afternoonbuzz

Mapping Bird Biodiversity, Tech Industry Influence, My Community Census Explorer, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, April 18, 2022

NEW RESOURCES

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Nationwide maps of bird species can help protect biodiversity. “Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison developed the maps at a fine-enough resolution to help conservation managers focus their efforts where they are most likely to help birds — in individual counties or forests, rather than across whole states or regions. The maps span the contiguous U.S. and predict the diversity of birds that live in a given area, related by traits such as nesting on the ground or being endangered. Those predictions are based on both detailed observations of birds and environmental factors that affect bird ranges, such as the degree of forest cover or temperature in an area.”

Radboud University: New digital tool reveals spheres of influence of big tech companies. “These companies bring innovations to these domains, but their involvement also results in all kinds of new dependencies, which we are often completely unaware of and which are inadequately regulated. The new tool reveals how far this influence goes and offers both a visual representation and a database with examples of activities of tech companies that are reaching beyond their original spheres of influence.”

US Census Bureau: Census Bureau Launches New My Community Explorer Tool. “Today the U.S. Census Bureau launched its latest data explorer tool, My Community Explorer (MCE). MCE is an interactive map-based tool that highlights demographic and socioeconomic data that measure inequality and can help inform data-based solutions.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

CNET: WhatsApp Is Launching Community Chats, Adding Emoji Message Reactions To Texts. “WhatsApp is taking a page from Telegram’s book with new Community group chats, expanding voice calls to handle up to 32 participants and adding emoji reactions to messages.”

Engadget: Opera’s crypto browser is now available on iOS. “Opera launched its dedicated ‘Crypto Browser’ into beta back in January, promising to make Web3 as accessible as any Web2 website. The company released the browser for Windows, Mac and Android users back then, but the version for iOS devices still wasn’t ready for rollout. Now, Opera has announced that the Crypto Browser for iPhones and iPads is out and available for download from its website.”

USEFUL STUFF

SlashGear: You Probably Didn’t Know This iPhone Photo Search Hack. “Anyone with a large photo library on their iPhone knows it can be a bit of a hassle to find one specific image quickly, even if photos are grouped into folders. But it turns out iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS 12 Monterey do have a workaround for it via Live Text, though Apple doesn’t seem interested in advertising this feature. In a way, Apple’s silence about Live Text makes sense, as the function isn’t particularly accurate at the moment.”

How-To Geek: How to Make LibreOffice Look Like Microsoft Office. “If you’re a longtime Microsoft Office user, you might find trying out LibreOffice difficult because of the foreign interface. To make things more comfortable, you can give LibreOffice a look that’s similar to MS Office with a few simple tweaks.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Bleeping Computer: GitHub: Attacker breached dozens of orgs using stolen OAuth tokens. “GitHub revealed today that an attacker is using stolen OAuth user tokens (issued to Heroku and Travis-CI) to download data from private repositories. Since this campaign was first spotted on April 12, 2022, the threat actor has already accessed and stolen data from dozens of victim organizations using Heroku and Travis-CI-maintained OAuth apps, including npm.”

Techdirt: Disney Gets Fans Who Made Their Own ‘Club Penguin’ Online Game Arrested Over Copyright. “In the pantheon of aggressive intellectual property bullies, Disney certainly would be one of the companies that would be competing to be Zeus. Disney has simply never seen an opportunity for IP enforcement that it hasn’t acted upon, be it copyright, trademark, or anywhere in between. More to the point for this post, Disney also has this fun mindset that even if it isn’t going to use an IP it owns, it doesn’t like it if anyone else does, either…. Remember Club Penguin?”

RESEARCH & OPINION

WIRED: You—Yes, You!—Would Be a Better Owner for Twitter Than Elon Musk. “Twitter’s ownership problem began long before Musk’s machinations. The conversations and communities that Twitter hosts have always been, legally at least, commodities to be bought and sold. The prospect of handing this essential piece of democratic infrastructure to the world’s richest man is a symptom of that underlying design.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Clearer disclosure of political advertising needed on social media. “While all political ads on television, radio and in print are required to clearly disclose who has paid for them, it is much harder for the Australian Electoral Commission to monitor the fine line between political content and advertising on social media. The sheer volume of political content on social media is astonishing: the Australian politics hashtag, #auspol, on TikTok has generated 447 million views alone. And Twitter is a constant stream of political wise-cracks, putdowns and promos.”

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

Harvard International Review: The Space Race Expands: Why African Nations Are Shooting for the Stars. “Egypt’s Nilesat 101 launched in 1998, providing multimedia services to over five million homes in the region. Since then, over 40 satellites have taken to the stars, with more than 20 in the last five years. In addition, the first satellites to be entirely developed in Africa were launched by South Africa’s Cape Peninsula University of Technology from Cape Canaveral in January 2022. The African space industry’s immense growth in recent years is a product of innovation in its applications, a need for stronger control of natural resources, and a desire to join the ranks of the preeminent space powers of the 21st century.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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