Haiti Educational NGOs, Paper-Mâché Horses, VoteByMail, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, August 8, 2020


Thanks very much to Win Flint for letting me know about her new site, and I’m sorry it had to sit in the queue for almost a week. It’s called Educational NGOs in Haiti. From the front page: “This website is for non-governmental (NGO) schools in Haiti to share resources and make connections. Given the nature of the transportation and communications infrastructure in Haiti this can be difficult. It is also a place for sharing evidence-based research that can be useful in improving the educational operation of schools in Haiti.”

The Calvert Journal: Watch the birdie: how a papier-mâché horse in Tbilisi Zoo grew into a popular photo studio. “I was born in Tbilisi in the 1980s, back when the country was still a part of the Soviet Union. Visiting the zoo was a special event for me: it meant that I would get a Plombir ice cream, a cup of sparkling gazirovka (a non-alcoholic sparkling beverage), and a ride on an amusement ride adjacent to the premises. But the highlight of the day would always be getting the chance to sit on the papier-mâché horse that looked like it had galloped from a merry-go-round ride. I remember being helped onto the horse, filled with anticipation and excitement at having my photo taken, but also overcome with shyness in front of the photographer.” The author is working with the descendants of the photographer to crowdsource a collection of these images. This essay is so good. Grab a tissue and read it.

The Verge: VoteByMail makes it easier to request a mail-in ballot ahead of the election. “Registering to vote by mail can be a tricky process that varies depending on the state you reside in. You’ll often need to find the right website, the right form, fill in the correct info, and find the right election official to submit the paperwork. VoteByMail streamlines the process by finding your local election official, assembling some basic information needed to request a ballot, and sending the whole thing off for you. You should still check with your local board of elections if you do not receive a mail-in ballot, to ensure you can vote when election season arrives.”


Revelstoke Review: Revelstoke’s forestry museum launches podcasts and new website. “Gary Xie started working for the [BC Interior Forestry Museum] in mid-May from his home in Surrey, Ont. He has never seen the museum and never been to Revelstoke. He was supposed to move to Revelstoke at the half-way point of his contract, however, he had trouble finding safe, single-space accommodation. However Xie continued to work remotely, updating the museums website and eventually, creating a podcast for the museum, featuring professionals in the local forestry industry.”

ProPublica: After a Year of Investigation, the Border Patrol Has Little to Say About Agents’ Misogynistic and Racist Facebook Group. “The Border Patrol vowed a full accounting after ProPublica revealed hateful posts in the private Facebook group. Now congressional investigators say the agency is blocking them and revealing little about its internal investigation.”


CNN: Facebook bans ads from pro-Trump PAC. “Facebook announced Thursday it was banning ads from The Committee to Defend the President, a pro-Trump super PAC. Facebook did not say how long the ban would last.”

Hyde Park Herald: Museum of Science and Industry wins grant to digitize 7,000 artifacts. “The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, has received a grant $225,782 to digitize a major part of its collection of more than 35,000 artifacts. The funds will pay for the MSI to create a website that will give free public access to 7,000 artifacts for the first time.”


Deutsche Welle: Brazil top court sets precedent by banning global access to social media accounts. “Once again, Facebook and Twitter are finding themselves caught in the crossfire as Brazil’s top court goes after suspected purveyors of fake news. Supreme Court Judge Alexandre de Moraes ordered both platforms to block accounts spreading illegal content. The fact that national Brazilian judges are having international social media accounts blocked is a novelty and could have global repercussions.”


University of Texas at San Antonio: UTSA experts find bias in disease-tracking algorithms that analyze social media. “Social media has become the latest method to monitor the spread of diseases such as influenza or coronavirus. However, machine learning algorithms used to train and classify tweets have an inherent bias because they do not account for how minority groups potentially communicate health information.”

KTSP: New website tracks broadband access and internet speed across Minnesota. “The Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition is asking people to take the speed test on their website. Participants give their address or a nearby location data. The website then measures the download and upload speeds of the internet connection. The results are then recorded and displayed on a map. Green dots indicate a fast connection; red dots equal a slow connection.”

ABC News (Australia): Australia needs a soil database to prepare for future fires, scientists say. “The academics recently wrote a paper saying last summer’s bushfires had ravaged soils, damaging agricultural and environmental recovery.” Good morning, Internet…

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