World Archaeology, Hazardous Chemical Reactions, Antitrust Investigations, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, September 8, 2019


Penn Today: Crowdsourcing 10,000 years of land use. “More than 250 archaeologists from around the world contributed their knowledge to ArchaeoGLOBE, an effort to better understand the prevalence of agriculture, pastoralism, and hunting and gathering at different points in human history.”


Chemistry World: Chemical safety database gets American Chemical Society and Iupac backing. “A public database of hazardous chemical reactions launched in March 2017 by the US non-profit group Pistoia Alliance has secured the backing of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and its Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) – a massive index of research papers and compound structures. Pistoia created this Chemical Safety Library (CSL) as a tool for researchers to share and learn about lab accidents and thereby prevent repeat incidents, and these two new partners will develop and launch an updated, more user-friendly version of the database.”

Tom’s Guide: Facebook, Google Face Antitrust Probes: What You Need to Know. “For now, these state-led investigations are separate from federal antitrust probes into Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google launched earlier this summer by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. But the WSJ said the state AGs have already met with the federal teams about the issue. So what does this all mean for you?”


BuzzFeed News: Google Is Promoting Climate Change Denialism On Its Apps And Mobile Homepage. “In July, Tommaso Boggia, a climate activist turned programmer, swiped to the Google Discover tab on his phone to scan the headlines the company had algorithmically selected for him. He was shocked to find a climate change denial website prominently featured in his feed. The next day, it happened again.”

Tamebay: Basecamp fire back at Google over Paid Ads ‘Ransom’. “The issue of Google Ads has been highlighted by Basecamp, a workflow solution, who exasperated by seeing competitor’s paid adverts appear ahead of them in search results decided to buy an ad themselves to make their point. Their ad called out that they have (as they rightly should) the number #1 position in search for their brand name but up to four competitors are routinely ahead of them in search results as they pay to be there.” I have seen this kind of complaint before but it’s usually aimed at Yelp.

Alaska Native News: National Science Foundation Supports Additional Alutiiq Language Research. “With a $56,462 grant from the National Science Foundation (award #1360839), the Alutiiq Museum will extend its Naken–Natmen (Where From–Where To) language project for an additional year. First funded in 2014, the multi-year project improved access to Alutiiq language resources by developing an online archive of Alutiiq recordings, creating an Alutiiq speaker registry, and planning future language documentation projects. Now, a supplemental grant will allow the museum to study rare examples of written Alutiiq preserved in historic texts.”


Search Engine Journal: WordPress Hackers Are Using Vulnerable Plugins to Gain Access to Sites. “Hackers are reportedly exploiting vulnerabilities in over ten WordPress plugins in order to backdoor sites with rouge admin accounts. This is an escalation of an attack that was reported on back in July in which attackers were hijacking sites to serve ads, scams, and malicious app downloads.”

Ars Technica: Zero-day privilege escalation disclosed for Android. “Researchers have disclosed a zero-day vulnerability in the Android operating system that gives a major boost to attackers who already have a toe-hold on an affected device.”

Reuters: Apple says Uighurs targeted in iPhone attack but disputes Google’s findings. “Apple Inc on Friday confirmed that Uighurs, a minority mostly Muslim group considered a security threat by Beijing, had been the target of attacks due to a set of iPhone security flaws, but disputed its rival Alphabet Inc’s description of the effort to track users of the smartphone in real time.”


Phys .org: Science puts historical claims to the test. “As any historian will tell you, we can rarely take the claims made by our ancestors at face value. The authenticity of many of the artefacts which shape our understanding of the past have been hotly debated for centuries, with little consensus amongst researchers. Now, many of these disputes are being resolved through scientific research, including two studies recently published in EPJ Plus.”

Cornell Chronicle: For online reviews, shoppers believe a pretty face. “Beauty is truth – or at least, that’s what consumers sifting through online reviews seem to think. New Cornell research has found that people are more inclined to be swayed by positive recommendations posted online by attractive reviewers.” Well, that’s one job I ain’t gonna get.

UConn Today: Time-Saving Software in an Age of Ever-Expanding Data. “Systematic reviews started in the fields of medicine and public health, where keeping current with research can be, quite literally, a question of life or death, says [Eliza] Grames. (Ever wonder how your doctor knows about the latest treatments for your condition?) ‘In those fields, there is an established system with Medical Subject Headers where articles get tagged with keywords associated with the work, but ecology does not have that.’ … The project sprang out of need. In her own process of reviewing, Grames noted she would miss articles and key terms and was interested in finding out how to identify those missing terms. So, Grames decided to create a system that researchers in the field of ecology, environment, conservation biology, evolutionary biology and other sciences, could use.” Good morning, Internet…

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