Blockscan, Anti-Racist Street Art, Water Quality, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, June 23, 2020


Medium: Blockscan: The Search Engine for a Decentralized Web. “Accessing decentralized, uncensorable websites has long been touted as one of the potential uses for Ethereum…. One challenge remains: users of such sites lack easy ways of discovery. Imagine looking up a topic on the Internet. You wouldn’t need to type an exact URL. Your browser’s native search engine picks out countless suggestions for any particular search item you look for. The same cannot be said of decentralized websites, where even entering exact URLs may not get you to the website you want on mainstream browsers. Enter Blockscan.”

Spotted via Reddit: George Floyd & Anti-Racist Street Art. From the About page: “The Urban Art Mapping George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art database seeks to document examples of street art from around the world that have emerged in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd as part of an ongoing movement demanding social justice and equality. The database will serve as repository for images and a future resource for scholars and artists by way of metadata that is freely available. In addition, the project will make possible an analysis of the themes and issues that appear in street art, explored in relation to local experiences, responses, and attitudes.”

EPA: EPA Announces Dynamic New Water Data Transparency Tool. “Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new tool that assembles publicly available water quality data into a user-friendly package that provides information on the quality of our nation’s waters at the community, state, and national level.”


Engadget: Google adds fact checking to image searches. “Google’s fact checking now extends beyond standard searches and YouTube. The internet pioneer has introduced fact check labels for image search results. Tap a bogus picture for a detailed view and you’ll see a blurb from a verified source indicating what’s false and offering a link to the full article debunking the image. If a photo is a known fake, you’ll find out before you start sharing it with your friends in disbelief.”

CNBC: Google U.S. ad revenue will drop for the first time this year, eMarketer says. “Google will see a 5.3% drop in US advertising revenue in 2020, eMarketer predicted in a new report, marking the first decline in ad revenue growth since the research firm began modeling the business in 2008.”

BetaNews: Vivaldi 3.1 unveils new Notes Manager tool, customizable menus. “Vivaldi Technologies has unveiled Vivaldi 3.1 for Windows, Mac and Linux. The release comes 48 hours after the first major update for Vivaldi for Android. The desktop build unveils a major upgrade to its existing Notes feature in the form of a full-blown Notes Manager tool. The tool is now accessible via its own full-screen tab in the main browser window (click the link in the Start page or type vivaldi://notes/ into the browser’s address bar).”


Nikkei Asian Review: Tiananmen museum seeks funds to preserve crackdown relics online. “The operators of the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving the memory of the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen crackdown have begun a global crowdfunding drive to take their collection online, prodded by the looming national security law Beijing plans to impose in Hong Kong.”

New York Times: How Social Media Has Changed Civil Rights Protests. “Omar Wasow is steeped in both social media and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. And he marvels at how the two have melded in the current demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality. Wasow, a professor at Princeton University and co-founder of the pioneering social network, said social media was helping publicize police brutality and galvanizing public support for protesters’ goals — a role that his research found conventional media played a half century ago. And he said he believed that the internet was making it easier to organize social movements today, for good and for ill.”

The Stage: More than 9,000 join new Facebook group to combat racism in drama schools. “A new group has been set up to provide a safe space for drama school students and graduates to share their experiences of racism. Called Unity – Drama Schools Standing Up Against Racism, the Facebook group already has more than 9,000 members.”


CNET: US government doesn’t know how it uses facial recognition in public housing. “Lawmakers want to regulate how facial recognition is being used, but the Department of Housing and Urban Development has a significant obstacle: it doesn’t keep track of how the surveillance technology can be used on its approximately 1.2 million households. In a letter from HUD to Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, the agency explained that it doesn’t know how many of its public housing programs use facial recognition or even how it’s allowed to be used.”

Silicon Angle: Niche dating app user data found exposed on misconfigured cloud instance. “The records of hundreds of thousands of users of a range of niche data apps have been exposed online in the latest case of a misconfigured cloud instance. Discovered by security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar at vpnMentor… the 845 gigabytes of data containing 2.5 million records related to dating apps, including 3somes, Cougary, Gay Daddy Bear, Xpal, BBW Dating, Casualx, SugarD and Herpes Dating.”


Phys .org: Simple interventions can help people spot false headlines. “A team of researchers studied Facebook’s efforts to educate users on how to spot misinformation. After being exposed to tips on how to spot misinformation, people in the United States and India were less likely to say a false headline was true. The researchers also found, however, that people’s ability to spot erroneous information weakened over time, leading the authors to conclude that digital literacy needs to be taught with regularity.”

Guelph Now: Researchers Develop New Method Of Analyzing Social Media Data To Identify Potential Disease Outbreaks. “A new method to analyze social media data could help predict future outbreaks of diseases and viruses like COVID-19 and the measles. In a new study, researchers from the University of Waterloo examined computer simulations to develop a new method of analyzing interactions on social media that can predict when a disease outbreak is likely.” Good morning, Internet…

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