Global Climate Change, Facebook Hardware, Gamestop Hearings, More: Tuesday Evening ResearchBuzz, February 16, 2021


University at Albany: PIRE Researchers Launch New Tool to Visualize Global Climate Change. “A new tool developed through the University at Albany Visualization and Informatics Lab (AVAIL) is offering an interactive way to view up to two millennium’s worth of paleoclimate data around the globe. The tool, a result of UAlbany’s ongoing $5 million Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) CREATE project funded through the National Science Foundation, includes three visualization maps, all of which are available now to the public.”


Ars Technica: After the failure of the Facebook Phone, get ready for a Facebook Watch. “Here’s a statement that should fill everyone with optimism: Facebook is building an Android smartwatch! That’s according to a new report from The Information, which says the watch should hit the market next year.”


CNET: GameStop stock hearing: How to watch Robinhood and Reddit CEOs testify before Congress. “On Thursday, Feb. 18, the House Committee on Financial Services is holding a virtual hearing, titled ‘Game Stopped? Who Wins and Loses When Short Sellers, Social Media, and Retail Investors Collide.’ The chief executives of Reddit, Robinhood, Citadel and Melvin Capital will be in attendance, along with the Reddit poster who spearheaded the GameStop buying frenzy. Here’s how to watch the hearing and some background on what led to Congress getting involved.”


Grit Daily: Does Google’s Black-Owned Business Search Really Help Black Entrepreneurs? We Asked Them.. “Google first introduced the tool last summer, but is promoting it during Black history month as a reminder that the fight for racial equity is nowhere near over. You may notice it right now on Google’s home page, for example. Now, nearly a year later, we spoke with Black business owners from around the United States on how Google’s tool has impacted their business, as well as how they think major tech companies like Google can continue to help them in the future.”

The Independent: Bebo Coming Back With ‘Brand New Social Network’. “Bebo is returning, in the form of a ‘brand new social network’. But it is not clear whether the new version of the site has any connection to the old one, beyond borrowing its name and its old web address. It has also made clear that it does not have access to the content that was posted on the site.” I actually don’t remember Bebo at all, which is funny because it operated for eight years. Wikipedia has an extensive article.


Techdirt: Hacked Florida Water Plant Found To Have Been Using Unsupported Windows 7 Machines And Shared Passwords. “If you’re not in the IT space, this is base level stuff. Have your computer systems on operating systems that are under active support and are being patched. That is doubly so for any systems that are critical, or which have access to critical systems. And to not have any client security, such as a local software firewall, on such a machine is IT malpractice. On top of the above, it appears that TeamViewer hadn’t been actively used by the staff there for nearly six months.”

Politico: City can publish NYPD discipline files, appeals court rules. “New York City can publish police officers’ disciplinary records, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday — shooting down a lawsuit by law enforcement unions that sought to block the release. The state legislature voted in June to repeal a law that kept police disciplinary files secret as part of a police reform push driven by protests after the death of George Floyd.”


Carteret County News-Times: NC Bird Atlas survey begins in March. “Audubon N.C. announced Jan. 15 the launch of the five-year survey. The statewide community science survey will harness the power of thousands of volunteer birdwatchers to map the distribution and abundance of birds from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Outer Banks. The observations will give researchers a comprehensive picture of bird populations across North Carolina and help wildlife officials, land managers and conservation organizations make important conservation decisions about the state’s avian population.”

Victoria Harbor Times: DNA database to track bushfire impact to local wildlife. “The impact of the devastating Black Summer bushfires on native plants and wildlife will be able to be tracked, thanks to a new database being created in Canberra. A DNA database of local flora and fauna is being developed as part of a collaboration between the University of Canberra, the Australian National University and Canberra company Diversity Arrays Technology.”

Phys .org: Internet access spending in public schools increases test scores, but also disciplinary problems. “From 2015 to 2019, public school districts in the United States invested nearly $5 billion to upgrade their Wi-Fi networks, according to EducationSuperHighway. However, in the age of COVID-19-mandated virtual learning, millions of K-12 students still lack the minimal connectivity at home for digital learning. In a new study from the University of Notre Dame, researchers quantify how school district connectivity increases test scores, but underscore the dark side of technology—increased behavior problems.” Good evening, Internet…

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