Medieval Murder Maps, Digital Services Act, Google, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, October 2, 2023


University of Cambridge: Medieval Murder Maps. “A new website, launched by Cambridge’s Violence Research Centre, allows users to compare the causes and patterns of urban violence in medieval England across three cities for the first time. The site features a new map of York’s homicides during its 14th century ‘golden age’ when – driven by trade and textiles – the city flourished as Black Death subsided.”

European Commission: Digital Services Act: Commission launches Transparency Database. “Under the DSA, all providers of hosting services are required to provide users with clear and specific information, so-called statements of reasons, whenever they remove or restrict access to certain content. The new database will collect these statements of reasons in accordance with Article 24(5) of the DSA.”


Search Engine Journal: Google Search, Chrome & Ad Execs Plotted To Increase Ad Revenues. “United States antitrust lawsuit against Google uncovers emails of executives from Google Search, Chrome and Ads discussing schemes for increasing ad revenue. There are two documents, one from 2019 that features top Google executives from Search, Chrome and Ads hatching plans for pumping up ad revenues before the end of the quarter. At one point they even discuss the impact on Google’s stock price and their own personal fortunes.” Every day I get a little bit sadder.

Brooklyn Reader: Brooklyn Public Library Announces Expansion of Books Unbanned Program. “The library recently debuted a new podcast series titled ‘Borrowed and Banned.’ Created by award-winning producer Virginia Marshall, the seven-episode series investigates the alarming rise in book bans over the years. The podcast will feature conversations with authors that have been impacted by book bans, including Maia Kobabe, George M. Johnson, and Mike Curato, to name a few. BPL has also launched a new page on its website that gives teens the opportunity to submit their past experiences with censorship, including the potential dangers they face as they seek the freedom to read, according to the library.”


MakeUseOf: 4 Google Podcasts Alternatives to Consider . “Google Podcasts has been the one-stop destination for many podcast listeners since its launch in 2018. However, Google has been increasingly shifting its focus towards YouTube Music. The platform offers all the functionality of Google Podcasts with the added benefit of offering video support. So, it’s not surprising that the tech giant is shutting down Google Podcasts in late 2024. Fortunately, there are a number of appealing alternatives available.”


ABC News: Germany’s government and Elon Musk spar on X over maritime rescue ships. “Germany’s government rebuked X owner Elon Musk after he criticized the recent work of migrant rescue ships that German humanitarian groups operate in the Mediterranean Sea. Musk late Friday shared a video that showed migrants and aid workers on a boat. The right-wing account that first put the content on X, formerly known as Twitter, praised the populist far-right Alternative for Germany party, which has taken a hard line on migration issues.”

Deccan Herald: ‘Ejipura Stonehenge’: Unfinished Bengaluru flyover named must-visit monument on Google Maps. “The unfinished flyover was marked as Ejipura Monument and Ejipura Stonehenge on Google Maps, where citizens even started giving out reviews by tagging the flyover as a ‘must visit’. A user’s review read, ‘These monuments are an epitome of tourism in the most happening part of Bangalore. Must visit! Please be prepared for the huge loving crowd of people who have all come here to witness the greatness of the beautiful structures.’ Google Maps later removed the flyover’s listing.” I think in America we would call the flyover an overpass. Same idea anyway.

CNN: Chinese artists boycott big social media platform over AI-generated images. “Artists across China are boycotting one of the country’s biggest social media platforms over complaints about its AI image generation tool. The controversy began in August when an illustrator who goes by the name Snow Fish accused the privately owned social media site Xiaohongshu of using her work to train its AI tool, Trik AI, without her knowledge or permission.”


Engadget: Your phone will blare a national emergency alert test on October 4 at 2:20PM ET. “The federal government will conduct a nationwide alert test on Wednesday, October 4. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will send notifications to cell phones (as well as radios and TVs) to test the National Wireless Emergency Alert System and ensure the system (including the public’s familiarity with it) is ready for a real crisis.”

Globe and Mail: Federal Court of Appeal ruling opens door for Canadians to have ‘right to be forgotten’ on Google. “Google’s search engine is covered by federal privacy law, a court has ruled, opening the door for people to demand to have their names made unsearchable – commonly known as a ‘right to be forgotten.’ In a 2-1 ruling, the Federal Court of Appeal said Google, which is responsible for as much as 75 per cent of internet searches in Canada, is not covered by an exemption in the federal law for journalistic or artistic work.”


The Verge: How the Elon Musk biography exposes Walter Isaacson. “While Isaacson manages to detail what makes Musk awful, he seems unaware of what made Musk an inspiring figure for so long. Musk is a fantasist, the kind of person who conceives of civilizations on Mars. That’s what people liked all this time: dreaming big, thinking about new possible worlds. It’s also why Musk’s shifting political stance undercuts him. The fantasy of the conservative movement is small and sad, a limited world with nothing new to explore. Musk has gone from dreaming very, very big to seeming very, very small. In the hands of a talented biographer, this kind of tragic story would provide rich material.”

George Washington University: Combating Distrust Online: New GW Study Explains Why Current Messaging Efforts May Not Be Effective. “New research led by the George Washington University finds that current mitigation efforts to combat distrust online may not be effective because organizations and governments tackling distrust are only targeting one topic and only one geographical scale. The study shows that online distrust has become a ‘glocal’ phenomenon, meaning that it is spreading with different topics lumped together and mixing both local and global interests.” Good morning, Internet…

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