China Censorship, Lebanon Transparency, MIT Press Open Architecture and Urban Studies, More: Wednesday ResearchBuzz, March 31, 2021


New-to-me, from Quartz: With a Google spreadsheet, a web sleuth tracks the comments that get people jailed in China. “…since October 2019, a young web sleuth surnamed Wang has been creating a database of cases in which people were punished for online or offline comments critical of the central government. Based on media reports and court records, Wang has documented nearly 2,000 speech crimes in a public Google spreadsheet, arguably one of the few comprehensive records of these ‘crimes’ in China. Censorship makes finding information on such cases a challenge, and the risks associated with creating a database like Wang’s are a deterrent for most.”

The 961: There’s An Open & Free Website Showing Data On All Internal Lebanese Affairs To Increase Transparency. “The IMPACT online platform has steadily grown to encompass an increasing number of sectors and domains and provided an ever-growing repository of information readily available to the public in Lebanon. IMPACT, which stands for the Inter-Ministerial and Municipal Platform for Assessment, Coordination and Tracking, is a free online database that links the citizens, local government, and central government to a common, comprehensive platform that operates on the national level.” I took a quick look. The database was presented to me in English, though sometimes when I drilled down into a section the data labels were in Arabic.

MIT Press News: The MIT Press launches new open access collection of 34 classic architecture and urban studies titles . “Today, the MIT Press launched MIT Press Open Architecture and Urban Studies, a robust digital collection of classic and previously out-of-print architecture and urban studies books, on their digital book platform MIT Press Direct. The collection was funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of the Humanities Open Book Program, which they co-sponsored with the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

University of Manitoba: NCTR launches a new website and archive database – nctr. ca. “The new and improved National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) website and archive database is now live. Some of the NCTR’s most important work is sharing the truth of residential schools and providing Survivors and their families access to their school records. The new, easy-to-navigate website and database ensures we help connect Survivors, Educators, Researchers and those interested in the history of residential schools a comprehensive group of resources. The NCTR holds millions of records, many of which are public records, statements and events available to be explored and understood.”


USA Today: Facebook’s new tool lets users control what they see, share on their News Feeds. “The platform will introduce the Feed Filter Bar, which allows users to switch between an algorithmically-ranked News Feed and a feed sorted chronologically with the newest posts first by choosing the ‘Most Recent’ button.”

CNET: LinkedIn is ‘doing early tests’ to build a Clubhouse rival. “LinkedIn is throwing its hat into the live audio ring. The professional networking platform is conducting ‘early tests’ to create an audio experience that’s connected to your professional identity, the company said Tuesday, in a bid to stake out a place in the fast-growing social audio category made popular by Clubhouse.”

ZDNet: Google makes Database Migration Service generally available. “Google Cloud on Wednesday announced the general availability of its Database Migration Service (DMS), a serverless tool to migrate MySQL and PostgreSQL databases to Cloud SQL. Later in the year, Google will introduce support for Microsoft SQL Server. DMS supports migrations from both on-premises and other clouds. It offers a unique migration method that uses MySQL and PostgreSQL’s native replication capabilities and maximizes security, fidelity and reliability.”


Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group: Russia blocks military archives in further effort to distort the truth about World War II. “Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu has issued orders which effectively block almost all access to Russian military archives from the period of the Second World War. The move is especially alarming given the current regime’s systematic attempts to push its own narrative about that period, distorting or muffling historical facts, for example, about the Soviet Union’s collaboration with Nazi Germany from 1939 to June 1941.”

Reuters: Indonesia’s map project ignores indigenous land, risks conflicts. “The One Map policy, rolled out a decade ago and meant to be completed by late 2020, aimed to merge 85 thematic maps of the sprawling archipelago’s 34 provinces into one map, with local communities involved to help settle conflicting claims. But to date, the One Map portal is only accessible to government authorities and does not include maps created by indigenous groups, said Rukka Sombolinggi, secretary general of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN).”


IEEE Spectrum: New Tool Strips Manipulative “Dark Patterns” From Mobile Apps. “The mobile apps we use every day are surprisingly manipulative. Subtle design tricks known as ‘dark patterns’ nudge us into doing what the app maker wants—be that buying products or continuing to scroll. But now, researchers are fighting back with a new tool that strips these unwanted features out of Android apps.”

The Engineer: AI tool locates and classifies defects in wind turbine blades. “Computer scientists at Loughborough University have developed a new tool that uses AI to analyse images of wind turbine blades to locate and highlight defects. The system has been ‘trained’ to classify defects by type – such as crack, erosion, void, and ‘other’ – which could lead to faster and more targeted responses.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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