CemoMemo, Florida Health Care, Western US Travel, More: Wednesday ResearchBuzz, November 6, 2019


NoCamels: The Wikipedia Of Graves: Israeli App CemoMemo Brings Cemeteries Into The Digital World. “CemoMemo, a collaborative documentation platform for gravestones, is undertaking the digitization of headstones to turn cemetery visitations into unique historical explorations.” Some VERY interesting differences between this project and FindAGrave.

Bay News 9: Florida Launches New Tool to Make Health Care Prices Transparent. “Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new initiative Monday morning to make health care prices in Florida more transparent. The state has launched a new website called Florida Health Price Finder which shows you the price of medical procedures in the state.”

Travel Market Report: New Website Tool Helps Tourists Navigate Regions Affected by Wildfires. “State tourism organizations in California, Oregon, and Washington have rolled out an enhanced website to provide travelers and advisors with up-to-date information about the ongoing wildfires. [The site] now includes webcams and real-time air-quality information at key destinations and multi-state itineraries to inform travelers who may decide to reroute road trips or seek more planning ideas for trips to the West Coast.”


Google Blog: Google Play Points: a rewards program for all the ways you Play. “Since 2012, Google Play has been your place to find and enjoy apps, games, movies, TV shows, and books. More than 2 billion people in 190 countries use Google Play to discover blockbuster movies, apps that help you be more productive, and books that inspire imagination. To show our appreciation, we created a new rewards program called Google Play Points that lets you earn points and rewards for the ways you already use Google Play. Over the past year, millions of people in Japan and South Korea have joined the program, and starting today, Google Play Points is launching in the United States.” Considering how many problems have been coming out of Google Play lately, I’m uneasy about adding a program that encourages people to get more apps.

TechCrunch: Cortana wants to be your personal executive assistant and read your emails to you, too. “Only a few years ago, Microsoft hoped that Cortana could become a viable competitor to the Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri . Over time, as Cortana failed to make a dent in the marketplace (do you ever remember that Cortana is built into your Windows 10 machine?), the company’s ambitions shrunk a bit. Today, Microsoft wants Cortana to be your personal productivity assistant — and to be fair, given the overall Microsoft ecosystem, Cortana may be better suited to that than to tell you about the weather.”


Lifehacker: Where to Get Ideas for Your NaNoWriMo Project. “As the winter slowly descends upon us, it’s time for the annual tradition of hand-wringing, self-loathing, and maybe—just maybe—writing a novel in 30 days. National Novel Writing Month has become a beacon of hope each November for the many high achievers who desire to not only start, but also finish a draft of a novel in one month.”

Bleeping Computer: Paradise Ransomware Decryptor Gets Your Files Back for Free. “To use the decryptor, victims need an encrypted and unencrypted pair of files that are larger than 3KB. Finding unencrypted versions is easier for images that you may have downloaded from the Internet or have copies elsewhere.” Unfortunately the decryptor does not work for all versions of Paradise; the article lists the ones with which it is compatible.


New York Times: Teens Love TikTok. Silicon Valley Is Trying to Stage an Intervention.. “TikTok, which is run by a seven-year-old company in Beijing called ByteDance, allows people to create short, snappy videos and share them around the world. That simple concept has fueled its rise to quickly become one of the world’s largest social networks and to mount the most direct incursion yet by a Chinese company into Silicon Valley’s turf. Now the American internet companies are pushing back.”

Straits Times: Arts community unites to save Yahoo group. “Volunteers have been galvanised to save the Arts Community Yahoo Group after the Internet giant announced its intention to close down all Groups on Oct 21 and delete all content by next month. A Facebook page … has been set up as a placeholder, while grassroots efforts are underway to archive discussion threads and build a new online portal for the arts community.”


Phys .org: The truth about misinformation. “In today’s fast-paced digital age, information can become outdated rapidly and people must constantly update their memories. But changing our previous understanding of the news we hear or the products we use isn’t always easy, even when holding onto falsities can have serious consequences.”

Washington Post: I worked on political ads at Facebook. They profit by manipulating us. “The real problem is that Facebook profits partly by amplifying lies and selling dangerous targeting tools that allow political operatives to engage in a new level of information warfare. Its business model exploits our data to let advertisers custom-target people, show us each a different version of the truth and manipulate us with hyper-customized ads — ads that, as of two weeks ago, can contain blatantly false and debunked information if they’re run by a political campaign. As long as Facebook prioritizes profit over healthy discourse, they can’t avoid damaging democracies.”

Caltech: Algorithms Seek Out Voter Fraud . “Concerns over voter fraud have surged in recent years, especially after federal officials reported that Russian hackers attempted to access voter records in the 2016 presidential election. Administrative voting errors have been reported, too; for example, an audit by state officials revealed that 84,000 voter records were inadvertently duplicated by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in the 2018 June primary election. Michael Alvarez, professor of political science at Caltech, and his team are helping with the situation by developing new algorithms for tracking voter data.” Good morning, Internet…

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