Climate Attribution Database, Central Africa Forests, Google Photos, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, November 12, 2020


Climate Law Blog: Sabin Center Launches Climate Attribution Database . “Climate change attribution science provides the evidentiary basis for establishing that anthropogenic climate change is real, that it is already here, and that predicted future changes must be taken seriously. Faced with this growing body of research, courts, policy-makers, and private actors are addressing critical and urgent legal questions, such as whether governments are doing enough to reduce emissions and adapt to climate risks, and whether corporations can be held liable for their contributions to the problem. Today the Sabin Center and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are launching the Climate Attribution Database, a thematically organized repository of state-of-the-art climate change attribution science.”

Forests News: New portal tracks policies and trends impacting forests in Central Africa. “The Observatory of Central African Forests (OFAC), which was created over a decade ago to address that challenge, has now launched an analysis portal that keeps track of policies and trends to examine their impact on forest ecosystems at the regional, national and local levels. The objective of the digital platform is to provide a single-entry point through which researchers and decision-makers can access information on the subject and follow emerging trends.”


Android Police: Google Photos ‘color pop’ feature will remain free, upgraded version in testing for Google One subscribers. “Google told Engadget in a statement that only an upgraded version of color pop will require a Google One subscription, not the existing functionality that is already available.”

CNET: Google Photos to end its unlimited free photo storage. “Google Photos is ending its unlimited free storage policy for photos and videos, Google said in a Wednesday blog post. After June 1, 2021, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15GB of storage that comes with every Google account. But don’t worry: Any photos or videos you’ve uploaded before that day won’t be part of the cap.”

Mashable: Google warns Google Drive users: Use it, or lose your files. “Google announced a new storage policy Wednesday governing user accounts, and while most of the resulting headlines focused of a new price tag for Google Photos, an important change went mostly overlooked. Notably, going forward, Google says that if you don’t check in on your Google Drive files every now and then, it may delete them.” I’m sure we’ll be seeing an opportunity to subscribe to a Google premium service to ensure your Drive files are left alone…


The Markup: Introducing Simple Search. “In July, The Markup’s Adrianne Jeffries and Leon Yin published an investigation showing Google products took up a huge amount of real estate on search results pages in our sample. They analyzed 15,000 popular search results and found that the search engine gave 41 percent of the first page and 63 percent of the first screen on mobile devices to Google properties and what the company calls ‘direct answers,’ which are populated with information copied from other sources. In more than half of those searches, Google gave 75 percent of the search page to itself. We built a browser extension, Simple Search, to show you just the ‘traditional’ search results.”


Oregon Historical Society: Beached Whale Blow-Up: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Florence Exploding Whale. “On the morning of November 12, 1970, KATU news directors asked reporter Paul Linnman and cameraman Doug Brazil to cover an unusual story taking place on the Oregon coast. A 45-foot sperm whale had washed up on the beach near Florence, Oregon, a few days prior, and the Oregon Highway Division was left to come up with a plan on how best to deal with 8 tons of rotting whale flesh. What caught the attention of the news room in Portland, however, was not the whale itself but the plan of how to best dispose of the carcass: dynamite.” The subsequent video is one of the early viral videos of Internet culture and is why I’m including it here.

Canberra Times (Australia): National Archives signs $4.4m contract to digitise World War II service records. “The National Archives of Australia said on Tuesday it had signed contracts worth $4.4 million to digitise more than 650,000 service records. Among the records to be saved, and which will be available for free online, are photographs of servicemen and women which were previously at-risk of deterioration.”


Washington Post: Europe fined Google nearly $10 billion for antitrust violations, but little has changed. “The European Union spent a decade pursuing Google on antitrust charges, ultimately fining the company nearly $10 billion for using illegal tactics to abuse its dominant position on the market. But two years after the bloc’s biggest rulings, very little competition has emerged, in part because the E.U. largely left it to Google to fix the problems, antitrust lawyers and Google competitors say.”

Parliament of Australia: Parliamentary Committee to hear from Google and Facebook as family violence hearings continue. “The parliamentary inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence will ask questions of Google and Facebook as well as organisations representing the male victims of family violence as it continues its program of public hearings. The Committee is gathering further evidence to inform both its recommendations and the development of the next National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.”

Reuters: Tech companies tied to U.S. lawsuit against Google get more time to propose protective order. ” Microsoft Corp…Oracle Corp…and other companies that have provided information to the U.S. government for its antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet’s Google… were granted more time on Wednesday to propose a protective order for their confidential data.”


EurekAlert: Scientists develop AI-powered ‘electronic nose’ to sniff out meat freshness. “The ‘electronic nose’ (e-nose) comprises a ‘barcode’ that changes colour over time in reaction to the gases produced by meat as it decays, and a barcode ‘reader’ in the form of a smartphone app powered by artificial intelligence (AI). The e-nose has been trained to recognise and predict meat freshness from a large library of barcode colours.” Good morning, Internet…

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