UFOs, Austria Animation, Facebook, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, January 14, 2021

I forgot to mention yesterday that the ResearchBuzz Firehose Web site broke (it wouldn’t do the infinite scroll to browse through posts.) I replaced the site theme and that fixed it, but I have to replace the headers and make everything pretty – right now it’s basic. But the search function and so forth should work. Let me know if you have any problems with it.


CNET: Alien fans, get lost in a huge UFO archive of declassified CIA documents. “Do UFOs exist? ‘Unidentified flying objects’ are definitely a thing, but do they have alien origins? I’m on the side of the skeptics, but there are plenty of true believers and UFO-curious folks eager for official information from the government. Thanks to The Black Vault, an online archive of declassified government documents, you can now dig through a massive trove of information the CIA has collected on UFOs over the years.”

Cartoon Brew: Stream 100 Films For Free (Wherever You Are) At The Best Austrian Animation Festival. “On February 1, this set-up will be replaced by Best Austrian Animation’s brand-new online database — the culmination of years of archiving. The database will serve as a permanent research platform about contemporary animation from Austria. Ultimately, every film ever shown at the festival since 2013 will have an entry containing information, visuals, and in some cases the entire film.”


Neowin: Facebook’s Access Your Information tool gets a makeover and a new search tool. “Facebook today announced a visual redesign for its privacy settings tool called Access Your Information. The tool was first launched in 2018 in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Back then, the tool had two data categories that were rather broad, but the new makeover makes it easier to navigate and use. The latest version removes the data categories ‘Your Information’ and ‘Information About You’. It now breaks those pieces of information into eight categories…”

Axios: Scoop: Snapchat will permanently ban Trump’s account. “Snapchat will permanently ban President Trump’s account on Jan. 20, Axios has learned, after locking it indefinitely last week following the Capitol siege.”

American Botanical Council: Nonprofit American Botanical Council Launches New, More Powerful Website. “As part of the tax-exempt nonprofit’s ongoing research and educational mission and commitment to provide ABC Members around the world with reliable, authoritative science-based and traditional-use information on herbs, phytomedicines, essential oils, medicinal fungi, and other beneficial botanicals, ABC has spent the last two years building a new website to improve the user experience for ABC members and other website visitors.”


CNET: Notion is TikTok’s new aesthetic obsession: Here’s how to set yours up. “At the onset of the pandemic, neatly organized planners got left behind on office and classroom desks across America. But Gen Z seems to have found an answer to the organizational woes of studying from home in a strange yet aesthetically-pleasing place: A piece of enterprise software called Notion, which offers a digital workplace for taking notes, making to-do lists, creating mood boards and more. Its clean, trendy look and easy setup have made it a new mainstay in TikTok groups for studying, staying organized and cutting out wasted time bouncing between different apps.”

Reuters: Uganda bans social media ahead of presidential election. “Uganda banned social media and beefed up security in the capital on Tuesday, two days ahead of a presidential election pitting Yoweri Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, against opposition frontrunner Bobi Wine, a popular singer.”

The Guardian: Revealed: walkie-talkie app Zello hosted far-right groups who stormed Capitol. “Audio and chat logs reveal that at least two insurrectionists who broke into the Capitol on 6 January used Zello, a social media walkie-talkie app that critics say has largely ignored a growing far-right user base.” Zello became prominent as a useful app to have before Hurricane Irma a few years ago.


9to5 Google: YouTube rival Rumble sues Google over video search rankings. “According to the Wall Street Journal, the Canadian-based Rumble has accused Google of ‘unfairly rigging its search algorithm’ and favoring video content hosted on YouTube over rival platforms. Rumble has become a popular video hosting platform for conservatives in the US who claim that the established tech platforms are engaging in censorship.”


Data Center Knowledge: Machine Learning Is Helping High-Performance Computing Go Mainstream. “Once confined to specialized workloads with high compute requirements, such as academic and medical research, financial modeling, and energy exploration, high-performance computing, or HPC, has in recent years been finding its way into IT of all stripes. This has partly been brought about by the mainstreaming of machine learning (a subset of artificial intelligence), which generally operates at a snail’s pace on conventional servers and needs the added oomph that HPC brings to the table.”

Lawfare Blog: The Facebook Oversight Board Should Review Trump’s Suspension. “While Congress works out what form of accountability it will impose on President Trump for inciting insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week, the president has faced a swift and brutal reckoning online. Snapchat, Twitch, Shopify, email providers and payment processors, among others, have all cut ties with Trump or his campaign. And after years of resisting calls to do so, both Facebook and Twitter have suspended Trump’s accounts.”

Harvard Business Review: How to Hold Social Media Accountable for Undermining Democracy. “While the blame for President Trump’s incitement to insurrection lies squarely with him, the biggest social media companies — most prominently my former employer, Facebook — are absolutely complicit. They have not only allowed Trump to lie and sow division for years, their business models have exploited our biases and weaknesses and abetted the growth of conspiracy-touting hate groups and outrage machines. They have done this without bearing any responsibility for how their products and business decisions effect our democracy; in this case, including allowing an insurrection to be planned and promoted on their platforms.” Good morning, Internet…

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