Pacific Standard: A New Database Tracks The Fate Of Hurricane Maria’s Indirect Victims. “These deaths and nearly 500 others are recorded in a new database released by three journalism organizations: the Associated Press, the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico, and Quartz. The organizations collected reports from Puerto Ricans who believed their loved ones died as a result of Hurricane Maria but whose death certificates didn’t indicate storm conditions as a cause of death. The database is a more personal portrait of Maria’s victims, most of whom died not directly because of Maria’s winds and flooding, but indirectly because of a lack of electricity, medical care, and communication in the wake of the storm.”
EOS: Landslide Database Reveals Uptick in Human-Caused Fatal Slides. “Researchers now have an idea of how many such landslides are occurring around the globe. They have compiled the most comprehensive database of landslides that took place between 2004 and 2016. This database includes information on the landslides’ causes as well as their death tolls.”
Reveal: Lost on the border: A decade later, a man finds his father’s remains on Facebook. “Eliseo Cárdenas Sánchez was browsing Facebook late one night in March when he landed on a series of photos: snapshots of his father’s identification card and a small pile of bones. Cárdenas Sánchez suddenly realized he likely was looking at all that was left of his father, Eliseo Cárdenas Zetina, who disappeared after trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in 2008.” Please be warned that this article includes graphic images of human remains.
NPR: Mourning And Instagramming The Death Of A Pet. “In 1998, photographer Preston Gannaway and her college roommate answered a newspaper listing that advertised kittens. They drove out to a house and found a man waiting in the driveway, carrying a kitten in each arm. Gannaway picked the one with short hair, because of allergies, and named her Isis because of the Bob Dylan song — ‘Isis, you mystical child’ like the Egyptian goddess, not the terrorist group. They lived together for almost 17 years.” Warning: may punch you right upside the feels.
Arizona State University: In the future, you will be forever. “A Hollywood director fired for comments tweeted a decade ago. Memorialized accounts on Facebook, where your entire history exists forever and your contacts can continue posting after you’re gone. Photos from that college Halloween party that continue to surface in your Google results. This is what digital immortality looks like now. In the future, it may be more elaborate, and could even involve some type of simulacrum of you interacting with people.”
WHYY: Penn State launching national database to help evaluate Greek organizations after hazing death. “Penn State University is launching a national database that will monitor Greek fraternities and sororities. The scorecard will include grade point averages, sexual assaults, alcohol and hazing violations, and community service hours.”
Engadget: Iris scanner AI can tell the difference between the living and the dead. “It’s possible to use a dead person’s fingerprints to unlock a device, but could you get away with exploiting the dead using an iris scanner? Not if a team of Polish researchers have their way. They’ve developed a machine learning algorithm that can distinguish between the irises of dead and living people with 99 percent accuracy. The scientists trained their AI on a database of iris scans from various times after death (yes, that data exists) as well as samples of hundreds of living irises, and then pitted the system against eyes that hadn’t been included in the training process.”