Lead Isotope Analyses, Local Bookstores, Stingle, More: Monday Evening ResearchBuzz, August 9, 2021


Phys .org: A database of 3,000 lead isotope analyses in geological and archaeological samples from the Iberian Peninsula. “The use of lead isotopic data has been shown to be a useful tool in the investigation of raw materials in geological site exploration and metal provenance studies in archaeology. Users of this type of information have often requested complete datasets that include not only numerical values of isotope ratios, but also mineralogical and geological information about the samples analyzed, to enable the data to be compared.”


Google Blog: Discover and Support Local Bookstores with Google Maps. “Today is National Book Lovers’ Day in the U.S. Since we’ll take any excuse to celebrate our love of the written word, we’ve pulled together top U.S. trends from Search and Maps for our fellow bibliophiles out there, along with tips to hunt down local bookstores that are worth, well, bookmarking.”


Ars Technica: Stingle is a privacy-focused open source photo backup application. “With Google Photos killing off its Unlimited photo backup policy last November, the market for photo backup and sync applications opened up considerably. We reviewed one strong contender—Amazon Photos—in January, and freelancer Alex Kretzschmar walked us through several self-hosted alternatives in June. Today, we’re looking at a new contender—Stingle Photos—which splits the difference, offering a FOSS mobile application that syncs to a managed cloud.” If you’re interested in the nuances and potential problems with a service like this, Ars Technica is one of the few sites online that generally has an interesting and useful comments section.


TechCrunch: CommandBar raises $4.8M to make web-based apps searchable. “CommandBar’s business-to-business tool, referred to as ‘command k,’ was designed to make software simpler and faster to use. The technology is a search interface that sits on top of web-based apps so that users can access functionalities by searching simple keywords. It can also be used to boost new users with recommended prompts like referrals.”

Slate: The Most Cursed Emojis of All. “As someone who has used an iPhone for all of her adult life (after several lucky teenage years with an LG Chocolate in robin’s egg blue), there are certain things about Android phones that are simply mysteries to me. For instance, I only recently learned that the Android plays home to one of the most cursed phone features of all time: the Google Emoji Kitchen, a function on the Google’s Android keyboard.”


Baltimore Sun: Wiretaps for Facebook? Maryland authorities are getting permission to tap digital and social media apps.. “In pursuit of suspected drug traffickers last year, authorities in Harford County took the investigative step of getting a judge’s permission to listen in on the target’s phone conversations. But in a rare move, they also were able to secure a wiretap for his Facebook page, enabling them to listen in on audio calls placed through the app and monitor activity on the social networking site.”

Reuters: Facebook pressed by U.S. lawmakers on disabling NYU research accounts. “U.S. lawmakers pressed Facebook Inc (FB.O) on Monday on why it disabled the accounts of researchers studying political ads on the social media platform, saying it was ‘imperative’ that experts be allowed to look into ‘harmful activity … proliferating on its platforms.'”


Wired: This New Way to Train AI Could Curb Online Harassment. “Social media companies use artificial intelligence to identify and remove posts that demean, harass, or threaten violence against women, but it’s a tough problem. Among researchers, there’s no standard for identifying sexist or misogynist posts; one recent paper proposed four categories of troublesome content, while another identified 23 categories. Most research is in English, leaving people working in other languages and cultures with even less of a guide for difficult and often subjective decisions.”

Beyond Search: Google Search: An Intriguing Observation. “Net net: The degradation of Google began around 2005 and 2006. In the last 15 years, Google has become a golden goose for some stakeholders. The company’s search systems — where is that universal search baloney, please? — are going to be increasingly difficult to refine so that a user’s query is answered in a user-useful way.”


Boing Boing: Norman’s Sky, tiny low-res No Man’s Sky pastiche, gets an update. “No Many’s Sky was an eagerly-awaited, initially-disappointing and ultimately astounding space exploration game. Norman’s Sky was an ultra low-res pastiche released by nothke before its original launch. Just as with the real thing, Norman’s Sky now benefits from a range of updates.” Good evening, Internet…

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