morningbuzz

DC Development, Twitter, Apple, More: Wednesday ResearchBuzz, December 25, 2019

NEW RESOURCES

D.C. Policy Center: New database of D.C. Planned Unit Developments (PUDs). “D.C.’s Planned Unit Development (PUD) process allows developers to gain additional height and density for a project (beyond what they could build matter of right) in exchange for delivering additional public benefits back to the community…. The data covers the 82 PUDs negotiated from 2010 through 2018. For each PUD, the database includes basic information such as the name, case number, and a link to the original PUD, along with information about housing units, share of units that are affordable (and at what levels), parking information, and the recorded costs of the community benefit agreement line items.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

CNN Philippines: Twitter partners with DOH, WHO PH in effort to stop spread of vaccine misinformation. “The Department of Health and the World Health Organization-Philippines have found an ally in social media giant Twitter in an initiative aimed at stopping the spread of false information on vaccines.”

ZDNet: Apple opens public bug bounty program, publishes official rules. “Apple has formally opened its bug bounty program today to all security researchers, after announcing the move earlier this year in August at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. Until today, Apple ran an invitation-based bug bounty program for selected security researchers only and was accepting only iOS security bugs.”

The Register: LibreOffice 6.4 nearly done as open-source office software project prepares for 10th anniversary. “What’s new in version 6.4? There are numerous fresh features; most are small, but they do include the ability to insert QR codes into any document. The Generate QR Code feature lets you enter a hyperlink (or any text) and generate a QR code with four options for complexity. A low complexity is better for long URLs while high has better error correction if there are errors in reading.”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: 5 Apps to Figure Out New Year’s Resolutions and Long-Term Goals. “Research on why goals fail shows it’s mainly because of two common errors. People tend to set a popular goal that others are choosing, rather than an objective that you want intrinsically. Once the goal is set, people don’t make a plan or actionable steps to achieve it, nor do they track their progress. These apps will help you set a goal that is meaningful for you, and break it down into achievable and measurable steps.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Search Engine Land: Good guides gone bad: How Google’s ‘Local Guides’ program fails businesses and consumers. “When Google launched Local Guides some years ago, few of us could have realized what level of impact this program would have on the local search ecosystem, and even if we had, I’d like to have thought it would be a positive one…. Sadly, having spoken to several high-profile members of the local search community, including some Google My Business Product Experts (skilled users certified by Google as having exceptional and in-depth knowledge of their products), the current picture is far from optimistic.”

TechCrunch: Will audio livestreaming take off in America?. “For many podcast listeners, following their favorite shows is a solitary experience. A recent survey of 2,000 users by the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications found they listened to podcasts most often at home, during commutes or while exercising. Over the past couple of years, however, a new trend, audio livestreaming, has taken off in China. The medium is basically a combination of podcasting and talk radio, with mobile apps enabling interactive features like live chats with other listeners, call-in requests and emoji reactions.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Wired: Hackers Could Use Smart Displays to Spy on Meetings. “Add another entry to the list of internet-connected devices causing problems in unexpected places. Touchscreen smart TVs from DTEN, a ‘certified hardware provider’ for popular video conferencing service Zoom, have flaws that hackers could use to essentially bug conference rooms, lift video feeds, or nab notes written on the device’s digital whiteboard. Just one more reason to hate long meetings.”

Techdirt: Dear Americans: Be Very, Very Afraid Of The EU’s New Copyright Rules. “Former MEP Julia Reda, who lead the fight to block the problematic parts of the EU Copyright Directive (and who came very close to succeeding against huge odds, but eventually lost) has published a really important piece for the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard about why the new Copyright Directive should terrify every American who recognizes the importance of an open internet. First off, these laws mostly target American companies — many of which may just choose to follow the new EU rules globally.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Ars Technica: Finding stars that vanished—by scouring old photos. “Before the advent of digital imaging, astronomy was done using photographic plates. The results look a bit like biology experiments gone bad (of which I’ve perpetrated more than a few), with a sea of dark speckles of different intensities scattered randomly about. To separate the real stars from any noise, astronomers would take multiple images, often at different colors, and analyze the results by eye before labeling anything an actual star. Sounds tough, but by 50 years ago, astronomers had already managed to catalog hundreds of millions of stars in all areas of the sky.”

Stanford Internet Observatory: Analyzing a Twitter Takedown Originating in Saudia Arabia. “On December 20, 2019 Twitter announced the removal of 88,000 accounts managed by Smaat, a digital marketing company based in Saudi Arabia, and attributed thousands of these accounts to involvement in ‘a significant state-backed information operation’. On December 17 Twitter shared with the Stanford Internet Observatory 32,054,257 tweets from 5,929 randomly sampled accounts. In this report we provide a first analysis of the data.”

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy: UGA Statement on USCIS Proposed Fee Increase. “The Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) strongly opposes the proposed fee increase for the Genealogy Program under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as reported in the Federal Register on November 14, 2019. The current proposal is to increase the search fee from $65 to $240 and then the cost of a paper file from $65 to $385. This means the overall charge for genealogists to obtain A-Files, Visa Files, Registry Files, and some C-Files would be $625 per record provided the file number is unknown ($240 file index search plus $385 for the record itself). This is unaffordable to many genealogists, which means the records would be inaccessible to them.” Good morning, Internet…

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