England Dendroglyphs, Meet the People of Kenya, Alaska Budgeting, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, October 20, 2020


Lonely Planet: New online database tracks historic ‘witch marks’ carved into England’s trees. “A new online database has launched that allows users to browse more than 100 examples of graffiti etched on trees in the New Forest in England. The New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) has curated examples of symbols and writing on trees at the national park, some of which date back hundreds of years, including marks from those seeking protection from witches.”

Google Blog: Mashujaa: Celebrate the communities of Kenya with Google Arts & Culture. “Originally launched in 2019, Utamaduni Wetu: Meet the People of Kenya is Google’s most ambitious digitization project to date in Africa, and one of the first digital content features on the subject of Kenyan communities. Everyone can now explore over 10,600 high-resolution photographs, 170 expert-curated exhibits, 80 Street Views of 16 sites and learn more about the intangible heritage and stories of the country’s 44 communities officially registered by the government.”

Anchorage Daily News: Show us the money: Interactive website lets citizens and candidates build real budgets. “The website, which is the only one of its kind in Alaska that we know of, works like this: Visitors read basic descriptions of different budget categories, and choose what actions to take. They can cut spending, add new revenue, increase current taxes, and any combination of the above. As they make choices, the website updates the budget gap in real-time.”


Washington Post: Your guide to following the election on social media. “The best way to accurately track election results, and avoid falling for misinformation between now and Election Day, is to avoid too much social media. Stick with a handful of reputable news sources and check their sites, apps or print versions directly. Or heck, turn off your smartphone and immerse yourself in a book or craft project until after Election Day….The second-best way to follow the election results is to follow these tips and know what every social media site is doing to try to manage the problem.”


FilmBook: European Film Archives President Calls For Greater Public Access to Classic Films. “Sandra den Hamer — the president of the Association of European Film Archives and Cinematheques (ACE) — recently called for European film archives to make classic European films more available to the public at lower prices. In a discussion between representatives of European film institutes at the Lumière Film Festival’s International Classic Films Market (MIFC), on Thursday, den Hamer noted that many small show rooms are subject to steep charges from rights holders for screening old films.”

New York Times: As Local News Dies, a Pay-for-Play Network Rises in Its Place. “Maine Business Daily is part of a fast-growing network of nearly 1,300 websites that aim to fill a void left by vanishing local newspapers across the country. Yet the network, now in all 50 states, is built not on traditional journalism but on propaganda ordered up by dozens of conservative think tanks, political operatives, corporate executives and public-relations professionals, a Times investigation found.”

Human Rights Watch: Cuba’s Government Targets Social Media Influencers. “On October 14, police arrived at the homes of four Cuban YouTubers about to participate in an online forum discussing Cuban politics. Two—Jancel Moreno and Maykel Castillo—were detained, Iliana Hernández and others had their internet cut. One, 21-year-old Ruhama Fernández, had to hide to participate in the discussion by phone.”


Columbia Journal of Transnational Law: Facebook’s Response to the Irish Data Protection Commission Falls Flat. “As of the date of this writing, the DPC has not yet released the draft decision it anticipated would be complete within 21 days of the FIL Response Letter. While FIL’s arguments in the FIL Response Letter are rather tenuous, it looks like Ireland has become Facebook’s battleground to save its business across the European Union. It will not give up without a protracted fight.”

BBC: EU investigates Instagram over handling of children’s data. “Instagram is being investigated by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) over its handling of children’s personal data on the platform. The social media app’s owner Facebook could face a large fine if Instagram is found to have broken privacy laws.”

CNBC: Hackers look to buy brokerage log-ins on the dark web with Robinhood fetching highest prices. “As a new generation of investors flock to the stock market, criminals are looking for ways to exploit them. Hackers have turned to the dark web, where log-ins for accounts at major brokerage firms are listed for sale, according to security analysts and listings seen by CNBC.”


The Next Web: More than 50% of humans in the world use social media — here’s what you need to know . “More than 4 billion people around the world now use social media each month, and an average of nearly 2 million new users are joining them every day. The world is spending more time on social media too, with the typical user now spending roughly 15% of their waking life using social platforms.”

Wall Street Journal (and not paywalled for me): Why Social Media Is So Good at Polarizing Us. “A growing body of research suggests that social media is accelerating the trend, and many political scientists worry it’s tearing our country apart. It isn’t clear how to solve the problem. And new research suggests that one often-proposed solution—exposing users on the platforms to more content from the other side—might actually be making things worse, because of how social media amplifies extreme opinions.” It was interesting to read this in context with a recent article in Scientific American. I encourage you to read both. Good morning, Internet…

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