Explosion Deaths, Maine Cemeteries, Music Metadata, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, October 28, 2019


N World: Database reveals decade of violent deaths in Middle East. “More than 335,000 people have been killed or injured in drone and missile strikes, roadside bombings and suicide attacks in the last nine years with about three-quarters of the victims in the Middle East and North Africa. The Explosive Violence Monitoring Project said the figures were likely to be an underestimate of those affected by war, terrorism and civil strife as they were culled from only English-language media sources and did not include shooting deaths. Those who died from their injuries are also not captured in the data.”

New-to-me, from Penobscot Bay Pilot: The hidden, neglected graves of Maine. “The website lists many resources, including The Maine Inscription Project, started by Roland Jordan, which has an online database of more than a million inscriptions on gravestones all over Maine. As a benefit of their $7 yearly subscription, these records are accessible to members [of the Maine Old Cemetery Association].”


The Verge: The Grammys organizer is giving artists a metadata gold mine to credit unrecognized music workers. “…the Recording Academy has partnered with Australian music metadata and authentication company Jaxsta, which boasts more than 100 million officially sourced credits from music labels and distributors across its database. Jaxsta effectively compiles full song credits — who played the saxophone on one track or which engineers contributed to the production on another — and makes it easy to source that info, be it for sample clearance, industry analytics, or initiatives like Behind the Record.”

The Register: Tor blimey, Auntie! BBC launches dedicated dark web mirror site. “The BBC has launched a .onion version of its news website on the Tor anonymising network aimed at readers based in countries that ban its services.”


Wired: How to Change the Default Apps on All Your Devices. “Your computer, your phone and your tablet all have default apps, the preloaded software that springs into action whenever a specific task needs doing. Click an image you’ve just received over email, for example, and it opens in your default image viewer. Follow a web link someone sends you, and your default web browser opens up. And you know what? You don’t have to settle for them.”

MakeUseOf: 9 Alternative Apps You Need to Quit Facebook for Good . “Facebook’s reputation is in the gutter right now. Privacy scandals, unchecked snooping, and the mishandling of user data all mean that trust in the company has hit a new low. The fact that Facebook owns other major services such as Instagram and WhatsApp only heightens concerns over its activities. So what do you need to do to quit Facebook completely? In this article, we list the apps you’ll need if you want to quit the Facebook ecosystem entirely. They’re the best alternatives to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.”


Ad Age: Love it or hate it, the banner ad turns 25 today. “Today marks the 25th birthday of the banner ad; a quarter century since AT&T, MCI, Volvo, Club Med, 1-800-Collect and others placed the first-ever ad buy with the online publication HotWired. We’ll leave it to you as to whether you want to raise a glass or break a bottle over someone’s head.”

The Verge: Google accused of spying with new tool that flags large employee meetings. “The accusation, outlined in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News, claims severe unethical conduct from high-ranking Google employees, who they say allegedly ordered a team to develop a Chrome browser extension that would be installed on all employee machines and used primarily to monitor internal employee activity. Employees are claiming the tool reports anyone who creates a calendar invite and sends it to more than 100 others, alleging that it is an attempt to crackdown on organizing and employee activism.”

Straits Times: Dance influencers see social media as their calling card. “At age 12, dancer Taylor Hatala was touring with American singer Janet Jackson. At 16, she has reached an even higher perch. With 1.2 million Instagram followers, Hatala is one of the top dance influencers. She is part of a new generation of performers who are redefining how the world sees dance. And it is no longer in the background.”


Newswise: study shows overall time on social media is not related to teen anxiety and depression. “The amount of time teenagers spend on social networking sites has risen 62.5 percent since 2012 and continues to grow. Just last year, the average time teenagers spent on social media was estimated as 2.6 hours per day. Critics have claimed that more screen time is increasing depression and anxiety in teenagers. However, new research led by Sarah Coyne, a professor of family life at Brigham Young University, found that the amount of time spent on social media is not directly increasing anxiety or depression in teenagers.”

Illinois IDEALS: Political Astroturfing on Twitter: How to Coordinate a Disinformation Campaign. “Political astroturfing, a centrally coordinated disinformation campaign in which participants pretend to be ordinary citizens acting independently, has the potential to influence electoral outcomes and other forms of political behavior. Yet, it is hard to evaluate the scope and effectiveness of political astroturfing without ‘ground truth’ information, such as the verified identity of its agents and instigators. In this paper, we study the South Korean National Information Service’s (NIS) disinformation campaign during the presidential election in 2012, taking advantage of a list of campaign accounts published in court proceedings.”

BBC: Transgender people treated ‘inhumanely’ online. “Researchers analysed 10 million posts on the topic of transgender identity, shared from the UK and the US over a period of three-and-a-half years. They said more than 1.5 million of them were anti-trans. Other common transphobic themes of online posts included misgendering people – purposefully labelling somebody as a gender that they do not identify as.” Good morning, Internet…

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