Apollo 13, Twitter, Dev Top-Level Domain, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, March 14, 2020

Hey, there’s so much coronavirus / COVID-19 news coming out that I’m going to put it in a separate newsletter. It’ll be called CoronaBuzz, first issue out later this morning, and if you’re on this mailing list you’ll get it. (I thought about making it a separate list but I don’t think that’s the best use of my money right now.)

The newsletter will focus on state / country level resources, social impacts, research, and a little humor if I can. I will not be listing infection statistics since they change so rapidly. I will also not list cancellations etc except in aggregate articles. If an article is related to the outbreak but not specifically about the outbreak (like free services being made available because of school closures) I will include in ResearchBuzz, and not CoronaBuzz.

Another advantage to separating out the COVID news is if you’re anxious about it, you can just skip CoronaBuzz when it turns up in your email. No judgement. Wash your hands and take care of yourself. I love you.


The Verge: This website lets you relive Apollo 13 in real time through historical transcripts, footage, and audio. “The 50th anniversary of NASA’s infamous Apollo 13 mission is almost here, and a new website just went live today that will let you relive the heart-wrenching journey as if it were happening live. The website, called Apollo 13 in Real Time, provides transcripts, video footage, and audio recordings surrounding the historical flight, posting the material at the exact times they were created half a century ago.”


TechCrunch: Twitter rewrites Developer Policy to better support academic research and use of ‘good’ bots. “Twitter today updated its Developer Policy to clarify rules around data usage, including in academic research, as well as its position on bots, among other things. The policy has also been entirely rewritten in an effort to simplify the language used and make it more conversational, Twitter says. The new policy has been shortened from eight sections to four, and the accompanying Twitter Developer Agreement has been updated to align with the Policy changes, as well.”

Google Blog: Highlights from the first year of . dev. “A year ago, our Google Registry team launched .dev—a top-level domain (TLD) for developers, designers, technical writers, and technology enthusiasts. This new TLD gave people the chance to register memorable domain names that can be hard to find on older domains, with a descriptive ending that’s especially relevant to them.”


Dot eSports: How to find live esports and gaming content on Twitch, Facebook, YouTube, and Mixer. “The common approach to finding live esports and gaming-related content on the internet has shifted dramatically since 2017. This shift essentially gave the power of choice back to the people, something that didn’t really exist before since Twitch basically had no competition until recently.”

Medium: How to Handle Toxic People as an Online Community Manager. “Internet reality plays by its own rules and you’re obliged to know them and understand what to do when dealing with people online. I have been working as a community support manager for more than two years now. It’s a massive period of time measured by the amount of communication I initiate every single day, sending cooperation offers to designers, replying to comments and reviews, creating social media posts and updates.”

T.H.E. Journal: Free Resources: Ed Tech Companies Step Up During Coronavirus Outbreak. “In many cases, the companies are making their paid services free through the rest of the school year; in other cases, they’re lifting limits to services and/or adding premium features to what’s free.”


Christian Science Monitor: The national archives built from a crumpled napkin. “It was 1991, and in the bombed-out ruins of Somaliland’s newly proclaimed capital city, a woman selling camel milk tea and laxoox, spongy Somali pancakes, handed a customer a piece of paper off the ground so that he could wipe the dirt off his hands. But as Jama Musse Jama prepared to crinkle the paper in his hands, his eyes snagged on the text. These were the trial records from a famous court case a decade earlier that had sent hundreds of student activists to prison.”


CNET: ACLU sues for records on facial recognition use at airports, border. “The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Department of Homeland Security, as well as Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement after the agencies failed to provide public records on how they’re using facial recognition at airports and US borders.”

CNN: US tech companies will be hit with new UK tax in just three weeks. “Britain will start charging a tax on digital services in three weeks despite fierce opposition from Big Tech and the US government. The UK government said Wednesday that it’s moving ahead with a 2% tax on revenue from digital services such as search and advertising starting on April 1.”

BetaNews: Microsoft releases emergency patch for critical SMB vulnerability in Windows 10 and Windows Server. “Earlier this week, Microsoft inadvertently released details of a critical vulnerability in the SMBv3 protocol in Windows 10 and Windows Server. While there was no fix available at the time, the company did provide suggestions about how to mitigate against attacks. With the information out in the wild, Microsoft was under pressure to get a patch released to customers — and now it has managed to produce such a fix.”


The Serious Computer Vision Blog: Training a Rap Machine. “In my previous post, I gave a short tutorial on how to use the Google AI platform for small garage projects. In this post, I am going to follow up and talk about how I built (or more like an attempt to build) my holiday project, a machine that completes your rap lyrics using the ‘Transformer’ neural network.” I played with it a little using lyrics from G YAMAZAWA’s “North Cack”. It was… pretty good?

Slate: Professors, Don’t Be Scared. Teaching Online Is Great.. “Twitter is full of critics as classes move online. As one tweeted: ‘These teachers really think these online classes gonna work? Half the time they not even tech savvy enough to log into their gmails.’ But teaching online wasn’t that different from the classroom experience I was accustomed to. It was often more fun than standing at a lectern working through a well-worn set of PowerPoint slides.” Good morning, Internet…

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