Humanitarian Response, MIT Open Documentary Lab, Flipboard, More: Wednesday ResearchBuzz, September 1, 2021


ReliefWeb: UN launches online tool to help humanitarians assess environmental risks in urban areas. “The free, cloud-based Urban-Nexus Environmental Assessment Tool (U-NEAT+) offers an easy way to assess a range of potential environmental threats and sensitivities and suggests how to mitigate them. Assessments are recorded in an online questionnaire that can be completed with a smartphone. The tool’s special features dive deeper into specific response areas such as shelter, food security, health, livelihoods, and water, sanitation and hygiene.”

I had heard of this but I had no idea it was so extensive. MIT News: Transformative truth-telling at the MIT Open Documentary Lab. “When he was convicted, his twin children were 45 days old. Now, they’re 21. This father’s voice is one of dozens collected in the ongoing documentary project ‘A Father’s Lullaby’ by current MIT Open Documentary Lab Fellow Rashin Fahandej. It comprises a compilation of recorded lullabies and oral histories from incarcerated fathers separated from their young children…. This inventive and moving inventory of lost lullabies is one of many examples of the boundary-pushing creative works that are found in the MIT Open Documentary Lab (ODL) archive — a deep archive known as the Docubase.”


TechCrunch: Flipboard rolls out newsfeed personalization tools to save you from doomscrolling. “The company announced this morning the launch of a new controller on the cover of its own main newsfeed, aka the ‘For You’ feed, which now allows users to select new topics to follow and deselect those they no longer want to hear about. The feature, which Flipboard dubs ‘an antidote to doomscrolling,’ allows users to customize their For You feed to deliver a wider selection of stories related to their various interests, instead of focusing their home page on breaking news and politics.” Personalizing is always great but I’m getting Excite flashbacks. Remember when everything was Portal?

Google Blog: Testing new ways to explore and share through Chrome. “Flags and experiments in Chrome Beta let you choose which in-development features you want to test out before they hit the main stage. With our latest Chrome Beta release, you can try out some upcoming features that can help you more easily explore, keep track of, and share the things you find on the web.”


Mashable: 10 TikTok accounts to follow if you love to cook . “There are lots of amazing cooking accounts on TikTok, so this is by no means comprehensive. But the ones to make this list were chosen for their genuine usefulness, diversity of cuisines, and unique voice. Bon appétit!”

SatelliteJournalism: Best practices for working with satellite data — what I learned from the experts. “Satellites orbiting the earth are collecting vast amounts of data about our planet — much of it openly available to the public. For reporters, this offers unique opportunities for original investigations and visual storytelling. But how do you get started? And what should you be looking out for? I spoke to four journalists who regularly work with satellite data about how to start, best practices and most importantly — mistakes to avoid.”

Search Engine Journal: How to Successfully Promote Your Facebook Page Everywhere. “Today, we’re going to hone your Facebook skills. If you’re not already promoting your Facebook page and you run a business, you need to start. Facebook isn’t just a site for friends to stay in touch anymore. Many utilize it to search for basic information about companies before they make a purchase. That’s why it’s essential that you learn to promote your Facebook Page where and whenever possible.”


New York Times: The Silent Partner Cleaning Up Facebook for $500 Million a Year. “For years, Facebook has been under scrutiny for the violent and hateful content that flows through its site. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, has repeatedly pledged to clean up the platform. He has promoted the use of artificial intelligence to weed out toxic posts and touted efforts to hire thousands of workers to remove the messages that the A.I. doesn’t. But behind the scenes, Facebook has quietly paid others to take on much of the responsibility. Since 2012, the company has hired at least 10 consulting and staffing firms globally to sift through its posts, along with a wider web of subcontractors, according to interviews and public records.”

CNET: Biden administration to launch US Digital Corps. “In a bid to bring more technology talent to federal agencies, the White House is launching a fellowship program called the US Digital Corps, geared toward improving government responses to shifting IT challenges. Announced Monday, the corps will be located within the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services division and will launch this fall with 30 successful applicants filling the two-year fellowships.”

The Verge: After Weeks Of Hate Raids, Twitch Streamers Are Taking A Day Off In Protest. “On Wednesday, September 1st, a number of channels on Twitch will go dark as streamers participate in #ADayOffTwitch, a walkout designed to bring attention to the ongoing hate and harassment that’s plagued the platform for the last several weeks.”


Reuters: Google, Facebook, Microsoft Top EU Lobbying Spending – Study. “Alphabet Inc’s Google unit, Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corp are the three biggest lobbying spenders in Europe in a battle against tough new laws aimed at curbing U.S. tech giants’ powers, a study released on Tuesday showed.”


Northern Arizona University News: Astronomer recruiting volunteers in effort to quadruple number of known active asteroids. “The study of active asteroids is a relatively new field of solar system science, focusing on objects that have asteroid-like orbits but look more like comets, with visual characteristics such as tails…. Through funding from a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award in 2018, doctoral student Colin Orion Chandler in Northern Arizona University’s Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science launched an ambitious new project, Active Asteroids, which is designed to engage volunteers in the search for more of these enigmatic objects.” Good morning, Internet…

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