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Renewable Energy Expertise, Viber, YouTube Search, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, June 30, 2020

NEW RESOURCES

The Westerly Sun: New website offers expert answers to renewable energy questions. “Have a question about renewable energy? You can now ask it on a new, free website called Ask the Experts. Created by the Coastal Resources Center of the University of Rhode Island, the site is a source for the latest information about offshore wind energy. Merry Ellen Hawkins, a 2020 Energy Fellow at URI’s Coastal Resources Center, has been working on the project since January.” Not much here yet, but the answers that are here are substantive.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

CNET: Messaging app Viber cuts all ties with Facebook. “Viber, a messaging app with over 1 billion users, is cutting all ties with Facebook, the company said Thursday. According to Viber, the decision comes in the wake of ‘Facebook’s data violations and failure to combat violent rhetoric.'”

Search Engine Journal: Google Explains How YouTube Search Works. “As part of a larger effort to explain how YouTube works, Google published a new resource to answer commonly asked questions about YouTube search results. Google created a whole new website, called How YouTube Works, which offers an in-depth look at all components of the YouTube platform.”

BetaNews: Ubuntu-based Linux Mint 20 ‘Ulyana’ is here. “Earlier this month, we told you about Linux Mint 20 BETA . Code-named ‘Ulyana,’ it was a very controversial release, as the developers decided to cancel the 32-bit version. Unfortunately, the devs also shocked the world by revealing their intention to remove Snapd starting with version 20 of the operating system. Don’t forget, all of this follows the unpopular decision by the developers to pull both GIMP and VLC from Mint too.”

USEFUL STUFF

Digital Inspiration: How to Add Options in Google Forms Questions from Google Sheets. “As with everything else in the world of Google Forms and Google Sheets, we can easily automate the process of adding question choices in Google Forms in bulk with the help of, you guessed it right, Google Apps Script.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

New York Times: ‘PizzaGate’ Conspiracy Theory Thrives Anew in the TikTok Era. “Four years ago, ahead of the 2016 presidential election, the baseless notion that Hillary Clinton and Democratic elites were running a child sex-trafficking ring out of a Washington pizzeria spread across the internet, illustrating how a crackpot idea with no truth to it could blossom on social media — and how dangerous it could be…. In the years afterward, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube managed to largely suppress PizzaGate. But now, just months before the next presidential election, the conspiracy theory is making a comeback on these platforms — and on new ones such as TikTok — underlining the limits of their efforts to stamp out dangerous speech online and how little has changed despite rising public frustration.”

ArtsHub: $5.5 Million for National Film and Sound Archive. This is Australia. “Perenially starved, fighting a tsunami of content, forced to choose between acquisition and accessibility, the NFSA is always starved for cash. Today Minister Fletcher made a funding announcement as part of a flurry of activity at the cultural end of his portfolio. The NFSA will receive $5.5 million over the next four years. Sounds like junk money but it is claimed to be enough to ‘achieve the digitisation of all audio and video magnetic tape by 2025’.”

Reuters: Google removes misleading ads in voting-related searches. “Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google said on Monday that it had removed search ads that charged users searching for voting information large fees for voter registration or harvested their personal data.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

BBC: India bans TikTok, WeChat and dozens more Chinese apps. “India’s government has banned TikTok and dozens more Chinese-made apps it says are a danger to the country. In a statement, it said the apps were ‘prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order’. In total, 59 apps were banned – among them popular messaging app WeChat. It follows escalating tensions along the disputed border between the two powers.”

Task & Purpose: Navy to sailors: Please stop buying LSD online . “The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has a message for America’s sailors: Please, for the love of Poseidon and the Seven Seas, stop buying hallucinogens in the dark corners of the Internet. NCIS last week issued a warning to sailors to the risks of acquiring LSD on the so-called ‘dark web,’ the network of often-illicit sites accessible through specialized browsers that offer users ‘perceived anonymity.'”

InfoSecurity: Online Learning Platform Exposes Data on One Million Students. “Researchers from the firm claimed that the Elasticsearch database belonging to provider OneClass was left completely unsecured. The trove contained over 27GB of data, amounting to 8.9 million records, including many students’ full names, email addresses, schools/universities, phone numbers, account details and school enrollment details.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

ScienceBlog: How Conspiracy Theories Emerge – And How Their Storylines Fall Apart. “A new study by UCLA professors offers a new way to understand how unfounded conspiracy theories emerge online. The research, which combines sophisticated artificial intelligence and a deep knowledge of how folklore is structured, explains how unrelated facts and false information can connect into a narrative framework that would quickly fall apart if some of those elements are taken out of the mix.” Good morning, Internet…

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