Food Safety, Scots Language, Facebook, More: Saturday Buzz, December 3, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Recently-launched: a Web site focusing on open sourcing food safety plans. “Starting a new food business or processing venture can be daunting, especially considering the proprietary nature of food safety plans and research results necessary to making our food system safe. The goal of the Open Source Food Safety Initiative is to make food safety information available to everyone. Building on concepts first developed by the Open Source Software movement, we aim to make food safety plans and information freely shareable, modifiable, and usable. This website is designed to serve as a forum for sharing, discussing, and collaborating on food safety information.”

A new site from the National Library of Scotland provides information on the Scots language. “The Wee Windaes website … is based on a careful selection of Scots language material from the countless examples in the vast collections of the National Library. The oldest is a performance poem from the 1440s, The Buke of the Howlat, through to the 20th-century writings of novelist and playwright Jessie Kesson. Examples of contemporary writing will be added as the site develops further.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Facebook briefly interfered with / warned about a browser extension designed to detect bogus news on Facebook. “Two weeks ago, web designer Daniel Sieradski created B.S. Detector, a browser extension that alerts users to the presence of unreliable news sources, as a ‘proof of concept to counter [Facebook CEO] Mark Zuckerberg’s dubious claim that Facebook wasn’t in a position to really deal with fake news,’ he tells Quartz. Since then, the plugin has been downloaded and installed about 25,000 times. Today, however, some users attempting to share links to the B.S. Detector website on Facebook were interrupted by a warning from the social media company.”

Google has launched Santa’s Village for the season. “From sliding penguins to dancing elves, the residents of the North Pole are having the time of their lives, and now you can join in the merriment. This year you’ll find several new games in Santa’s Village, including four new ones only available on the Android app — including Present Quest, where you try your hand at recovering Santa’s misplaced gifts out in the real world.”

Snapchat has ditched Story Explorer. “A year after introducing Story Explorer as a way for people to view the events documented in Live Stories from many different angles, Snapchat is narrowing its aperture. Snapchat has removed the Story Explorer feature from its Live Stories, a Snapchat spokesperson confirmed. The discontinued feature may be as much a victim of its own tangled user experience as of Snapchat’s heightened editorial efforts around Live Stories.”

YouTube now supports 4K livestreaming. Just wow. “YouTube enabled support for 4K video on its site back in 2010, and today it’s bringing that same capability to live streaming. Both standard videos and 360 videos will be able to be live streamed in 4K, the company announced this morning.”

Twitter Moments are now available on mobile. “Aptly, Twitter created a Moment to explain the process of building one. Users can access the feature by choosing a tweet and clicking on the gray arrow in the upper right-hand corner. A pop-up window will appear with a tab that reads ‘Add to Moment.'”

Amazon has launched Amazon AI. “Amazon today announced the launch of its new Amazon AI platform at its re:Invent developer event in Las Vegas. This new service brings many of the machine learning smarts Amazon has developed in-house over the years to devs outside the company. For now, the service only makes three different tools available, but the plan is to add more over time.”

USEFUL STUFF

How biased is your Facebook feed? This Chrome extension will give you an idea. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that the internet isolates us into an echo chamber of agreement, rarely putting us in contact with ideas that might challenge us. In response to this, Princeton computer science student Zachary Liu has created a Chrome extension called PolitEcho that quickly analyzes a person’s Facebook data and then spits out some color-coded charts showing just how far to the left or right it leans.”

