Sutton Hoo Archaeology, Pratt Institute Photography, Facebook Whistleblower Testimony, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, September 30, 2021


UK National Trust: Full personal collection of photographs taken by Mercie Lack and Barbara Wagstaff at Sutton Hoo excavation digitised and online for the first time. “Schoolmistresses and close friends, Mercie Lack and Barbara Wagstaff, were serious amateur photographers with an interest in archaeology. In the summer of 1939, they visited Sutton Hoo in Suffolk and went on to create an extraordinary photographic record of one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.”

Brownstoner: Newly Digitized Negatives Give a Glimpse of Mid-Century Life Around Pratt Institute. “Taken between 1957 and 1973 by the Pratt Institute Photo Department, the negatives sat in a filing cabinet largely inaccessible to researchers until efforts to scan the almost 30,000 individual images began in 2019.” Pratt Institute is located in Brooklyn, in New York City.


US Senate: Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower. “U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chair of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security will convene a hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower” at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. Recent Wall Street Journal investigations have revealed troubling insights regarding how Instagram affects teenagers, how it handles children onto the platform, and other consumer protection matters related to Facebook. The hearing will provide an opportunity for a Facebook whistleblower to discuss their perspective and experience with the Subcommittee, including how to update children’s privacy regulations and other laws to protect consumers online.”


TechRadar: Best speech-to-text software in 2021: Free, paid and online voice recognition apps and services . “…different speech-to-text programs have different levels of ability and complexity, with some using advanced machine learning to constantly correct errors flagged up by users so that they are not repeated. Others are downloadable software which is only as good as its latest update. Here then are the best in speech-to-text recognition programs, which should be more than capable for most situations and circumstances.”


New York Times: The Melting Face Emoji Has Already Won Us Over. “There are times when words feel inadequate — when one’s dread, shame, exhaustion or discomfort seems too immense to be captured in written language. That’s where the melting face emoji comes in. The face, fixed with a content half-smile even as it dissolves into a puddle, is one of 37 new emojis approved this year by the Unicode Consortium, the organization that maintains the standards for digital text.”

CNET: Suicide and self-harm content keeps slipping through on social media. “More than 700,000 people worldwide die by suicide every year. Globally, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds in 2019, according to the World Health Organization. Exposure to suicide and self-harm content on social media has been linked to harmful mental health effects. A study published in the New Media & Society Journal in 2019 found that people who saw self-harm content on Instagram showed ‘more self-harm and suicidality-related outcomes.'”

Los Angeles Times: Fed up with TikTok, Black influencers are leaving the app. “[Charles] Conley is not the first Black TikToker to say that he feels over-scrutinized and under-protected by the platform. Since at least the Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020, users of color have complained that TikTok — the most downloaded app in the world last year — handles their accounts and content in ways that seem unfair and racially biased. But what sets Conley and the other Black TikTokers who spoke to The Times for this story apart is what they plan to do about it: get off TikTok for good.”


The Daily Swig: Social media scam: Twitter bots are tricking users into making PayPal and Venmo payments into fraudsters’ accounts. “The bots appear to be activated when a legitimate user asks another for their payment information, presumably discovering these tweets via a search for keywords such as ‘PayPal’, ‘Venmo’, or other services. They masquerade as the other user by scraping their profile picture and adopting a similar username, before supplying them with false payment information in the hopes the original tweeter will pay into this account.”

Hong Kong Free Press: 1989 Tiananmen Massacre online museum blocked in Hong Kong, three weeks after police raid physical site. “The online ‘June 4th Museum,’ preserving the memory of Beijing’s bloody crackdown on protesters in 1989, has become inaccessible via several of Hong Kong’s major telecom providers. It comes less than two months after the site was first launched and three weeks after police confiscated exhibits at a separate, real-life museum in Hong Kong.”


CNN: These high school students are fighting for ethical AI. “It’s been a busy year for Encode Justice, an international group of grassroots activists pushing for ethical uses of artificial intelligence. There have been legislators to lobby, online seminars to hold, and meetings to attend, all in hopes of educating others about the harms of facial-recognition technology. It would be a lot for any activist group to fit into the workday; most of the team behind Encode Justice have had to cram it all in around high school.”

Chronicle of Higher Education: The Mysterious Case of the Nonsense Papers. “The paper appeared last month in the Arabian Journal of Geosciences, which is one of several thousand journals put out by the publishing giant Springer Nature. If this was just one weird paper in an obscure journal, it probably wouldn’t be noteworthy. But hundreds — 412, to be exact — of equally bizarre papers have popped up in the same journal in recent months…. One minute you’re being lectured on ecological risk assessment, and the next you’re learning about the many similarities between badminton and tennis. So what exactly is going on here? And what does it tell us, if anything, about the state of academic publishing?”


Ubergizmo: Bear Finds Lost GoPro And Shoots A Selfie Video With It. “The footage (see video above) shows the bear hitting the camera around with both of its paws and even carrying it in its mouth. The bear seems to eventually get bored of the GoPro, perhaps after figuring out it isn’t edible, and leaves it on the ground where [Dylan] Schilt eventually stumbles across it himself.” Good morning, Internet…

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