Universe Mapping, Internet Archive, Minnesota Court Records, More: Wednesday ResearchBuzz, August 17, 2022


University of Hawaii at Mānoa: UH astronomers produce catalog to extensively map universe. “What does our universe look like at the largest size scales? A team of researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA) and Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary has produced a massive new catalog of high-fidelity distance estimates to more than 350 million galaxies, revealing the soap-bubble structure of the universe in detail.”

Internet Archive: New additions to the Internet Archive for July 2022. “Many items are added to the Internet Archive’s collections every month, by us and by our patrons. Here’s a round up of some of the new media you might want to check out. Logging in might be required to borrow certain items.” Far more new content than I can summarize here.


Minnesota Judicial Branch: Hearing and Judgment Search Now Available Through Minnesota Court Records Online. “The Minnesota Judicial Branch today announced two new search functions have been added to Minnesota Court Records Online (MCRO). A Hearing Search now allows users to search for individual court hearings, and a Judgment Search allows users to search for docketed monetary judgments and related information.”

Poynter: Australia’s news media bargaining code pries $140 million from Google and Facebook. “More than a year after Australian political parties across the spectrum united around a law that pushed Google and Facebook to pay for the news they distribute, a further 24 smaller media outlets will now receive money from Google. This means that Google has made deals with essentially all qualifying media companies. These deals, and those struck with Facebook, have injected well over $200 million AUD into Australian journalism each year according to Rod Sims, the former chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission who initiated the Code.”


Washington Post: From W-2s to nudes, here’s how to hide sensitive photos. “Maybe you snapped an image of your Social Security card, birth certificate or W-2 form. Maybe you want to keep your kids’ bathtub photos in a safe place. Maybe you’re not quite ready to hit ‘delete’ on those vacation photos with your ex. Or maybe you’re one of the way-too-many people who accidentally showed a sexy photo to a restaurant host while looking for their vaccine cards. Whatever your inspiration, here’s how to hide sensitive photos from prying eyes and ruthless auto-generated slide shows.”


University of Cambridge: Do not try this at home: Medieval medicine under the spotlight in major new project. “Curious Cures in Cambridge Libraries – a new two-year project to digitise, catalogue and conserve over 180 medieval manuscripts – has launched at Cambridge University Library. It will focus on manuscripts containing approximately 8,000 unedited medical recipes and will bring together unique and irreplaceable handwritten books from across the world-class collections of the University Library, the Fitzwilliam Museum and a dozen Cambridge colleges.”

Drive: Google Maps blamed for family left stranded in outback. “A family rescued from outback New South Wales has blamed Google Maps for sending their Hyundai Tucson down an inaccessible track, according to 9News. Despite a single asphalt road connecting the remote towns of Tibooburra and Packsaddle in the north west of NSW, it’s understood the Hyundai Tucson was located about 50km southeast of Tibooburra.”


Ars Technica: I’m a security reporter and got fooled by a blatant phish . “I also have long held the belief that phishers aren’t all that bright, else they’d rely on more technical means of breaching a target’s security. That gave me a sense of invincibility. The person behind the DM almost certainly relied on a script that either monitored new Twitter verifications or my timeline and swooped in almost immediately after the verification went into effect, probably with the use of an automated script. In retrospect, that’s an obvious thing for a phisher to do, but it hadn’t occurred to me before that someone would be this determined and resourceful.”

CNET: Oracle Starts Auditing TikTok’s Algorithms Amid Security Concerns. “Axios, citing an unnamed source, reported Tuesday that Oracle began the review last week and that the company will help ensure that Chinese authorities aren’t manipulating TikTok’s algorithms. TikTok’s algorithms help determine what videos the platform recommends to its more than 1 billion monthly active users. In June, TikTok announced it routed all US user traffic to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.”

ProPublica: What Happened When Twitter and Other Social Media Platforms Cracked Down on Extremists. “In a Q&A with ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson, former intelligence officer and data scientist Welton Chang explains how conspiracy theorists and violent racists fled to smaller platforms. Once there, their remarks festered and spread.”


WIRED: Google Search Is Quietly Damaging Democracy. “Google’s latest desire to answer our questions for us, rather than requiring us to click on the returns and find the answers for ourselves, is not particularly problematic if what you’re seeking is a straightforward fact like how many ounces make up a gallon. The problem is, many rely on search engines to seek out information about more convoluted topics. And, as my research reveals, this shift can lead to incorrect returns that often disrupt democratic participation, confirm unsubstantiated claims, and are easily manipulatable by people looking to spread falsehoods.”

Government Accountability Office: Breaking Down Barriers to Broadband Access. “What would your life be like without broadband internet? For many people, it’s hard to imagine not having critical services and resources at their fingertips on a daily basis. But millions of people—mostly in rural areas—still don’t have broadband access…. Federal efforts to provide broadband access to all span multiple presidential administrations. Today’s WatchBlog post explores our work about some of the ongoing challenges to achieving this goal.” Good morning, Internet…

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