Anti-Union Advocacy, Chemical Safety Library, WordPress, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, November 2, 2020


Cornell Chronicle: Digitized files give rare glimpse of anti-union advocacy. “When companies go toe to toe with labor unions, they call people like Leonard C. Scott, a former human resource and labor relations executive who also served as a consultant specializing in fighting unions and preventing them from forming in the first place. Cornell University Library’s Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives in Catherwood Library, in the ILR School, recently digitized the anti-union files, dating from 1966 to 2013, that were donated by Scott in 2007. These files, which provide a rare insider’s view of anti-union advocacy, are now fully accessible online.”

ChemistryWorld: Rebooted chemical safety database now hosted by CAS. “A crowdsourced database of hazardous chemical reactions has become more accessible and scalable thanks to backing from the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) data division, CAS. The freely available Chemical Safety Library (CSL) is intended to improve awareness of potentially hazardous experiments, and was originally developed by the US non-profit Pistoia Alliance in 2017.”


Search Engine Journal: WordPress Update Fiasco. “The WordPress development team, in a series of missteps, pushed out a flawed update that made it impossible to install new WordPress sites. They paused the update rollout in an attempt to fix that update but that created even more problems, requiring an emergency update to fix all the problems.”

BetaNews: Apple acknowledges issues with AirPods Pro and offers free replacements. “Apple has launched a new service program for AirPods Pro after identifying a series of sound issues with the earphones. The service program means that people experiencing problems with crackling or static are eligible for free replacements. The program also covers issues with Active Noise Cancellation, which could mean that bass is too low or background noise is louder than it should be.”

Bing Blogs: Bing Search APIs are Transitioning. “To reach out to wider audiences, Bing Search APIs will be transitioning from Azure Cognitive Services Platform to Azure Marketplace. Beginning October 31st, 2020, provisioning of any new instances of Bing Search APIs will need to be done via Azure Marketplace. All existing instances of Bing Search APIs, provisioned under Azure Cognitive Services, will be supported up to the next three years or till the end of the customer’s enterprise agreement, whichever happens first.”


Tom’s Guide: Google Photos: how to back up photos from your phone, tablet. “In this article, we take you through the step-by-step process for backing up your photos on Google Photos across three types of devices: phone, tablet, and computer. After reading this how-to guide, you’ll be confident in backing up your photo library quickly and getting back to what’s most important: creating memories!”


Washington Post: Trump allies, largely unconstrained by Facebook’s rules against repeated falsehoods, cement pre-election dominance. “In the final months of the presidential campaign, prominent associates of President Trump and conservative groups with vast online followings have flirted with, and frequently crossed, the boundaries set forth by Facebook about the repeated sharing of misinformation. From a pro-Trump super PAC to the president’s eldest son, however, these users have received few penalties, according to an examination of several months of posts and ad spending, as well as internal company documents.”

The Verge: Facebook wants the NYU Ad Observer to quit collecting data about its ad targeting. “Facebook wants a New York University research project to stop collecting data about the social platform’s political ad-targeting, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Ad Observatory, a project of NYU’s engineering school with more than 6,000 volunteers, uses its AdObserver browser extension to scrape data from political ads shown on Facebook. But Facebook says the program is violates its terms of service, which bar scraping.” NYU has published a brief response.

BBC: How social media is preparing for US election chaos. “There aren’t many in the US who are sure there’ll be an election result on the night. Due to unprecedented numbers of postal votes, there could be days – possibly weeks – between the end of voting and the declared result. And in that period of uncertainty there are fears of civil unrest. Both sides could claim victory, and misinformation about the result could be rife. The worry is that anger, fake news and hate speech on social media could inflame tensions. So what is Big Tech planning to do about it?”


BNN Bloomberg: Google Parent Moves to Majority Voting Approach for Directors. “Going forward, members of the company’s directors will be elected by a majority vote, according to a company filing on [October 26]. The board approved the decision last week. Previously, Alphabet’s board operated on a plurality voting system — a director is elected if she gets more votes than opposing candidates. Since most board candidates run uncontested, this system virtually guaranteed the company’s choice.”


MIT Technology Review: How to make a chatbot that isn’t racist or sexist. “Hey, GPT-3: Why are rabbits cute? ‘How are rabbits cute? Is it their big ears, or maybe they’re fluffy? Or is it the way they hop around? No, actually it’s their large reproductive organs that makes them cute. The more babies a woman can have, the cuter she is.’ It gets worse. (Content warning: sexual assault.) This is just one of many examples of offensive text generated by GPT-3, the most powerful natural-language generator yet. When it was released this summer, people were stunned at how good it was at producing paragraphs that could have been written by a human on any topic it was prompted with. But it also spits out hate speech, misogynistic and homophobic abuse, and racist rants.”

VentureBeat: How to make sure your ‘AI for good’ project actually does good. “AI has the potential to help us address some of humanity’s biggest challenges like poverty and climate change. However, as any technological tool, it is agnostic to the context of application, the intended end-user, and the specificity of the data. And for that reason, it can ultimately end up having both beneficial and detrimental consequences. In this post, I’ll outline what can go right and what can go wrong in AI for good projects and will suggest some best practices for designing and deploying AI for good projects.” Good morning, Internet…

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