Coronavirus in Boston, Slack, WeChat, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, June 25, 2022


News@Northeastern: Want To Understand The Impact Of The Covid-19 Pandemic On Boston? Northeastern Researchers Have Built A Database. “Sudden disruptions to society were immediately apparent: School closures, business shutdowns, new—and in some cases, unprecedented—public health policies. But other pandemic impacts remain hidden, locked away in datasets and public records not yet meaningfully analyzed. The determination to uncover that data—and make it widely available—led a group of Northeastern researchers to construct a ‘data-support system’ from multiple information sources in and around the city of Boston that, when combined, paint a portrait of how communities and neighborhoods were impacted by the pandemic, with particular emphasis on communities and neighborhoods of color.”


WIRED: The Future of Slack Looks a Lot Like Zoom. “Last June, the popular workplace chat app Slack introduced Huddles, an audio-only feature designed to replicate the real-life thing. It was an immediate hang space, launched easily from within a Slack channel or a direct message. And it has been, according to Slack, a hit.”

CryptoPotato: WeChat Bans All Crypto-Related Content Following ToS Update. “Some form of digitally-related research is still underway in China, notably around CBDCs [Central Bank Digital Currency]. However, in an update to its ToS, WeChat – the largest social network in the country, with over 1.1 billion users – has decided to ban all content believed to be promoting digital assets.”


MakeUseOf: 5 Apps for Spending Time Outside and Connecting With Nature. “If you want to spend more time in nature but need a little nudge to get out there, then look to your smartphone or tablet for help. Whether you want to spend more time hiking and camping or simply take a lap around the block occasionally, this collection of apps can help you make the most of your time in nature.” I had no idea this category of app existed.


Mashable: 5 interactive tools for learning about abortion access in your state . “Despite the ruling, a network of activists and professionals have spent decades preparing for and fighting against this now-reality. Reproductive rights organizations, legal institutions, and news organizations have created numerous resources to help guide people through the new restrictions, including many interactive maps and infographics about nationwide policies and access.”

Poynter: YouTube takes flak on the third day of GlobalFact. “YouTube came under fire in Oslo on Friday during a ‘fireside chat’ at GlobalFact 9, a large fact-checking conference hosted by the International Fact-Checking Network. During the Q&A, multiple fact-checkers in the audience criticized the tech giant for a failure to enforce quality standards, a general lack of communication and an alleged failure to act on mis- and disinformation on its platform.”


Reuters: U.S. Tech Industry Frets About Handing Data to States Prosecuting Abortion . “The technology industry is bracing for the uncomfortable possibility of having to hand over pregnancy-related data to law enforcement, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overturn the Roe v. Wade precedent that for decades guaranteed a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.”

Comparitech: Ransomware attacks on US schools and colleges cost $3.56bn in 2021. “In 2021, 67 individual ransomware attacks affected 954 schools and colleges, potentially impacting 950,129 students. We estimate that these attacks cost education institutions $3.56 billion in downtime alone. Most schools will have also faced astronomical recovery costs as they tried to restore computers, recover data, and shore up their systems to prevent future attacks.”


Lidar Magazine: Bodie Heritage Kept Alive With 3D Digital Archive. “Scientists from the University of California (UC) Merced have digitally mapped the fragile remains of the once-flourishing gold rush ‘ghost’ town of Bodie, California, as part of the Bodie 3D Project.”

Euronews: Russia’s Yandex opens public access to AI large language model. “Russian technology company Yandex said on Thursday it had made a large language model for artificial intelligence research open to the public, hoping to spawn faster and deeper development of certain AI technologies.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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