Hurricane Floyd, Twitch Acquisition, Video Search, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, September 18, 2019


DigitalNC: Flooded: Oral Histories Documenting Hurricane Floyd Now Online. “We’ve recently worked with Braswell Memorial Library (Rocky Mount, N.C.) to digitize oral histories, written stories, and a manuscript all created for the book Flooded: Reflections of Hurricane Floyd. Compiled by the Friends of Braswell Library, Flooded represents the culmination of an effort to document what happened in Nash and Edgecombe counties twenty years ago today.”


TechCrunch: Twitch acquires gaming database site IGDB to improve its search and discovery features. “Amazon-owned Twitch has made a small but strategic acquisition designed to improve its search capabilities and better direct viewers to exactly the right content. The company is acquiring IGDB, the Internet Games Database (no relation to Amazon’s IMDb), a website dedicated to combining all the relevant information about games into a comprehensive resource for gamers everywhere. As a result of the acquisition, IGDB’s database will now feed into Twitch’s search and discovery feature set. However, the IGDB website itself will not be shut down.”

Google Blog: Search helps you find key moments in videos. “Starting today you can find key moments within videos and get to the information you’re looking for faster, with help from content creators. When you search for things like how-to videos that have multiple steps, or long videos like speeches or a documentary, Search will provide links to key moments within the video, based on timestamps provided by content creators. You’ll be able to easily scan to see whether a video has what you’re looking for, and find the relevant section of the content. For people who use screen readers, this change also makes video content more accessible.”

New York Times: Facebook Expands Definition of Terrorist Organizations to Limit Extremism. “Facebook on Tuesday announced a series of changes to limit hate speech and extremism on the social network, expanding its definition of terrorist organizations and planning to deploy artificial intelligence to better spot and block live videos of shooters.”


NBC News: Warren spent hours taking selfies with supporters after her big rally. Here’s why.. “If a voter meets a presidential candidate and no one is around to Instagram it, did it really happen? In 2019, smartphones are so ubiquitous that they get involved even when the candidate is right there, in the flesh, IRL, which is forcing candidates to adapt and find opportunities in the constant unquenchable demand for selfies.” Note to posterity: a lot of pedantic peeps on the Twitter are complaining that these are not really selfies but they’re being called selfies which means civilization is collapsing or something. Do me a solid and recall my soul from the realms of the dead to let me know if the word selfie evolved to encompass this activity, or if you made some new vocabulary. Thank you.

Washington Post: The Facebook page ‘Vets for Trump’ was hijacked by a North Macedonian businessman. It took months for the owners to get it back.. “The Facebook page ‘Vets for Trump’ was for most of its existence exactly what it seemed: a place where former U.S. service members touted Donald Trump, discussed veterans issues and shared conservative memes with its more than 100,000 followers. Then in March, say its longtime operators, a North Macedonian businessman hijacked it, leaving the Americans to watch helplessly as their page began operating under foreign control. Their messages seeking help from Facebook led to months of miscommunication and inaction.”


Ars Technica: Password-exposing bug purged from LastPass extensions. “Developers of the LastPass password manager have patched a vulnerability that made it possible for websites to steal credentials for the last account the user logged into using the Chrome or Opera extension.”

ProPublica: Millions of Americans’ Medical Images and Data Are Available on the Internet. Anyone Can Take a Peek.. “Medical images and health data belonging to millions of Americans, including X-rays, MRIs and CT scans, are sitting unprotected on the internet and available to anyone with basic computer expertise. The records cover more than 5 million patients in the U.S. and millions more around the world. In some cases, a snoop could use free software programs — or just a typical web browser — to view the images and private data, an investigation by ProPublica and the German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk found.”


Mozilla Blog: Examining AI’s Effect on Media and Truth. “It’s a complicated issue, but this much is certain: The artificial intelligence (AI) powering the internet is complicit. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook recommend and amplify content that will keep us clicking, even if it’s radical or flat out wrong. Earlier this year, Mozilla called for art and advocacy projects that illuminate the role AI plays in spreading misinformation. And today, we’re announcing the winners: Eight projects that highlight how AI like machine learning impacts our understanding of the truth.”

CNET: Google’s smart home ecosystem is a complete mess. “If Google’s own smart home products act like embarrassed step-siblings, many erstwhile Works with Nest gadgets seem like they won’t even visit for the holidays anymore. And it’s not their fault: It turns out Google is a terrible parent.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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