Whitey Bulger, West Virginia Financial Aid, Lewis and Clark Trail, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, July 20, 2021


Boston Herald: FBI file on Boston serial killer James ‘Whitey’ Bulger declassified. “Months before sadistic Southie mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was recruited by the FBI, he was hunted for loan sharking where he was wiretapped and beat an agency mole, newly declassified records imply. Bulger ‘slapped around’ that informant, records suggest, over ‘debts’ the agency ordered deliberately left unpaid to spark anger. It’s all part of a 300-page, heavily redacted FBI file on a crazed crook linked to 11 murders, but traced to 19 or more.”

WOWK: New website helps West Virginia students navigate financial aid options. “When it comes to pursuing a college degree, the steps to finding financial aid can be overwhelming. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission is trying to make that journey easier with a new website.”

National Parks Traveler: Mapping Out Your Lewis And Clark National Historic Trail Trek. “[The site] is designed to help you learn more about the host communities, local businesses, and attractions located along the 4,900-mile trail. Through the portal’s interactive map guide, travelers can plan themed trips and locate recommendations for lodging, historic places, sustainable communities, natural areas, and tribal lands.”


Fossbytes: WhatsApp Alternative: Former CBO Of WhatsApp Launches New Private Social Media, HalloApp . “Two former employees have launched a WhatsApp alternative private social media app called HalloApp. Founded by Neeraj Arora and Michael Donohue, both key figures in WhatsApp before and after Facebook’s acquisition. Neeraj was WhatsApp’s chief business officer until 2018, and Donohue was its engineering director for nearly nine years.”


Book Riot: Top Reviewers Or Bot Reviewers: The Goodreads Bot Problem. “Bots. Bots are what’s going at Goodreads. Since Goodreads is also used by non-account holders, it is a desirable internet space for advertisers. What happens is that a company or individual will pay for hundreds of positive reviews of their product, so that when a potential buyer sees the reviews, all they see are positive reviews and 5-star ratings. In the case of Goodreads, the product is books. These reviews can be written by a bot or a person with multiple fake accounts.”

Poynter: IFCN launches working group to address harassment against fact-checkers. “The International Fact-Checking Network, a global coalition of fact-checkers, has been monitoring the increasing number of harassment cases against its more than 120 verified signatory organizations operating in 62 countries. Incidents of harassment, ranging from online attacks to in-person threats, often lead to stress among the staff of these organizations beyond the norms of standard journalistic criticism. This effect is particularly pronounced in countries where the freedom of press and expression is systematically challenged.”

Bon Appétit: On TikTok, the “CEO of Chai” Is Making Tea—and Spilling It Too. “Kevin Wilson says that if you are bored at home, ‘forget that chai tea latte from Starbucks.’ In a TikTok video from April 2020, he shows how to do the ‘real thing,’ crushing cardamom and nutmeg, boiling them in milk, adding tea leaves, and stirring until he sees the ‘color of a happy brown boy.’ The video went viral, garnering over 889,000 views. Two weeks later the 30-year-old Californian pastor-turned-TikTok star had over 20,000 followers on the platform. Just over a year after that, with more than 200,000 followers and 4 million likes, Wilson considers himself the ‘CEO of chai.’ ”


Washington Post: On the list: Ten prime ministers, three presidents and a king. “Spies for centuries have trained their sights on those who shape destinies of nations: presidents, prime ministers, kings. And in the 21st century, most of them carry smartphones. Such is the underlying logic for some of the most tantalizing discoveries for an international investigation that in recent months scrutinized a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers that included — according to forensics analyses of dozens of iPhones — at least some people targeted by Pegasus spyware licensed to governments worldwide.”

Digiday: How a new tool that crowdsources California privacy law violation allegations creates gray areas for businesses. “California Attorney General Rob Bonta has been sending companies so-called ‘notice-to-cure’ letters when they are found by his office to be out of compliance with the state’s California Consumer Privacy Act. Now his Department of Justice is crowdsourcing Californians to do the same using a new tool allowing them to create letters to send to companies via email or snail mail notifying them that they may be in violation of the law if they don’t include a homepage link for people to opt out from data collection.”

Government Technology: Civil Rights Groups Pressure Feds for Social Media Reform. “Various civil rights organizations, including Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, are asking the Democrat-controlled White House and Congress to put an end to hate speech and misinformation on social media.”


SF Gate: Opinion: This San Francisco-based website is neo-Nazis’ favorite to spread their hatred. “For the past decade, Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) research has been exposing the Internet Archive’s enabling of Al-Qaeda, ISIS and other jihadi propaganda efforts and its function as a database for their distribution of materials, recruitment campaigns, incitement of violence, fundraising and even daily radio programs. We wrote that ISIS liked the platform because there was no way to flag objectionable content for review and removal — unlike on other platforms such as YouTube. Today, the Internet Archive enables neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the same ways, and its terms of use still deny responsibility for content uploaded to it.”

Wired: The Pentagon Is Bolstering Its AI Systems—by Hacking Itself. “THE PENTAGON SEES artificial intelligence as a way to outfox, outmaneuver, and dominate future adversaries. But the brittle nature of AI means that without due care, the technology could perhaps hand enemies a new way to attack.” Good afternoon, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Categories: afternoonbuzz

Leave a Reply