Wednesday CoronaBuzz, March 25, 2020: 31 pointers to articles, new resources, useful stuff, and more.

This newsletter now has its own Twitter account at @buzz_corona. I’m only doing one of these newsletters a day so they’re going to be enormous. Wash your hands. I love you.


Internet Archive Blog: Announcing a National Emergency Library to Provide Digitized Books to Students and the Public. “To address our unprecedented global and immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as of today, March 24, 2020, the Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.”

Clinical Leader: New Website A Free Resource for Researchers, Patients On COVID-19 Trials. “ features a robust search engine, powered by TrialScope technology, that enables site visitors to search for COVID-19 clinical trials by keyword or location. An advanced search function offers additional filters: distance, study status, study phase, as well as age and gender requirements for participants.”

KNAU (Arizona): New Website Seeks To Bond Arizonans During Coronavirus Outbreak. “Governor Doug Ducey has launched the ‘Arizona Together’ initiative to support citizens statewide during the COVID-19 outbreak. In a news release, the governor said the program will connect individuals and businesses to resources, raising money for community organizations and providing information on volunteer opportunities.”

WPRI: New website helps Rhode Islanders support small businesses affected by coronavirus outbreak. “Hours after it was launched, more than 50 local businesses have joined an online portal created Tuesday to streamline the way consumers can aid local businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.”


Austin360: ‘Austin City Limits’ opens part of archives for free streaming. “Tapings of new ‘Austin City Limits’ episodes may be on hold for now, but the longest-running music series in the history of television has plenty of great music in its archives. And on Monday, the program opened most shows from its past three seasons to the public for free streaming.”

USA Today: Coronavirus home lesson plans, coming for free in ‘Minecraft’ . “Microsoft wants to help students keep flexing their mental muscles even if they aren’t in the classroom, with many schools closed during the coronavirus crisis. So kids and parents can explore some free ‘Minecraft’ challenges, made available for free today through June 30 in the Minecraft Marketplace, found within the game played by more than 90 million each month.”

American Alliance of Museums: How Your Museum Can Use Social Media During COVID-19. “With the current COVID-19 pandemic deeply affecting museums across the world, many museum professionals at big and small museums alike are wondering how they can still connect and communicate with their audiences, each other, and the broader population. And for many, that answer is social media. Whether you’re a social media manager or just looking for a way to leverage the power of social media for your museum, we’ve gathered examples of how museums are using Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and other platforms in innovative ways.”

UMass Lowell: Education Expert Uses Social Media to Connect K-12 Teachers, Parents with Virtual Resources. “As the coronavirus crisis began to shift teaching and learning online, UMass Lowell Education Prof. Michelle Scribner-MacLean instantly knew teachers and parents needed content ready. She responded in a flash, creating a Facebook group called K-12 Resources for Teaching Online, a clearinghouse for curriculum for educators and parents hoping to keep homebound children engaged.”

CNET: Sir Patrick Stewart is giving you 1 free month of CBS All Access. “Yep, the once and (hopefully) future captain of the Enterprise announced a month-long CBS All Access trial. To get it, use the above link (or following button) and promo code GIFT. Note that CBS All Access and CNET are both divisions of ViacomCBS.”

Pornhub: Pornhub Offers Free Pornhub Premium to Users Worldwide for 30 Days During COVID-19 Pandemic. “Starting today, Pornhub the premier online destination for adult entertainment, will offer free Pornhub Premium to the entire world in an effort to encourage the importance of staying home and practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Tech & Learning: Free Online Learning Resources For Schools Affected by Coronavirus/COVID-19. “Tech & Learning editors curate hundreds of free elearning resources for schools worldwide, especially those affected by coronavirus/COVID-19 closures.” Biiiiiig list, decently annotated.


CNET: Plague Inc. flips the script, letting players save the world from a pandemic . “Stopping the pathogen from global domination will take a strategic approach of managing the disease, improving health care systems and controlling real-world actions such as quarantining, social distancing and closing of public spaces, Ndemic Creations said in a post Monday.”

CNN: YouTube to reduce video quality worldwide to ease strain on internet networks. “Videos on YouTube will now default to standard definition for all users worldwide, a step down from the typical high definition that users normally see. The move is aimed at easing the burden on internet infrastructure as lockdowns and other emergency policies have kept millions at home.”

Laptop Magazine: Microsoft follows Google: Edge updates paused due to COVID-19. “The last thing Microsoft wants to do is follow in Google’s footsteps, but the Redmond-based firm has no choice. As Chrome pauses updates due to COVID-19, Edge implements the same upgrade-halting measures as its biggest browser competitor, BleeingComputer reported.”

Google Blog: Stay updated on travel advisories and airline policies. “As the spread of COVID-19 continues, we’re seeing more searches for travel-related information—like travel advisories and trip cancellation policies—so we’re making some changes this week to help you find this information faster.”


Sports Illustrated: How NBA Stars Are Using Social Media to Educate About the Coronavirus. “In the days immediately following the NBA’s indefinite suspension of play, the league’s social media feeds reflected a new normal. Gone were clips of Lakers star LeBron James finishing powerful dunks and Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo going coast-to-coast after hauling in opposing misses. Instead, and in its place, were videos featuring players from different backgrounds and of varying skill-levels, all talking about the coronavirus.”

