Black Dollar Index, Apple News, Facial Recognition, More: Friday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 19, 2021


USA Today: ‘Better Business Bureau meets Consumer Reports’: Black Dollar Index ranks companies by support of Black America . “A group of Black professionals from health care, consumer packaged goods, media, finance, politics, and consulting came together in weekly zoom meetings during the social unrest last summer to volunteer their time building The Black Dollar Initiative. Soon, the Black Dollar Index was born. It weighs qualitative and quantitative factors to measure each company’s commitment to diversity and investments in causes important to Black Americans and score them from 0-100.”


Lifehacker Australia: How to Get the Most Out of Apple News Now That Facebook Is a No-Go. “If you’re familiar with the service – awesome. If you’re new to it however and would like some insight into how best to use it, we’re here to help. Here are some tips on how to make sure you’re curating your news experience to suit your needs and preferences i.e. all Lifehacker, all the time (I’m joking).”

The Next Web: Check if your photos were used to develop facial recognition systems with this free tool . “The search engine checks whether your photos were included in the datasets by referencing Flickr identifiers such as username and photo ID. It doesn’t use any facial recognition to detect the images. If it finds an exact match, the results are displayed on the screen. The images are then loaded directly from”


CNET: Facebook accidentally blocks own page during Australian news takedown. “Facebook’s sudden decision to restrict people in Australia from reading and sharing news resulted in an ironic if unintended consequence for the social media giant. According to multiple reports, Facebook accidentally restricted its own Facebook page on Thursday in Australia, before restoring it later in the day.”

Mint Lounge: How Google is trying to standardize Indian-English. “A new feature on Google search allows users to learn an English word’s Indian pronunciation. But how does one standardize a language that’s spoken differently in different parts of the country?”


CNN: Big Tech lobbying groups sue Maryland to stop country’s first digital advertising tax. “Just days after Maryland became the first state in the country to impose a tax on digital advertising targeting Big Tech, lobbying groups representing companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google are trying to stop it.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Myanmar army hunts protest backers over social media comments . “Myanmar’s army is hunting for seven well-known supporters of protests against this month’s coup and they face charges over comments on social media that threaten national stability, the army said on Saturday. Among those named was Min Ko Naing, a one-time leader of bloodily suppressed protests in 1988, who has made calls supporting the street demonstrations and a civil disobedience campaign.”


EurekAlert: Say goodbye to the dots and dashes to enhance optical storage media. “Purdue University innovators have created technology aimed at replacing Morse code with colored ‘digital characters’ to modernize optical storage. They are confident the advancement will help with the explosion of remote data storage during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Register: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can do that: Microsoft unveils Custom Neural Voice – synthetic, but human-sounding speech. “Microsoft has pushed its Custom Neural Voice service to general availability, although you’ll have to ask the company nicely if you want to use the vaguely unsettling text-to-speech service. Unsettling, because unlike the usual text to speech we’ve come to know and love over the years, which require a substantial amount of data (10,000 lines or more, according to Microsoft) to sound fluent, Custom Neural Voice requires far less in terms of training audio. The result is disturbingly human-like.”


NASA: NASA’s Perseverance Rover Sends Sneak Peek of Mars Landing. “Unlike with past rovers, the majority of Perseverance’s cameras capture images in color. After landing, two of the Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) captured views from the front and rear of the rover, showing one of its wheels in the Martian dirt. Perseverance got a close-up from NASA’s eye in the sky, as well: NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance. Orbiter, which used a special high-resolution camera to capture the spacecraft sailing into Jezero Crater, with its parachute trailing behind.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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