Michigan Air Pollution Permits, Nelson Mandela, Environmental Inequality, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, February 18, 2022


Detroit Free Press: Free Press releases database of air pollution permits. “The Free Press is making air permit data available for the first time to improve access and to help build on our work examining air pollution in communities with long-standing racial and socioeconomic disparities. Last year, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy approved 309 permits for air pollution that remained active at year’s end. A Free Press analysis of the one-year snapshot alone found a relationship among site location, race and poverty in Michigan communities.”

Free Press Journal: Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory launches digital archive for greater public access . “A new digital archive was launched on Friday by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to allow greater public access to the archives of the global icon who became the first democratically-elected president of South Africa after serving 27 years as a political prisoner under the white minority apartheid regime. Razia Saleh, Head of Archive and Research at the centre, explained that the closure of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory (NMCM) for almost two years due to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions had given the team time to come up with ideas to widen access to the resources, which have been physically available in the past.”

Washington Post: Biden officials launch ‘screening tool’ to help identify disadvantaged and polluted communities. “As part of its effort to address historic environmental injustices, the Biden administration launched an online screening tool Friday to identify ‘communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.’ The administration is calling on residents to use a “beta version” of its Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool over the next 60 days to upload data that will reveal communities with multiple pollution sources and health threats such as tainted water, poor air quality, dirty roadways and nearby Superfund sites.”


Tom’s Hardware: No PC Needed: How to Install Raspberry Pi OS Over the Internet. “As any experienced Raspberry Pi user can tell you, the popular single-board computer does not come with an OS preloaded. Unless you buy a third-party kit / card that comes with Raspberry Pi OS on it, you must download the operating system on a PC or Mac and write it to a microSD card or USB storage device for the Pi. We have articles on how to set up a Raspberry Pi and how to create a headless Raspberry Pi that show you how to do this. But what if you don’t have access to a computer (or don’t have a card reader)?”

Wired: What Is Google Workspace Individual, and How Does It Work?. “ANDY WARHOL ONCE said a big part of Coke’s appeal is that everyone has the same version. ‘A Coke is a Coke,’ he said, ‘and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking.’ Google’s email and calendar services, Gmail and Google Calendar, used to be the same way—everyone had access to the same tool. Not anymore, thanks to Google Workspace Individual. You can now buy a better Coke (OK you’ve been able to buy superior Mexican Coke for a long time now, but let’s ignore that so my metaphor works.)”


Wish I’d found this a bit earlier, but you’ve still got over a week. Business Insider: Scribd, an online reading platform, is making all its books free for 30 days in response to recent book bans. “While book bans aren’t new, they’ve recently been making the news more often…. In response to the rising trend, the reading app Scribd is offering free access to its digital library of millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, documents, and podcasts for 30 days if you sign up by February 28. (No credit card information is required to sign up).”


The Guardian: Eleven strangers watched me write this article. Is this the answer to our productivity crisis?. “I have been randomly assigned to work with Ben on a website I use every day called Focusmate, which uses a sense of accountability to help you focus. The homepage kind of looks like a Google calendar: you book in a 50-minute session and the site matches you with someone else who wants to work in that time slot (this is mostly done randomly, although brand new users are matched with more experienced ones). When the time comes, you and your buddy get placed on a video call. You politely and briefly tell each other what you’re planning to use the time to do – and then you get on with it.”

Daily Beast: After FBI Raid, Dem. Congressman Feels the Love – From a Network of Trolls. “[Henry] Cuellar, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, had never seen much engagement before the raids, with his tweets normally only drawing a half dozen or so replies. But after the FBI came knocking, Cuellar’s replies teemed with critics calling on him to resign, reminding him of the investigation, and taunting the nine-term congressman with the thought of prison. Within a week, those replies were matched with missives from ostensible supporters swooping in to battle the haters.”


New York Times: I Used Apple AirTags, Tiles and a GPS Tracker to Watch My Husband’s Every Move. “I’ve been covering privacy for more than a decade, and have found that the best way to concretely explain the dystopian implications of new technologies is to immerse myself in them, guinea pig-style. My husband has lived on Bitcoin with me, been spied on by our “smart home,” and watched me give up the tech giants. (He would not give them up himself, saying, ‘I have a job,’ but he agreed to unplug our Amazon Echo.) He also happens to be a professional press freedom advocate, so I was fairly certain he’d be game.”

Bleeping Computer: WordPress force installs UpdraftPlus patch on 3 million sites. “WordPress has taken the rare step of force-updating the UpdraftPlus plugin on all sites to fix a high-severity vulnerability allowing website subscribers to download the latest database backups, which often contain credentials and PII. Three million sites use the popular WordPress plugin, so the potential for exploitation was substantial, affecting a significant share of the internet, including large platforms.”


University of Washington: Google’s ‘CEO’ image search gender bias hasn’t really been fixed. “The researchers showed that for four major search engines from around the world, including Google, this bias is only partially fixed, according to a paper presented in February at the AAAI Conference of Artificial Intelligence. A search for an occupation, such as ‘CEO,’ yielded results with a ratio of cis-male and cis-female presenting people that matches the current statistics. But when the team added another search term — for example, ‘CEO + United States’ — the image search returned fewer photos of cis-female presenting people. In the paper, the researchers propose three potential solutions to this issue.”

NIST: VTTI, NIST Provide Tool for Quantifying Automated Driving Conditions. “The tool helps researchers and industry practitioners to understand and quantify automated driving operating conditions in a city, community, or region. These conditions are described in the Operational Design Domain (ODD) in which an automated vehicle is designed to operate. The ODD of an automated vehicle provides a description of its environmental, geographical, and other restrictions, as well as applicable constraints, such as permissible speeds, geographic areas, road types, and environmental conditions.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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