AI Incidents, January 6, North Korea Stamps, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, January 15, 2021


TechTalk: The AI Incident Database wants to improve the safety of machine learning . “Most complex software systems fail at some point and need to be updated regularly. We have procedures and tools that help us find and fix these errors. But current AI systems, mostly dominated by machine learning algorithms, are different from traditional software. We are still exploring the implications of applying them to different applications, and protecting them against failure needs new ideas and approaches. This is the idea behind the AI Incident Database a repository of documented failures of AI systems in the real world. The database aims to make it easier to see past failures and avoid repeating them.”

Motherboard: Developer Makes Interactive Map of Parler Videos From Capitol Hill Riots. “A developer calling themselves Patr10tic has taken archived versions of videos uploaded by Parler users during the deadly Capitol Hill siege, geolocated them, reuploaded them, and placed them on an interactive map for anybody to watch. The beta project nicknamed ‘Y’all Qaeda’ is one of the first to present posts and videos from the archived Parler data that was saved by a hacker and a team of archivists. So far, most reporting and projects have relied on metadata alone.”

North Korea Tech: North Korean stamps website appears. “The Korea Stamp site is operated by the country’s national stamp issuer to sell North Korean stamps to collectors worldwide. The site incudes a catalog of several thousand stamps dating back to just after the end of the Second World War in 1946. Newer stamps are apparently for sale, each costing between a few U.S. cents and a few U.S. dollars, but I couldn’t get the shopping cart function to work.” Please note that this is for informational purposes only and I do not advocate doing business with North Korea. It feels weird to include that disclaimer, but these are weird times.


CNET: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says banning Trump was the ‘right decision’. “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday he thought the company made the right call by permanently barring President Donald Trump’s account after violence broke out on Capitol Hill last week, but it was a decision he isn’t celebrating.”

Facebook: Our Preparations Ahead of Inauguration Day. “We began preparing for Inauguration Day last year. But our planning took on new urgency after last week’s violence in Washington, D.C., and we are treating the next two weeks as a major civic event. We’re taking additional steps and using the same teams and technologies we used during the general election to stop misinformation and content that could incite further violence during these next few weeks.”


Golden Transcript: Golden Museum gets a sweet treat. “Local couple Dorothy and Bill Harmsen opened their first Jolly Rancher Ice Cream store on Washington Avenue in 1949 and began selling early versions of their now-iconic confection out of it soon after. The store closed in 1951, but the brand’s local ties continued as production of the candies was moved to a factory in Wheat Ridge where it continued until new owner The Hershey Company moved production to Mexico in 2002. But even as Jolly Rancher is regarded as a sweet piece of Golden’s past, the company’s history has been neither widely known nor easy to learn much about. Until now.”

BuzzFeed News: This Pro-Trump YouTube Network Sprang Up Just After He Lost. “A network of YouTube channels connected to the pro-Trump media outlet Epoch Times launched after Election Day as part of a disinformation campaign to keep President Donald Trump in office. Only one of the channels discloses its ties to the newspaper, which traffics in conspiracy theories and has become one of the president’s staunchest media allies.”


ZDNet: Developer of Popular Women’s Fertility-Tracking App Settles FTC Allegations that It Misled Consumers About the Disclosure of their Health Data. “The developer of a period and fertility-tracking app used by more than 100 million consumers has settled Federal Trade Commission allegations that the company shared the health information of users with outside data analytics providers after promising that such information would be kept private. The proposed settlement requires Flo Health, Inc. to, among other things, obtain an independent review of its privacy practices and get app users’ consent before sharing their health information.”

Legal Genealogist: Ancestry sued for yearbooks. “The case, brought by two California residents against Ancestry, focuses on the yearbook collection — ‘U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999’ — and charges Ancestry with ‘knowingly misappropriating the photographs, likenesses, names, and identities of Plaintiffs and the class; knowingly using those photographs, likenesses, names, and identities for the commercial purpose of selling access to them in Ancestry products and services; and knowingly using those photographs, likenesses, names, and identities to advertise, sell, and solicit purchases of Ancestry services and products; without obtaining prior consent from Plaintiffs and the class.'”

TechCrunch: A security researcher commandeered a country’s expired top-level domain to save it from hackers . “The domain — — was one of two nameservers for the .cd country code top-level domain, assigned to the Democratic Republic of Congo. If it fell into the wrong hands, an attacker could redirect millions of unknowing internet users to rogue websites of their choosing. Clearly, a domain of such importance wasn’t supposed to expire; someone in the Congolese government probably forgot to pay for its renewal. Luckily, expired domains don’t disappear immediately. Instead, the clock started on a grace period for its government owners to buy back the domain before it was sold to someone else.”


EurekAlert: Researchers deconstruct ancient Jewish parchment using multiple imaging techniques. “A picture may be worth a thousand words, but capturing multiple images of an artifact across the electromagnetic spectrum can tell a rich story about the original creation and degradation of historical objects over time. Researchers recently demonstrated how this was possible using several complementary imaging techniques to non-invasively probe a Jewish parchment scroll. The results were published in the journal Frontiers in Materials.”

Journal of the Medical Library Association: Causality dilemma: creating a twenty-first century university archive. “For its fifteenth anniversary, the Jay Sexter Library at Touro University Nevada (TUN) sought ways to capture its institutional history by founding an archive. Among many challenges, the library struggled to convince the administration of the importance of an archive. To generate interest in TUN’s history, a task force comprising library, executive administration, and advancement staff hosted and recorded a panel event with some of the university’s original faculty, staff, and administration. By having this event, new TUN employees were able to experience the shared knowledge of TUN’s early days, and the library was able to create and preserve its own institutional history.” Good morning, Internet…

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