morningbuzz

Utah Fire Atlas, Twitter, Spotify, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, June 18, 2020

NEW RESOURCES

Utah State University: The Utah Fire Atlas Offers Land Managers a New Tool. “Using the fire atlas, researchers will characterize both wildfires and prescribed fires in Utah so the data can inform land management and policy decisions that will create greater resilience to wildfires and optimize post-fire conditions. The institute is concentrating on fires from 100 to 1000 acres – a size relevant to managers considering prescribed or ‘let burn’ fires.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The Verge: Twitter’s new reply-limiting feature is already changing how we talk on the platform. “Previously, anybody could reply to anybody on Twitter (as long as their profile wasn’t private or blocked). But now, if you’re part of the test, you can decide if you want to allow replies from everyone, only people you follow, or only people you tag — which, if you don’t tag anyone, means that no one can reply at all. Deciding who can reply to which tweet on a tweet-by-tweet basis could change how some people use the social media platform in significant ways.”

CNET: Spotify now lets you save unlimited songs to your library. “Spotify on Tuesday said it’s dumping the 10,000-item limit on ‘Your Library,’ meaning users can now save an unlimited collection of songs, albums and podcasts. The move should make serious music fans happy, with Spotify saying people have been requesting the change for years.”

BetaNews: Google teams up with Parallels to allow Chromebooks to run Windows apps. “Initially derided as a limited modern take on netbooks, Chromebooks have gathered loyal followers over the years as app support grows. In addition to web apps, there is also support for Android and Linux apps, but Chromebook owners have long dreamed of the day they can run Windows software. Thanks to a partnership between Google and virtualization specialist Parallels it will not be too long before Windows apps in Chrome OS becomes a reality. The bad news is that there is a slight caveat.”

USEFUL STUFF

Wired: How to Spot Phony Images and Online Propaganda. “Now anyone with a halfway decent smartphone can alter an image or a video well enough that it would fool most at first glance, and propaganda works more by innuendo and analogy than patriotic morality plays. No wonder well-intentioned people are so easily misled.”

TIME: Going to a Protest? Here’s How to Protect Your Digital Privacy. “Even as protesters turn to their smartphones as a means to record their experiences on the ground, those same devices can be used against them. Law enforcement groups have digital surveillance tools, like fake cell phone towers and facial recognition technology, that can be used to identify protestors and monitor their movements and communications. Furthermore, investigators and prosecutors have come to view suspects’ phones as potential treasure troves of information about them and their associates, setting up legal battles over personal technology and Americans’ Constitutional rights.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Mother Jones: The Gas Industry Is Paying Instagram Influencers to Gush Over Gas Stoves. “The gas cooking Insta–trend is no accident. It’s the result of a carefully orchestrated campaign dreamed up by marketers for representatives with the American Gas Association and American Public Gas Association, two trade groups that draw their funding from a mix of investor- and publicly owned utilities. Since at least 2018, social media and wellness personalities have been hired to post more than 100 posts extolling the virtues of their stoves in sponsored posts. Documents from the fossil fuel watchdog Climate Investigations Center show that another trade group, the American Public Gas Association, intends to spend another $300,000 on its millennial-centric ‘Natural Gas Genius’ campaign in 2020.”

ABC News: Facebook takes down Proud Boys, American Guard accounts connected to protests. “Facebook executed a takedown Tuesday of social media accounts connected to two organizations the company considers to be hate groups and had banned across their platforms: Proud Boys and American Guard.”

OneZero: The Digital Archives of the Oldest Black Newspaper in America Show a Long Struggle for Justice. “I first encountered the Afro’s collection while working on an oral history project in East Baltimore. I tagged along with a colleague and visited the Afro’s archive, looking for a historical photo of the neighborhood I was studying. What I found there blew me away. In a meandering series of rooms filling the back portion of a nondescript building on Baltimore’s North Charles Street sat thousands upon thousands of boxes, floor to ceiling, filled with 8×10 photographs. History literally spilled from these boxes, with photos covering tables, desks, even walls. You could open a box and find original photos of Aretha Franklin, a 1930s wedding, or a protest — basically any event, large or small, personal or national, of the past century. As a techie (and especially one in 2010), my first thought was, ‘This has to be digital.'” This is a really long, but really good, read.

SECURITY & LEGAL

Philadelphia Inquirer: The FBI used a Philly protester’s Etsy profile, LinkedIn, and other internet history to charge her with setting police cars ablaze. “More than two weeks after that climactic May 30 moment, federal authorities say they’ve identified the arsonist as 33-year-old Philadelphia massage therapist Lore Elisabeth Blumenthal by following the intricate trail of bread crumbs she left through her social media history and online shopping patterns over the years. The path took agents from Instagram, where amateur photographers also captured shots of the masked arsonist, to an Etsy shop that sold the distinctive T-shirt the woman was wearing in the video. It led investigators to her LinkedIn page, to her profile on the fashion website Poshmark, and eventually to her doorstep in Germantown.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

New Jersey Institute of Technology: AI Software Will Help Regional Planners Build Sidewalks Database. “Community and urban planners throughout North Jersey will soon have a thorough digital inventory of their sidewalks, based on a unique use of geospatial intelligence software led by Ying Wu College of Computing Associate Professor Xinyue Ye and his Ph.D. student Huan Ning, on behalf of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA). Planners can use such databases to help guide their decisions about where and how to invest in construction and infrastructure projects.”

EurekAlert: Can artificial intelligence lead scientific discoveries?. “Can machines be agents with the capacity for autonomous action? Can they be creative and produce something genuinely new? Philosopher Professor Thomas Müller from the University of Konstanz and physicist Professor Hans Briegel from the University of Innsbruck receive a total of 825,000 euros over four years from the Volkswagen Foundation through the funding initiative ‘Off the Beaten Track’ to explore the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in basic research.” Good morning, Internet…

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