Rock Art Archaeology, Facebook, Microsoft’s Find My Device, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, March 22, 2021


San Antonio Report: Archaeologists have recorded 233 ancient art sites along Texas’ border with Mexico. Now they want to discover the meanings behind the murals. “Shumla, a Comstock-based nonprofit focused on locating, studying and preserving the rock art of the lower Pecos River region, has created a virtual library to help researchers interpret the ancient art, much of it located in rough, inaccessible terrain or on private ranchlands. Launched in 2017, the Alexandria Project is a detailed digital archive of 233 rock art sites in the limestone canyonlands carved by the Pecos and Devils rivers and the Rio Grande.”


Reuters: Facebook says took down 1.3 billion fake accounts in Oct-Dec. “Facebook Inc said on Monday it took down 1.3 billion fake accounts between October and December and that it had over 35,000 people working on tackling misinformation on its platform.”

PC World: Microsoft’s ‘Find My Device’ is the PC management tool you didn’t know you needed . “We originally covered Find My Device when it debuted about six years ago as a service to, obviously, find a lost device. It’s changed so little that you can still use the instructions in the original article to enable it. The feature made far more sense when Microsoft actually sold devices that could be lost—i.e., Windows phones. Once Microsoft discontinued Windows 10 Mobile, you might think that much of that value went away. Over time, though, the opposite occurred.”


CNET: NFT goldrush: A roundup of the strangest nonfungible tokens. “Real digital artists are making real money on NFTs. Take Beeple. He’s a digital artist with a huge fanbase, over 1.8 million followers on Instagram. Art he sold as an NFT recently fetched $69 million in a Christie’s auction. That’s insane to you or me, but not to people who frequent Christie’s auctions, who spend $60 million on abstract expressionist paintings. But even if there is a small percentage of NFT sales you can make sense of, there are many more which are absolutely, positively nuts.”

Branson News: New non-profit launches to support Branson’s music and theatre industry. “Officially formed in September 2020, the Branson Academy for the Advancement of Music and Theatre was created in response to recommendations made by Sound Diplomacy, a consulting organization who completed a nine-month theatre industry study of Branson last fall. BAAMT President Bob Nichols said after the study was presented to the city of Branson, he was contacted by members of city leadership for assistance…. To go alongside their marketing efforts, Nichols said BAAMT is also working on a video archive project.”


Wall Street Journal: Hospitals Hide Pricing Data From Search Results . “Hospitals that have published their previously confidential prices to comply with a new federal rule have also blocked that information from web searches with special coding embedded on their websites, according to a Wall Street Journal examination. The information must be disclosed under a federal rule aimed at making the $1 trillion sector more consumer friendly. But hundreds of hospitals embedded code in their websites that prevented Alphabet Inc.’s Google and other search engines from displaying pages with the price lists, according to the Journal examination of more than 3,100 sites.”

Search Engine Journal: WP Super Cache Vulnerability Affects Over 2 Million Sites. “A vulnerability was discovered in WP Super Cache by Automattic. It’s a low severity vulnerability that could allow a hacker to upload and execute malicious code, usually with the intent to gain control of the site.”

AP: Tool created to aid cleanup from Microsoft hack in broad use. “A tool designed to help businesses protect themselves from further compromises after a global hack of Microsoft email server software has been downloaded more than 25,000 times since it was released last week, the White House’s National Security Council said Monday. As a result, the number of vulnerable systems has fallen by 45%, according to an NSC spokesperson.”


Protocol: Platforms vs. PhDs: How tech giants court and crush the people who study them. “Over the last few years, amid mounting scrutiny of Silicon Valley, tech platforms have made overtures to the research community, opening up previously inaccessible data sets that academics can use to study how tech platforms impact society…. But even as this work progresses, tech companies are simultaneously cracking down on academics whose methods break their rules.”

The Guardian: Sperm whales in 19th century shared ship attack information. “Using newly digitised logbooks detailing the hunting of sperm whales in the north Pacific, the authors discovered that within just a few years, the strike rate of the whalers’ harpoons fell by 58%. This simple fact leads to an astonishing conclusion: that information about what was happening to them was being collectively shared among the whales, who made vital changes to their behaviour. As their culture made fatal first contact with ours, they learned quickly from their mistakes.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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