Berbice Slave Uprising, Project Loon, LowKey, More: Friday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, January 22, 2021


The Guardian: Dutch exhibition offers new insight into Berbice slave uprising. “The Dutch national archives are showcasing a unique set of letters sent by the leader of the first organised slave revolt on the American continent to a colonial governor, in which the newly free man proposed to share the land. The offer from the man known as Cuffy, from Kofi – meaning ‘born on Friday’ – is said to provide a new insight into attempts to resist the brutal regimes of the colonial period, often overlooked in histories of enslaved people.”


CNET: Google parent Alphabet to shut down Loon, its internet-beaming balloon project. “The project was born out of X, Alphabet’s self-described moonshot factory for experimental projects, which has also developed the company’s driverless car and delivery drone services. Alphabet, however, deemed Loon’s business model unsustainable and said it couldn’t get costs low enough to continue operation.”


The Register: LowKey cool: This web app will tweak your photos to flummox facial-recognition systems, apparently . “The application, called LowKey, is intended to protect people from unauthorized surveillance. It’s based on an adversarial attack technique developed by University of Maryland boffins Valeriia Cherepanova, Micah Goldblum, Shiyuan Duan, John Dickerson, Gavin Taylor, Tom Goldstein, and US Naval Academy researcher Harrison Foley. It alters images so facial recognition systems can’t easily use the data to find the depicted person in another image.”


Boston Globe: Boston Globe launches ‘Fresh Start’ initiative: People can apply to have archive stories about them reviewed. “The Boston Globe announced a new program that will allow people to ask the newspaper to update or anonymize past coverage of them online. The ‘Fresh Start’ initiative is part of a broader effort to rethink the Globe’s criminal justice coverage and how it affects communities of color, amid a national reckoning over racial inequity. Similar to ‘right to forget’ programs that have cropped up in a number of newsrooms across the country, the undertaking is meant to address the lasting impact that stories about past embarrassments, mistakes, or minor crimes, forever online and searchable, can have on a person’s life.”

BuzzFeed News: Facebook Has Been Showing Military Gear Ads Next To Insurrection Posts. “In the aftermath of an attempted insurrection by President Donald Trump’s supporters last week at the US Capitol building, Facebook has served up ads for defense products to accounts that follow extremist content, according to the Tech Transparency Project, a nonprofit watchdog group. Those ads — which include New Year’s specials for specialized body armor plates, rifle enhancements, and shooting targets — were all delivered to a TTP Facebook account used to monitor right-wing content that could incite violence.”

ABC News (Australia): Rare soldier’s diary reveals secret massacre of Indigenous Tasmanians after almost 200 years. “A soldier’s diary disintegrating in Ireland’s national library has revealed disturbing evidence of an undocumented massacre of Aboriginal people in Tasmania in the colony’s early years. The diary belonged to Private Robert McNally, posted to Van Diemen’s Land in the 1820s, and records in gritty detail colonial life and encounters with settlers and a notorious bushranger.”


Reuters: Australian competition watchdog warns Google, Facebook laws are just the start. “Australia’s competition regulator has warned that planned laws to make the country the first in the world to force Google and Facebook to pay for news content were likely just the start of more regulation for digital platforms.”

Bleeping Computer: Bonobos clothing store confirms breach after hacker leaks 70GB database. “Bonobos men’s clothing store has suffered a massive data breach exposing millions of customers’ personal information. Bonobos started as an online men’s clothing store but later expanded to sixty locations to try on clothes before purchasing them. Walmart bought Bonobos in 2017 for $300 million to sells its clothing on their site.”


Science: Twitter shuts down account of Sci-Hub, the pirated-papers website. “Twitter… permanently suspended the account of Sci-Hub, the website that has posted millions of freely accessible copies of scientific articles pirated from subscription journals. Twitter said Sci-Hub had violated its policy against promoting ‘counterfeit goods,’ according to Sci-Hub’s founder, Alexandra Elbakyan.”


CNBC: How to put Bernie Sanders into any shot on Google Maps Street View or Snapchat. “An image of Sen. Bernie Sanders became an instant sensation Wednesday after the senator was photographed sitting cross-armed in knit mittens, a mask and a winter parka at President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony. Before long, the image had spread far and wide as a reaction meme. People also quickly figured out how to help people make their own Bernie memes using Snapchat and a meme generator that uses Google Maps Street View.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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