MOMA, SC, CDC, More: Friday Buzz, July 31st, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

The Detroit Jewish Chronicle is getting digitized. “The Detroit Jewish News Foundation is currently digitizing every issue of the Detroit Jewish Chronicle, which was published from March 1916 until July 1951. Come this fall, those pages will be added to the more than 270,000 pages of Detroit Jewish history from the Detroit Jewish News already contained in the William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History…”

South Carolina is putting its business filings online (PRESS RELEASE). “More than 20,000 document and certificate requests will be handled by the new online solution annually. The new service is also estimated to save Secretary Hammond’s staff thousands of hours, as well as benefit the citizens and businesses of South Carolina. Before the new online service, most requests took approximately a week to fulfill due to the post office handling time. With this new online service it is anticipated that requests will be completed in 24-48 hours.”

The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) has released a huge amount of collection data to the general public. Under Creative Commons Zero. “This data release includes all of the works that have been both accessioned into MoMA’s collection and cataloged in our database. It includes basic data for each work, including title, artist, date made, medium, dimensions, and date acquired by the Museum. The data will be updated periodically with new acquisitions and research.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

IFTTT now has an NPR channel. It’s pretty basic; the trigger is a new NPR story.

USEFUL STUFF

I can’t wait to get rid of a couple of the Windows 8 machines in my charge. From How-To Geek: How to clean install Windows 10. “When you upgrade a Windows 7 or 8.1 system to Windows 10, the installer confirms that you have a ‘genuine Windows’ system installed and activates your computer for use with Windows 10. Note that you don’t actually get a Windows 10 product key — instead, your computer’s hardware is registered with Microsoft’s servers. When you install Windows 10 on that PC again in the future, it will check in with Microsoft’s servers, confirm it’s installed on a registered PC, and automatically activate itself.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Google’s low-wage contract workers may unionize. “Labor organizers with the Teamsters union announced Monday that they’re holding an election to unionize workers for Google Express, the shopping service that delivers everything from toothpaste to televisions purchased by online consumers. The union is seeking to represent about 140 Google Express warehouse workers employed by Adecco, a temp agency that provides much of the delivery service’s Bay Area staff.”

Are major labels going to yank music videos from YouTube? “Unless the world’s number one content distributor loosens its grip, labels could remove their tunes from the site, according to a NY Post report. Unnamed execs from the big three — Universal, Sony, and Warner — told the NY Post that YouTube is one of the music industry’s worst distribution partners as it pays creators very little revenue, and lacks transparency, which could force a major lock down of the content.” And the labels’ videos would go… where? It’d be quite a coup for Facebook.

Google’s Project Loon is now covering Sri Lanka. “In the case of Google’s Project Loon, we are talking about a literal taking off, as Project Loon involves the release of balloons into the sky in order to deliver a semblance of Internet infrastructure to various locations that are difficult to have them wired. Having said that, Sri Lanka is the very first country in the world to obtain universal Internet access via Project Loon.”

Spain’s attempt to “tax” Google News ended up being a huge mess, as could only be expected. “Here’s the history: the Spanish Newspaper Publishers Association successfully convinced Spanish lawmakers in late 2014 to pass a strict “anti-piracy” law, which mandated compensation for the appearance of newspaper publishers’ content on news aggregation sites as of January 1, 2015. It was effectively directed at Google but applied broadly to all news/content aggregators. In response, Google shuttered Google News in Spain, though it has continued to present Spanish news sites on its main search engine results page (SERP) and in other ways. The Spanish publishers then tried unsuccessfully to get the government to force Google to keep Google News alive in Spain (to collect the tax).”

That didn’t take long: there’s already a guy who’s Periscoping full time. “Jon Jacques, a 20-year-old who worked at a video marketing company in New York City, has been spending his free time after work and on the weekends showcasing his street magic performances on the live-streaming app, Periscope. After a while, he realized he could turn his hobby into his dream job. In June, Jacques gained the courage to quit his high-paying job so he could Periscope full-time.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Google has published a Chrome fix for a VPN security hole. “Google has published an extension for its Chrome browser that fixes a serious security hole that can reveal a user’s real IP address even though they’re using a VPN. The vulnerability was made headlines in early 2015 and caused a wave of panic but Chrome users can now mitigate the problem with few clicks.”

