Hurricane Harvey, Woodworking Machines, New Mexico Lawsuits, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, September 2, 2019


New-to-me, from Texas Observer: Two Houston Archives Gather Harvey Memories for Historians of the Future. “The Houston Flood Museum and the Harvey Memories Project. Both are online-only, open-access archives, and they’re still growing. Together, they provide a compelling snapshot of the destruction wrought by the deadliest storm to hit Texas since 1919. They’re also meant to endure for decades as a resource to future scholars and community members.”

From the LumberJocks forum: New Database of Woodworking Machines. “I own a few vintage Inca machines that I really enjoy for their precision and craftsmanship. As I started acquiring and repairing more machines, I kept running into the problem that it can be quite difficult to find information about these machines. Often you will have to spend a lot of time browsing different forums to find that bit of information you were looking for. That’s why I came up with the idea to create a simple database of woodworking machines (mostly vintage ones initially), where information is centralized.” There are about a hundred machines here currently, with a focus on European machines.

KRQE: New Mexico launches website listing lawsuit settlements paid with public money. “A new website is shedding light on how much public money the state spends to stay out of the courtroom. For the first time, dozens of mostly hidden lawsuit settlements have been posted online, in public view as part of the state’s ‘Sunshine Portal’ website.”


Tubefilter: YouTube Re-Bans InfoWars Channel After It Temporarily Circumvented The Site’s Terms Of Service. “YouTube has re-banned a channel from InfoWars, the far-right American conspiracy theory website owned by Alex Jones, after it temporarily reappeared on the platform by circumventing YouTube’s terms of service yesterday.”


Poynter: Here are some of U.S. fact-checkers first impressions about flagging false images on Instagram. “It’s been two weeks since Facebook announced that its American fact-checking partners would start to receive daily reports on suspicious pieces of content spread on Instagram — and be expected to analyze their veracity — as part of Facebook’s international program to fight misinformation. Since then, at least three images that went viral on the photo- and video-sharing social network have been flagged as ‘false’ by U.S.-based fact-checkers: one by Science Feedback; one by Lead Stories; and one by PolitiFact.”

Route Fifty: The Unsettling Rise of the Urban Narc App. “It’s getting easier for city residents to use technology that can report bad drivers who block bike lanes. Welcome to the self-surveillance era of traffic safety.”

CanIndia: IT Ministry partners Google on ‘Build for Digital India’. “The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Saturday entered into a partnership with Google with the aim of rolling out ‘Build for Digital India’, a programme that will give engineering students a platform to develop market-ready, technology-based solutions that address key social problems.”


Ars Technica: Ring reportedly shared video sharing data, detailed maps with police in 2018. “Ring, Amazon’s home security camera and surveillance company, has since 2018 rapidly expanded its business by partnering with more than 400 police and sheriff departments nationwide. Amid a growing chorus of privacy complaints and media reports about these partnerships, Ring has repeatedly promised explicitly that police have no way of knowing details of who has the cameras installed and what residents are—or aren’t—willing to share their footage. New reports, however, indicate that police departments may be receiving more data about Ring users in their jurisdictions than previously disclosed.”

CNN: Hundreds of dental offices crippled by ransomware attack. “On Tuesday, two Wisconsin companies that provide an online service to dentists’ offices, Percsoft and the Digital Dental Record, told their customers that the software they use to connect to individual offices had been infected with ransomware Monday morning. In periodic updates, they say they are working on a case-by-case basis.”

TechCrunch: Google to pay security researchers who find Android apps and Chrome extensions misusing user data. “Google said it will pay security researchers who find ‘verifiably and unambiguous evidence’ of data abuse using its platforms. It’s part of the company’s efforts to catch those who misuse user data collected through Android apps or Chrome extensions — and to avoid its own version of a scandal like Cambridge Analytica, which saw millions of Facebook profiles scraped and used to identify undecided voters during the U.S. presidential election in 2016.”


MIT Technology Review: Facebook is creating an AI assistant for Minecraft. “Minecraft is the best-selling video game of all time, having moved over 170 million copies. More than 90 million people play every month. But what makes it useful for AI research is that while the Minecraft world offers infinite variety, its rules are also simple and predictable within certain limits. AI researchers have already begun to use it to train and test various kinds of AI systems.”

Duke Research Blog: Hamlet is Everywhere. To Cite, or Not to Cite?. “Some stories are too good to forget. With almost formulaic accuracy, elements from classic narratives are constantly being reused and retained in our cultural consciousness, to the extent that a room of people who’ve never read Romeo and Juliet could probably still piece out its major plot points. But when stories are so pervasive, how can we tell what’s original and what’s Shakespeare with a facelift? This summer, three Duke undergraduate students in the Data+ summer research program built a computer program to find reused stories.” Good morning, Internet…

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