Krazy Kat Comics, Social Media, TikTok, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, June 29, 2019


An amazing human being used machine learning to find public domain Krazy Kat comics in online newspaper archives, and built an archive to share them all with us. Do not miss the explanation of how it did it on his About page. “In short, I wrote some programs in Python that downloaded thumbnails from various newspaper archives, manually found about 100 Sunday comic strips from the thumbnails, used Microsoft’s Custom Vision service to train an image classifier to detect Krazy Kat comics in thumbnail images, used that classifier to find several hundred more thumbnails, then wrote some more code in Python to download high resolution images of all of the thumbnails that I found.”


Ubergizmo: A Social Media Summit May Be Hosted At The White House Next Month. “Some of your favorite social media personalities might be heading to Washington, D.C. A new report mentions that the White House is going to hold a social media summit next month.”


MakeUseOf: What Is TikTok and How Does It Work? . “Since these videos have been spreading like wildfire across the web, you’re probably wondering what TikTok is, how to make your own videos, and how to get most out of the app. So, in this article, you’ll find out what TikTok is, how it works, and how to use it.” Not the deepest dive ever, but a decent overview.


Vulture: The Zombie Social-Media Accounts of Canceled TV Comedies. “Social media has completely altered the way we think of and consume comedy. When it comes to TV comedies, though, hashtag-happy Twitter accounts and desperate Instagram captions don’t necessarily help — in fact, they might even encapsulate what doesn’t work about a show. As a follow-up to an old Splitsider post, we decided to dig into the social feeds for a dozen canceled TV series — several of them long gone, a few recently departed — to see what went wrong and what became of the accounts after the shows themselves got nixed.” I know I am old because I had not heard of any of these programs.

TechCrunch: My six months with $30/month email service Superhuman. “The startup has seemed to have grown at its own pace, the service’s members frequently reference the 100,000+ people on the waiting list to pay for the email app though the company seems most intent on growing by word of mouth referrals which allow you to hop the line. (Roose’s story details that list is actually 180k people long, and that the company has less than 15k on-boarded subscribers) The service is designed around helping people that spend several hours in email every day to find areas to cut down on friction. What’s it like though?”

BBC: Blue for Sudan: Instagram ‘sympathy scammers’ exploit support for protesters. “Scammers making bogus claims about sending aid to Sudan in exchange for clicks have continued to crop up on Instagram despite the exposure and suspension of fraudulent accounts, some of which had hundreds of thousands of followers.”


CNET: Russian internet giant Yandex reportedly hacked by Western intelligence agency. “Hackers working for the US or one of its closest allies broke into Russian search giant Yandex to plant malware to spy on user accounts, Reuters reported Thursday. Called Regin, the malware is known to be used by the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance of the US, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, sources told the news outlet.”

New York Times: Grieving People Gathered on a Facebook Support Group. Then a Hacker Showed Up.. “A popular Facebook grief support page reclaimed control of its account Thursday after a hacking attack that page administrators say went unaddressed for seven weeks. The case is the latest knock on Facebook’s efforts to monitor content on its platform.”


The Hill: Understanding what Facebook’s Libra is — and what it isn’t. “When Facebook announced its own blockchain and cryptocurrency (both referred to as ‘Libra’), everyone from late-night comedy hosts to mainstream media outlets to regulators offered possible interpretations, implications, use cases and reasons for both encouragement and prohibition. In order to determine the usefulness (or lack thereof) of Libra, it is helpful to quickly demystify what these things are. After all, Facebook claims Libra ‘will enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.’ That is quite the goal.

University of St. Andrews: Major grant to create new national database. “Professor Colin McCowan, of the University of St Andrews, will lead a £1 million initiative for Health Data Research UK to build a new national data resource to learn more about people suffering from more than one disease or condition. Medical researchers at St Andrews will lead a consortium across 16 higher education institutions across the UK on the project which will bring together anonymised information on over 10m people.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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