From New York Magazine, as I’m trying to find more reasons to use Snapchat: Use These Secret Hacks to Find Every Celebrity on Snapchat . “While it’s fairly easy to add personal friends via their names or cell-phone numbers in your address book, adding celebrities, athletes, politicians, and … please forgive me … influencers isn’t as simple, especially if you don’t know their usernames. Unlike other social apps (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) Snapchat does not recommend people for you to follow based on those you already do. You’ve got to do the work yourself.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

From The Washington Post: The 16 most-Instagrammed places of 2016. “Instagram has released its annual list of the world’s most popular spots for taking photos — a veritable who’s who (or, perhaps, a where’s where) of the globe’s top tourist destinations. We’ve compiled Instagram posts featuring the top 16 locations of 2016, to lighten your cold-weather blues. Plus, if you’re making a New Year’s resolution to travel more, this list might spark some inspiration.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

The Intercept: Internet Archive Successfully Fends Off Secret FBI Order. “The archive, a nonprofit online library, has disclosed that it received another [National Security Letter] in August, its first since the one it received and fought in 2007. Once again it pushed back, but this time events unfolded differently: The archive was able to challenge the NSL and gag order directly in a letter to the FBI, rather than through a secretive lawsuit. In November, the bureau again backed down and, without a protracted battle, has now allowed the archive to publish the NSL in redacted form.” Good morning, Internet…

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IRS, G Suite, Prisma, More: Friday Buzz, December 2, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The IRS has launched a new tool to provide taxpayers with basic account information and while I think it’s a great idea it makes me really nervous. “This new and secure tool, available on IRS.gov allows taxpayers to view their IRS account balance, which will include the amount they owe for tax, penalties and interest. Taxpayers may also continue to take advantage of the various online payment options available by accessing any of the payment features including: direct pay, pay by card and Online Payment Agreement. As part of the IRS vision for the future taxpayer experience, the IRS anticipates that other capabilities will continue to be added to this platform as they are developed and tested.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google has launched a new App Maker for G Suites. “It’s a browser-based platform for building browser-based corporate apps for internal use. And though it has an emphasis on approachable features such as drag-and-drop widgets you can use to rapidly assemble features without writing code, Google has also aimed to give it enough power to tackle fairly meaty development challenges as well as basic ones.”

Prisma and Facebook are having a spat. “Style transfer startup Prisma added support to its iOS app for livestreaming its art filter effects in real-time via Facebook Live earlier this month — but almost immediately the startup’s access to the Live API was cut off by the social media platform giant. It’s a David vs Goliath tale that’s oh–so–familiar in tech.”

USEFUL STUFF

Useful stuff from the State Archives of North Carolina: Interpreting the North Carolina World War I Service Cards . “At the time of the War Department’s production of the cards, they created a 13-page list of abbreviations and their meanings as utilized on the cards. The State Archives is posting this list so that the public can understand the service history more completely when they access the online cards. Even with this list of abbreviations, it is still confusing to understand the context of the service history. In the course of my work with the Military Collection at the State Archives, I have had to learn how to interpret the cards’ information accurately, and would like to share a tutorial on using the cards.” The republished list (available as a PDF file) looks really handy for genealogists.

RAPS: Using Twitter as an Intelligence Tool: 85 Accounts Worth Following. “With the rise of president-elect Donald Trump, it’s become abundantly clear that Twitter matters. And it matters not just for politics. For regulatory affairs folks in in the pharmaceutical and medical device spaces, for investors, and even for the regulators themselves, Twitter is a great place to catch the day’s breaking news before the headlines are written.” Minimal annotation but enough.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

One wonders what’s going on at Facebook. From The Verge: Mark Zuckerberg’s posts about fake news and the US election briefly disappeared Tuesday. “Two important posts from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his company’s role in the US presidential election and news dissemination disappeared from his timeline on Tuesday morning before being restored shortly before 1PM ET.”

New York Times: While We Weren’t Looking, Snapchat Revolutionized Social Networks. “Though Snapchat has overtaken Twitter in terms of daily users to become one of the most popular social networks in the world, it has not attracted the media attention that the 140-character platform earns, perhaps because journalists and presidential candidates don’t use it very much. Snapchat’s news division has become a popular and innovative source of information for young people, but it is rarely mentioned in the hand-wringing over how social media affected the presidential election.”

