Illinois Women’s History, Facebook, Manhattan Former Synagogues, More: Thursday Evening ResearchBuzz, August 19, 2021


PR Newswire: New Landmarks Illinois database highlights over 100 women who built Illinois (PRESS RELEASE). “Landmarks Illinois has published an online database, Women Who Built Illinois, which includes information on over 100 female architects, engineers, developers, designers, builders, landscape architects, interior designers and clients and their projects between 1879 and 1979.”


CNN: Facebook wants you to hold your next meeting in VR. “For those who don’t think Zoom meetings are a good enough substitute for the real thing, Facebook has another idea: a virtual reality app that lets you and your coworkers feel like you’re sitting around a table in a conference room. On Thursday, Facebook (FB) unveiled Horizon Workrooms, a free app for users of its Oculus Quest 2 headset, a device that starts at $299.”

New York Times: Taliban Ramp Up on Social Media, Defying Bans by the Platforms. “The group’s renewed presence on social media has put Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in a tricky position. With governments around the world trying to figure out whether to officially recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan’s rulers, the companies have no easy answers as to whether to continue barring the group online.”


Times of Israel: A Twitter account puts the ghosts of Manhattan’s former synagogues on the map. “Writer Luc Sante calls them the ‘ghosts of Manhattan.’ Those are the souls of the poor and marginal people, now dead, whose presence can be felt like a shade in the history of now affluent US neighborhoods, ‘where they push invisibly behind it to erect their memorials in the collective unconscious.’ Sante’s poltergeists came to mind after I stumbled on a strange little Twitter account called ‘This Used to Be a Synagogue.’

SF Gate: Unearthed photo shows Google Street View captured the Bay Area’s ‘Orange Day’. “September 9, 2020 was a strange day, and Google Street View has the receipts.”


Bleeping Computer: Secret terrorist watchlist with 2 million records exposed online. “A secret terrorist watchlist with 1.9 million records, including classified ‘no-fly’ records was exposed on the internet. The list was left accessible on an Elasticsearch cluster that had no password on it.”

AP: How AI-powered Tech Landed Man In Jail With Scant Evidence. “Forensic reports prepared by ShotSpotter’s employees have been used in court to improperly claim that a defendant shot at police, or provide questionable counts of the number of shots allegedly fired by defendants. Judges in a number of cases have thrown out the evidence. ShotSpotter’s proprietary algorithms are the company’s primary selling point, and it frequently touts the technology in marketing materials as virtually foolproof. But the private company guards how its closed system works as a trade secret, a black box largely inscrutable to the public, jurors and police oversight boards.”


United Nations: Secretary-General Outlines Elements of Digital Transformation Strategy for Peacekeeping, at High-Level Security Council Debate . “Digital technologies have allowed parts of the global economy and communities connected to the Internet to continue functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic. And, in the realm of peacekeeping, tools reliant on digital technologies, such as long-range cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles, and ground surveillance radars, help peacekeepers protect civilians and themselves. New technologies have great potential, if managed responsibly, to enable safer, harm-free, and more effective operations. But new technologies also pose unfamiliar and profound threats, as seen most clearly in the online proliferation of violent extremist ideologies, increasingly prevalent cyberattacks, and deadly vaccine misinformation.”

The Guardian: TikTok is the new Facebook – and it is shaping the future of tech in its image. “TikTok is the new Facebook – and it is shaping tech in its image. It may seem easy to dismiss as a quirky, short-form video-sharing app, but TikTok is an augury of the tech future to come. Just as Facebook has shaped the internet, the ways we interact, and our approaches and attitudes to personal data for the past two decades, so TikTok has the potential to do the same for the next 20 years.”


Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics: Biard Lecture 2021 – Katie Mack (NCSU) “Physics at the End of the Universe”. “The Big Bang theory tells the story of the beginning of the Universe, our cosmic home for the last 13.8 billion years. But what is the story of its end? I’ll share what modern astrophysics tells us about the ultimate fate of the cosmos, and what each possibility would entail if there were people there to see it. ‘The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)’ is an accessible journey to the end of time, exploring five possible fates of the universe and how physicists are investigating our cosmic future.” Good evening, Internet…

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