Amazon Alexa, Reddit, 2020 Election Information, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, March 5, 2020


Becker’s Hospital Review: Amazon, First Databank partner to let Alexa answer drug-related questions. “Amazon has partnered with First Databank — a database of drug and medical device information — to allow Amazon Alexa users to ask questions about drug information, such as drug interactions and side effects.”

Mashable: Reddit partners with Crisis Text Line to give users mental health support . “The partnership makes it possible for a Reddit user to flag someone they feel is struggling with serious self-harm or suicide. That will trigger an immediate private message from Reddit to the person in distress. The message will include mental health resources and a suggestion to use their phone to text the phrase CHAT to connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor. This tool will only be available for users based in the United States.”


The Verge: The Verge Guide To The 2020 Election. “At The Verge, we’ve always paid attention to how simple things like the price of broadband are deeply connected to complicated tech policy debates. And we’ve been closely watching the collision between social networks and democracy — Casey Newton has been writing a daily newsletter called The Interface tracking that subject since 2017. So for the 2020 election cycle, we want to give you a central place to learn about the main tech policy issues we’re following, see the latest news, and feel like you have a guide through it all.”

Reclaim the Net: Fraidycat, a tool that pulls websites and social networks into one algorithm-free feed, gets an update. “On the surface, Fraidycat seems like yet another RSS feed reader. Except, thanks to a recent update, Fraidycat can easily become your main window into the online world. In addition to a new dark mode, it now allows you to subscribe to feeds/threads from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, GitHub, SoundCloud, Twitch, and Kickstarter, to name a few.” (Wipes drool off keyboard)


This may be the first time I’ve ever linked to an advice column in ResearchBuzz. Here we go, from the New York Times: Is It Possible to Feel Creatively Connected Without Social Media?. “It has become a thing for some to use Instagram as a kind of CV, and there are stories of those who have found gallery representation on the basis of their feeds. At the end of the day, though, I suspect that by recusing yourself from social media, what you’re mostly missing out on is the illusion of community, rather than an actual, supportive, real-life one, which you’ve already taken steps to build. Let’s face it: Social media is better at fostering solipsism than it is at inspiring or showcasing creative work.”

Poynter: False cases of coronavirus have infected social media. “On Feb. 12, a 50-year-old man hanged himself in the Indian city of Chittoor to prevent his wife and children from getting the 2019 coronavirus. Feeling sick, he visited a doctor and left the consultation believing he had COVID-19. After his death, however, the presence of the new virus in his body was not confirmed. His son told Times of India his dad died from fear and anxiety, after having watched hundreds of videos about the new disease.”

Gothamist: Photos: Inside The Last Days Of The ARChive Of Contemporary Music In Tribeca. “How many albums can you think of that feature a space helmet on the cover? There’s Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere, Moby’s 18, Parliament’s Mothership Connection, and Tom Petty’s Highway Companion. There are soundtracks for movies like Moonraker, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Day The Earth Stood Still. What about that Star Wars disco album? Does Daft Punk count? There are at least 360 of them according to archivist Bob George, and he should know: he is the founder and director of The ARChive Of Contemporary Music (ARC), a nonprofit archive, music library and research center that has become home to one of the world’s largest collections of popular music in all its physical forms.”


Politico: Federal court rejects Gabbard’s bias suit against Google. “A federal judge has rejected a lawsuit in which Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard accused Google of temporarily suspending her presidential campaign ads due to political bias — noting that the online search giant is not a government entity bound by the First Amendment.”


Phys .org: With 30,000 surveys, researchers build the go-to dataset for smallholder farms . “Top-down projects for improving the lives of poor farmers were often unsuccessful because they didn’t systematically consider the diverse rural households survive and thrive. To tap this local knowledge, scientists and development agencies began surveying households to assure that research and development schemes were on target. But the surveys were not designed to be compared with one another, lacking what scientists call ‘interoperability’—meaning one organization’s household surveys could not be compared with another’s. For big-picture analysis, much of the data was of little use.”

ZDNet: Facebook has a new tool to spot spammers, and it’s already taken down billions of accounts. “Chasing fake accounts on social networks is a high-tech game of cat and mouse, and as soon as one troll is down, another one pops up. But Facebook has revealed that it has a new trick up its sleeve to better identify spammers – an improved weapon-of-choice that attackers won’t be able to dodge as easily as before, according to the social media giant.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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1 reply »

  1. FraidyCat alone appears to have made my day. Hope (for the developer’s sake) they figure out a way to get something back for all that work!

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