Freshwater Lakes, Unemployment Data, Bing, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, September 28, 2020


Oceanographic: New publicly available water quality database contains information on 12,000 global lakes. “York University (Toronto, Canada) researchers have created a free and publicly available water quality database containing information on close to 12,000 freshwater lakes globally – almost half of the world’s freshwater supply. The hope is that the database will help scientists monitor and manage the health of these lakes. The study includes data for lakes in 72 countries, from Antarctica to the United States and Canada.”

PR Newswire: FileUnemployment. org Launches ‘DataView’- A Comprehensive Unemployment Database (PRESS RELEASE). “ has further expanded its footprint as a reputable unemployment database by unveiling DataViewTM, a graphical representation of numerical data on US unemployment. Various sets of databases are presented in an attractive graphical format that’s easy to conceptualize. There are also interpretations of the most important trends for the less numerically inclined.”


Search Engine Journal: Bing Improves Key Search Features . “Each of these updates are made possible due to advancements Microsoft has made in the areas of Natural Language Representation and Natural Language Generation. Here’s how these updates will enhance the Bing search experience going forward.”

Reuters: Google to block U.S. election ads after polls close. “Alphabet Inc’s Google will block election-related ads on its platforms after polls close in the U.S. election on Nov. 3, the company told advertisers in an email on Friday.”

Tubefilter: Text Message-Based Social Platform ‘Community’ Onboards President Obama. “Community says its point of difference from other platforms is that it enables creators to engage with audiences directly, without the interference of a social algorithm. Creators can filter their messages to respond to followers in a specific location, write to fans on a one-to-one basis, or blast out mass missives. The platform also isn’t ad-based, meaning that creators pay a monthly fee — ranging from $100 to several thousand dollars — to operate a Community account.”


Mashable: HOTorNot shaped the social web as we know it. “Created on a lark in 2000, HOTorNOT became what we’d now call an overnight viral hit by letting people upload pictures of themselves to the internet so total strangers could rate their attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10. Twenty years later, it’s a conceit that smacks of the juvenile ‘edginess’ of the early web. It’s now seen at best as superficial and crass, at worst as problematic and potentially offensive. However, the deeper you dive into HOTorNOT’s history, the more surprised you’ll be by the thoughtfulness bubbling below its shallow surface — and its fundamental impact on internet history.”

BuzzFeed News: Twitter Let Dozens Of Tweets Doxing Interfaith Couples In India Stay Up For Months. “For nearly two months, tweets by far-right Hindu nationalists in India doxing dozens of young interfaith couples — usually Muslim men marrying Hindu women — circulated on Twitter…. On [September 21], as outrage mounted in India, Twitter finally took down some of the largest threads, even though people had been reporting them for weeks.”


Route Fifty: Court Orders Census to Continue Counting People Past Trump Administration’s Sept. 30 Deadline. “The decision—issued in a federal court in California in response to a lawsuit brought by many nonprofit groups—marks a dramatic shakeup for the 2020 census just days before it was set to stop its enumeration. After the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the bureau to push back its original schedule, Census had planned to continue knocking on doors through October. The Trump administration later revised that timeframe, in a decision that came from outside the bureau, to expedite the delivery of apportionment data by a statutory deadline of Dec. 31, 2020. The judge stayed both the Sept. 30 and Dec. 31 deadlines.”

Matt Stoller: Will Trump’s Supreme Court Destroy Trump’s Google Case?. “While Obama didn’t do much to address monopoly power, towards the end of his administration the Democratic establishment started shifting towards a more skeptical posture towards corporate concentration. Elizabeth Warren launched the first mainstream attack on Google as a monopoly in 2016. She was pushed back by critics as seeking to upend antitrust law to incorporate social goals, for being a radical left-winger, for hipster antitrust, whatever. But it should be clear by now that Warren has won the debate. If [Senator Mike] Lee is on board, then nearly everyone in Congress is on board.”

Techdirt: DOJ Continues Its Quest To Kill Net Neutrality (And Consumer Protection In General) In California. “After the FCC effectively neutered itself at telecom lobbyist behest, numerous states jumped in to fill the consumer protection void. As a result, California, in 2018, passed some net neutrality rules that largely mirrored the FCC’s discarded consumer protections. Laughing at the concept of state rights, Bill Barr’s DOJ immediately got to work protecting U.S. telecom monopolies and filed suit in a bid to vacate the rules.”


The Guardian: We need to rethink social media before it’s too late. We’ve accepted a Faustian bargain. “When people envision technology overtaking society, many think of The Terminator and bulletproof robots. Or Big Brother in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, a symbol of external, omnipotent oppression. But in all likelihood, dystopian technology will not strong-arm us. Instead, we’ll unwittingly submit ourselves to a devil’s bargain: freely trade our subconscious preferences for memes, our social cohesion for instant connection, and the truth for what we want to hear.”

Harvard Business Review: The Next Big Breakthrough in AI Will Be Around Language. “The 2010s produced breakthroughs in vision-enabled technologies, from accurate image searches on the web to computer vision systems for medical image analysis or for detecting defective parts in manufacturing and assembly, as we described extensively in our book and research. GPT3, developed by OpenAI, indicates that the 2020s will be about major advances in language-based AI tasks.” Good morning, Internet…

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