Hawaii Air Quality Monitors, California Groundwater Management, Reddit, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, August 26, 2023


Hawaii News Now: State installs new sensors for Lahaina residents to track air quality in real-time. “One is next to the Lahaina Civic Center. The other two are near Lahainaluna High School. They track whether exposure over 24 hours poses a health risk. And real-time results are updated every 10 minutes.”

California Institute for Water Resources: Database of Demand Management Actions Under SGMA Goes Live. “Demand management – policies that alter the incentives of water users in ways that encourage conservation – will be necessary to achieve groundwater sustainability under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). … We record and explain the demand management proposals made in the state’s 118 submitted [Groundwater Sustainability Plans] and make these data publicly available in a new online platform called the SGMA Demand Management Action Database.”


TechCrunch: Reddit launches moderator rewards program amid sitewide discontent . “Reddit is launching the ‘Mod Helper Program’ to reward moderators who offer helpful advice to other moderators, along with an updated moderator help center. The announcement comes amid growing discontent among the site’s moderators, many of whom relied on third-party apps that have since been shut down because of Reddit’s API pricing.”

Search Engine Land: Google Search app could soon introduce a new Notes feature. “Google appears to be working on a new experimental feature that would let users respond to links in search results via text, images and stickers, 9to5Google reported. Why we care. There is already a lot of competition for attention in Google’s search results. If this search feature graduates from Labs, there will be even more competition in the SERPs, which could impact your organic search traffic.” None came from Google, but I remember such leave-a-note type Web annotators being briefly fashionable 20-25 years ago. They failed because either nobody used them or left just the kind of comments you’d expect, and it was like accessing a Web site through a layer of graffiti.

Bloomberg: Dropbox Ends Unlimited Cloud Storage Following Google Change. “Dropbox Inc., a provider of online data storage, is ending its unlimited option, saying a small handful of customers were using massive amounts of resources that had the potential to degrade the cloud service for the rest of its clients.”


Washington Post: Elon Musk stopped policing political misinformation. The tech industry followed.. “Social media companies are receding from their role as watchdogs against political misinformation, abandoning their most aggressive efforts to police online falsehoods in a trend expected to profoundly affect the 2024 presidential election.”

WIRED: How to Talk to Your Kids About Social Media and Mental Health. “Around the world, lawmakers have been mounting pressure on the likes of Meta and TikTok to restrict the addictive design features that young users are subjected to. But social media can be valuable to young people too. Digital spaces can be beneficial settings to build friendships and receive social support from peers. So if your kid starts asking about social media (or you suspect that they already have secret accounts), what’s a parent to do?”

Jewish Herald-Voice: Klezmer Institute awarded NEH grant. “The Klezmer Archive project is creating a universally accessible digital archival tool for interaction, discovery and research on available information about klezmer music and its network of contemporary and historical people. Taking individual melodies as the primary artifact, the digital archive will integrate existing tools and archival methods in novel ways to facilitate search and discovery rooted in the needs of its contemporary heritage community.”


FTC: FTC Action Stops Business Opportunity Scheme That Promised Its AI-Boosted Tools Would Power High Earnings Through Online Stores. “As a result of a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit, a federal court has temporarily shut down a business opportunity scheme that lured consumers to invest $22 million in online stores, using unfounded claims about income and profits. The operators of Automators also claimed to use artificial intelligence to ensure success and profitability for consumers who agreed to invest with Automators.”

University of Waterloo: Protecting Canada’s energy infrastructure and supply chain from cyber attacks. “An engineering professor from the University of Waterloo was awarded $1.2 million in federal funding to protect Canada’s critical energy infrastructure and energy sector supply chains from cyber threats. Dr. Sebastian Fischmeister and his research team will use the grant to develop an enhanced cybersecurity system, using a checkpoint technology, that can identify the threats to the supply chains serving the country’s energy sector.”

Bleeping Computer: Google Workspace will require two admins to sign off on critical changes. “Google announced today new cybersecurity defense controls that will allow security teams to thwart social engineering attacks like phishing targeting Workspace users and prevent account takeover attempts. Prominently among these new capabilities is the ability to add an additional layer of protection that requires sensitive Google Workspace actions to be signed off by two admins.”


The Engineer: Digital avatar relays decoded brain signals to give voice to paralysed woman. “A woman with severe paralysis from a brainstem stroke can speak through a digital avatar following the development of a brain-computer interface at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley. The breakthrough marks the first time that speech or facial expressions have been synthesised from brain signals.” Good morning, Internet…

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