Chromebooks, Getty, Fake Cormac McCarthy, More: Wednesday Evening ResearchBuzz, August 4, 2021


Google Blog: Express yourself and connect with others on Chromebooks. “Many people this past year used Chromebooks to keep in touch with family and friends, stay entertained and work or learn from home. Today, we’re introducing a few new features that make connecting and communicating with others — on video chat or through text — even easier.”

Getty: We Challenged You to Create a Still Life—Here Are the Gorgeous Results. “We recently issued a challenge on social media for you to create your own still life artwork: a work of art that shows inanimate objects from the natural or man-made world. Since this past year has been, well, a lot, we wanted to see which objects helped you get through it—and how you would turn them into a work of art. We were thoroughly impressed with the thoughtful, imaginative ways you interpreted the challenge and found beauty in the mundane yet stressful year we’ve all had.”


Mashable: Twitter verified a fake Cormac McCarthy account. “Cormac McCarthy was just verified on Twitter! No, not the real one, who wrote some of the worlds most famous novels including No Country For Old Men and Blood Meridian. But a person pretending to be Cormac McCarthy — with 48,500 followers and the bio ‘my publicist insists this is a worthwhile use of my remaining time’ — was verified for a brief time on Monday.”

The Verge: Elite Students Are Debating Hot-Button Issues On An Invite-only Tiktok Clone. “This is Polemix, a new, exclusive app aimed at promoting free discourse among young people. As the world’s biggest social networks continuously battle misinformation and draw controversial lines between dangerous and appropriate speech, the founders of Polemix believe they’ve found a better solution: a free market of ideas, with selective admission. So far, the app has attracted a young community that’s eloquent, outspoken, and passionate about the app’s stated philosophy. But it has also served as a microcosmic experiment with online debate culture in concentrated form, and a real-world demonstration of the caveats required to bring such a lofty ideal to life.”


Wirecutter: You Don’t Really Own the Digital Movies You Buy. “As the entertainment industry shifts its distribution strategy to let people buy or rent movies closer to—or simultaneously with—their release in theaters, you may find yourself amassing a larger digital library than you’ve had in the past. But when you buy a movie from a digital service like Amazon Prime Video or Vudu, does it really belong to you? What if you buy a song on iTunes or download one to your phone from Spotify? Are these files yours forever? If you cancel the service or, as unlikely as it may seem, one of these huge companies goes out of business, what then?”

Techdirt: Copyright Ruins Everything Again: How Dare A Sports Writer Get People Excited About The Olympics!. “Every few years, the Olympics comes along to remind us not so much about the power of personal triumphs in sports, but the vast overreach of copyright laws to control absolutely everything for no damn reason at all.”


Mozilla Blog: Why Facebook’s claims about the Ad Observer are wrong. “The truth is that major platforms continue to be a safe haven for disinformation and extremism —wreaking havoc on people, our elections and society. That is why we’ve pushed the industry through the EU’s Code of Practice on Disinformation, encouraged the European Commission to mandate disclosure of all advertisements on major platforms and encouraged users to contribute their data to Ad Observer. We need tools like Ad Observer to help us shine a light on the darkest corners of the web. And rather than standing in the way of efforts to hold platforms accountable, we all need to work together to support and improve these tools.”

CNET: 3,700-year-old clay tablet shows we’ve been using geometry for longer than we realized. “Despite what you may have thought in school, all those numbers and angles really can come in handy — something that even surveyors in ancient Babylon knew. The etchings on the clay tablet pictured above reveal that people have been using geometry in everyday life for centuries longer than many have assumed. The tablet is known as Si.427, and it dates back to the Old Babylonian Period between 1900 and 1600 BCE.”

CogDogBlog: It’s a CogDog Thing: Google Has Crossed The Line Adserving My Name. “We are literally frogs in the internet pan of water, with Google at al just incrementally turning up the surveillance capitalism flame every so gently that we just never notice the boil. So yes, it’s a tad creepy to see ads show up in say Instagram for products I have recently been searching for in Google (never stopping to think how this data is traveling between 2 of the big data competitors). But I keep on clicking, Maybe even marvel It’s warm in the pan.”


Boing Boing: There’s an official $#@&ing terminology for censoring swears like $#@&: Grawlix. “this tweet was the first time I have ever seen a “$&%#@!” word referred to as ‘Grawlix.’ It’s one of those weird linguistic things that I’ve always just accepted, and taken for granted, without considering that someone would have named, identified, and categorized it. According to a 2013 article from Slate, the term ‘grawlix’ was coined by Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker.” Good evening, Internet…

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