Washington Legislation, Twitter, PICOL, More: Friday Evening ResearchBuzz, February 21, 2020


University of Washington: New, UW-developed data tool tracks state legislative process, from first draft to final law. “Legislators introduce thousands of bills during each session of the Washington State Legislature. But tracking how a bill becomes a law, or what happens to the vast majority that never make it that far, isn’t easy with current technology. A new data visualization tool aims to address this need. Legislative Explorer, or LegEx, developed by University of Washington political science professor John Wilkerson and undergraduate Rohnin Randles, in partnership with Seattle-based Schema Design, draws on bill information made available by the state to enable students, journalists and voters to visually explore the lawmaking process.”


Gizmodo: Twitter Update Makes It Easier to Continue One of Your Awful Threads. “A new Twitter update makes it easier for users to follow up their dumb, old tweets via a ‘“Continue thread’ menu, allowing users to continue a thread without actually having to navigate to the tweet in question.”

Washington State University: WSU’s PICOL Pesticide database is moving. “The new website for the Pesticide Information Center OnLine database (PICOL) is live and it’s time to update your links, bookmarks, and favorites!… The legacy PICOL site will shut down forever in March 2020, so please make sure that you also update links and web addresses in documents and on websites.”

Input: Google AI no longer uses gender binary tags on images of people. “Google’s image-labeling AI tool will no longer label pictures with gender tags like ‘man’ and ‘woman,’ according to an email seen by Business Insider. In the email, Google cites its ethical rules on AI as the basis for the change.”


How-To Geek: What Is Ambient Computing, and How Will It Change Our Lives?. “Ambient computing is one of Silicon Valley’s latest tech buzzwords. It refers to technologies that allow people to use a computer without realizing they’re doing it. We’ll explain more about it, and how it will impact our daily lives.”


WRAL: Facebook removing page posting fake North Carolina news. ” Facebook plans to remove a page that has been posting false information and inflammatory content. The page has a simple and unassuming name: ‘North Carolina Breaking News.'”

Mississippi State University: Celebrating Black History: MSU Libraries to digitize records of enslaved Mississippians for the first time. “This undertaking compiles a wealth of 19th-century documents from across the South and, upon completion, will provide a fully text-searchable, indexed collection containing digital images of original documents that include individuals’ names and detailed physical descriptions. Primarily inspired by patron need, the project is based on a similar effort at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture called ‘Unknown No Longer.'”


New York Times: N.Y.P.D. to Remove DNA Profiles of Non-Criminals From Database. “For years, New York City has been amassing an immense local database of DNA, collecting samples not just from people convicted of crimes, but from people simply arrested or questioned, including minors. The existence of the database, which has about 82,000 profiles, has drawn fire from civil liberties advocates, who point out it is hard to get a profile erased once it is put in and argue it violates the privacy rights of many innocent people.”

BetaNews: Malicious apps found on Google Play Store despite new App Defense Alliance. “Researchers at Check Point have recently found eight malicious apps containing malware on the Google Play app store, despite Google forming the App Defense Alliance in November 2019 to improve security of apps in the store.”


BBC: Can computer translators ever beat speaking a foreign tongue?. “Put crottin de chèvre into Google Translate, and you’ll be told it means goat dung. So if it appeared on a menu, you might pass. Alas, you would be ruling out a delicious cheese made of goat’s milk that is often served as a starter in France. Such misunderstandings are why Google admits that its free tool, used by about 500 million people, is not intended to replace human translators.” Good evening, Internet…

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