CNN: Funerals are the latest part of American life to move online. “Isabel Cabrera Galindo was a social woman who loved gardening, going to church and drinking beer. But when the 82-year-old recently died of natural causes, her friends and family were told they couldn’t attend the funeral in person. Instead, they watched the burial via a livestream. But many either couldn’t figure out how to use it or struggled to hear key parts of it.”

AdWeek: Imagery of Human Contact Is Down 30% in Social Media Ads. “Quarantine culture is already causing drastic shifts in the imagery and copy that brands use to advertise on social media. That’s according to data from marketing tech firm Pattern89, which used machine learning to track a 30% dip in social media ads featuring images or video of everyday human contact—hugging, kissing and holding hands—since March 12 amid the coronavirus pandemic hitting the United States.”

Now This: I Dated On “Love Is Quarantine.” I Didn’t Find Love. I Found Something Else.. “It’s not that I missed online dating: the painfully unfunny first messages, lukewarm introductory hugs, and the looming fear of ‘orbiting.’ But I had already begun to grow tired from the 10-foot walks from my bedroom to the kitchen to do I-don’t-know-what. Between panic-scrolls, I welcomed the potential for something beautiful to blossom, no matter how unrealistic.”

BBC: Facebook group calls soar 1,000% during Italy’s lockdown. “Facebook has seen usage across its platforms surge in countries that have brought in virus lockdowns. Italy – with some of the toughest restrictions – has seen the biggest rise, with group calls rocketing by more than 1,000% in the last month.”

Road/Show: Coronavirus has people changing their minds about ride-hailing, study says. “An essential part of this whole social-distancing thing is that you stay the hell away from other people. I mean, it’s right there in the name. So, it would make sense then that people are starting to look differently at things like ride-hailing services and public transit, which is precisely what they’re doing according to a recent study of 3,021 people by”

Mashable: Extremely cool teacher runs math lesson from home within ‘Half Life: Alyx’. “Extremely cool teacher Charles Coomber —who works for California’s Springs Charter schools, at the Otay Ranch Academy for the Arts — taught a lesson in angle vocabulary from his apartment set within the long-awaited new virtual reality first-person shooter from developer Valve. Half Life: Alyx dropped on Monday, years after the iconic original game was released in 1998, and its sequel in 2006.”


Slate: Why We Can’t Just Let People Try Drugs That Might Treat COVID-19. “We have been here before. I worked with Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health in the early days of AIDS, when many HIV-infected people demanded access to drugs for which there was little to no good data on their effects. This population faced a very high risk of rapid death, unlike the COVID-19 patients—yet some of them recognized that the best hope to control this horrible infection was the conduct of rigorous controlled studies that would actually show what worked and what didn’t. That approach ultimately led to the discovery of drugs that changed AIDS from a death sentence to a chronic disease but one that would not necessarily shorten life.”

EurekAlert: Coronavirus massive simulations completed on Frontera supercomputer. “Scientists are preparing a massive computer model of the coronavirus that they expect will give insight into how it infects in the body. They’ve taken the first steps, testing the first parts of the model and optimizing code on the Frontera supercomputer at the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC). The knowledge gained from the full model can help researchers design new drugs and vaccines to combat the coronavirus.”

Washington Post: The coronavirus isn’t mutating quickly, suggesting a vaccine would offer lasting protection. “The coronavirus is not mutating significantly as it circulates through the human population, according to scientists who are closely studying the novel pathogen’s genetic code. That relative stability suggests the virus is less likely to become more or less dangerous as it spreads, and represents encouraging news for researchers hoping to create a long-lasting vaccine.”

CNET: Governments could track COVID-19 lockdowns through social media posts. “Ghost Data, a research group in Italy and the US, collected more than half a million Instagram posts in March, targeting regions in the country where residents were supposed to be on lockdown. It provided those images and videos to LogoGrab, an image recognition company that can automatically identify people and places. The company found at least 33,120 people violated Italy’s quarantine orders.”

InformationWeek: COVID-19: Using Data to Map Infections, Hospital Beds, and More. “The spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the resources to fight it, are being tracked and mapped by governments and other organizations in the US and the world. Here’s how they are doing it.”


News & Advance: Thousands of Liberty University students expected to return to campus amid coronavirus outbreak. “As the coronavirus threatens to spread across the Lynchburg region, Liberty University officials are preparing to welcome back up to 5,000 students from spring break this week. Defying a national trend of campus closures, President Jerry Falwell Jr. has invited students to return to residence halls and has directed faculty members to continue to report to campus even as most classes move online.”

BetaNews: Ransomware posing as a coronavirus app is threatening people for money. “The coronavirus pandemic has created some confusing times. Trying to get a better handle on the situation, some people have looked to mobile apps to track the spread of the disease. These users were shocked to find they had accidentally installed a malware app instead.”

Gizmodo: On Google Search, Scammy Unemployment Ads Are Targeting Some Of The Most Vulnerable People. “In the past week, we’ve seen spikes in searches for phrases like ‘unemployed,’ ‘laid off,’ and ‘unemployment benefits,’ to name a few. While many of these searchers will find the information they’re looking for, too many are likely to encounter Google ads for sites that could scam them out of their hard-earned savings. And Google is so far continuing to allow these ads to run.”

RiverBender: Bizarre Coronavirus Story: Man Licks Deodorants at Walmart, Posts on Social Media, Then Arrested. “In another new twist to bizarre coronavirus stories, a situation developed on the Missouri side in Warrenton when a man was arrested after he licked a row of deodorant sticks at Walmart and shared the video on social media.”

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