Internet Archive, Touring Bird, Google Alternatives, More: Wednesday Evening ResearchBuzz, October 23, 2019


Internet Archive: Calculating the True Value of A Library that is Free. “The Internet Archive, which runs the project Open Library, is working to create a vast network of online book lending in order to make all books accessible to all people. Open Library cares about the input of its readers. As Open librarian and Internet Archive Software Engineer Mek Karpeles describes, ‘Open Library’s theory is that readers deserve a say in what’s on their bookshelves,’ which is why he and his team have created a new Book Sponsorship feature.”

Google Blog: Touring Bird lands with Google to plan your perfect trip. “Touring Bird helps you explore and compare prices and options across providers and makes it easier to book tours, tickets and activities in top destinations around the world. You can do all this in a single place—saving both research time and money. We also wanted to make travel more fun and memorable by making it easier to discover unique things to do, like how to trace the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes in London, visit Senso-ji temple in Tokyo at night or explore hidden catacombs in New York City.”


ZDNet: How to replace each Google service with a more privacy-friendly alternative. “As privacy concerns grow, companies like Google and Facebook that rely on data collection and advertising for revenue are increasingly in the spotlight. But is it really possible to give up Google’s vast range of services? Here are my recommended alternatives.”


CNN: Civil rights groups urge Facebook to act against discrimination and voter suppression. “More than 45 civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the Human Rights Campaign, came together to urge Facebook (FB) to protect civil rights and address discrimination on its platform. The call to action came Monday in a letter from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, an umbrella organization of civil rights groups.”

Slate: How to Get Online Illegally in Cuba. “In Cuba, I would sit with a dealer, who would count for me the number of people connected to their hot spot. Identifying those dealers could be tricky. I would start by finding a user in the area I needed to approach for the password. Users are easy to spot—they’re the people sitting around using their phones.”


Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. states plan Google antitrust meeting next month in Colorado – sources. “U.S. state attorneys general probing Alphabet’s Google plan to meet next month in Colorado to discuss a probe into whether the search giant’s business practices break antitrust law, according to three sources knowledgeable about the meeting.”

TechCrunch: Google has used contract swaps to get bulk access terms to NHS patient data. “New Scientist has obtained a legal agreement between Google’s health division and the UK National Health Service (NHS) that includes provision to pass five years’ worth of patient data in bulk as part of a contract novation process.”


Wired: IBM Says Google’s Quantum Leap Was a Quantum Flop . “Monday, Big Blue’s quantum PhDs said Google’s claim of quantum supremacy was flawed. IBM said Google had essentially rigged the race by not tapping the full power of modern supercomputers. ‘This threshold has not been met,’ IBM’s blog post says. Google declined to comment.”

ScienceBlog: Trending Maps Reveal What Makes Viral Content Catch On. “When you think about content going viral, maps don’t typically come to mind, but ‘The Eclipse: Smothered and Covered,’ a map with the 2017 eclipse path of totality overlaid with the best Waffle House locations for viewing, did just that. The map was created by University of Georgia assistant professor of geography Jerry Shannon. After being retweeted by Waffle House, Shannon’s map quickly went viral. Almost 200,000 people viewed the tweet, and several news outlets picked it up.”


CNET: Watch a ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid fly by Earth live on Friday. “Asteroids are zipping past Earth all the time, but we’ve got a special one coming up. Asteroid 1998 HL1 will be visible to some amateur telescopes, but you can look to the Virtual Telescope Project to bring it right to your eyeballs with a livestream on Friday starting at 10 a.m. PT.” Good evening, Internet…

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