The Thing BBS, Google, WhatsApp, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, August 1, 2020


Rhizome: First Look: The Thing BBS. “Founded by artist Wolfgang Staehle, The Thing made up just a few of the tens of thousands of BBSs that flourished in the years preceding the popularization of the public web, and it fostered a community that sought to experiment with cultural practices via telecommunications networks: writing and publishing, interacting with a community, performing an identity, and distributing art. Immediately preceding the rise of the public web, The Thing was an important forum where early ideas of online art were rehearsed. Despite its historical significance, much of its content has been inaccessible for years. Now, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New Museum’s digital art affiliate Rhizome has created a contextual archive of messages that were posted to The Thing.”


CNET: Google sales decline amid pandemic, but still beat estimates. “The coronavirus pandemic took a toll on Google, bringing the company’s sales down year over year for the first time in its history. Still, the search giant beat estimates by Wall Street analysts.”

TheNextWeb: WhatsApp might soon let you mute annoying chats forever. “You might soon be able to forever mute those annoying WhatsApp groups you never really participate in. The Facebook-owned messenger seems to be testing an ‘Always Muted’ option for chats, WABetaInfo has noticed. The feature is still in development, but it will likely replace the ‘1 year’ option which WhatsApp currently gives to users.”

MakeUseOf: Google AR Adds 3D Insects to Its Search Results. “Google AR search results are one of the coolest new things to come out of Google’s labs in recent months. After all, who doesn’t want to have a wide variety of animals blasted into their living room on command? Starting today, Google has made its augmented reality search results a bit more terrifying with the addition of 23 3D insects.”


Ars Technica: “Zuck off”: Doctors, nurses, scientists rail against Zuckerberg. “San Francisco city officials are considering condemning the decision to name a local public hospital after Mark Zuckerberg—a move backed by nurses and doctors at the hospital, who have been railing against the Facebook co-founder and CEO since the hospital changed its name in 2015.”

ThePrint: Nepal to send its controversial new map to UN, Google this month. “The map, finalised earlier this year, shows Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani within Nepalese borders. In June, Kathmandu had amended its constitution to incorporate the new map into its national emblem, a move New Delhi had slammed as an ‘artificial enlargement… not based on historical facts and evidence’.”

Copenhagen Post: Google to remove Danish music from Youtube. “Google is set to remove Danish music from Youtube following the expiration of its agreement with Koda. The music tracks will be removed from the video-sharing platform on Saturday, reports DR. The development came after it remained unclear how Danish artists should be paid for their music. Koda manages the rights of composers and songwriters.”


BetaNews: 10 billion exposed credentials and where to find them. “Researchers at password manager NordPass have identified a total of 9,517 unsecured databases containing 10,463,315,645 entries with such data as emails, passwords, and phone numbers. The databases are found across 20 different countries, with China being at the top of the list — the country has nearly 4,000 exposed databases. This means that potentially more than 2.6 billion users could have had their accounts breached.”

CNN: Tech titans had their day before Congress. Now what?. “For nearly six hours on Wednesday, House lawmakers peppered the CEOs of Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL) with questions about their business practices, in the most anticipated antitrust hearing of its kind since Bill Gates defended Microsoft before Congress in 1998….Now that the dust has settled, though, policy analysts are trying to figure out what will happen next. In the short term, lawmakers have said they’ll develop a report based on their investigation, along with possible proposals for new laws that could either target the tech industry or seek to update the nation’s antitrust laws for the digital age.”

WTVB: Special Report: Rite Aid deployed facial recognition systems in hundreds of U.S. stores. “Over about eight years, the American drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp quietly added facial recognition systems to 200 stores across the United States, in one of the largest rollouts of such technology among retailers in the country, a Reuters investigation found. In the hearts of New York and metro Los Angeles, Rite Aid deployed the technology in largely lower-income, non-white neighborhoods, according to a Reuters analysis. And for more than a year, the retailer used state-of-the-art facial recognition technology from a company with links to China and its authoritarian government.”


Carnegie Mellon University: Live-Streamed Game Collects Sounds To Help Train Home-Based Artificial Intelligence . “From yawning to closing the fridge door, a lot of sounds occur within the home. Such sounds could be useful for home-based artificial intelligence applications, but training that AI requires a robust and diverse set of samples. A video game developed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers leverages live streaming to collect sound donations from players that will populate an open-source database.”

Smithsonian Magazine: Help Transcribe Field Notes Penned by S. Ann Dunham, a Pioneering Anthropologist and Barack Obama’s Mother. “The S. Ann Dunham papers, 1965-2013, were donated to the NAA in 2013 by Dunham’s daughter, Maya Soetoro-Ng. The donation included field notebooks, correspondence, reports, research proposals, case studies, surveys, lectures, photographs, research files and floppy disks document of Dunham’s dissertation research on blacksmithing, and her professional work as a consultant for organizations like the Ford Foundation and Bank Raykat Indonesia (BRI). Beginning today, the public can contribute to the NAA’s effort to transcribe Dunham’s field notes.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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