TikTok, Mayflower Genealogy, Political Tweets, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, September 18, 2020

Reuters: Exclusive: Trump to block U.S. downloads of TikTok, WeChat on Sunday – officials. “The U.S. Commerce Department plans to issue an order Friday that will bar people in the United States from downloading Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok starting on September 20, three officials told Reuters.”


Family Tree: Mayflower descendant records and family trees available free at FamilySearch. “FamilySearch has today (16 September) announced it has added tens of thousands of Mayflower Society member applications and documented descendant family trees of the Mayflower passengers to its website. This new initiative is the work of FamilySearch International, (New England Historic Genealogical Society) and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants(GSMD).”

Phys .org: Database of parliamentarians’ tweets opens new research opportunities. “Researchers have compiled a new database of tweets from parliament members from 26 European countries and illustrated how this resource could help address challenges in the burgeoning field of Twitter research. Livia van Vliet of the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues present the new database and findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on September 16, 2020.”


The Next Web: Facebook announces the Oculus Quest 2, starting at $299. “The Oculus Quest 2 is, like its predecessor, a standalone headset that can be connected with a PC via the Oculus link cable. It’s smaller and lighter, with redesigned, more ergonomic controllers. The internals are also getting an upgrade with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2, 6GB of RAM, and 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye, and the headset will support a 90Hz refresh rate.”

ZDNet: Breaking up is hard to do: Chrome separates from Chrome OS. “Ever since day one, people have thought Chromebooks just ran the Chrome browser and that was it. Actually, it was always more complicated than that. Underneath that Chrome browser was a thin Linux distribution, Chrome OS. Now, Kent Duke, a writer and hardcore Chrome OS fan, has found that Google is teasing apart the browser and the operating system into two separate entries.”


SeaCoastOnline: UMaine marine geologist archives change in Maine landscapes. “Every year since 1982, Joseph Kelley captured photos of the fastest deteriorating portion of Maine’s coast, located in Camp Ellis, for use in his work as a state marine geologist, and research and teaching at the University of Maine. Later this fall, the public will have the opportunity to view decades of geologic transformation captured in the images taken of the Saco-area shoreline, as well as thousands of others depicting dramatic changes in Maine’s coastal vistas.”

USA Today: UK museum removes shrunken heads from exhibit in an effort to ‘decolonize’ its collections . “Oxford University’s Pitt Rivers Museum has removed its famous collection of shrunken heads and other human remains from display as part of a broader effort to ‘decolonize’ its collections. The museum, known as one of the world’s leading institutions for anthropology, ethnography and archaeology, had faced charges of racism and cultural insensitivity because it continued to display the items.”

The Conversation: ASMR: what we know so far about this unique brain phenomenon – and what we don’t. “ASMR is the third most popular search term on youtube worldwide. But in case you haven’t heard of it, it stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. ASMR is a complex emotional state that only some people experience when they hear, see, and feel certain ‘triggers,’ such as whispering, delicate hand movements, and light touch. The feeling is described as a tingling sensation beginning at the crown of the head which can spread down the neck and limbs.”


TechCrunch: Twitter tightens account security for political candidates ahead of US election. “Twitter is taking steps to tighten account security for a range of users ahead of the US presidential election, including by requiring the use of strong passwords.”

Ars Technica: Patient dies after ransomware attack reroutes her to remote hospital. “A woman seeking emergency treatment for a life-threatening condition died after a ransomware attack crippled a nearby hospital in Duesseldorf, Germany, and forced her to obtain services from a more distant facility, it was widely reported on Thursday.”


ComputerWorld: At this point, 5G is a bad joke. “Who doesn’t want more bandwidth? I sure do, and I currently have 300Mbps to my home office via Spectrum cable. What I really want is a Gigabit via fiber optic to my doorstep. Maybe I’ll get it someday. But, what I do know for a fact is I’m not going to get Gigabit-per-second speeds from 5G. Not now, not tomorrow, not ever. At the moment, there are a lot of things the telecomms are telling you in one ad after another that’s just not true. I know – shocking news right? But, even by their standards, 5G is pretty bogus.”

I apologize for the politics. Wired: America’s Top Science Journal Has Had It With Trump. “WITH AN ARCHIVE that goes back to 1880 and a reputation for publishing world-changing research, the journal Science is the apex predator of academic publishing. Getting an article past its gatekeepers and peer reviewers can make a researcher’s career; the journal’s news section is a model for high-level reporting on everything from quarks to viruses to blue whales to galactic clusters. Along with its competitors Cell and Nature, the journal represents not just new knowledge but also the cultural mores of the world it covers—innovation, integrity, accuracy, rectitude, fealty to data. So it’s surprising (but maybe not as much as you think) that Science’s newish editor-in-chief has focused a laser-like stream of neural energy at calling out the crummy pandemic policies of the Trump administration.” Good morning, Internet…

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