Yet another Android security bug can render your phone silent. “By either installing a malicious app on an Android device, or directing users to a nefarious website, hackers can cause an Android device to become ‘apparently dead — silent, unable to make calls, with a lifeless screen,’ Trend Micro explained. If the exploit is installed through an app, it can auto-start whenever the device boots, causing Android to crash every time the device is powered on.” From what I’m reading on other sites, if the bug is activated by just visiting a malicious site, you can reboot the phone and you’ll be fine. I’m reading a lot of different takes, though – I think this is still developing.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Research from the CDC: Hookah-Related Twitter Chatter (say THAT three times fast.) “From the full stream of tweets posted on Twitter from April 12, 2014, to May 10, 2014 (approximately 14.5 billion tweets), all tweets containing the terms hookah, hooka, shisha, or sheesha were collected (n = 358,523). The hookah tweets from Twitter users (tweeters) with high influence and followers were identified (n = 39,824) and a random sample of 5,000 tweets was taken (13% of tweets with high influence and followers). The sample of tweets was qualitatively coded for normalization (ie, makes hookah smoking seem common and normal or portrays positive experiences with smoking hookah) or discouragement of hookah smoking, and other common themes using crowdsourcing…. Approximately 87% of the sample of tweets normalized hookah use, and 7% were against hookah or discouraged its use. Nearly half (46%) of tweets that normalized hookah indicated that the tweeter was smoking hookah or wanted to smoke hookah, and 19% were advertisements/promotions for hookah bars or products.” Good morning, Internet…

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!

Fishing Vessels, Congress, ICD-10, More: Thursday Buzz, July 30th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: a database of vessels authorized to fish outside of EU waters between 2010 and 2014. “Three non-government organizations have announced the first-ever global website intended to fishing transparency throughour the Eurpean Union (EU). The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Oceana and WWF heralded a new era of fisheries transparency with the launch of an online database detailing 15,264 EU vessels authorised to fish outside EU waters between 2010 and 2014.”

Yahoo has launched Livetext, which sounds like a mutant combination of Snapchat, Vine, and Periscope. “Yahoo Livetext puts your words and your friend’s real-time reactions at the center of your conversation. Whether you’re watching Avicii DJ at the Creamfields Festival, at Venice Beach or taking in the view from the Eiffel Tower, you can spontaneously connect with the people you care about and invite them to experience moments with you. Your friend’s goofy look or giant smile, even her eye roll or silent sigh, suddenly become a part of your conversation. Simple conversations are transformed into vivid, authentic and memorable experiences that you can share anytime.”

Just can’t wait to upgrade to Windows 10? The ISO file is now available for download.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Congress.gov has gotten another set of updates. I’ll quote a couple of highlights. “We want to make Congress.gov more accessible, and our new feature, ‘Listen,’ helps us deliver on this goal. Listen appears on bill summary pages and will read the text of the bill summary aloud to you. If you would like to focus on certain text, you can highlight it and Listen will read the highlighted text to you. You can also download an audio file of the bill summary to listen to it on the go….When we released Congress.gov in 2012, you let us know that you wanted more content included in the appropriation tables to simplify the process of tracking appropriations. We listened, and delivered new appropriation tables with enhanced content, starting with a table for the most recent fiscal year, 2016. We continue to work our way back, and now have appropriation tables with enhanced content going back to 2005.”

The release candidate for WordPress 4.3 is now available.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Twitter is being sued for failing to remove a copyrighted photo. “Award-winning photographer Kristin Pierson has filed a lawsuit against Twitter, claiming that the social network failed to remove one of her photos. In a complaint filed at a federal court in California, Pierson demands a restraining order and compensation for the damage she suffered.”

Medical librarians, you may appreciate this: there’s a Twitter ‘bot out there that’s tweeting an ICD-10 code every minute. “EveryICD10 has been sharing a new ICD-10 code and description on the social media platform by the minute since July 9, when it first tweeted, ‘E73.8 Other lactose intolerance #icd10.’ Since then it has posted more than 14,500 codes, which at that rate could set it up to finish sharing all 68,000 of them by Oct. 1 when the new diagnostic library goes live.”

VentureBeat took a test drive of Google’s Your Timeline and seems to come away impressed but disturbed. “The last time Google did this — with Google Latitude — users could share such personal information with others. This time around, that’s not possible. It’s private — just as Google Photos, unlike the old Google+ Photos, wasn’t explicitly designed to be used for sharing. Indeed, Google Photos is fun to use for your own personal archival purposes, and people might well find themselves saying the same thing about the new Your Timeline service. The only trouble is, if Google can accurately reflect where you’ve been, things could get a little spooky.”

From the New York Times: Facebook Expands in Politics, and Campaigns Find Much to Like. “Since 2012, Facebook has doubled its government and politics team, which includes a political ad sales group, a data communications team and employees devoted solely to Democrats or Republicans. Katie Harbath, who was previously the chief digital strategist at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, oversees the political strategy side of Facebook’s Washington-based team. And Facebook has rolled out several tools since the last presidential election to help campaigns reach voters more efficiently and effectively. The two most important, campaigns and operatives said, are the site’s improved video capacities and the ability for campaigns to upload their voter files directly to Facebook.”

