Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction, Rhode Island Historic Preservation, YouTube, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, March 18, 2021


Smithsonian Magazine: A Dictionary of Science Fiction Runs From Afrofuturism to Zero-G. “In the summer of 1987, movie audiences first met Robocop in the science fiction classic about violence and corrupt corporate power in a future, dystopian Detroit. But the title word is much older than that, going back at least to a 1957 short story by writer Harlan Ellison, in which a tentacled “robocop” pursues a character. The prefix ‘robo-,’ in turn, dates at least to 1945, when Astounding Science Fiction published a story by A.E. van Vogt mentioning ‘roboplanes’ flying through the sky…. This is the kind of rabbit hole a reader can go down in the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction, a resource decades in the making that is now available to the public in an accessible form. Lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower started the project years ago, when he was an editor at the Oxford English Dictionary.


Cranston Herald: ‘Come Back to the Future’ at 35th RI Historic Preservation Conference. “The 35th Rhode Island Historic Preservation Conference, “Come Back to the Future,” will take place virtually Wednesday, April 21, through Friday, April 23. The three-day program includes two keynote speakers, more than 15 breakout sessions, and numerous on-demand virtual tours and videos. Attendees will also have opportunities to network and participate in discussion groups. The event is organized by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) in collaboration with Preserve Rhode Island, Secretary of State Nellie A. Gorbea, and many generous partners.” Registration is all of $25.


The Verge: YouTube can now warn creators about copyright issues before videos are posted. “In an effort to make the process of uploading a video and receiving ad revenue easier, YouTube is rolling out a new tool called ‘Checks’ that tells a creator ahead of time if their video contains copyrighted material and complies with advertising guidelines.”


Enterprise .nxt: The tools that data scientists use. “Look around your house. How many smart devices do you see? The computer in front of you, the phone by your side, the watch on your wrist, and the smart speaker you’re listening to? The Netflix TV show you’ll watch later tonight, perhaps even the lights above you, and soon, the car you’ll drive to the grocery store? While much of that data quickly grows cold and is never used, data science (DS) is growing increasingly more adept at using all data. Paired with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), data science is quickly turning once-obscure data into valuable knowledge.”


Post Alley: Her Name is Elisia. “A nearly forgotten collection of old photographs of migrant farm workers in Washington State has resurfaced, enabling a lost history to be recovered. This is the story of the unearthing of this archive and the moving lessons the large archive teaches about ‘the awakening of a people.'”


Washington Post: High-schooler and her mother hacked school records to steal homecoming queen election, police say. “In a sparkling silver dress, the homecoming queen at J.M. Tate High School in Cantonment, Fla., stood on the football field on a brisk evening in late October to accept her crown. But among the students, whispers already had begun spreading about her victory. The homecoming queen had bragged for years about abusing the access her mother had to student records as an assistant principal in the same school system, witnesses later told investigators.”

ProPublica: America’s Drinking Water Is Surprisingly Easy to Poison. “The cyberbreach at a plant in Oldsmar, Florida, which could have resulted in a mass poisoning, was a reminder of a disturbing reality: Despite a decade of warnings, thousands of water systems around the country are still at risk.”

Krebs on Security: WeLeakInfo Leaked Customer Payment Info. “A little over a year ago, the FBI and law enforcement partners overseas seized WeLeakInfo[.]com, a wildly popular service that sold access to more than 12 billion usernames and passwords stolen from thousands of hacked websites. In an ironic turn of events, a lapsed domain registration tied to WeLeakInfo let someone plunder and publish account data on 24,000 customers who paid to access the service with a credit card.”


KCBS: Social media drove real police reform in America: Study. “Last year’s widespread social media conversations concerning racial and social justice in America spilled over into actual police reform, a new study says. The report, titled ‘Say Their Names,’ was released by communications and research firm Marathon Strategies and The BLK+Cross. It found a direct correlation between state-level legislature action on social justice issues and the amplified online dialogue about police reform, using analysis and trends from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.”

Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt scientists sketch rare star system using more than a century of astronomical observations. “Vanderbilt astronomers have painted their best picture yet of an RV Tauri variable—a rare type of stellar binary, in which two stars orbit each other within a sprawling disk of dust. To sketch its characteristics, the scientists mined a 130-year dataset that spans the widest range of light yet collected for one of these systems, from radio waves to X-rays.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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