Portuguese Inquisition, Office Macros, Searching YouTube, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, July 9, 2022


Times of Israel: National Library finds rare 18th-century text detailing Portuguese Inquisition. “An 18th-century document detailing the activities of the Portuguese Inquisition, which punished people for upholding Jewish traditions and committing other transgressions, has been found by the National Library of Israel and made available online, the library announced.”


Bleeping Computer: Microsoft rolls back decision to block Office macros by default. “While Microsoft announced earlier this year that it would block VBA macros on downloaded documents by default, Redmond said on Thursday that it will roll back this change based on ‘feedback’ until further notice. The company has also failed to explain the reason behind this decision and is yet to publicly inform customers that VBA macros embedded in malicious Office documents will no longer be blocked automatically in Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and Word.”


The Next Web: This badass tool makes advanced YouTube searches a breeze. “YouTube has succeeded in making life difficult for its users. It ruins your groove with annoying in-video ads. It constantly bugs you to go premium. And it makes searching for anything specific, well, a challenge. Yes, you can apply filters to your search, but these are often fiddly and irritating to use. Luckily for all exasperated YouTube users, there’s a badass tool that can give you the advanced search options you’re craving without all the hassle.” Stephen Arnold had a wry take on this site’s name that I really appreciated.

Make Tech Easier: 11 of the Best LMS Alternatives to Google Classroom. “While Google Classroom works well enough, it’s not always the best learning management system (LMS) for everyone. Luckily, there are a variety of LMS alternatives to Google Classroom. From completely free systems that integrate with other free and premium tools to premium systems with more features, you’ll likely find the perfect alternative right here.”


New York Times: Cooking Online, Arab Women Find Income and Community. “The kitchen, historically the symbolic heart of domesticity in the Arab world, has often kept women tethered to household responsibility, and out of the work force. Only about 25 percent of women in the Middle East participate in the labor force — the lowest such figure in the world, even as female university graduates in the region often outnumber their male counterparts. But the rise of social media platforms, YouTube in particular, is changing the power dynamic for Arab women, allowing them to turn the kitchen into a source of income and influence.”

Bandcamp Daily: Field Recordings are Music, Material, and Method. “That a field recording is a document, preserving sound from a place in both geography and time, is fundamental. However, the field recording concept is not only a genre of its own but also a method that can be incorporated into all existing and conceivable genres; a bird call can remain a bird call, or it can be made into material that becomes a part of a large audio creation, of any kind and in any style.”


Push Square: Sony Removing Some Purchased Films, Movies from Users’ Accounts. “Sony stopped flogging films and television shows through the PS Store a little while back, but it promised to honour existing purchases. However, as of 31st August in Germany and Austria, it will begin the process of removing content from French film production and distribution company Studio Canal, meaning even if you paid for them you’ll no longer be able to access them.”

The Block: How a fake job offer took down the world’s most popular crypto game. “Ronin, the Ethereum-linked sidechain that underpins play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, lost $540 million in crypto to an exploit in March. While the US government later tied the incident to North Korean hacking group Lazarus, full details of how the exploit was carried out have not been disclosed.”


The Next Web: Why ‘facial expression recognition’ AI is a total scam. “A team of researchers at Jilin Engineering Normal University in China recently published a paper indicating they’d built an AI model capable of recognizing human facial expressions. I’m going to save you some time here: they most certainly did not. Such a thing isn’t currently possible.”

The Scientist: EU Cancels Funding for UK Researchers in Ongoing Brexit Fallout. “More than 100 grants previously approved for applicants in Britain have been scrapped amid a continuing dispute over the UK’s refusal to fully implement trade arrangements made when the country left the European Union.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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