US Mint, George III, Google Removal, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, December 03, 2019


United States Mint: United States Mint Launches New Online Education Game “Map Mania”. “The United States Mint (Mint) launched its newest educational game Map Mania. This game teaches U.S. geography, helping students to learn the 50 states, state capitals, and state trivia based on the America the Beautiful Quarters® and 50 State Quarters Programs.” Apparently there are a dozen games for kids on the Mint site.

William & Mary: ‘Hamilton’ heightens interest in King George III. “This month marks five years since England’s Royal Archives opened its collections from the Georgian monarchy to the public. By providing online access to these materials, scholars and historians around the globe are making new discoveries about the Georgian kings, and specifically about King George III…. Faced with nearly a half million pages of text to be transcribed, W&M Libraries is turning to the community for help.”


MakeUseOf: Learn How to Remove Google From Your Life Forever With These 5 Tools. “As great as some of Google’s products are, sometimes it’s difficult to believe the company has its users’ best interests at heart. It is regularly mired in privacy-related controversies and heavily criticized for how it collects data. And often, a perfectly good service or app is shut down, leaving users scrambling for alternatives. Surprisingly, it’s not that hard to quit using the company’s products. And these websites and blogs tell you the best alternatives to Google apps and services.”


New York Times: These Reporters Rely on Public Data, Rather Than Secret Sources. “The craft of building a story on publicly available data was part of journalism in the analog era, but it has come of age in recent years, with the ubiquity of smartphones and the expansion of social media.”

Ars Technica: Never mind the naysayers: Emoji are a vital part of online communication. “The emergence of emoticons and emoji has been driven by rapid technological changes as the Internet became a dominant force for global mass communication. It has brought along with it the usual handwringing from change-averse elders about how their usage is destroying language. But far from being a unique feature of the Internet era, [Philip] Seargeant argues that human beings have long sought to find these kinds of visual shortcuts to indicate tone.”

Tubefilter: TikTok Moderators Were Told To Suppress Videos Made By Marginalized Users Because They Might Be Bullied . “In a section of its moderation guidelines called ‘Imagery Depicting A Subject Highly Vulnerable To Cyberbullying,’ the platform instructs moderators to mark people ‘susceptible to harassment or cyberbullying based on their physical or mental condition’ as ‘Risk 4,’ a level that restricts their content to only being viewed by users within their own countries. That’s the geographic level.”


TechCrunch: Now even the FBI is warning about your smart TV’s security. “Smart TVs are like regular television sets but with an internet connection. With the advent and growth of Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, most saw internet-connected televisions as a cord-cutter’s dream. But like anything that connects to the internet, it opens up smart TVs to security vulnerabilities and hackers. Not only that, many smart TVs come with a camera and a microphone. But as is the case with most other internet-connected devices, manufacturers often don’t put security as a priority.”


ABC News (Australia): Acoustic observatory will record ‘galaxy of sounds’ to help scientists monitor Australian wildlife. “Hundreds of solar-powered audio recorders are being installed across remote parts of Australia to create a unique ‘soundscape’ as the environment changes. The National Acoustic Observatory project, funded by the Australian Research Council, was a collaboration of academics from five universities.”

Poynter: Shouting into the void: what can fact-checkers actually do to avoid it?. “I came into Full Fact, as an IFCN’s fellow, to answer three broad questions: What makes fact-checking work? Is PesaCheck fact-checking effectively? What could be done to increase the impact of PesaCheck fact-checks? These are broad in focus so I broke them down into trying to figure out the actual steps to take pre and post-publication as we try to define the type of impact we want our fact-checking to have. So, what did I find out?”

Mozilla Blog: Questions About .org . “Last month, the Internet Society (ISOC) announced plans to sell the Public Interest Registry (PIR) — the organization that manages all the dot org domain names in the world — to a private equity firm named Ethos. This caught the attention of Mozilla and other public benefit orgs. Many have called for the deal to be stopped. It’s not clear that this kind of sale is inherently bad. It is possible that with the right safeguards a private company could act as a good steward of the dot org ecosystem. However, it is clear that the stakes are high — and that anyone with the power to do so should urgently step in to slow things down and ask some hard questions.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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