International Space Station, Global Vegetation Project, Poland Protests, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, October 30, 2020


Google Blog: Celebrating 20 years of human life on the ISS with NASA. “Today we’re proud to announce on Google Arts & Culture a new online celebration of this week’s 20th anniversary of humans living and working on the International Space Station (ISS). Created in collaboration with NASA, this project includes NASA collections, stories, and some new games to help anybody learn more and engage in this important milestone in space exploration.”

Wyoming Public Media: University Of Wyoming Team Creates Database Of Worldwide Vegetation. “When University of Wyoming Department of Botany Associate Professor Daniel Laughlin realized he would have to teach ecology online for the fall semester, he started searching for a resource to show his students landscapes from afar. When he didn’t find what he was looking for, Laughlin and his graduate students designed the Global Vegetation Project.”

Calvert Journal: A photography archive preserves Polish protests as they unfold in real time. “As the Polish government further restricted the country’s already draconian abortion laws on 22 October, @app_app has been documenting the drastic change in the most recent protests sweeping the country.” A Web site for the archives is also available.


BNN Bloomberg: Google beats sales estimates with rebound in ad spending. “Alphabet Inc. returned to growth in the third quarter after a decline in the previous period, fueled by digital advertising that has rebounded along with the American economy.”

Android Police: Google adds new creepy (and cute) 3D AR creatures just in time for Halloween. “Frightful times have fallen, and Google is getting into the swing of things with an array of special Halloween-themed 3D animals and objects. From a witchy cat wearing a pointy hat to a skeleton getting jiggy with it, summoning up some October thrills is now simply a search away.”


Femina: Not Google, This Woman Introduced India To Digital Maps. “Girls get things done. Hands down! How else would you explain with the incredible story of Rashmi Verma, who introduced digital maps to India, much before Google? Rashmi, a non-believer in glass ceilings, is executive director and co-founder of MapmyIndia, her brainchild that changed the way we see India, quite literally! We mapped her journey from by lanes of Uttar Pradesh’ Bareilly to top tech companies in the US, and now in India’s mapping industry.”

ABC 7: Presidential campaigns set new records for social media ad spending. “President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have set new spending records for political ads on social media this election…. Between January 2019 and Oct, 24, 2020, Eyewitness News found both candidates had spent more individually on Facebook ads than Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent combined during the 2016 election.”


Vox: 5 fact-checks from the Senate’s hearing on social media. “Some Democrats at the hearing — and many outside observers — have written off the hearing as political theater orchestrated by conservatives days ahead of the election to intimidate these companies so they avoid fact-checking Trump or conservative disinformation campaigns. But Republicans argued that allegations of bias are critical and valid, and that they need to be swiftly addressed.”

TechCrunch: Fragomen, a law firm used by Google, confirms data breach. “Immigration law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy has confirmed a data breach involving the personal information of current and former Google employees. The New York-based law firm provides companies with employment verification screening services to determine if employees are eligible and authorized to work in the United States.”


Brookings Institute: Remedies that can sustain search competition in the DOJ case against Google. “On October 20, the U.S. Department of Justice filed its long-awaited antitrust suit against Google. Examining possible remedies for the company’s alleged anticompetitive conduct reveals some important lessons for the promotion of competition in digital markets. The first lesson is that it is difficult for antitrust agencies to develop and administer effective measures to promote competition in digital markets that have already tipped to dominant providers. The second is that lawmakers should consider establishing a specialized regulatory agency to foster and maintain competitive alternatives in digital markets and to regulate dominant companies in the public interest if competition does not take hold.”

Reuters: Social media disinformation campaigns tied to vaccine hesitancy. “Researchers examined overall Twitter use per country from 2018 to 2019 in a global database of geocoded tweets, then extracted data on 258,769 tweets related to vaccinations. They measured the sentiment of tweets using the Polyglot Python Library; assessed the aggressiveness of foreign vaccine disinformation campaigns on a 5-point scale with higher scores indicating more intense efforts…. Based on the analysis of social media activity for up to 190 countries, researchers found that each 1-point increase in efforts by foreign vaccine disinformation campaigns on social media was associated with a 15% annual increase in the number of negative tweets about vaccination.”

TV Technology: Social Media Use While Watching TV Can Result in Memory Loss. “A new study by Stanford University has found that watching TV while also scrolling social media can lead to memory loss. The research, published in Nature, found that people who reported engaging in multiple forms of digital media at once, such as watching TV while texting and browsing social media, had a poorer memory than those who concentrated on just one.” Good morning, Internet…

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