Food Supply Chains, Facebook Advertising, Spreadsheets, More: Thursday Evening ResearchBuzz, October 31, 2019


Fast Company: The first map of America’s food supply chain is mind-boggling. “My team at the University of Illinois just developed the first high-resolution map of the U.S. food supply chain. Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S.—grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items.” I don’t want to get into a whole compare/contrast thing, but I do want to note that Arizona State University released a food supply chain tool in April.


Ars Technica: Facebook’s new political-ad policy already showing cracks, loopholes. “If you create a system, someone will try to game it—that’s true of everything from Candyland to the tax code. And so we should not be terribly surprised that Facebook—which is desperately trying to create some kind of coherent system for political advertising and speech as the United States careens headlong into the 2020 election season—already has players pushing to exploit loopholes in its policy.”

Small Business Trends: Spreadsheet. com Brings Collaboration to This Popular Business Tool. “ wants to bring something new to a tried and true business form. As a result, they are changing the traditional spreadsheet and adding a new database and project management tools. The redesign tweaks make this familiar business tool more collaborative.”


MakeUseOf: The Best Free Online City Building Games Like SimCity. “SimCity is one of the original city building games. Although Cities: Skylines now holds the city building and management crown, SimCity holds a place in the hearts of many would-be city planners. And with good reason. However, if you don’t have the time to play SimCity or Cities: Skylines, why not try a browser-based city building alternative? Online city building games may not have the same depth as SimCity, but they’re great fun nonetheless.”


CNN: This man is running for governor of California so he can run false Facebook ads. “A San Francisco man is going to extreme lengths to call out Facebook’s controversial policy of allowing politicians to run false ads on its platform. On Monday morning, he registered as a candidate in California’s 2022 gubernatorial election — not with the primary goal of becoming governor, but so he can run false Facebook ads of his own.”

New York Times: 1.5 Million Packages a Day: The Internet Brings Chaos to N.Y. Streets. “It seems simple enough. But to deliver Amazon orders and countless others from businesses that sell over the internet, the very fabric of major urban areas around the world is being transformed. And New York City, where more than 1.5 million packages are delivered daily, shows the impact that this push for convenience is having on gridlock, roadway safety and pollution.”

Boing Boing: Leaked document reveals that Sidewalk Labs’ Toronto plans for private taxation, private roads, charter schools, corporate cops and judges, and punishment for people who choose privacy. “Tomorrow, Toronto’s City Council will hold a key vote on Sidewalk Labs’s plan to privatize much of the city’s lakeshore in the name of creating a ‘smart city’ owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Today, the Globe and Mail published a summary of Sidewalk Labs’s leaked ‘yellow book’, a 2016 document that lays out Sidewalk Labs’s vision for Toronto and future projects in Detroit, Denver, and Alameda.”


CNET: Microsoft warns Russian hackers could target the 2020 Olympics. “Microsoft has tracked ‘significant’ cyber attacks against sports authorities and anti-doping agencies, the tech giant announced Monday. The group, called Strontium, Fancy Bear or APT28, could impact the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Microsoft warned.”


The Verge: DeepMind’s StarCraft 2 AI is now better than 99.8 percent of all human players. “DeepMind today announced a new milestone for its artificial intelligence agents trained to play the Blizzard Entertainment game StarCraft II. The Google-owned AI lab’s more sophisticated software, still called AlphaStar, is now grandmaster level in the real-time strategy game, capable of besting 99.8 percent of all human players in competition. The findings are to be published in a research paper in the scientific journal Nature.”

Search Engine Journal: DuckDuckGo Study Finds More People Would Use Google Alternatives if Given a Choice . “A study commissioned by DuckDuckGo finds more people would use non-Google search engines if they were offered a choice. To that end, DuckDuckGo proposes that Android smartphones come with a search preference menu that lets users choose their own default search engine.” Good evening, Internet…

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