Africa Wildlife, Google Carbon, TikTok, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, September 14, 2020


Lonely Planet: This website aims to find the top places for wildlife spotting in Africa. “Whether you want to tick the Big Five off your African safari bucket list or seek out specific species, a new website from Expert Africa is making it easier than ever to decide which country and even which lodges offer the best chances for wildlife sightings. The data, sourced from more than 700 traveler surveys compiled by the tour operator over two years, has morphed into a huge ‘citizen science’ project and represents nearly 30,000 observations of 26 animal species.”


BBC: Google says its carbon footprint is now zero. “Google says it has wiped out its entire carbon footprint by investing in ‘high-quality carbon offsets’. It became carbon-neutral in 2007 and says it has now compensated for all of the carbon it has ever created. It also aimed to run all of its data centres and offices on carbon-free energy by 2030, chief executive Sundar Pichai has announced.”

Deutsche Welle: ByteDance to pursue partnership with Oracle to avoid US sale of TikTok. “Chinese tech company ByteDance will seek a partnership deal with US tech company Oracle Corp, sources familiar with the negotiations said Monday, hoping for a workaround that will avoid a forced sale of TikTok in the US. Instead of the expected buyout of the video-sharing app’s US operations, the latest proposal would see Oracle become ByteDance’s tech partner, taking over management of TikTok’s US user data and storing it in Oracle’s cloud servers.”


New York Times: How to Declutter Your Digital World. “Working remotely may have eliminated your commute and allowed you to spend the day in your pajamas, but it also means you’re most likely bombarded with digital communication every second of the day — from personal and professional emails crowding your inboxes to push notifications reminding you of every news development to the nonstop viral allure of Twitter and Instagram. If you are suffering from tech fatigue, or simply trying to become more productive online, here are steps you can take to organize your digital landscape.”


CNN: Senators demand recalls after CNN report finds Amazon’s own products are being flagged as fire hazards. “Three senators are demanding the recall of any hazardous products branded with Amazon’s name after a CNN investigation found that dozens of AmazonBasics electronics remained for sale despite customers reporting the products had melted, exploded or burst into flames.”

CNET: TikTok witches are fighting for the online future of witchcraft. “More and more ‘baby witches’ are spending hours exchanging tips, tricks and ideas with like-minded witches in virtual family-like groups, known as covens, on platforms like TikTok and YouTube. It’s this influx of witches using social media and technology that has brought increased attention to the witchcraft community — but with a significant amount of double, double, toil and trouble. Social media has created a schism between the tech-friendly young witches and the older witches who remain worried it might set the community back centuries of progress.”


The Guardian: Greens may back forcing Facebook and Google to pay for news if ABC is included. “The Greens have signalled they could support a code to force Google and Facebook to pay for the value they receive from the distribution of Australian journalism if it is extended to cover the ABC, and if the Coalition comes up with a rescue package for the news wire service [Australian Associated Press].” ABC in this case is the Australian Broadcasting Association.

The Register: Cops called to Singapore golf club after ‘wrongdoers’ use scripts to book popular timeslots. “The Singapore Island Country Club dialled 999 after declaring that its online golf session booking system had been ‘compromised’ thanks to ‘millions’ of online booking attempts daily, according to Channel News Asia. Tech-savvy golfers, it appeared, were using scripts to book popular timeslots for themselves and their mates rather than filling in online forms manually whenever new slots were released.”


Fast Company: This tool is mapping every tree in California to help stop megafires. “If you zoom in on a new map of California, you’ll start to see that the fields of green that represent the forest are actually made up of individual green points, and each point represents a real, individual tree. The tool, called the California Forest Observatory, uses AI and satellite images to create an ultradetailed view of the state’s forests—aiding work to prevent the type of catastrophic megafires that the state is experiencing now.”

Techdirt: If We’re So Worried About TikTok, Why Aren’t We Just As Worried About AdTech And Location Data Sales?. “…most of the ‘experts’ and politicians who think banning TikTok is a good idea don’t seem to realize it’s not going to genuinely accomplish much in full context. Chinese intelligence can still glean this (and much more data) from a wide variety of sources thanks to our wholesale privacy and security failures on countless other fronts. It’s kind of like banning sugary soda to put out a forest fire, or spitting at a thunderstorm to slow its advance over the horizon.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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