Rickrolling, Telegrams, Kindle, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, August 1, 2021


Tubefilter: Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” Rickrolls Its Way Past 1 Billion YouTube Views. “The cult-favorite music video for Rick Astley’s 1987 single ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ has joined YouTube’s illustrious 1 billion views club. YouTube notes that the video emerged as an unexpected smash thanks to the ‘Rickrolling‘ meme, which sees pranksters proffering an enticing link that is actually a bait-and-switch for the ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ music video.”

Ubergizmo: Older Kindle Models Will Lose Their Internet Access In December. “The big deal here is that by no longer being able to access the internet, these Kindle devices cannot download new content wirelessly. Amazon says that your purchased content will stay where it is, and if you’ve already downloaded it you can keep reading it on your device, but future content will no longer be possible.”

The Verge: Telegram’s group video calls can now have up to 1,000 viewers. “Telegram has announced the latest new features and improvements making their way to the popular messaging app. Video is the focus this time around. After launching group video calls last month, those sessions are now able to tally up to 1,000 viewers.”


SupChina: ‘Scumbags’: Influencers caught stealing rescue boat to fake saving people in Henan floods. “The boat-stealing influencers weren’t the only small-time social media personalities to use the deadly floods to grow followers, likes, and views. China Youth Daily reported (in Chinese) that in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, hundreds of influencers flocked to Henan, despite officials advising the concerned public to leave rescue work to professionals and not to go to affected areas to take up local resources.”

TechCrunch: Pittsburgh Google contractors ratify deal with HCL. “Nearly two years ago, contractors for Google’s Pittsburgh operations voted to join the United Steelworkers union in a bid to secure more labor rights representation. It was an early example of a building union movement for tech workers across the spectrum. But as other hard-fought battles have been waged among blue and white collar workers alike, both sides have continued hashing out negotiations. This week, those have finally resulted in something more concrete.”

ARTNews: Hermitage Museum to Sell Monet, Leonardo Paintings as NFTs. “The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, is minting several masterpieces from its collection as NFTs. The sale of NFT versions of works by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Leonardo da Vinci will take place at the end of August on the Binance online marketplace.”


Techdirt: Top German Court Says Facebook Must Inform Users About Deleting Their Posts Or Suspending Their Account, Explain Why, And Allow Them To Respond. “We’ve just written about Germany’s constitutional court grappling with the issue of whether government users of zero-days for surveillance have a responsibility to report the flaws they use to the relevant developers. Another senior court in the country has been pondering an even thornier question that is occupying judges and lawmakers around the world: how should social media police so-called ‘hate speech’ on their services in a way that respects fundamental rights on all sides?”

Route Fifty: It’s a Pivotal Moment for Expanding High-Speed Internet Access. “As the pandemic forced people to work from home, and children to attend school online, it put a harsh spotlight on service and affordability gaps. On the upside, there’s billions in new federal funding available for broadband initiatives under ARPA, and the bipartisan infrastructure framework that U.S. Senate lawmakers voted to move ahead with on Wednesday includes $65 billion for high-speed internet investments.”


PC Magazine: Americans Spend Nearly 60 Billion Hours a Year on Google. “Collectively, Americans spent 57.3 billion hours on Google per year. Its video equivalent, YouTube, comes in second with a combined 142.6 billion hours, which is how much time it can feel like you’ve spent there when you go down a video rabbit hole.”

Purdue University: Dark mode may not save your phone’s battery life as much as you think, but there are a few silver linings. “When Android and Apple operating system updates started giving users the option to put their smartphones in dark mode, the feature showed potential for saving the battery life of newer phones with screens that allow darker-colored pixels to use less power than lighter-colored pixels. But dark mode is unlikely to make a big difference to battery life with the way that most people use their phones on a daily basis, says a new study by Purdue University researchers. That doesn’t mean that dark mode can’t be helpful, though.”

CNET: Hospitalized young patients ‘run the bases’ at Dodger Stadium, via robots. “Young patients at a Los Angeles hospital got to run the bases at Dodger Stadium, virtually at least, thanks to telepresence robots that transported them from their beds onto the baseball field. With tablets in hand, 10 patients at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital moved the wheeled robots around the diamond, and even chatted with Los Angeles Dodgers players face to face.”


GameRant: Zelda Fan Creates a Google Maps-esque Website for Breath of Wild. “Nassim Software is a software designer and Zelda fan. One idea he had was the idea of creating something akin to Google Maps for Breath of the Wild, where one could get a 360-degree picture of a location when taken to a certain place. This set in motion the project to create a Breath of the Wild street view site.” Good morning, Internet…

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