Canada Cities Pollution, Armenia Photography, Employment Policy Gateway, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, October 22, 2021


Vancouver is Awesome: New database shows Canada’s highest-polluting cities, what needs to change. “The Municipal Energy and Emissions Database (MEED) offers near-instant access to the pollution profiles of over 4,000 Canadian towns and cities. With $80,000 in funding from Ottawa, the tool is a creation of Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) — a cooperative of experts that helps cities plan their way through the climate crisis — and whatIf? Technologies.”

Asbarez: UCLA Promise Armenian Institute, Armenian Film Foundation Partner to Support Film and Photography Projects . “The Promise Armenian Institute announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Armenian Film Foundation to collaborate on a range of projects that will support Armenian film and photography at the University of California, Los Angeles. On November 18, the Promise Armenian Institute will host ‘Aftermath: the Armenian Earthquake of 1988,’ the first online exhibit of the Armenian Image Archive, which will celebrate the work of Asadour Guzelian.”

International Labour Organization: ILO launches new online database on employment policies and strategies to promote an inclusive job-rich recovery. “Aimed at governments, social partners, research institutions, practitioners and other development stakeholders, the Employment Policy Gateway enables users to search existing national policies and strategies for employment promotion by region, country and themes. This allows comparisons of national policies across countries and supports research and analysis on existing policy instruments.”


The Verge: Donald Trump’s new social media SPAC, explained. “Trump announced Wednesday night that he has a new company called Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) and that he would be merging this new company with a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition Company (DWAC). If completed, the deal would turn Trump’s new media company into one that’s publicly traded on the Nasdaq. And it would give TMTG enough money to get a new Twitter clone off the ground called ‘Truth.’ The surprise deal is already turning DWAC into a meme stock, and it raises a fair number of questions.” I promise I will not let this particular topic take over the newsletter, but I will always have time for thorough, cogent explanations of financial/investment issues.


Politico: The tech billionaire aiding the Facebook whistleblower. “The Facebook whistleblower whose disclosures have shaken the world’s largest social network has drawn behind-the-scenes help from a big player in the online world: Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire tech critic who founded eBay.”

CNN: Facebook kept its own oversight board in the dark on program for VIP users. “Facebook failed to provide crucial details about its ‘Cross-Check’ program that reportedly shielded millions of VIP users from the social media platform’s normal content moderation rules, according to the company’s oversight board.”

Washington Post: For teens, navigating the mental health pitfalls of Instagram is part of everyday life. “Danielle Wagstaff, a lecturer in psychology at Federation University in Australia, co-authored a 2019 paper linking Instagram use with adverse mental health symptoms in women…. But teens are savvy media consumers and they’re coming to their own conclusions about the apps that expand their worlds and pricks at their brains. Teens say they understand how the algorithm works, and they’re doing their best to blunt its effects.”


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: CFPB Orders Tech Giants to Turn Over Information on their Payment System Plans. “Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a series of orders to collect information on the business practices of large technology companies operating payments systems in the United States. The information will help the CFPB better understand how these firms use personal payments data and manage data access to users so the Bureau can ensure adequate consumer protection.”

The Register: Facebook fined £50m in UK for ‘conscious’ refusal to report info and ‘deliberate failure to comply’ during Giphy acquisition probe. “The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has smacked Facebook with a £50m ($68.7m) fine for ‘deliberately’ not giving it the full picture about its ongoing $400m acquisition of gif-slinger Giphy.”


Media Matters: Instagram’s suggestion algorithm is promoting accounts that share misinformation. “A Media Matters analysis found that Instagram’s ‘similar account suggestions’ feature, a drop-down widget that appears on users’ profiles and suggests accounts to follow, reliably shepherds users who show an interest in anti-vaccine misinformation and other harmful content (some of which the platform claims to ban) toward similar types of content.”

Axios: By the numbers: Media masters. “Of the top 15 most active state legislators on Twitter and Facebook this year, four come from Pennsylvania, and Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Fla.) made both lists, according to data from Quorum. Why it matters: As Donald Trump showed, social media has become increasingly important for politicians at all levels to raise their profile and communicate directly with voters.”


Consumer Reports: Meet NumWorks, the Modern Graphing Calculator. “Most of the graphing calculators in students’ backpacks are made by Texas Instruments, and they look a lot like models going back to when these gadgets were introduced in the 1980s. But as the school year gains steam, NumWorks, a calculator startup launched a few years ago, is expanding on a cult following among high school teachers, along with a slice of tech innovators who say they like the company’s consumer-friendly approach to repairs and tinkering.” Good morning, Internet…

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