Virtual Reality Headsets, Sustainable California Vineyards, Facebook, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 1, 2021

ResearchBuzz does not like April Fools Day. If there is any April Fool content that is not labeled as such, please let me know and I’ll remove it and apologize for being taken in.


Spotted on Reddit: a pandemic project called VR-Compare. From the front page: “View summaries of 81 virtual reality headsets. Click on a headset’s name to view a full specification.” Spent a few minutes with it and it’s beautifully done, especially for a solo effort.

PR Newswire: New Website Spotlights Certified California Sustainable Wines, Vineyards and Wineries (PRESS RELEASE). “Users can search for certified wines, wineries and/or vineyards, and sort by varietal, region or appellation. With 2,247 Certified California Sustainable Vineyards that farm 204,000 acres (32% of California winegrape acres; another 22% are certified by other California sustainable winegrowing programs), 171 certified wineries producing 255 million cases (80% of California wine) and 9.4 million cases (113 million wine bottles) bearing the certification logo or claims, the search function is a valuable new tool to discover California wineries and vineyards that are committed to sustainability.”


Al Jazeera: Facebook says will curb hate speech as Indian states go to polls. “Facebook has said it is taking steps to combat hate speech and misinformation in India as the world’s biggest democracy holds months-long multi-phase elections in four states and a federal territory. ‘We recognise that there are certain types of content, such as hate speech, that could lead to imminent, offline harm,’ the social networking giant said in a blog post dated March 30.”

Gizmodo: There’s Something Fishy About Amazon’s Anti-Union Twitter Army [Updated]. “Have you noticed a strange army of Amazon employees on Twitter recently, claiming that Amazon doesn’t engage in union-busting and disputing stories that workers sometimes have to piss in bottles? Many Twitter users are wondering whether the people are even real. And while there’s some evidence these people could be real, at least one of their photos appear to be fake.”

The Guardian: Facebook guidelines allow users to call for death of public figures. “Facebook’s bullying and harassment policy explicitly allows for ‘public figures’ to be targeted in ways otherwise banned on the site, including ‘calls for [their] death’, according to a tranche of internal moderator guidelines leaked to the Guardian. Public figures are defined by Facebook to include people whose claim to fame may be simply a large social media following or infrequent coverage in local newspapers.”


BBC: Stokes twins: YouTubers plead guilty over fake bank robbery. “A pair of YouTubers have pleaded guilty to faking a bank robbery that led to an unsuspecting Uber driver being held at gunpoint by police. Alan and Alex Stokes, 24, who have six million followers on their channel, wore balaclavas and called an Uber as a getaway vehicle.”

CNBC: Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy to face in-depth UK competition probe. “Britain’s competition regulator said Thursday that it was referring Facebook’s acquisition of GIF database Giphy for an in-depth investigation. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently completed its initial probe into the Facebook-Giphy merger — which has already closed — and concluded that the deal raises competition concerns.”


CNN: Microsoft earns contract worth up to $21.9 billion to make AR devices for the US Army. “The Army announced Wednesday that it had awarded Microsoft (MSFT) a contract to produce augmented reality systems based on its HoloLens 2 device called Integrated Visual Augmented Systems (IVAS). The devices are designed to help soldiers, ‘fight, rehearse and train using a single platform,’ the Army said. The deal has a five-year base and a five-year option to extend, and could be worth up to almost $21.9 billion over the full 10 years.”

NBC News: EPA empties out science panels stacked with Trump picks. “The Environmental Protection Agency is emptying out two top advisory panels stacked with experts picked under former President Donald Trump and will fill them with new members — the latest in a series of moves the Biden administration has taken with the goal of restoring integrity to science in decision-making.”

Berkman Klein Center: A meta-proposal for Twitter’s bluesky project. “Members of the Berkman Klein community, representing academics, activists, lawyers and technologists, came together to discuss the bluesky project, Twitter’s proposed protocol for public conversation. The discussions culminated in a ‘meta-proposal’ for the bluesky team and community, which presents suggestions on how to go about considering proposals and building out bluesky.” You can read more about Twitter’s proposed bluesky project here. Good afternoon, Internet…

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