on a new feature that would hide comments by default.”


MakeUseOf: How to Organize Your Comic Collection Using ComicRack . “ComicRack is a great app which lets you read digital comics. But it can also help you organize your comic collection. If you have a large selection of digital comics in the .cbr or .cbz formats, you can use ComicRack to browse, sort, and display your comics in one neat library. Here’s how to organize your comic collection using ComicRack.”


Neowin: UK calls out Facebook and eBay on fake reviews through their platforms. “It’s not at all surprising to learn that fake reviews have long found refuge online, thanks in part to loose monitoring by some of the big internet companies. Today, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has urged Facebook and eBay, two of the world’s largest online brands, to purge their platforms of fake reviews.”

Vice: This Artist Is Hacking Google to Create Surreal Street View Art. “As a Google contractor, [Jason] Isolini worked as an intermediary between businesses and Google. At the request of businesses, he would capture 360-images inside business establishments and upload them to Google Maps. Now, Isolini is using the same method to create art on Google Maps. But instead of capturing true-to-live panorama images, he is uploading surreal collages that subvert the purpose of Google Maps: to be a tool that brings users from their current location to a business.”

TechCrunch: Facebook adds new limits to address the spread of hate speech in Sri Lanka and Myanmar. “As Facebook grapples with the spread of hate speech on its platform, it is introducing changes that limit the spread of messages in two countries where it has come under fire in recent years: Sri Lanka and Myanmar. In a blog post on Thursday evening, Facebook said that it was ‘adding friction’ to message forwarding for Messenger users in Sri Lanka so that people could only share a particular message a certain number of times. The limit is currently set to five people.”


ZDNet: Ad agency leaks data on US military veterans’ combat injuries. “A Florida-based ad agency has left a database open on the internet that leaked details about past advertising campaigns, including information regarding medical malpractice cases, and sensitive details about combat injuries sustained by US military veterans.”

ABC News (Australia): Inside the police database that holds 40 million private records and any officer can access. “An ABC investigation has exposed privacy breaches of the central police records database that holds files on millions of Australians. The Computerised Operational Policing System (COPS) database holds more than 40 million records that can be accessed by NSW’s 16,000 police officers.”


CNN: Slack is ruining my life and I love it. “In the time it took me to type this sentence about Slack, I received more than a dozen messages in a private Slack group and more posts than I can count in several team channels. I typed many words in response to those messages — some of them even borderline good words — but came no closer to completing my job for the day: writing this article about Slack.”

Hoo boy. Mashable: Hackers can spoof presidential alerts to incite mass panic, researchers warn. “Remember that emergency Presidential Alert system that made everyone’s phone obnoxiously buzz last year? It turns out hackers can spoof these alerts with relatively little effort, according to a terrifying new paper that warns the flaw could result in mass panic.” Good morning, Internet…

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