Holocaust Survivor Testimonies, Radical Software, Facebook, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, January 31, 2021


Smithsonian Magazine: Hundreds of Holocaust Testimonies Translated, Digitized for the First Time. “On Wednesday, people around the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day—the anniversary of the January 27, 1945, liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp. Due to pandemic restrictions, survivors and educational groups couldn’t visit the sites of Nazi atrocities as they have in years past. But a new digital resource from the Wiener Holocaust Library in London offered an alternative for those hoping to honor the genocide’s victims while maintaining social distancing. As the library announced earlier this month, hundreds of its survivor testimonies are now available online—and in English—for the first time.”

New-to-me, from Garage: How ’70s Magazine “Radical Software” Predicted the Future. “In the spring of 1970, a group of self-proclaimed “hardware freaks” published the first issue of Radical Software, a print magazine that detailed emerging trends in video, television, and early computing. Its pages burst with enthusiasm—there are guides for creating neighborhood documentaries, comedic recipes for ‘video rabbit,’ and calls for new ‘information economies’ meant to liberate data from private ownership. In an article for Rhizome, artist Phyllis Segura (then Gershuny, co-founder with Beryl Korot) writes, ‘the underlying circumstances that led to Radical Software… [were] curiosity and confinement.’ Sound familiar?”


CNET: Facebook is working on how to keep ads away from crime and tragedy news topics. “Facebook has announced it’s working on “topic exclusion controls” with a group of advertisers to ensure ads don’t appear on the News Feed next to certain topics. Facebook said Friday that while developing these tools, it will also build in ‘safeguards to protect people’s privacy.'”

Politico: Zuckerberg’s pledge to depoliticize Facebook hits grassroots movements. “Facebook’s decision to permanently stop recommending political groups to its users is a major hit for movements that have grown to rely on social media to draw in first-time activists. But progressive grassroots organizers and digital campaign strategists saw something else in the tech giant’s announcement: a cop-out.”


Mashable: How to learn calligraphy online . “Calligraphy may make you think of parchment scrolls and feather quills, but it’s also a popular modern art and crafts activity that millions of people around the world study and practice. This visual art can be a very rewarding hobby, offering a relaxing, almost meditative creative exercise. A few hours practice a week should give you some decent basic calligraphy skills within a matter of months. (Some talented calligraphers even turn their hobby into a profitable sideline by designing invitations, posters, flyers, and the like.)”


The Verge: Google salvaged Robinhood’s one-star rating by deleting nearly 100,000 negative reviews. “Google is actively removing negative reviews of the Robinhood app from the Google Play Store, the company confirmed to The Verge. After some disgruntled Robinhood users organized campaigns to give the app a one-star review on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store — and succeeded in review-bombing it all the way down to a one-star rating — the company has now deleted enough reviews to bring it back up to nearly four stars.” This is nothing new. Yelp deleted many negative reviews of a dentist who killed a famous lion in 2015. Meanwhile if someone made a demonstrably false statement in a review of a local business during the same timeframe, Yelp couldn’t be bothered to remove it. Do not ask me how I know this.

Mother Jones: A Major Trump Forum Scrubs Its Archives of Thousands of Pre-Riot Posts. “In the days ahead of the January 6 Capitol riot, there were warnings, but no guarantee that the day would turn violent. But users of, a major online pro-Trump forum, were preparing for a fight, posting maps of the Capitol and swapping messages about being ready to die. In the wake of the carnage, law enforcement identified as a key planning platform for the insurrectionists. And on Inauguration Day, the forum established a new domain, rebranding as Alongside that transition, thousands of posts from lead up to the riot have disappeared from the site as though they were never there.”

TechCrunch: Three-dimensional search engine Physna wants to be the Google of the physical world. “In June of 1999, Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins invested $25 million into an early-stage company developing a new search engine called Google, paving the way for a revolution in how knowledge online was organized and shared. Now, Sequoia Capital is placing another bet on a different kind of search engine, one for physical objects in three dimensions, just as the introduction of three-dimensional sensing technologies on consumer phones are poised to create a revolution in spatial computing.”


AP: Russian hack brings changes, uncertainty to US court system. “Trial lawyer Robert Fisher is handling one of America’s most prominent counterintelligence cases, defending an MIT scientist charged with secretly helping China. But how he’ll handle the logistics of the case could feel old school: Under new court rules, he’ll have to print out any highly sensitive documents and hand-deliver them to the courthouse. Until recently, even the most secretive material — about wiretaps, witnesses and national security concerns – could be filed electronically. But that changed after the massive Russian hacking campaign that breached the U.S. court system’s electronic case files and those of scores of other federal agencies and private companies.”

Bleeping Computer: USCellular hit by a data breach after hackers access CRM software. “Mobile network operator USCellular suffered a data breach after hackers gained access to its CRM and viewed customers’ accounts. In a data breach notification filed with the Vermont attorney general’s office, USCellular states that retail store’s employees were scammed into downloading software onto a computer.”


Netimperitive: Silver surfers now dominate social media growth. “Silver surfers are the fastest-growing segments among some of the top social platforms’ audiences; users over the age of 50 are growing more quickly than any other age group on Facebook and Snapchat, according to new research.”

Global News: USask Professor creates pig plotted map for locating wild boars on Google Earth. “Ryan Brook has been researching and tracking wild pigs and extremely invasive species across Saskatchewan and Western Canada for over a decade, recording over 54,000 wild pig occurrences over that span…. Brook took all of the data he’s collected over the years and used it to create a ‘pig-pointed’ map. The map can be downloaded and then layered over top of google earth, highlighting the presence of pigs in the provinces’ rural municipalities.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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