afternoonbuzz

Lead in Drinking Water, Halloween Costumes, Oxford English Dictionary, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, October 16, 2019

NEW RESOURCES

PR Newswire: The Lead in School Drinking Water Database (PRESS RELEASE). “The Lead In School Water Project is the first web-based application to rank and track every US state in terms of school-related lead exposure, testing and policy. This project’s goal is to provide a free public resource for parents, facility managers and regulators to monitor the latest data on their school’s waterborne lead concentrations.”

Philly Voice: Need Halloween costume inspo? Check out Google’s Frightgeist. “As we inch closer to Halloween, here’s something scary to think about: walking into a Halloween party and realizing your costume isn’t as awesome/unique as you thought because there are at least 12 other people dressed up as the exact same thing. This year, you can avoid that thanks to Google’s very-’80s-looking costume trend tool Frightgeist.” It is SO 1980s.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

BBC: Simples, whatevs and Jedi added to Oxford English Dictionary. “Whatevs, simples, chillax, sumfin and Jafaican have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. They are among 203 new words which appear in the dictionary for the very first time. Other words which are part of the October 2019 update include Jedi, nomophobia and easy-breezy.” And omnishambles!

Mashable: Instagram’s new security feature makes it easier to block apps from your account. “Instagram is once again beefing up its security. The app will add a new feature that makes it easier for people to control which third-party apps have access to their account and what information is shared with them, the company announced. The feature will launch ‘gradually over the next six months.'”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: The Scrapestack API Makes It Easy to Scrape Websites for Data. “Finding it time-consuming to visit all your favorite websites and read everything that matters? One solution is a web scraper, a software tool that gathers information you need from other sites. We’re going to look at the scrapestack API, a web scraping service that you can subscribe to. Once set up, you can use scrapestack to grab whatever data you want from other sites.”

CNET: How to watch the first all-female spacewalk with NASA on the ISS. “We’re going to give this another try. NASA wisely scrubbed what was supposed to be the first all-female spacewalk in March after a spacesuit sizing problem meant the right suits weren’t available for the endeavor. Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will now get a chance to make history as early as Thursday.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Bleeping Computer: What Your Personal Information is Worth to Cybercriminals. “Cybercriminals have multiple markets to get illicit goods and prices on these underground forums are likely driven by supply and demand, just like in the legal economy. Offerings found on deep and dark web (DDW) markets include anything that can be monetized in one way or another. Common goods cover any financial information that can be used for bank fraud.”

BetaNews: Adobe issues patches to fix scores of bugs in Adobe Acrobat and Reader, plus other software. “There has been a lot of scrutiny on patches issued by Microsoft recently, but now Adobe is vying for attention by releasing patches for a slew of programs, fixing literally dozens of bugs.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis: $3.7 million supports crowdsourced database of cancer genomics. “The database’s name is CIViC, which stands for Clinical Interpretations of Variants in Cancer. According to its founders, it is the only entirely open-source online resource for querying tumor mutations — like a Wikipedia for cancer genomics. Comparing CIViC to Wikipedia — an online encyclopedia maintained by volunteers — the Griffiths, who are twin brothers, designed a system that allows anyone to create an account and contribute information to the database. Experts in the field serve as editors, curating data that is incorporated into the system. It is also free for anyone to use.”

Wired: Devin Nunes and the Power of Keyword Signaling. “When there is limited or no content available on a topic, it’s possible to game search engines to guarantee that certain keywords will be directed to content that includes these terms or is tagged accordingly. This is why conspiracy theorists were able to capitalize on the concept of a ‘crisis actor.’ By producing a plethora of insidious content rife with the term and maximizing SEO, conspiracy theorists filled what Microsoft’s Michael Golebiewski and danah boyd referred to as a ‘data void.’ Searches for ‘crisis actor’ got conspiratorial results until other sources filled the void with more legitimate content debunking the theory.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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