afternoonbuzz

Bacterial Genes, Feedly, Google, more: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, December 20, 2021

NEW RESOURCES

EMBL: Connecting the dots between bacterial genes around the world. “This database, created using publicly available data, contains more than 2 billion genes, 303 million of them dubbed unigenes. A unigene is a DNA sequence that scientists use during data analysis to represent a group of multiple almost-identical gene sequences that come from the same microbial species. These unigenes have been identified from 14 different environments, including human and animal bodies, as well as soil and water from different geographical locations. The resource aims to help the scientific community study various aspects of microbial planetary biology, such as similarities and differences between microbiomes found in distant locations or facing different environmental conditions.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

KnowTechie: How to follow sites without RSS feeds on Feedly. “If you’re already a Feedly user, you know the power of being able to create a personalized feed for your interests. Most blogs and other news sources already use RSS to integrate to Feedly, but what if you find one that doesn’t Well, now Feedly has a custom RSS Builder tool, so you can create your own feeds for websites that don’t have RSS.”

Search Engine Land: Google Search launches enhanced autocomplete with second column. “Google has officially launched a new enhanced autocomplete search suggestions that may include a second column of predictions, and provide easier access to content related to a search, a Google spokesperson confirmed with Search Engine Land.”

USEFUL STUFF

Motherboard: Which of These Notification Sounds Gives You the Most Anxiety?. “Busy Simulator is a web app that mimics the notification sounds for nine different platforms—Google Calendar, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Discord, Apple Mail, Outlook, iMessage, Google Chat, and Skype, plus a vibrating phone noise—to use when you need an excuse out of a meeting that is making you want to claw your eyes out.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

New York Times: Buying Influence: How China Manipulates Facebook and Twitter . “China’s government has unleashed a global online campaign to burnish its image and undercut accusations of human rights abuses. Much of the effort takes place in the shadows, behind the guise of bot networks that generate automatic posts and hard-to-trace online personas. Now, a new set of documents reviewed by The New York Times reveals in stark detail how Chinese officials tap private businesses to generate content on demand, draw followers, track critics and provide other services for information campaigns. That operation increasingly plays out on international platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which the Chinese government blocks at home.”

The Verge: Google still ran ads on climate denial, despite promising to stop. “Google has struggled to uphold its recent pledge to stop running ads on content that promotes climate change denial, according to a new report from the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Wired: Google Warns That NSO Hacking Is On Par With Elite Nation-State Spies. “The company’s products have been so abused by its customers around the world that NSO Group now faces sanctions, high-profile lawsuits, and an uncertain future. But a new analysis of the spyware maker’s ForcedEntry iOS exploit—deployed in a number of targeted attacks against activists, dissidents, and journalists this year—comes with an even more fundamental warning: Private businesses can produce hacking tools that have the technical ingenuity and sophistication of the most elite government-backed development groups.”

FTC: FTC Launches Rulemaking to Combat Sharp Spike in Impersonation Fraud. “The Federal Trade Commission launched a rulemaking today aimed at combatting government and business impersonation fraud, a pernicious and prevalent problem that has grown worse during the pandemic. Impersonators use all methods of communication to trick their targets into trusting that they are the government or an established business and then trade on this trust to steal their identity or money.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Phys .org: Hate speech on social media is fueled by users’ shared moral concerns. “People whose moral beliefs and values align closely with other members of their online communities—including those on social networks Gab and Reddit—are more prone to radicalization, according to new USC research.”

ZDNet: Quantum computing: Now Rigetti explores qutrits as well as qubits. “US quantum computer outfit Rigetti Computing has announced the Aspen-M, an 80-qubit processor quantum computer that consists of two connected 40-qubit chips.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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