Solar Power Deployment, Facebook, Firefox, More: Friday Evening ResearchBuzz, August 13, 2021


Tech Xplore: An interactive map for solar panel deployment across the US. “A paper in Solar Energy, published this month… offers a detailed analysis of where (and how much) solar PV needs to be applied to firmly meet at least 50 percent of the energy demands for every state. Readers can use an interactive map to modify the numbers on a state-specific basis, based on the total percentage of load needed to be met by PV power, ground efficiency of PV panels, and various land controls to account for areas covered by open water, forested areas, etc.”


ZDNet: Does anyone really know what time it is? Facebook does. “Our technology can’t work worth a darn if the Network Time Protocol (NTP) isn’t keeping our servers and PCs coordinated with one another. Without it, backups would fail, financial transactions would go awry, and many fundamental network services wouldn’t work. To help with these issues, Facebook started making its internet clocks more accurate in 2020. Now, the social media giant is open-sourcing its technology, Time Appliances Project (TAP), and enabling anyone to turn a commodity server into a reliable NTP time appliance.”

BetaNews: Firefox 91 improves its Total Cookie Protection to block more third-party trackers. “Another month, another major Firefox update. This time, Firefox 91 brings with it two major changes of note: improvements to its Total Cookie Protection feature, and support for logging into Microsoft, work and school accounts through Windows single sign-on.”


Make Tech Easier: 6 Disposable and Throwaway Email Providers You Can Try. “Has your email address become a target for spam and scams? One solution is to create a temporary email address, one that you can use to register, shop, sign up, etc., without worrying about your real, permanent email address getting bombarded with junk. Fortunately, there are plenty of sources for disposable or throwaway email addresses that help you avoid the spam and scams.”


BuzzFeed News: The Cofounder Of The Fact-Checking Site Snopes Was Writing Plagiarized Articles Under A Fake Name. “David Mikkelson, the cofounder of the fact-checking website Snopes, has long presented himself as the arbiter of truth online, a bulwark in the fight against rumors and fake news. But he has been lying to the site’s tens of millions of readers: A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that between 2015 and 2019, Mikkelson wrote and published dozens of articles containing material plagiarized from news outlets such as the Guardian and the LA Times.”

Fast Company: Local food delivery companies say Google devastated their business. “Say you live in Asheville, North Carolina (like I do), and you get a hankering for some of the city’s beloved BBQ. You might start with a Google search, which provides plenty of options. Clicking on a specific BBQ joint brings up a box with handy information such as a star rating, the address, business hours, and phone number. These restaurant listings, which appear in search and Maps, also often include an item called ‘Order,’ with links to big-name delivery services such as DoorDash and Grubhub. What you probably won’t see are local services like Delivery Now or Takeout Central—companies that were delivering meals a decade or more before the national giants were a twinkle in a founder’s eye.

ZDNet: Say hello to the early days of web browsers. “Before Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Edge, there were Mosaic, Cello, and Viola.” A slideshow, but a – well, nostalgic for me. Might be ancient history for you.


Ars Technica: Google allegedly considered buying Epic Games to silence antitrust complaints . “Back in 2018, Google and Epic Games kicked off a years-old spat over Fortnite on the Play Store. Instead of distributing the game through Google Play, Epic decided that sideloading would be the way to get Fortnite on Android, thereby sidestepping Google’s 30 percent cut of sales. Epic would go on to file an antitrust complaint against Google, and newly unsealed court documents spotted by The Verge reveal an interesting solution that Google was kicking around at the time: the company was considering buying Epic.”

Publishers Weekly: Internet Archive Seeking 10 Years of Publisher Sales Data for Its Fair Use Defense. “In an August 9 filing, IA attorneys told the court it is seeking monthly sales data for all books in print by the four plaintiff publishers (Hachette, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Wiley) dating back to 2011. But the publishers, IA lawyers told the court, have balked at the sweeping request reportedly countering that the request is well beyond what the case calls for.”


Man of Many: ‘Nestflix’ is a Massive Fake Netflix for Made-Up Movies and Shows. “Jan Quadrant Vincent 16 is finally coming to streaming platforms…sort of. Web designer Lynn Fischer has just launched ‘Nestflix’, a streaming platform for movies that don’t really exist. The new service showcases fictional or ‘nested’ movies and shows that have appeared or been referenced in real-life media, rounding up the clips of flicks you wish were real.” Good evening, Internet…

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