EPA Superfund Sites, Civil Rights VR, Environmental Justice, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, December 15, 2020


EPA: EPA Celebrates Superfund – 40 Years of Cleaning Up and Transforming Communities Across the Country. “In honor of the 40th anniversary milestone, EPA invites the public to travel back to the 1970s with photos and videos showing the nation’s awakening to the public health crisis caused by land contamination — the precursor to the Superfund program’s creation… Beginning with the discovery that homes were built upon an industrial dump site at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, New York, the nation turned its attention to the need to better manage hazardous waste, which led to the creation of the Superfund program.”

Nice, some of these I didn’t know about. Axios: Recreating racism in VR to fight real racism. “New virtual and ‘augmented’ reality technology is allowing users to experience 1960s civil rights marches, the agony of segregation for Black Americans, or life in a Japanese American internment camp.”

University of New Mexico School of Law: UNM Law Professor Launches Website to Promote Teaching and Practice in Environmental Justice. “Through the new website, instructors, students, and practitioners in the field of environmental justice may find teaching materials (such as syllabi and exercises), reference materials (such as agency policies and guidance), video case studies, useful websites, and direct access to a number of GIS tools to facilitate community research from any laptop.”


WION: Google Maps removes ‘Road of Bones’ route after Russian driver freezes to death. “A few days ago, a Russian driver froze to death when his car broke down on an infamous road between the Yakutsk and Magadan cities. Following that, Google Maps has decided to make sure such an incident never happens again.”

Geospatial World: Mapbox, once an open-source competitor to Google Maps, is no longer free. “Mapbox GL JS, a JavaScript library for vector maps on the web, is no longer free. Mapbox announced on December 8th, 2020, that they are moving their Mapbox GL JS library from a BSD license to a new more commercial license.”

The Verge: Facebook launches its Collab music app to the public. “The app allows users to create short-form music videos by combining up to three independent videos. So, for example, three musicians could each play a different part of a song and combine them into one video. But each video that’s created is also posted to a public ‘Collab’ feed, where people can view and play along with it if they choose.”

Silicon Republic: Global Google downtime caused by ‘internal storage’ issue. “Google has stated that its global downtime was caused by an authentication system outage and issues with internal storage quotas.”


CNN: Here’s what people Googled this year as they tried to make sense of 2020. “Google (GOOGL) released its annual ‘Year in Search’ list Wednesday. The list acts as a sort of chronicle of the decades worth of newsworthy things that took place during this one weird year. The list features the year’s top trending searches, which had a high spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2020 compared to 2019.”

WatchPro: Jaeger-LeCoultre returns 360 degree 3D images in Google search results. “In November, Richemont, Kering, Farfetch and Alibaba Group announced the creation of a steering group with the lofty ambition to redefine luxury retail for this century. The latest initiative sees Richemont and Google working together to offer augmented reality presentation of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Control Chronograph Calendar directly from mobile search results.”


Gothamist: Advocates Accuse NYC Of Slow-Walking Promised Reductions To DNA Database. “Nearly 10 months after promising cuts to New York City’s controversial DNA database, city authorities have barely made a dent in reducing its scope, according to the city’s own records. In February, the NYPD promised to downsize the city’s DNA database, which advocates have criticized for perpetually retaining the genetic signatures of tens of thousands of residents, many of whom had their samples taken without consent.”

TechCrunch: Sunshine Contacts may have given out your home address, even if you’re not using the app. “In November, former Yahoo CEO and Google veteran Marissa Mayer and co-founder Enrique Muñoz Torres introduced their newly rebranded startup Sunshine, and its first product, Sunshine Contacts. The new iOS app offers to organize your address book by handling duplicates and merges using AI technology, as well as fill in some of the missing bits of information by gathering data from the web — like LinkedIn profiles, for example. But some users were surprised to find they suddenly had home addresses for their contacts, too, including for those who were not already Sunshine users.”


Toronto Star: What I’ve learned countering vaccine disinformation on social media. “I got my rude awakening when I became a mother in 2017. Parenthood was an entirely new phenomenon, so I joined several online parenting or ‘mom’ groups on social media. These groups were my first encounter with sensational, provocative and unscientific information. This is when I realized we were amidst a war — a war on science.” Good morning, Internet…

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