Texas Architecture, Arizona Landslides, Ecosia, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, August 17, 2019


PaperCity Magazine: Fight to Save Texas’ Endangered Historic Buildings Gets an Instagram Ally. “While neglect and redevelopment are destroying the remarkable modernist architecture in Dallas and Houston at an alarming rate, a new Instagram–based initiative… is documenting the cities’ mid-20th-century treasures in an effort to save them.”

Government Technology: Arizona Creates Landslide Database to Monitor Instability. “Geologists at the Arizona Geological Survey have created a statewide landslide database that documents more than 6,000 landslides, debris flows and rock slides. The tool will help better inform roadway projects.”


Neowin: Search engine Ecosia boosts tree counter speed as usage grows. “The search engine, Ecosia, has announced that it’s tree planting counter on its homepage has been sped up to reflect that a tree can be planted every 0.8 seconds by the company instead of every 1.1 seconds. If you’ve not heard of the search engine before that’s because it’s pretty small compared to Google but it’s gaining interest because it ploughs its profits into planting trees, rather than paying out dividends to its owners. Essentially, the model behind Ecosia is the more you search and the more ads that are pressed, the more trees there are that get planted.”

TechCrunch: Pandora opens up podcast submissions to all creators. “The battle for podcasters among music streaming services continues. A day after Spotify announced the launch of its podcast analytics dashboard, Pandora is today expanding its own podcasting efforts with the arrival of a self-service online hub for creators. The new Pandora for Podcasters will allow creators to submit their shows for inclusion on the streaming service, where they can be discovered through Pandora’s show and episode-level recommendation system.”


The Verge: Google employees ‘refuse to be complicit’ in border agency cloud contract. “Google employees are demanding that the company not bid on a cloud computing contract with US Customs and Border Protection in the latest act of protest inside the tech industry.”

Poynter: Misinformation doesn’t need a free and open internet to spread. Just look at Kashmir and Hong Kong.. “In Kashmir, misinformation has proliferated both in spite of and due to the absence of internet access in the region. But the Chinese government has taken the opposite approach, rapidly censoring pro-democracy speech on social media platforms and saturating the networks with propaganda and disinformation.”


The Register: How dodgy browser plugins, web scripts can silently rewrite that URL you were about to hit – and throw you into an internet wormhole. “Clickjacking, which came to the attention of security types more than a decade ago, continues to thrive, despite defenses deployed since then by browser makers. Boffins from Microsoft and universities in China, South Korea and the US recently looked at the Alexa top 250K websites and identified three different clickjacking techniques currently being used to intercept clicks.”

New York Times: The N.Y.P.D. Has 82,473 People in a DNA Database. Many Have No Idea.. “About 31,400 of the DNA profiles in the city’s database came from people who were arrested or merely questioned in connection with a crime, but may not have been convicted, according to the Legal Aid Society, which obtained details about the database through a Freedom of Information Act request. One of those was the 12-year-old whose DNA was collected from a straw he used while talking to the police in March 2018. The felony charge against him was eventually dropped, but his DNA remained in the database for more than a year, his lawyer, Christine Bella, said.”

The Daily Beast: Manhattan DA Made Google Give Up Information on Everyone in Area as They Hunted for Antifa. “Reverse search warrants have been used in other parts of the country, but this is the first time one was disclosed in New York. Unlike a traditional warrant, where law enforcement officials request information on a specific phone or individual, reverse warrants allow law enforcement to target an entire neighborhood.”


Science: In departure for NIH, Cancer Moonshot requires grantees to make papers immediately free. “The long-standing debate over open access to research results has been marked by a geographic divide. In Europe, some public funders have launched a high-profile open-access initiative, dubbed Plan S, that would ultimately require grantees to publish only in journals that immediately make papers free to all. But in the United States, federal agencies have stuck to a decade-old policy that allows grantees to publish in journals that keep papers behind a paywall for up to 1 year. Now, the divide is starting to blur, with one prominent U.S. research program starting to require immediate open access to the peer-reviewed publications it funds.”

University of Alberta: First global open-source database for spinal cord injury research will be a ‘game-changer,’ say experts. “Experts from the University of Alberta and two universities of California are teaming up to launch the world’s first open-source database for spinal cord injury research. The Open Data Commons for preclinical Spinal Cord Injury research (ODC-SCI) will improve research and treatment worldwide by making data more accessible, according to researchers and patients.”

Bates College: Bates Announces $3.97 Million National Science Foundation Grant For Visual Database Project. “Bates College has received a National Science Foundation grant of $3.97 million to create a groundbreaking Visual Experience Database to support research in fields that rely on the analysis and recognition of images, such as neuroscience, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence. The largest-ever federal grant awarded to Bates, the four-year award will fuel the creation of a vast gallery of videos that depict what, and how, people see as they go about daily activities.” Good morning, Internet…

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