Overdose Deaths, Twitter, Smithsonian, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, August 24, 2023


WLWT: New database highlights overdose death rates in every county in the U.S.. “WLWT’s news partner, Hearst-owned newspaper The San Francisco Chronicle, created a database tracking U.S. drug overdoses. The data comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 32.3 overdose deaths for every 100,000 people in the United States in 2022.”


The Verge: X says it’s fixed the bug that broke links and images in pre-December 2014 tweets. “There are no details mentioned in the post about what the bug was, when it started happening, or why it will take an unspecified amount of time to resolve. In looking up the problem, we learned that changes by Twitter in 2016 used metadata on tweets posted from December 2014 going forward to fill in additional data from linked webpages and allow attachments that didn’t eat up a tweet’s character count, and it was only earlier posts that were hit by the bug.”

Mashable: Fyre Festival 2 tickets are on sale if you can believe it. “Billy McFarland, the co-organizer of the now-ridiculed 2017 disaster of an event, announced that tickets are on sale for Fyre Festival II, supposedly set to take place at the end of 2024. McFarland spent four years behind bars on multiple counts of fraud after the festival, located on on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma, was deemed a scam, with McFarland duping investors and customers out of $26 million.”

Smithsonian Institution: Smithsonian Continues Collecting Artifacts From Jan. 6 Capitol Attack. “Artifacts reflecting the violence, chaos and confusion at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, 2021, have been added to the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in a continuing effort to document the attack on that day and its larger impact on American democracy.”


BBC: Why you rarely believe celebrity apologies on social media. “It’s a change from the world of sterile press releases from publicity reps. Instead, public figures now use social media to convey their contrition. They intend these apologies to meet their audiences where they are – be it Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, X or even LinkedIn – with the hope the platforms will help to mimic the good faith of a face-to-face mea culpa. Yet some experts say this practice has changed our relationship to apologies: both how to give them and how to receive them. This shift isn’t always positive, and often renders these displays of remorse ineffective.”

ZDNet: New ‘BeFake’ social media app encourages users to transform their photos with AI. “Although most social media sites claim to be platforms where people can share their most authentic selves with the world, the profiles display carefully curated windows into what users want others to see. BeFake AI, a new free app, leans into the fakeness of social media. BeFake AI claims to be the ‘First AI-Augmented Social Network’ where users can use AI to modify their images into art creations and upload them online.”

Deadspin: NBA social media whistleblower: Login was an accident, but league needs to hire more employees [Updated] . “When it comes to the NBA’s stars, Adam Silver has been open about addressing the anxiety NBA players face under the microscope. They’ve also done wonders for player rest, limiting back-to-backs. However, when it comes to the well-being of its social media employees, the league allegedly still has work to do. At least, that’s what a former NBA social media manager, Dean Joannou, explained on the league’s Facebook account months after leaving his former employer. After some brief guerilla advertising for his own media consulting business, Joannou explained the conditions that led him to quit.”


Radio New Zealand: Google offshoot ‘X’ lobbies NZ government over electricity projects. “An offshoot of Google has lobbied the government hard over electricity projects and had multiple meetings with Minister of Energy Megan Woods. Woods initiated the meetings and was ‘very excited’ by the huge US company’s so-called ‘moonshot’ ideas.”

Radio Nigeria: Somalia bans TikTok, Telegram over indecent contents. “Somalia has banned TikTok, messaging app Telegram and online betting website 1XBet to limit the spread of indecent content and propaganda. Somalia Communications Minister, Jama Hassan Khalif said members of the insurgent group al Shabaab and immoral groups use apps to spread constant horrific images and misinformation to the public.”


NewsWise: New study shows algorithms promote bias–and that consumers cooperate. “Every time you engage with Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix and other online sites, algorithms are busy behind the scenes chronicling your activities and queuing up recommendations tailored to what they know about you. The invisible work of algorithms and recommendation systems spares people from a deluge of information and ensures they receive relevant responses to searches. But Sachin Banker says a new study shows that subtle gender biases shape the information served up to consumers.”

WIRED: Use of AI Is Seeping Into Academic Journals—and It’s Proving Difficult to Detect. “IN ITS AUGUST edition, Resources Policy, an academic journal under the Elsevier publishing umbrella, featured a peer-reviewed study about how ecommerce has affected fossil fuel efficiency in developing nations. But buried in the report was a curious sentence: ‘Please note that as an AI language model, I am unable to generate specific tables or conduct tests, so the actual results should be included in the table.'”

USC Viterbi School of Engineering: AI That Teaches Other AI. “A new USC study finds that by sharing knowledge with each other at the same time, AI agents can quickly learn a wider range of tasks, with applications in medicine and beyond.” Good morning, Internet…

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