Drinking Water, Google, Google Web Creators, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, September 28, 2020


EurekAlert: Is your drinking water toxic? This app may help you find out. “Exposure to hydraulic fracturing fluid in drinking water has been shown to increase the risk of respiratory problems, premature births, congenital heart defects, and other medical problems. But not all wells are created equal…. Now, a new, interactive tool created by Penn Medicine researchers allows community members and scientists to find out which toxins may be lurking in their drinking water as a result of fracking.”


CNET: Google celebrates 22nd birthday, together but from a distance. “The company has celebrated its birthday on Sept. 27 since 2006, but the previous year, it celebrated its birthday on Sept. 26, and in 2004 and 2003, the date was Sept. 7 and Sept. 8, respectively. Google isn’t even sure why this is, especially since it was incorporated on Sept. 4, 1998.” Maybe it was in beta.

Google Blog: A community for web creators to grow and get inspired. “Today we’re launching Google Web Creators to provide tools, guidance and inspiration for people who make awesome content for the web. In addition to this blog, you can check us out on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. A web creator could be a blogger, a photographer with a website, or a journalist—anyone who places their content on the open web. And while web creators may have different backgrounds, industries or areas of expertise, we think we can all learn from each other.”


A new one to me, from Ghacks: AnyTXT Searcher is a freeware tool that can search for text inside documents instantly. “The program isn’t limited to text documents, it can be used with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) and eBook files. Here is the list of document formats supported by AnyTXT Searcher: TXT, DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX, EPUB, MOBI, HTML, CPP and EML. Though it isn’t mentioned in the list, the program also supports the CHM (HTML Help files), TCR, FB2 formats. In addition to these, it also supports PDFs, though this feature is still in beta.”

Make Tech Easier: How to Share Files and Locations With Google Calendar. “When you’re arranging a big event, it’s a good idea to bundle all the information that your guests need into one calendar event. That way, the guests know when the event is, where it’s taking place, and any additional documentation they might need ahead of time. Did you know, however, that you can set up all of these in one Google Calendar event? All you need to do is set up the event and share it with your guests, and Google does all the work for you!”


AP: Facebook: Fake pages from China tried to disrupt US politics. “Facebook says it has removed a small network of fake accounts and pages that originated in China and focused on disrupting political activity in the U.S. and several other countries. The U.S.-focused activity was just a ‘sliver’ of the accounts’ overall activity and gained almost no following, Facebook said. Their primary focus was Southeast Asia, including the Philippines.”

CNN: A controversial photo editing app slammed for AI-enabled ‘blackface’ feature. “Photo editing app Gradient is under fire for a new feature that lets people alter their ethnicity in images, with many slamming it for promoting digital ‘blackface.’ The feature, called AI Face, supposedly allows users to ‘find out how you would look if you were born on a different continent,’ according to Gradient’s website.” 😬


FBI and CISA: Foreign Actors And Cybercriminals Likely To Spread Disinformation Regarding 2020 Election Results. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are issuing this announcement to raise awareness of the potential threat posed by attempts to spread disinformation regarding the results of the 2020 elections. Foreign actors and cybercriminals could create new websites, change existing websites, and create or share corresponding social media content to spread false information in an attempt to discredit the electoral process and undermine confidence in U.S. democratic institutions.”

Ubergizmo: Instagram Bug Would Have Allowed Hackers To Take Over Your Smartphone. “It would seem that Instagram had a particularly nasty bug on their hands when cybersecurity researchers at Check Point Security discovered that this bug, when exploited, would have allowed a hacker to take over the victim’s phone. Yup, the entire phone, not just their Instagram account.”


MIT Technology Review: OpenAI is giving Microsoft exclusive access to its GPT-3 language model. “The companies say OpenAI will continue to offer its public-facing API, which allows chosen users to send text to GPT-3 or OpenAI’s other models and receive its output. Only Microsoft, however, will have access to GPT-3’s underlying code, allowing it to embed, repurpose, and modify the model as it pleases.” Good evening, Internet…

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