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Daily Archives: February 12, 2024

The unsettling scourge of obituary spam

The Verge: “…“Obituary scraping” is a common practice that affects not just celebrities and public figures, but also average, private individuals. Funeral homes have been dealing with obituary aggregator sites for at least 15 years, says Courtney Gould Miller, chief strategy officer at MKJ Marketing, which specializes in marketing funeral services. The sites trawl news articles and local funeral home websites, looking for initial death announcements that have basic details like name, age, and where a service might be held. They then scrape and republish the content at scale, using templated formats or, increasingly, AI tools. is the biggest, most established version of aggregators — but countless smaller, sketchier websites pop up continuously. Some of these sites contain inaccurate information, like the date or location of a memorial service. Others collect orders for flowers or gifts that don’t arrive in time, frustrating family and friends and causing headaches for local funeral homes, Gould Miller says. Aggregation sites regularly outrank the actual funeral homes that have a relationship with grieving families…”

See What Charles Darwin Kept in His ‘Insanely Eclectic’ Personal Library Revealed for the First Time

Smithsonian: On the English naturalist’s 215th birthday, more than 9,000 titles from his expansive collection are now accessible online: “After nearly two decades of sleuthing and meticulous archival research, academics this week marked the 215th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday on February 12 with a gift for the world: the English naturalist’s complete personal library,… Continue Reading

FCC gets tough: Telcos must now tell you when your personal info is stolen

The Register: “The FCC’s updated reporting requirements mean telcos in America will have just seven days to officially disclose that a criminal has broken into their systems. After releasing a proposed rule in early January and giving the industry 30 days to respond, the FCC’s final rule was published today. It solidifies what the agency… Continue Reading

Amazon hides cheaper items with faster delivery, lawsuit alleges

Ars Technica: “Amazon rigged its platform to “routinely” push an overwhelming majority of customers to pay more for items that could’ve been purchased at lower costs with equal or faster delivery times, a class-action lawsuit has alleged. The lawsuit claims that a biased algorithm drives Amazon’s “Buy Box,” which appears on an item’s page and… Continue Reading

How AI Works

How AI Works. An entirely non-technical explanation of LLMs by Nir Zicherman, January 29, 2024. “For all the talk about AI lately—its implications, the ethical quandaries it raises, the pros and cons of its adoption—little of the discussion among my non-technical friends touches on how any of this stuff works. The concepts seem daunting from… Continue Reading

American Local Government Elections Database

“The study of urban and local politics in the United States has long been hindered by a lack of centralized sources of election data. We introduce a new dataset of about 78,000 candidates in 57,000 electoral contests that encompasses races for seven distinct local political offices in most medium and large cities and counties in… Continue Reading

How to Take a Screenshot on Your iPad

MakeUseOf: Key Takeaways You can press your iPad’s top and Home/Volume buttons simultaneously to take a screenshot. You can also use gestures, Siri, and Assistive Touch to take screenshots on an iPad. iPad accessories like the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil also make it easy to take screenshots. Whether you want to send your lecture… Continue Reading

CISA Launches #Protect2024 Resources Webpage for State and Local Election Officials

“As part of its unwavering commitment to safeguarding the security and integrity of the nation’s elections infrastructure, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) launched its new #Protect2024 webpage today. Election security remains a paramount concern for CISA, the lead federal agency entrusted with securing the nation’s elections infrastructure. The agency continues to proudly stand… Continue Reading

Commonness of Races in Different Occupations

FlowingDate – Nathan Yau: “Some jobs are worked commonly by people of a certain race or ethnicity more than others. Farm managers are almost all white, postal service processors are half black, manicurists are 65% Asian, and drywall installers are 75% Hispanic. The chart below shows the percentage of employed persons 16 years and older… Continue Reading