1950s Aerial Photography, Mathematics Education, Twitter, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, October 20, 2023


University of Montana: UM-Led Project Creates Mapping Tool Using Satellites, 1950s Photo Archive. “When the Cold War grew chillier around 1950, the U.S. military worried about a communist land invasion of the United States. So pilots were employed – many of them veterans of World War II – to photograph the entire country using aircraft…. Now the University of Montana and its partners have created a new tool, Landscape Explorer, which combines those 1950s photos with modern satellite imagery…. At present the tool covers the American West, from the Pacific Ocean to North Dakota and down to Texas.”

Education Week: Are Schools Choosing High-Quality Math Curricula? A New Database Offers Clues . “The Center for Education Market Dynamics, a nonprofit market-intelligence organization, has created a database of math curricula used in 934 districts, representing more than 52 percent of all students in the country. The database demonstrates which publishers hold the most control over the market—but it also tracks the spread of high-quality materials.”


Rolling Stone: Elon Musk’s X Tests $1 Annual Fee in Desperate Attempt to Fight Bots, Spam. “The program, called ‘Not a Bot,’ will cost new users in both countries one dollar a year to post and interact with other posts. New users who select the subscription plan on X will be able to ‘post content, Like posts, Reply, Repost and Quote other accounts’ posts, Bookmark posts.'”

Engadget: Google rolls out more accessibility features for Maps, Search and Assistant. “Google has revealed a string of accessibility updates it’s rolling out for Maps, Search and Assistant, as well as greater availability of some camera-based Pixel features. One of the main focus areas this time around is wheelchair accessibility. A new option that’s gradually becoming available on iOS and Android will allow Maps users to request stair-free walking routes.”


Ars Technica: After ChatGPT disruption, Stack Overflow lays off 28 percent of staff. “While no chatbot is 100 percent reliable, code has the unique ability to be instantly verified by just testing it in your IDE (integrated development environment), which makes it an ideal use case for chatbots. Where exactly does that leave sites like Stack Overflow? Apparently, not in a great situation. Today, CEO Prashanth Chandrasekar announced Stack Overflow is laying off 28 percent of its staff.”

TechCrunch: One year post-acquisition, X traffic and monthly active users are in decline, report claims . “According to data from market intelligence firm Similarweb, X’s global website traffic was down 14% year-over-year in September, and U.S. traffic was down by 19%. On mobile devices in the U.S., performance had also declined 17.8% year-over-year, based on monthly active users on iOS and Android.”


Bleeping Computer: Malicious Notepad++ Google ads evade detection for months. “Threat actors have been increasingly abusing Google Ads in malvertising campaigns to promote fake software websites that distribute malware. According to Malwarebytes, which spotted the Notepad++ malvertising campaign, it has been live for several months but managed to fly under the radar all this time.”

BBC: Twitter glitch allows CIA informant channel to be hijacked. “A cyber-security researcher has exploited a glitch on the CIA’s official Twitter account, to hijack a channel used for recruiting spies. The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) account on X, formerly known as Twitter, displays a link to a Telegram channel for informants. But Kevin McSheehan was able to redirect potential CIA contacts to his own Telegram channel.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Lachlan Murdoch pleaded with Google boss to save Aussie start-up. “Media billionaire Lachlan Murdoch made a personal plea to Google’s boss, Sundar Pichai, in an attempt to stop the tech giant from banning Aussie start-up Unlockd from its platform in 2018. The revelations surfaced in court documents filed this week to a California District Court as bankruptcy trustees for Unlockd’s US operations continue a long-running antitrust battle with Google over its decision to ban the start-up from its platforms.”


Bleeding Cool: Physical Media Is Not Dead For Film Fans, It Is Just Fine Actually. “While nowhere near the highs of 2000-2010’s, physical media sales of films still topped $1.5 billion in 2022. A far cry from the peak of 2005 when sales were around $16 billion. Disney has stopped selling physical media in many foreign countries, with the US expected to be next soon. And sure, more and more people are building their streaming profiles, using services like Vudu to create a digital collection. But, just like with music, a huge group of collectors keeps film on media alive.”

Tulane University: No FOMO here – study finds social media photos may drive new customers away. “Across a diverse range of destination venues, the authors consistently found that the presence of others in the photo of a place for special or once-in-a-lifetime events lowered viewers’ liking and preference for the venue. ‘When it’s an experience closely tied to self-identity, like vacations or weddings, people want to feel personal ownership over the venue,’ the authors explained.”

CNN: Baidu says its AI is in the same league as GPT-4. “Chinese tech giant Baidu is officially taking on GPT-4. On Tuesday, the company unveiled ERNIE 4.0, the newest version of its artificial intelligence chatbot that it directly compared to the latest iteration of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.” Good morning, Internet…

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