From Newsweek: Social Media Offers a Massive Collection of Glorious Corporate Screwups. “In the bursting septic tank that is social media, amid the flow of hoax news and hate speech from accounts with anime avatars and alarming reports of our country’s bleak descent into an autocratic kleptocracy, there’s not much left to enjoy. Still, it retains at least one entertaining utility: as a corporate complaints department. Not because it offers brands a chance to help their grimy customers (who cares?), but because it offers a bountiful public display of corporate screwups.” That was a bit cynical for my taste but the article does give some hints on how to find consumer complaints on social media. Warning: a couple of these pictures are gross. One made me gag.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

If you use Firefox and Tor, better patch. “Mozilla and Tor have released patches for Firefox and the Firefox-based Tor Browser to block a live attack aimed at unmasking users of the Tor anonymity network. The patch, which Mozilla released on Wednesday, addresses a Firefox animation remote code execution flaw that on Tuesday was discovered to have been actively exploited to de-anonymize Tor Browser users.”

Hint: do not use the Internet to throw shade on the president of Azerbaijan. “Azerbaijan’s parliament has approved a new law which makes insulting the country’s president on social media a criminal offence. Online defamation was already a crime, but the new law makes specific provisions for the president. Offenders using fake accounts could face a 1,500 manats (£676; $855) fine and up to three years in jail for insults against Ilham Aliyev.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

I don’t watch much sports but this sounds like a book I’d like to read: The Effect Of Social Media On Sports Consumption – New Sports Book, ‘How We Watch Sports’, Released By Sports Analyst And Data Scientist Dan Voicescu (PRESS RELEASE.) “Sports analyst and commentator Dan Voicescu has announced the release of a new book about sports and the media, ‘How We Watch Sports: The Evolution of Fandom and Sports Consumption in the #postinternet Era’. Unlike other sports books, this sports book shows us how social media has changed the way we watch sports.”

EurekAlert: Narcissistic individuals use social media to self-promote. “A new statistical review of 62 studies with over 13,000 individuals found that narcissism has a modest but reliable positive relationship with a range of social media behaviors. The largest effects were with the number of friends/followers narcissists had and frequency of status updates, followed by selfie postings, according to University of Georgia psychology researchers.” Good morning, Internet…

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Paris Review, New York City Traffic, December Holidays, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, November 30, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The Paris Review has relaunched its Web site and launched a new digital archive. “Now you can read every short story and poem, every portfolio, every hastily doodled authorial self-portrait, and every introductory notice from the unassailable George Plimpton, who used to use the front of the magazine to brag about its ever-longer masthead. (‘It is extremely difficult to extricate oneself—rather like being stuck in a bramble bush.’)” As you might imagine, it’s not free.

The New York Police Department has put a database of traffic incidents online. “The site… which is updated every Tuesday, includes statistics on the number of citywide collisions, injuries related to motorists, pedestrians, passengers and bike riders and fatalities. The data can be viewed citywide, or broken down into police precincts and has a map that pinpoints the exact location of collisions.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Larry Ferlazzo, who is terrific, has updated his list of December holiday resources.

Apple is working on the iCloud Calendar spam problem. “Over the past week, spammers have increasingly turned to Apple’s Calendar service instead of sending advertisements and other promotional content through email, effectively bypassing potential spam filters. Depending on system settings, iCloud Calendar invites are pushed out directly to connected iOS and Mac devices, which in turn trigger an onscreen notification that must be accepted or denied. Further, interacting with an iCloud Calendar invite automatically sends a response to the sender, meaning spammers can easily determine whether a particular account is active. ”

It’s December so I don’t feel too horribly guilty about reporting this one: Google’s Santa Tracker gets updated with Pokemon Go-type game. “Every year, when the air in the morning is at its crispest and all of the colorful autumn leaves have long-fallen off of the trees, Google updates its Santa-tracking app. No, really. It’s a holiday tradition.”

