Frances Haugen, virusMED, Disabled Gamers, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, October 4, 2021

I am noticing that most issues of ResearchBuzz are ending up in my Gmail spam filter. I don’t know what to do about that. Besides the feeble Patreon and tip jar pleas at the bottom, RB hasn’t had advertising in many years.

Putting this up at the top because I really want you to read it. Please pay close attention to the part where European politicians complained that they had to take more extreme policy positions to get online engagement. That should have our collective hair fully on fire.

CBS News: Highlights from 60 Minutes’ Interview with the Facebook Whistleblower. “Data scientist Frances Haugen secretly copied tens of thousands of pages of Facebook’s internal research while she worked for the company, and gave them to the Securities and Exchange Commission and to Congress. The 37-year-old from Iowa claims evidence shows the company is lying about making significant progress against hate, violence. These were some of the revelations from her interview with Scott Pelley.”


University of Virginia: Scientists Target Next Pandemic With ‘Map’ To Victory Over Viruses. “University of Virginia School of Medicine researcher Wladek Minor and collaborators in China and Poland have developed an internet information system, called virusMED, that lays out all we know about the atomic structure and potential vulnerabilities of more than 800 virus strains from 75 different virus families, including SARS-CoV-2, influenza, Ebola and HIV‑1. Several of the collaborators, including the lead investigator, Heping Zheng, are former students and members of Minor’s lab at UVA.”

PC GamesN: A new online tool provides detailed accessibility info for disabled gamers. “A new online tool has launched today that provides detailed accessibility information on a growing list of modern games. The Accessible Games Database, created by games accessibility platform DAGERSystem, allows users to select the accessibility options they need and then view a list of games that include those features.”


Grand Island Independent: UNL’s annual BugFest event goes virtual this year “The online event is designed to create a comfortable space for families and friends to learn about insects and science through family-oriented activities. Attendees can learn about bee biology, learn how to draw insects, view Nebraska insects, see insects with a blacklight and participate in at-home, hands-on activities. All activities and videos were created by entomology students, faculty and staff.”


CNET: Amazon, Google and Microsoft team up on cloud computing principles. “Amazon, Google and Microsoft on Friday unveiled a new industry initiative that aims to establish basic commitments and protections for companies that store and process data in the cloud. The tech giants, along with several other enterprise companies, have agreed to a series of principles related to customer data and government regulations.”


Make Tech Easier: Speed Up Chrome with These Extensions. “Chrome is known as the fastest browser, but for some people even fastest isn’t enough. Moreover, Chrome is also a huge memory hog and may lead to a slower browsing experience on low-end devices. Thankfully, there are many Chrome extensions available that will speed things up for you exponentially.”

ReviewGeek: You Can (and Should) Learn Almost Anything for Free. “People with a bit of spare time and access to a smartphone or PC can pick up anything—from an interesting new hobby to skills that could take their career to the next level— without spending a penny. It can also be a handy way to kill some time. Despite most recreational travel prospects being out of the window, language learning app Duolingo saw a massive increase in its userbase last year. Below are a few examples of skills you can pick up without picking up your wallet first.” An ambitious headline that delivers a resource-filled article.


Wolfram Blog: Exploring Social Networks, Communication Systems, Clustering and More with the Wolfram Language in These New Books. “The Wolfram Language is utilized across a variety of fields for many different purposes. We’re proud of our products’ broad applications in multiple disciplines and are excited to share seven of the latest books by Wolfram Language users. These draw upon topics ranging from social networks and communications to computational origami to the biosciences. We also had the privilege of speaking to two authors about their projects and experiences with Mathematica and the Wolfram Language.”


Washington Post: Recovering locked Facebook accounts is a nightmare. That’s on purpose.. “Hackers target social media accounts because they want to spread scams, phishing links or misinformation, said Jon Clay, vice president of threat intelligence at cybersecurity firm Trend Micro. When bad actors get their hands on social media account credentials, it’s often through phishing attacks that trick people into entering their passwords or by buying stolen credentials in shady corners of the Internet, Clay said. But sometimes, they exploit the very tools that help people get back into hacked accounts. That’s why the account recovery process is so complex, according to Facebook Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher.”

Gothamist: NYCLU Sues NYPD For Still Keeping Full Set Of Disciplinary Databases Away From Public View. “In their complaint filed Thursday in State Supreme Court, attorneys for the NYCLU said the NYPD had illegally denied a request for more disciplinary records of officers the group made through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) in April. The group claimed last year’s repeal of the state’s 50-a provision—which protected officers from having their disciplinary records made public—allowed such access.”


Wired: Humans Can’t Be the Sole Keepers of Scientific Knowledge. “Writing scientific knowledge in a programming-like language will be dry, but it will be sustainable, because new concepts will be directly added to the library of science that machines understand. Plus, as machines are taught more scientific facts, they will be able to help scientists streamline their logical arguments; spot errors, inconsistencies, plagiarism, and duplications; and highlight connections. AI with an understanding of physical laws is more powerful than AI trained on data alone, so science-savvy machines will be able to help future discoveries. Machines with a great knowledge of science could assist rather than replace human scientists.” I have so many conflicting thoughts about this article that I gave myself a headache. Be warned.

The Pantagraph: Documents that survived the Great Chicago Fire are held in state archives. But it will take special technology to decipher them.. “What could be among the oldest surviving Chicago city records sit inside a special climate-controlled vault at the Illinois State Archives, largely indecipherable. These are volumes that survived the Great Chicago Fire 150 years ago. Some appear to contain early property assessments or official confirmations. One is in a box labeled ‘General Ordinances A, March 4, 1837 to July 8, 1851,’ potentially dating back to Chicago’s incorporation as a city. But they are blackened and damaged from the fire, and what exactly they contain remains unknown. It could take infrared technology to read their contents and determine their legal, genealogical and historic implications.” Good morning, Internet…

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