Welcoming Afghan Refugees, Hurricane Ida Story Map, Enslaved Indigenous People, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, September 15, 2021


WMTV: New initiative aims to welcome Afghan refugees, give support information. “A new website launched Tuesday aims to help anyone wanting to welcome and support Afghan refugees who have arrived in the United States. [The site] provides information about volunteering, donations and providing legal aid or sponsoring a family. It can also connect people to groups and organizations helping with the resettlement efforts.”

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality: EPA and LDEQ Announce Story Map Resource. (This link is to a PDF file.) “Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) released a new, interactive resource about the federal and state response to Hurricane Ida. This tool, called a story map, integrates maps, photos, data, and explanations to help inform the public about response activities and environmental impacts to Louisiana communities following the hurricane.”


Smithsonian: Smithsonian To Host the Virtual Symposium “The Other Slavery” Sept. 24–27. “Stories of enslaved Indigenous peoples have often been absent from the historical narrative. From Sept. 24–27, the Smithsonian will host the virtual symposium ‘The Other Slavery: Histories of Indian Bondage from New Spain to the Southwestern United States,’ which will explore the hidden stories of enslaved Indigenous peoples, focusing on the legacy of Spanish colonization in the Americas and Asia and its impact on what is now the southwestern United States. This program seeks to give a comprehensive first voice to these hushed stories and living legacies.”


Lifehacker: 6 of the Best Internet Browsers for Protecting Your Privacy. “Fingerprinting is a relatively new threat to online privacy, allowing companies to know your browsing fingerprint data. This can consist of your browser version, type, operating system, time-zone, location, plug-ins, fonts, and a lot more. There’s so much data here that the cumulated data can be used to identify a single user. So what can you do about it? If you want to go nuclear, you can build your own tracking blocker using Raspberry Pi. Or you can install privacy extensions like Decentraleyes, uBlock Origin, or DuckDuckGo. But first, you should start with a browser that already has good privacy features built-in (so no Google Chrome, we’re afraid).”


Wall Street Journal: Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place. It Got Angrier Instead.. “Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said the aim of the algorithm change was to strengthen bonds between users and to improve their well-being…. Within the company, though, staffers warned the change was having the opposite effect, the documents show. It was making Facebook’s platform an angrier place. Company researchers discovered that publishers and political parties were reorienting their posts toward outrage and sensationalism. That tactic produced high levels of comments and reactions that translated into success on Facebook.”

Associated Press: Missouri cave with ancient Native American drawings sold. “Bryan Laughlin, director of Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers, the St. Louis-based firm handling the auction, said the winning bidder declined to be named. A St. Louis family that’s owned the land since 1953 has mainly used it for hunting. The cave was the site of sacred rituals and burying of the dead. It also has more than 290 prehistoric glyphs, or hieroglyphic symbols used to represent sounds or meanings, ‘making it the largest collection of indigenous people’s polychrome paintings in Missouri,’ according to the auction website.”

Atlas Obscura: How to Buy Pink Pineapples and Fruitcake Off Etsy. “Both social media and e-commerce sites, from Etsy to Instagram, host vibrant communities of food vendors and cooks-for-hire. Sure, you can buy a 40-pack of gummy bears on Amazon, or schedule a Whole Foods delivery. But can you buy fresh ice-cream beans shipped from the tropical fruit paradise that is Florida? Can you buy cornmeal cookies and juniper ash from a Native American company in Arizona? A wide world of hyper-local food exists online, sandwiched between advertisements and yard-sale listings.”


Krebs on Security: KrebsOnSecurity Hit By Huge New IoT Botnet “Meris”. “On Thursday evening, KrebsOnSecurity was the subject of a rather massive (and mercifully brief) distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. The assault came from ‘Meris,’ the same new botnet behind record-shattering attacks against Russian search giant Yandex this week and internet infrastructure firm Cloudflare earlier this summer.”

VOA: US Accuses Russia of Stonewalling on Cybercrime. “U.S. warnings to Russian President Vladimir Putin over shielding cybercriminals holed up in Russia appear to have made little impact, according to top U.S. law enforcement and cyber officials.”


The Next Web: Why Alexa and not Alexander? How gendered voice assistants are hurting as they help. “For a society that hasn’t quite broken out of its mindset around traditional gender roles, seeing women as everyone else’s helpers instead of their own people with their own destinies is par for the course. We even see this reflected in the emerging field of AI voice assistants – all of which sound female.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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