USEFUL STUFF

Oh boy, I feel weird linking to this because I’m not a fan of sponsored content that isn’t really clearly marked sponsored content. But it’s Social Media Examiner, which means it’s high quality, and it’s a good primer for finding influential local people, which could be good for journalists and community outreach. So here you go: How to Find Social Media Micro-influencers for Your Small Business.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The Drum: Dow Jones chief accuses Google and Facebook of ‘killing news’ (interesting headline font there, Drum.) “Seated in the dining room of a Belle Époque-era London hotel, the chief executive officer of Dow Jones & Company briefly draws attention to his new vegetable-based diet before launching into a spleen-venting explanation of why he has had an utter bellyful of the two great gatekeepers of the modern media age, Facebook and Google, and accusing them of ‘killing news’.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Bloomberg Quint: Google, Facebook Targeted by Indonesia in Push for More Tax. “Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati is seeking to squeeze more revenue out of an economy that’s been hit by weak commodity prices and subdued demand from China, Indonesia’s biggest trading partner. Halfway through a tax amnesty plan, the government has raised almost 100 trillion rupiah ($7.4 billion) in income from penalties and is now turning its focus to companies like Apple Inc., Twitter Inc. and Yahoo! Inc.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

TVNewsCheck: Social Media Use By Local Advertisers. “The percentage of advertisers selecting social media as a leading source of new customers has more than doubled in five years, from 21% in 2011 to 44% in 2016, while the percentage of advertisers who believe that their company’s website is a significant source of new customers has slipped.”

OTHER STUFF I THINK IS COOL

About 1993 I had a PC and a monitor, and the monitor died. I couldn’t afford to replace it, so as I remember I ended up running the video signal out of the PC and into a VCR, and out the VCR and into an ancient black and white TV. I don’t remember precisely how it worked, but I do remember that this rig held together until I was able to save up enough for a new monitor. And that’s why I’m linking to the guy who built a Slack client for the Commodore 64. “Software engineer Jeff Harris managed to write a Slack client for the Commodore 64, a home computer released in 1982 that sported 64 kilobytes of memory. Harris wrote a Slack client in 6502 assembly, and he put the resulting code on Github. Getting the client to actually work took some special tricks. Using the Commodore 64’s Userport, Harris used a homemade adaptor to connect the computer to a Raspberry Pi.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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Epidemic Tracking, Quartz, Facebook Messenger, More: Thursday Buzz, November 30, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

A new online tool is designed to track disease outbreaks and epidemics. “Microreact is a cloud-based system that combines the power of open data and the web, to provide real-time global data sharing and visualisation, allowing anyone to explore and examine outbreak information with unprecedented speed and detail. This is becoming increasingly important in the race to monitor and control fast-developing outbreaks like Ebola or Zika, or the growing threat of anti-microbial resistance. Microreact allows data and metadata sets to be uploaded via a web browser, which can then be visualised, shared and published in a research paper via a permanent web link.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Quartz is launching a bot studio. Because it’s all about the bots. No treble. “Quartz is betting big on bots. The Atlantic Media-owned outlet is getting a $240,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to launch Quartz Bot Studio, a group focused on developing three bot-related projects in the coming year, for everything from messaging platforms like Slack to voice interfaces like the Amazon Echo (disclosure: Knight is a supporter of Nieman Lab). Quartz will contribute its own resources to the Studio as well, and intends for the projects to continue after its first year.”

Facebook Messenger now has instant games. “Bored while you wait for someone to text back? Now you can challenge friends for high scores on Facebook Messenger’s new Instant Games, like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Words With Friends Frenzy. Available right from your message threads, they load in seconds since they’re built on the HTML5 mobile web standard, rather than having to be downloaded like clunky native apps.”

