Black in Film, Arizona Water, Labor Unions History, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, June 26, 2020


Chicago Reader: Black in Film is diversifying the industry. “Ramone Hulet was up late when the idea hit him. ‘It honestly came out of frustration,’ the Chicago filmmaker says over an afternoon Zoom call. ‘I was recently working on a set where we wanted to hire Black, but couldn’t.’ That’s when Hulet thought of it: a website that would act as a running list to connect Black creatives in the film industry with each other and non-Black filmmakers. Hulet worked until 1 AM that same night to finish the website and Black In Film was born.”

Arizona State University: New ASU mapping tool shows holistic view of water in Arizona. “Water is a critical issue in Arizona, and a new water-mapping tool created by the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University has collected a vast array of maps and data sets to show a wide-ranging view of water in the state. The Arizona Water Blueprint visualizes information on groundwater, rivers, agricultural irrigation, dams, ocean desalination, critical species and other concepts that are important not only to policymakers but also to any Arizonan concerned about water.”

Penn State University: University Libraries’ labor unions digitized collections project completed. “Following three years of digitization and preparation, Penn State University Libraries has made available a vast collection of archival materials documenting the 20th-century American working-class experience, including the largest and most significant record series within the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) archives.”


WCNC: Facebook has new “Lift Black Voices” option amid uptick in support for Black-owned businesses. “In recent weeks, a bigger spotlight has been cast on racial inequality and the black experience in this country, and people have been looking for ways to show support. One of those ways is by supporting Black-owned businesses who have seen an uptick in interest.”

Bing Blogs: Bing shopping: Introducing new image-based product search. “Since the last month’s update on ‘4 ways to save money’, we continue to see more shoppers search for products on our platform to get the best price, across sellers. In this update, we are excited to introduce new image-based search experiences on Bing Shopping.”

Search Engine Journal: Google Gives Businesses Free Ads in Google Maps. “Google Ads is rolling out promoted pins to smart campaign advertisers and making them completely free to use for the next few months. Through September 2020, smart campaign advertisers with a Google My Business listing will not be charged for clicks, calls, or sales generated from promoted pins.”


ZDNet: Privacy Bee scrubs your personal data from companies to reduce your risk of identity theft. “Atlanta-based privacy management platform Privacy Bee has released a new service, which can remove users’ data en masse from thousands of databases across the Internet. The service scrubs consumers’ personal information from companies’ databases so it can not be sold or hacked. By limiting the number of places where your personal data is stored, individuals reduce their exposure to data breaches.”


New York Times: A Former Google Executive Takes Aim at His Old Company With a Start-Up. “Nearly two years after he left Google, [Sridhar Ramaswamy] is testing his newfound conviction by mounting a challenge against his former employer. His new company, Neeva, is a search engine that looks for information on the web as well as personal files like emails and other documents. It will not show any advertisements and it will not collect or profit from user data, he said. It plans to make money on subscriptions from users paying for the service.”

CNET: When Hollywood finally noticed the web: What it got right and oh so wrong. “It began in May 1995 with the release of Johnny Mnemonic, a delirious sci-fi action dystopia matching Keanu Reeves with seminal cyberpunk author William Gibson. In July, Sandra Bullock had her identity erased in conspiracy thriller The Net. In August, Denzel Washington pursued Russell Crowe’s computer-generated serial killer in Virtuosity, and in September Angelina Jolie found her breakthrough role in anarchic adventure Hackers. In October, Kathryn Bigelow served up dystopian thriller Strange Days.”


Human Rights Watch: Palestinian Authority Jails Journalist Again Over Facebook Post. “Few things are more soothing on a hot summer’s day than fresh watermelon. On June 9, Palestinian journalist Sami al-Sai shared on Facebook a video about the sale of watermelons in the West Bank city of Tulkarm that were grown in Jericho. The video contained no apparent political content, but a Tulkarm community Facebook page where residents had posted about corruption and other scandals in the city, some critical of Palestinian Authority (PA) officials, then shared it. Less than an hour later, PA forces arrested al-Sai near where he had recorded the video.”

RSA: Voice to Tweet Fuels New Fears for Deep Fakes and Cybercrime. “The concern with voice or audio advancements – like a voice Tweet – is that the feature takes your words, records them and broadcasts them publicly to millions of strangers. There are many examples of voice hacking technology and some videos even show the ways to manipulate mobile devices and home IoT devices as tools to gain access to homes, devices, hotel rooms, vehicles and more.”


TechCrunch: Aclima and Google release a new air quality data set for researchers to investigate California pollution. “As part of the Collision from Home conference, Aclima chief executive Davida Herzl released a new data set made in conjunction with Google. Free to the scientific community, the data is the culmination of four years of data collection and aggregation resulting in 42 million air quality measurements throughout the state of California.”

Phys .org: University students develop AI to detect fast radio bursts. “West Virginia University’s Duncan Lorimer might be the godfather of the fast radio burst, but a pair of international students has taken exploring these mysterious cosmic flashes to a new level. In 2007, Lorimer was credited for helping discover fast radio bursts—intense, unexplained pulses of energy, light years away, that pop for mere milliseconds. Ever since, only around 100 have been spotted.”

Neowin: Microsoft and Harvard launch an open source platform for differential privacy. “Last year, Microsoft began the development of a differential privacy platform in collaboration with Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science. Utilizing the OpenDP Initiative, the tech giant’s goal was to create an open solution that keeps individual data private, while simultaneously providing researchers with insights based on huge amounts of data. Today, Microsoft has announced that the platform has been launched, with its resources made available on GitHub for all interested parties to test, build, and support.” Good morning, Internet…

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1 reply »

  1. Hello Tara, hope you are doing well. As usual, I read every one of your posts from start to end, and there’s barely one that doesn’t suck me in. Today, it was Devansh Agarwal and Kshitij Aggarwal at U W Va writing ML/NN/AI tools, open source, to find fast radio bursts. As a lapsed particle physicist, I have an interest in these areas. Whenever I find one of your posts which interests me like that, I hit the green evernote web button, and the page, which gets downloaded to my Evernote store. I still hope that both your blog and Evernote continue, given the unending turmoil of the current world.

    Thank you so much for all the work you put into this. I always credit you whenever I send a link you found to one of my relatives (or others I think might be interested).

    Great work, and keep it up, and stay health.


    Carl Friedberg
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