Pesticide Exposure, Google, Timnit Gebru, More: Friday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, December 11, 2020


Beyond Pesticides: Chemicals to Avoid: Groundbreaking Database of Illnesses from Pesticide Exposure Launched. “Beyond Pesticides’ relational Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database further serves the purpose of demonstrating how pervasive pesticides exposure and how exposure can impact human health with numerous adverse health outcomes. Those exposed to pesticides do not only develop one symptom or disease, but can develop multiple, interconnected diseases. Studies find that pesticide exposure can cause oxidative stress leading to various illnesses, including neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, or oncological diseases.”


Politico: Google will end political ad ban this week. “Google’s decision — which marks the return of political ads on high-profile sites like YouTube and Google search pages — comes days before the Electoral College votes will be tallied, as well as one month before the Georgia Senate runoffs, leaving campaigns and committees some time to get their digital strategies back on track.”

Gizmodo: Google To Investigate Shady Departure of Black AI Ethicist Timnit Gebru. “After more than 2,200 employees signed a letter on Monday condemning Google’s reported decision to terminate a Black artificial intelligence ethicist, the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, apologised on Wednesday for the way the departure had been handled and said that the incident was being investigated.”


NHK World-Japan: Google discusses partnerships with Japanese media. “Google has started negotiating with Japanese media companies to sign them up as partners in its new program called Google News Showcase. The recently launched project involves Google paying news publishers to deliver their stories.”

The Advertiser: Man frozen to death after Google Maps wrong turn. “A teenager froze to death in brutal -50C weather after his sat nav told him to take a wrong turn on Russia’s notorious Road of Bones. The Google Maps instructions sent him on a disused shortcut across the world’s coldest inhabited region, according to reports.”

AlleyWatch: Vincent Raises $2M for its Search Engine for Alternative Investments. “Vincent has built a comprehensive search engine for alternative asset investment opportunities, allowing investors to build tailored searches based on their preferences and portfolio requirements. Opportunities can be filtered by asset class, investment minimums, liquidity, and potential returns across real estate, private equity, art, collectibles, and venture. 15,000 unique investors have already searched more than 100,000 times since the company launched its private beta in July.”


CNET: Scammers create Instagram click farm, leave their operation exposed online. “Instagram is a playground of deception. Filters, lighting and clever angles can make the humdrum look amazing. On Wednesday, a pair of researchers said the deceit extended beyond artfully edited photos to inflated follower counts, which can make accounts appear to have more reach than they actually do. Behind the artificial numbers: a click farm operation that boosted performances by using tens of thousands of fake IG accounts.”

CNN: The legal battle to break up Facebook is underway. Now comes the hard part. “The groundbreaking lawsuits filed against Facebook on Wednesday by state and federal officials represent the gravest regulatory threat the social media giant has ever faced. The suits threaten to remake Facebook’s social media empire by carving out two of its most popular applications, Instagram and WhatsApp, each with well over a billion users. Facebook has responded by vowing a lengthy court fight — and accusing regulators of flip-flopping on the acquisitions years after they approved them.”


Rice University: Bad news for fake news: Rice research helps combat social media misinformation. “Rice University researchers have discovered a more efficient way for social media companies to keep misinformation from spreading online using probabilistic filters trained with artificial intelligence.”

EurekAlert: New computational method validates images without ‘ground truth’. “A realtor sends a prospective homebuyer a blurry photograph of a house taken from across the street. The homebuyer can compare it to the real thing — look at the picture, then look at the real house — and see that the bay window is actually two windows close together, the flowers out front are plastic and what looked like a door is actually a hole in the wall. What if you aren’t looking at a picture of a house, but something very small — like a protein?” Good afternoon, Internet…

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