Google Glasses, Snapchat Spectacles, and … PogoCam? “Camera glasses aren’t a new idea, but Spectacles — the camera-equipped sunglasses from the company that made Snapchat — are the kind of product that can open the floodgates. One of the first ideas through those gates is being announced today from a small company called PogoTec. But instead of making glasses with a camera inside, PogoTec has gone a different, modular route.”

USEFUL STUFF

Could come in very handy, from NewCo Shift: Wrap Text Around a Photo in Google Docs (Without Ripping Your Hair Out). “Google Docs is a text-driven environment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spruce up your favorite document with an eye catching image. However, if you just stick a picture into the text, it interrupts the visual flow. That stops the reader, who might not bother to pick up the narrative again. (Plus, it looks pretty lame.)”

Boom! Social: How to Look Like a Pro Using Facebook Live: Lights, Camera, Action “Once you understand the basics of using Facebook Live, you can start fine-tuning your video production. This can take your broadcasts from ordinary to AMAZING! This post will outline some simple and cost-effective ways you can go beyond the basics to create eye-catching, compelling Facebook Live broadcasts your viewers will love!”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Kickstarter Corner and spotted today: a combination desk lamp and automated document scanner. Oh me oh my.

Sophos: Facebook users want to continue posting from beyond the grave. “In fairness, after questioning 2,000 people on the matter, some of the updating was relatively straightforward, with 55% simply wanting replies to expressions of sympathy after their deaths. However, almost as many wanted a friend of family member to post once or twice a year on their behalf with 10 percent suggesting this be done as often as once a week to ‘keep their memory alive’.”

Gizmodo: Reddit is tearing itself apart. “Gizmodo spoke with five high-ranking volunteer moderators of some of Reddit’s biggest communities, as well as a Reddit spokesperson. We discovered the site’s unusual working relationship with its most problematic community—r/The_Donald—a community which, by exploiting poor enforcement of Reddit’s already limp user protections, has effectively been holding the rest of the site hostage.”

Unfortunate but not a surprise: Gambia’s government has shut down the internet on the eve of elections. “Gambia, mainland Africa’s smallest country, has switched off its internet, a tactic that is becoming increasingly common in the continent around election season.”

Wow! From Mashable: Instagram expected to have more advertisers than Twitter by next year. “The study predicts that nearly three quarters of American companies with 100 employees or more will turn to Instagram for marketing purposes in 2017 — up from a little more than half this year. Meanwhile, Twitter’s popularity among marketers is expected to continue to stagnate at around 66 percent. According to the firm’s data, the number of brands using Twitter has grown less than two percent since 2014.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From The University of Texas at Dallas: Study Examines Effect of Privacy Controls on Facebook Behavior. “Despite the widespread popularity of online social network platforms, privacy remains a troublesome issue. A new study from the Naveen Jindal School of Management assesses the impact of Facebook’s granular privacy controls and its effects on user disclosure behavior.”

Nieman Journalism Lab: Reuters built its own algorithmic prediction tool to help it spot (and verify) breaking news on Twitter. “When it comes to automating the process of spotting breaking news, solving one problem can create several more. Reuters discovered this firsthand over the past two years as it built Reuters News Tracer, a custom tool designed to monitor Twitter for major breaking news events as they emerge. While reporters curate their own lists of sources to get rapid alerts on stories they’re already looking for, the Reuters tool is designed to solve a different problem: detecting breaking news events while early reports are still coming in.” Good morning, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

DPLA, Google Earth, Internet Archive, More: Wednesday Buzz, November 30, 2016

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Great news: the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the Library of Congress are teaming up. “The Library of Congress today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Digital Public Library of America to become a ‘content hub partner’ and will ultimately share a significant portion of its rich digital resources with DPLA’s database of digital content records.”

