Medieval Manuscripts, Ireland WWI Casualties, Urban Infrastructure Datasets, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, November 10, 2022

Two apologies:

1) I don’t think I’ve missed two days in a row since my mother was in ICU with covid. Straight up ran out of steam. I’m sorry.

2) Going to be lots of Twitter news for a while. Sometimes there are things that make a stir in the tech world that I ignore or minimize in ResearchBuzz (product line rollouts, drama over text message platforms, etc) but I feel what’s happening at Twitter is very important. I’ll try to keep it as useful and non-frivolous as possible.


University of Leiden: Medieval manuscripts made available in Europeana. “Over 600 manuscripts and early prints have been made digitally available by Leiden University Libraries (UBL) via the Europeana platform. In the project ‘The Art of Reading in the Middle Ages’ (ARMA), seven European heritage institutions added 30,000 digitised medieval items to Europeana’s database and improved the quality of another 30,000, thus bringing medieval reading culture within the grasp of users.”

RTE: Donegal museum launches WW1 database. “A searchable database of over 1,000 people from Co Donegal who died as a result of World War 1 has been launched by Donegal County Museum.”

Iowa State University: Novel atlas shows vast urban infrastructure divide between Global South and Global North. “The pioneering new data set shows the vast differences in the height of built-up infrastructure in urban areas across the globe, information that could improve projections of energy use and emissions and inform city planning and economic development efforts, including progression toward the United Nations sustainable development goals, said Yuyu Zhou…”


Wired: Twitter Users Have Caused a Mastodon Meltdown . “Since Musk bought the bird app last month, users are looking for ways to access Mastodon, the open source microblogging platform that isn’t quite Twitter but seems to be the closest thing to it, and they’re signing up for its many servers in droves. And Fosstodon, whose usership has grown from a list of about 3,000 active members to an unwieldy 40,000 total members, is far from the only server on the network to run into trouble.”

Ars Technica: Musk-led Twitter rolls out new ‘Official’ tags, removes them hours later. “Twitter is rolling out the $7.99-per-month version of its Twitter Blue subscription, which adds a blue checkmark to your profile. But with Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s move to paid checkmarks raising concerns about impersonation, Twitter also deployed a new ‘Official’ label for notable accounts. However, in news that probably won’t surprise you, the Official label rollout is already chaotic.”

Engadget: Google starts issuing Stadia refunds. “As of today, Google is starting to process refunds for Stadia purchases. The first wave of refunds will include those for purchases of games, add-on content and subscriptions made through the Stadia store. However, the company is not refunding Stadia Pro subscription fees.”


Washington Post: Ernie Lazar, who quietly amassed huge FBI archive, dies at 77. “Lazar, who died Nov. 1 at his home in Palm Springs, Calif., at 77, was not booked on shows as a historical pundit. He did not write his own manuscripts or articles. His name, if noticed at all, was tucked into acknowledgments in books such as Christopher Elias’s ‘Gossip Men’ (2021) on the ‘Red Scare’ era and Thomas Konda’s ‘Conspiracies of Conspiracies: How Delusions Have Overrun America’ (2019). But to a generation of authors, researchers, academics and others, Lazar was a figure of heroic proportions.”

TechCrunch: Google and Twitter veteran maps out a Twitter alternative. “Years-old federated social networks, legacy social platforms that have their own issues and a cacophony of pre-existing fringe efforts are all emerging as possible alternatives to Twitter. And in that vein, so are completely new ideas. One of these is being hatched by Gabor Cselle, a repeat founder who wants to build what he described to me as ‘a new Twitter.'”

NPR: Some Twitter users flying the coop hope Mastodon will be a safe landing. “Few people outside computer programmers or engineers had heard of the social network Mastodon before Elon Musk bought Twitter. Now, Twitter users queasy about changes the eccentric billionaire is making are signing up for Mastodon accounts in droves. Mastodon reached a million users earlier this week, up from under 400,000 before Musk closed the Twitter deal on Oct. 27.”


Bleeping Computer: 15,000 sites hacked for massive Google SEO poisoning campaign. “Hackers are conducting a massive black hat search engine optimization (SEO) campaign by compromising almost 15,000 websites to redirect visitors to fake Q&A discussion forums. The attacks were first spotted by Sucuri, who says that each compromised site contains approximately 20,000 files used as part of the search engine spam campaign, with most of the sites being WordPress.”


News@Northeastern: Northeastern Researcher Wins Meta Award To Quarantine And Vaccinate Silent Data Corruptions. “Most of us have experienced that terrifying moment when a computer program unexpectedly quits or our computer screen suddenly goes black, sending us into panic mode over possibly losing hours of work. ‘You would say, “Oh, my computer crashed,”‘ says Devesh Tiwari, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in Northeastern’s College of Engineering. ‘But it is actually a good thing that it crashed when an error happened.'”

MIT News: In machine learning, synthetic data can offer real performance improvements. “Models trained on synthetic data can be more accurate than other models in some cases, which could eliminate some privacy, copyright, and ethical concerns from using real data.” Good morning, Internet…

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