WWII Veterans Philippines, /e/ Smartphones, Alexa Conversations, More: Wednesday Evening ResearchBuzz, March 3, 2021


Lifestyle Asia: Filipinas Heritage Library And Rick Rocamora Uplift Filipino WW2 Veterans In Virtual Exhibit . “The Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL) is partnering with photographer Rick Rocamora and filmmaker Howie Severino for a virtual multimedia exhibit about the Filipino veterans of World War II. Called A Long Road to Dignity, the multimedia exhibit will be freely accessible via Google Arts and Culture, starting on February 18, 2021.”


Liliputing: Now you can buy smartphone with /e/ OS in the US and Canada (Android phones stripped of Google services). “The /e/ Foundation has been developing a custom version of Android that doesn’t include Google’s propriety apps and services for a few years, and in 2019 the team began selling refurbished phones with the de-Googled software pre-installed. At the time the phones were only available for purchase for customers in Europe. But now customers in the US and Canada can buy Google-free Android phones from /e/ as well.”

Voicebot: Amazon Makes Alexa Conversations Feature Generally Available. “Amazon has released the Alexa Conversations feature of the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) to the general public. First launched as a beta last year, Alexa Conversations is aimed at simplifying the process of building voice apps and making them more user-friendly.”


ZDNet: Free cybersecurity tool aims to help smaller businesses stay safer online. “The NCSC’s Cyber Action Plan tool aims to help small businesses improve their resilience to cyberattacks via the aid of a short questionnaire about their current cybersecurity strategy and provides customised advice on how the business could be better protected against cybercrime.”


Refinery 29: Clubhouse Conspiracy: How The Popular App Became A Haven For Anti-Vaxxers. “Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, a board-certified internal medicine physician, founded a club on the app called All Things Covid last month. Since then, it has grown to almost 25,000 members due in part to weekly Q&A with expert clinicians and scientists answering any and all questions about coronavirus. In these discussions, Ungerleider said that she and fellow physicians occasionally encounter audience members who are anti-vaccine.”

Stanford Libraries: Stanford Libraries to make the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal Trial Archives 1945-1946 accessible online with funding from Taube Philanthropies. “In pursuit of the common goal of dissemination and long-term preservation of the archives of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, Stanford Libraries has been authorized by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to manage long-term digital preservation and online hosting with significant scholarly functions for records of the war crimes trial conducted at Nuremberg in 1945 and 1946.”


CNN: Rare ‘locked’ letter sealed 300 years ago is finally opened virtually. “Three hundred years ago, before envelopes, passwords and security codes, writers often struggled to keep thoughts, cares and dreams expressed in their letters private. One popular way was to use a technique called letter locking — intricately folding a flat sheet of paper to become its own envelope. This security strategy presented a challenge when 577 locked letters delivered to The Hague in the Netherlands between 1689 and 1706 were found in a trunk of undelivered mail.”

International Monetary Fund: Let’s Build A Better Data Economy. “Most transactions involving personal data are unbeknownst to users, who likely aren’t even aware that they have taken place, let alone that they have given permission. This gives rise to what is known in economics as an externality: the cost of privacy loss is not fully considered when an exchange of data is undertaken. The consequence is that the market’s opacity probably leads to too much data being collected, with too little of the value being shared with individuals.”

Washington Post: The Technology 202: New Duke paper calls Washington to increase transparency around online political ads. “Major social platforms put new limits on political ads in the run-up to the controversial 2020 election due to concerns they amplify misinformation. But a new Duke University paper published today says a persistent lack of transparency in online political ads is preventing researchers from studying how that changed campaign spending, or impacted individual campaigns.”


Boing Boing: Neural net turns music from YouTube into cursed choral and string renditions. “Via Waxy, GAN.STYLE is a ‘cursed generator [that] resynthesizes audio from YouTube using a neural net trained on choral and strings recordings.'” Creepy yet interesting. Good evening, Internet…

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