afternoonbuzz

Co-op News, Google Nest, Firefox, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 12, 2020

NEW RESOURCES

Co-op News: Researchers build online index for the Co-op News. “Co-operative resource centre Principle 5 is developing an online index for Co-operative News so to help researchers track down articles. Back copies of the paper, which dates back to 1871, are viewable at Principle 5, as well as the National Co-operative Archive in Manchester and Liverpool John Moores University. But, in the absence of an index, students of the movement face a hard task looking for specific articles or subjects.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google Blog: More protection for Nest accounts. “We’re always exploring how to protect your privacy and security while also giving you control over the ease of access to your account and what you share. After all, devices like cameras and smoke alarms are essential in emergencies…. The best way to do this is by migrating to a Google account, which comes with lots of added benefits, including security protections like suspicious activity detection and Security Checkup. But for those who haven’t migrated yet, here are some new measures we’ve put in place to invest in keeping your Nest account secure.”

Neowin: Mozilla launches Firefox 73 with global zoom settings. “Mozilla has launched Firefox 73. It’s not a particularly big update this time around, however, if you like to adjust the page zoom on websites you’ll appreciate the fact that this version allows you set a global default zoom level setting. It also improves High Contrast Mode handling on Windows.”

USEFUL STUFF

ZDNet: 2020 election news survival guide: Keep your sanity and your friends with these three apps. “Has the 2020 election news cycle got you anxious, depressed, confused, or just plain exhausted? Have you started hating friends and mistrusting most of what you read? Well, there are some apps I recommend. Really.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Motherboard: The World’s Second Largest Wikipedia Is Written Almost Entirely by One Bot. “The Cebuano Wikipedia is the second largest edition of Wikipedia, lagging behind the English version by only just over 630 thousand articles and ahead of the Swedish and German editions by over 1.64 and 2.98 million articles, respectively. Its positioning is rather peculiar given that, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, there are only approximately 16.5 million speakers of the language in the Philippines. Despite having over 5.37 million articles, it has only 6 administrators and 14 active users. The English edition, by comparison, has 1,143 administrators and 137,368 active users for over 6 million articles, at the time of writing.”

Insider: Women in tech are taking to TikTok to roast the male-dominated industry for its diversity issues. “Emily Kager only downloaded TikTok a few months ago. Originally, the 25-year-old software developer only wanted to use the app to relate to her younger sisters. ‘I was just trying to see what the kids were up to,’ she told Insider. However, she soon realized that the platform was an opportunity to open up a discussion she’d begun on Twitter about the realities of being a woman in the tech industry.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

New York Times: Tech Companies Detect a Surge in Online Videos of Child Sexual Abuse. “The number of reported photos, videos and other materials related to online child sexual abuse grew by more than 50 percent last year, an indication that many of the world’s biggest technology platforms remain infested with the illegal content.”

Washington Post: ‘The intelligence coup of the century’. “The company, Crypto AG, got its first break with a contract to build code-making machines for U.S. troops during World War II. Flush with cash, it became a dominant maker of encryption devices for decades, navigating waves of technology from mechanical gears to electronic circuits and, finally, silicon chips and software…. But what none of its customers ever knew was that Crypto AG was secretly owned by the CIA in a highly classified partnership with West German intelligence. These spy agencies rigged the company’s devices so they could easily break the codes that countries used to send encrypted messages.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Phys .org: Wikipedia, a source of information on natural disasters biased towards rich countries. “As a source of information related to natural disasters, the authors show that on Wikipedia, there is a greater tendency to cover events in wealthy countries than in poor countries. By performing careful, large-scale analysis of automatic content, ‘we show how flood coverage in Wikipedia leans towards wealthy, English-speaking countries, particularly the USA and Canada,’ they claim in their work. ‘We also note that the coverage of flooding in low-income countries and in countries in South America, is substantially less than the coverage of flooding in middle-income countries,’ they add.”

The Next Web: MIT researchers developed a text-based system that tricks Google’s AI. “Now, researchers at Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), MIT, have developed a new system called TextFooler that can trick AI models that use natural language processing (NLP) — like the ones used by Siri and Alexa. This is important to catch spam or respond to offensive language.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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