Contacting Politicians, Texas Online Education, Twitch, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, July 25, 2020


The Jewish News: New Website Easily Connects Voters to Their Elected Officials. “Contact My Politician allows users to simply type in their street address, which immediately brings up all their elected officials. The users can then send a written or video message to one or many of those officials, with any comments, questions or concerns they may have about pressing political topics. The politician is notified through the platform of any messages from their constituents, and they’re able to respond through the platform in both written and video form, as well. There’s also a portion of the website geared toward nonprofits, which allows the nonprofit to write a form letter in support of a specific position or initiative.”

Dallas Innovates: New Website Helps Texas Students Find the Best In-State Online College Programs. “The site provides information from 67 colleges and universities offering more than 1,500 online degrees, including costs, top-ranked programs, details on the percentage of students fully online, the student to faculty ratio, and graduation rates.”


Neowin: Twitch relaunches sports channel and introduces dedicated Sports category. “The sports channel is now live on Twitch and users can go through the guide to find sporting channels featuring professional athletes, football clubs and basketball leagues. Additionally, a standalone Sports category has been introduced in the Browse section on the live-streaming website.”

Google Blog: Find helpful information on the mortgage process in Search. “Buying a house is a big financial decision and having clear, trustworthy information is important. To help people better understand the mortgage process, we collaborated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to create a new mobile experience in Search. When you search for ‘mortgage’ on your phone, you’ll find a feature that breaks down the complex mortgage process into easy-to-follow steps to help guide you, wherever you may be in the process. It also connects you to a set of useful resources, including news articles, industry definitions and terms, a calculator to assist with payment plans and average mortgage rates. And for those looking for relief and refinance information, we’ll show some of the options available to you.”

Crux: New Vatican Library website aims to serve scholars, entice curious. “The Vatican Library has revamped its website to serve scholars better and facilitate navigation for the curious…. Some of the new features, [Msgr. Cesare Pasini] said, include more powerful and expanded search functions, and registered researchers can now easily ask staff questions and order digital reproductions of manuscripts, texts and other materials from the libraries collections.”


MakeUseOf: How Smart Are You? 5 Free Online Cognitive Tests to Check How Well Your Brain Works. “There are a ton of online IQ tests, but there is more to smarts than intelligence alone. Some of these tests are completely non-verbal. Others have been around since the 1930s and are still relevant. Some are used by the NFL, and some will even find your inherent biases. And they’re all free.”


TechCrunch: Tech watchdog calls on Facebook Oversight Board members to demand real power or resign. “A new policy-focused nonprofit that emerged from the recent wave of big tech scrutiny is calling for members of Facebook’s Oversight Board to either step up or step down. In an open letter, Accountable Tech urges the five U.S.-based Facebook Oversight Board members to ‘demand the Board be given real authority’ or quit their positions.”

Nunatsiaq News: Nunavut arts foundation gets renewed support to digitize art works. “The Kinngait Arts Foundation says it’s received a new financial boost to continue its work digitizing pieces from the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative’s permanent collection. The Kinngait-based studio is home to more than 155,000 paper and sculpture works by Inuit artists, housed in three different locations. The Department of Canadian Heritage’s Museum Assistance Program is providing another $50,000 to the Cape Dorset Legacy Project: Digital History Initiative—funding that will largely go to the human resources needed to help the digital documentation of two- and three-dimensional pieces.”


TorrentFreak: Warning for Twitter Users in Japan Following Supreme Court Copyright Ruling. “Twitter users in Japan are facing uncertainty after the Supreme Court ruled that people who retweet copyright-infringing images can have their details passed to copyright holders. The case centered around the posting of an image that was posted to Twitter without permission and was then retweeted in an automatically cropped format.”

CNET: Sens. Sanders, Warren, Wyden back national facial recognition ban bill. “The bill was introduced in June by Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Pramila Jayapal and Sens. Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley. It calls for a complete ban on facial recognition use by law enforcement until Congress passes legislation to lift the moratorium. The US has seen a growing call from privacy and other groups to ban facial recognition across its cities, as well as concern about human rights issues from companies that provide the technology.”

The Verge: Instacart users’ personal data, including order history, is reportedly being sold online. “The personal data of hundreds of thousands of Instacart users is being sold on the dark web for around $2 per person, according to a report from BuzzFeed. The publication says information including ‘names, the last four digits of credit card numbers, and order histories’ appearing to belong to 278,531 Instacart accounts is available to buy. (Though it’s impossible to verify that this number doesn’t include duplicates or incorrect data.) BuzzFeed did confirm with two Instacart users that the order date, transaction amount, and credit card numbers included in the cache matched their recent purchases. The data also includes users’ emails addresses.”


Phys .org: Teen museum educators increase engagement, learning, in tween visitors. “Do you want to get the most out of a museum and encourage your child’s interest in STEM? Try interacting with a teenaged museum docent. Research led by investigators from North Carolina State University and the University of Exeter in the U.K. has found that youth docents have an overall positive effect on visitors’ experiences, learning and information retention at informal learning sites. The positive effects accrued across age groups regardless of museum type, but were most apparent in children ages 9 to 11.” Good morning, Internet…

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