U of California / Elsevier, Twitter, Linux Journal, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, August 11, 2019


Berkeley News: UC faculty to Elsevier: Restart negotiations, or else. “A group of prominent University of California faculty say they will step away from the editorial boards of scientific journals published by Elsevier until the publishing giant agrees to restart negotiations, which stalled in February and left the 10-campus system without subscriptions to some of the world’s top scholarly journals.”

Ars Technica: Twitter backs down, allows McConnell to post video of protestor threats. “After a day of blistering criticism from Republicans, Twitter has reversed an earlier decision and restored the campaign account of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. His account had been frozen after tweeting out a video showing several protestors shouting violent threats against McConnell outside the senator’s Kentucky home.”

The Register: Linux Journal runs shutdown -h now for a second time: Mag editor fires parting shot at proprietary software. “First published in March 1994, Linux Journal was founded by Phil Hughes and Bob Young, the latter being the co-founder of Red Hat. The first issue, which you can read online, includes an article by Linus Torvalds where he talks about the imminent release of Linux 1.0, remarking that ‘1.0 has little “real meaning”, as far as development goes, but should be taken as an indication that it can be used for real work’.”


Lifehacker: Calculate How Many Books You Could Read If You Quit Social Media. “A new calculator from Omni Calculator shows you how many books you could read in one year, if you checked them instead of checking social media. Enter how often you check social media (or any time-wasting sites that you’re willing to give up), and how long you spend there each time you visit. Omni Calculator will turn that into a count of books, based on a typical page count and reading speed.” I don’t know if this should go into Useful or maybe I need a new category called Argh.

New York Times: Make Your Own Animated Movies, Frame by Frame. “Creating a stop-motion clip can be a great way to jazz up a presentation, dabble in moviemaking basics or keep the children busy with a time-consuming project. All you need is something to animate — paper cutouts, Lego figures or other toys, for example — along with a camera, the right app and patience. Here’s how to get rolling.”


Techweez: Uganda Wants to Register Social Media Influencers. “In Uganda, it is being reported that the communications regulator has directed that influencers with large commercialized online followings must register their activities for monitoring with the sate. They say that this scheme will charge these influencers a $20 fee and it is aimed to clamp down on immoral or prejudiced content.”

Poynter: Fact-checkers personally targeted by partisan attacks. “Darko Brkan was still living in his parents’ house when he read an article that identified him as the owner of several apartment properties, a man who enjoyed a jetsetting, lavish lifestyle of travel and luxury. This was news to Brkan, the founding president of the media NGO Zašto Ne which hosts the fact-checking platform Raskrinkavanje in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In fact, he read this about himself in the conservative newspaper Avaz while in Capetown, South Africa, attending Global Fact 6 — a trip paid for by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), since he couldn’t have afforded to attend otherwise.”


Techdirt: White House Once Again Circulating A Draft Executive Order On Social Media Bias. “Since the White House is convinced social media companies are kicking conservatives off left and (mostly) right, it has decided to do something about it. What this ‘something’ is remains about as vague as the accusations.”

CNN: The Democratic Party deepfaked its own chairman to highlight 2020 concerns. “The Democratic National Committee wanted to demonstrate the potential threat to the 2020 election posed by deepfake videos — clips created with artificial intelligence that can make people appear to do or say things they never did. So the committee came up with a novel solution: It had experts make one, with its chair as the victim.”

Neowin: Tape and glasses are all you need to break Apple’s FaceID – alongside a sleeping person. “Turns out, in order to allow people with spectacles to use Face ID without removing their eyewear, Face ID doesn’t take 3D information around the eyes when it sees a user is wearing glasses. Using this weak point in Face ID’s implementation, researchers showed how they could take a sleeping person, put on specially modified glasses and applying some tape on them can trick Face ID into unlocking the phone.”


NBC: Russia-linked Twitter accounts promoted ‘doxxing’ over racial tension videos. “Darren Linvill, an associate professor of communications, and Patrick Warren, an associate professor of economics, both at Clemson, identified more than 300 tweets from almost 30 suspicious Twitter accounts that appeared to look for and promote videos of racially tense incidents.”

Nieman Lab: Social media is distorting the representation of women in Africa. Here’s what can be done about it. “I conducted research into feminist ethics in the age of new media in Africa. I found that little has changed. The new media continues in the ways of the old conventional media — that is, it supports patriarchy and negative portrayal of women. Women still don’t have any agency in the way the mass media represents them. They become images of old, fixed ideas about femininity and masculinity. They serve dominant ideas about capitalism and consumerism. The media environment continues to keep women down.” Good morning, Internet…

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