Google has updated Google Earth Timelapse. “In 2013, we released Google Earth Timelapse, our most comprehensive picture of the Earth’s changing surface. This interactive experience enabled people to explore these changes like never before—to watch the sprouting of Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands, the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, and the impressive urban expansion of Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we’re making our largest update to Timelapse yet, with four additional years of imagery, petabytes of new data, and a sharper view of the Earth from 1984 to 2016. We’ve even teamed up again with our friends at TIME to give you an updated take on compelling locations. ”

The Internet Archive is crowdfunding to build a copy of its archive in Canada. “On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change. For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions. It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase.”

Google Expeditions is getting 50 new tours! “Students can now travel back in time to visit the famous warship Mary Rose, discover Viking settlements and even try to solve one of the greatest mysteries of all time, Richard III’s death. As well as covering Science, Art, English and History, the launch of this new content will also include several Expeditions that explore a variety of careers. These will invite students to experience a day in the life of those who work as an app developer, surgeon, chef, outdoors activity instructor and many more. Teachers will also be able to take students on a tour to explore the early life of Robert Burns, experience the Aurora Borealis and learn how magnetic forces create such magical skies, or even go inside a plant to see how photosynthesis happens.”

Do you have a Google My Business page? You need this. “Google quietly added a new features to Google My Business Settings at business.google.com/settings that let’s you configure when and how you’d like to get notifications about changes or additions to your business listings on Google.” Google My Business has been awful ever since Google mushed it up with Google+, IMHO. So much better when it was just Google Local.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Quartz: Inside Google Jigsaw, the powerful tech incubator that could reshape geopolitics. “Google has never wanted to be an ordinary company. From its original motto, ‘Don’t be evil,’ to last year’s updated mantra ‘Do the right thing,’ it’s always styled itself as an organization with goals that are both more ambitious and more altruistic than the usual profit-focused corporate motivations. Among the strongest indicators of this mindset is its tech incubator, Jigsaw—launched earlier this year, in conjunction with the company’s reorganization into Alphabet, with the goal of tackling ‘geopolitical challenges.'”

The Guardian: How to solve Facebook’s fake news problem: experts pitch their ideas. “The impact of fake news, propaganda and misinformation has been widely scrutinized since the US election. Fake news actually outperformed real news on Facebook during the final weeks of the election campaign, according to an analysis by Buzzfeed, and even outgoing president Barack Obama has expressed his concerns. But a growing cadre of technologists, academics and media experts are now beginning the quixotic process of trying to think up solutions to the problem, starting with a rambling 100+ page open Google document set up by Upworthy founder Eli Pariser.”

KICKSTARTER CORNER: A new crowdfunding campaign is attempting to raise $265K for a network of GMO-free businesses. It’s an interesting project but that’s a heck of a lot of money.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

From the Check Point Software blog: More Than 1 Million Google Accounts Breached by Gooligan. “As a result of a lot of hard work done by our security research teams, we revealed today a new and alarming malware campaign. The attack campaign, named Gooligan, breached the security of over one million Google accounts. The number continues to rise at an additional 13,000 breached devices each day.”

From the Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University, Delhi: Google Faces Legal Hurdles Under Brazilian Internet Law. “The Brazilian Federal Prosecution Ministry has brought civil proceedings against Google for flouting its data protection law. The suit challenges Google’s access to the content of emails exchanged by Gmail users on multiple grounds, including Google’s failure to obtain express consent.” The article also looks at similar challenges and/or privacy rules in Italy and the EU.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

MIT Technology Review: Social Media Is Killing Discourse Because It’s Too Much Like TV. “If I say that social media aided Donald Trump’s election, you might think of fake news on Facebook. But even if Facebook fixes the algorithms that elevate inaccurate stories, there’s something else going on: social media represents the ultimate ascendance of television over other media.”

CNET: Dr. Google may check your eyes in the future. “Dr. Google might be your next ophthalmologist. The search giant said Tuesday it had trained a deep-learning algorithm to spot signs of diabetic retinopathy in patients. It does this in a manner similar to eye specialists by checking pictures of the back of the eye for signs of the disease.” Good morning, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!