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LDS Maritime Immigration, Wildfire Fuels, North Carolina Newspapers, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, December 05, 2019

NEW RESOURCES

Daily Herald: Saints by Sea: BYU database collects stories of Latter-day Saint maritime immigration. “[Fred] Woods, a professor of religious education at Brigham Young University in Provo, is the compiler for Saints by Sea, a database housed by the BYU Harold B. Lee Library that includes autobiographies, journals, images and letters of more than 1,000 members of The Church of Latter-day Saints who immigrated to the United States by sea.”

University of Washington: Better wildfire and smoke predictions with new vegetation database. “Researchers from the University of Washington and Michigan Technological University have created the first comprehensive database of all the wildfire fuels that have been measured across North America. Called the North American Wildland Fuel Database, the tool incorporates the best available measurements of vegetation in specific locations, and allows fire managers to see where information about fuels is missing altogether.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

DigitalNC: Microfilmed Newspaper Nominations Selected for Digitization, 2019-2020. “Back in August, we announced our annual call for microfilmed newspaper digitization. We asked institutions throughout North Carolina to nominate papers they’d like to see added to DigitalNC. As it is every year, it was an incredibly tough choice – we are typically able to choose between 40-60 reels out of over a thousand nominated.”

TechCrunch: Plex launches a free, ad-supported streaming service in over 200 countries. “Plex today is launching its own ad-supported streaming service, a rival to The Roku Channel, Tubi, Crackle, Vudu’s Movies on Us, and others that offer a way to stream movies and TV for free without a subscription. The service will feature several thousand movies and shows from studios like MGM, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, Lionsgate, and Legendary — deals which were previously announced leading up to today’s launch.”

New York Times: Podcasts and Travel Apps? Facebook Is Working on Those. “Facebook is exploring the creation of new products such as apps and programs for podcasts, travel, workplace services and newsletter tools, according to three people with the knowledge of the company’s plans, as it looks to expand out of its comfort zone.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

BuzzFeed News: Four Engineers Allege Google Fired Them For Speaking Up. Now They Want The NLRB To Investigate.. “Four recently fired Google engineers who were active in company worker movements say they will push for a federal investigation into the search and advertising giant for unfair labor practices.”

CNN: A Facebook rumor about white vans is spreading fear across America . “Terrifying rumors initially propelled by Facebook’s algorithms have sparked fears that men driving white vans are kidnapping women all across the United States for sex trafficking and to sell their body parts. While there is no evidence to suggest this is happening, much less on a national, coordinated scale, a series of viral Facebook (FB) posts created a domino effect that led to the mayor of a major American city issuing a warning based on the unsubstantiated claims.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

The Register: Mozilla locks nosy Avast, AVG extensions out of Firefox store amid row over web privacy. “Adblock Plus founder Wladimir Palant confirmed this week Mozilla has taken down the Avast Online Security and Avast-owned AVG Online Security extensions he reported to the browser maker, claiming the code was snooping on users’ web surfing.”

CNET: TikTok accused of secretly gathering user data and sending it to China. “TikTok, known for its quirky 15-second videos, has been illegally and secretly harvesting vast amounts of personally identifiable user data and sending it to China, according to a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in California federal court last week.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Ars Technica: Archaeologists found 143 more images among the Nazca Lines. “Archaeologists have rediscovered 143 more enormous drawings called geoglyphs etched on the rocky ground of Peru’s Nazca Desert, with one of the finds coming courtesy of a machine-learning algorithm. The new images emphasize how much ancient art lies on the 450 square kilometer (280 square mile) Nazca Desert and how much of it archaeologists still need to find and document.”

Popular Science: Government workers with autism may go unpaid, despite their valuable contributions to science. “The fact that we can learn the story of a 22-year-old goose today is due to a large effort to digitize millions of avian profiles from paper and microfilm. Contractors did much of the labor, but a group of college-aged students also played a significant role by uploading 500,000 Bird Banding Laboratory records. The contractors made $1 per record. The students, who were autistic, earned nothing.”

Northern Arizona University: Can open source software be gender-biased? Yes, say professors who are working to eliminate gender-biased ‘bugs’ . “The cycle of open source software (OSS) development and gender representation is, perhaps, unsurprising—women are vastly underrepresented among OSS developers. As a result, women miss out on development and professional opportunities, and as jobs in OSS development open up, women lack the experience to get them. And the cycle continues. It’s so pervasive that it’s likely built right into the software itself, say four researchers, which is an entirely separate problem—one they’re aiming to resolve through finding these bugs and proposing redesigns around them, leading to more gender-inclusive tools used by software developers.” Good morning, Internet…

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