Is Twitter looking at Facebook too much for inspiration? (They are if they go to algorithim-only timeline displays). “Twitter leadership told investors on Tuesday they were considering revamping the entire look of the service to more closely mirror its ‘While You Were Away’ mobile feature – as Facebook-like as Twitter gets – in an effort to increase general interest in the product. A base of Facebook’s size – about 1.4 billion users against Twitter’s 300 million – isn’t a realistic goal, said Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group, who still has the stock listed as a ‘buy’.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

A new phishing campaign uses Google Drive. “A new attack that uses phishing web pages hosted on Google Drive has been discovered by Aditya K Sood, architect of Elastica Cloud Threat Labs, and his research team. The attack lends Google credibility to fool security-trained users exploiting the trust users have with Google. This latest attack was built on previous techniques from last year by adding advanced code obfuscation.” Good morning, Internet…

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!

Facebook, Twitter, Google, More: Wednesday Buzz, July 29th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Under development a digital database of early Mormon polygamous marriages. “[Kathleen] Flake, Richard Lyman Bushman Professor of Mormon Studies, is concentrating her research on the small town of Nauvoo, Illinois from 1842 to 1852, a decade that included some of Mormonism’s first plural marriages. At the time, both the public at large and many within the church itself were opposed to the practice, which the church officially banned in 1890. Working with U.Va.’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, where she is a 2014-16 faculty fellow, Flake has begun cataloguing every plural marriage undertaken in that period, using genealogies kept by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Early Mormon Marriage database will include basic identifying information about each participant and as much relational information as possible, to shed light on how each member of the community was connected and what motivated their unions.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Facebook is apparently testing profile tags ala LinkedIn. If enacted this will give my friend Dan Lyke and I many more opportunities for silliness. “And like LinkedIn, you can assign tags to yourself, or your friends can assign them at your approval. And being Facebook, you can create whatever tag you want — you won’t have to pick from a set list. You can even use emoji — and that will likely be the kicker.”

Google is expanding the visual capabilities of its translate app. “The Google Translate app already lets you instantly visually translate printed text in seven languages. Just open the app, click on the camera, and point it at the text you need to translate—a street sign, ingredient list, instruction manual, dials on a washing machine. You’ll see the text transform live on your screen into the other language. No Internet connection or cell phone data needed. Today, we’re updating the Google Translate app again—expanding instant visual translation to 20 more languages (for a total of 27!), and making real-time voice translations a lot faster and smoother—so even more people can experience the world in their language.”

USEFUL STUFF

The always-brilliant Amit Agarwal shows how easy it is to fake embedded tweets. “Now CSS does help you control the tweet’s appearance but you may be surprised to know that it is also possible to change the other elements of an embedded tweet. For instance, you may modify the actual text of the tweet. The favorite & retweet counts can be altered as well. Let me illustrate that with an example:”

Google Operating System takes a look at Google Photos’ search filters. “Google+ Photos has a few search filters that are pretty useful. You can find them if you click the small arrow from the search box: Auto Backup, Hangouts, Google Drive, Posts, Auto Awesome, Videos and more. The nice thing is that most of them are also available in Google Photos.”

If you’re like me (and I know I am), then your interest in the Superbowl is mainly in the commercials. In that case you’ll like the news that CBS will livestream the Superbowl commercials next year. “The internet has changed the way we watch the Super Bowl, and media is following suit. Variety reports that CBS, in a game-changing move, will live stream every national ad during next year’s big game in near-real time. It’s an incredible decision that will change how advertisers spend money on the event, and helps turn Super Bowl 50 into a much bigger spectacle.” It also means that a 30-second ad slot will run almost 5 million smackers — and that using a Superbowl ad as the linchpin of an advertising campaign will be a huge, dangerous gamble. Cough RADIO SHACK cough

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Facebook is sharing its diversity training course with everybody. “Facebook on Tuesday launched a new page called ‘Managing Unconscious Bias,’ which features a training course and several informational videos aimed at improving diversity in the workplace. The training course, which was developed by Facebook, educates would-be employers and job-seekers on the realities of bias in the hiring process. The training was previously provided to Facebook employees.”

Google is using Street View cars to map air pollution. “In the first pilot, three Street View cars collected 150 million air quality data points over a month of driving around Denver, Colorado. They measured for chemicals that are hazardous to breathe, like nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).”

Yahoo has paid out over a million dollars in bug bounties. “A major improvement to our Bug Bounty program has been the implementation of a reputation system. This process is designed to award points to researchers after reporting a verifiable security bug. The number of points is also affected by the amount of the bounty the reporter is paid. The reputation system has made our list of top vulnerability reporters more meaningful by illustrating not only the number of reports they have submit, but the severity value we assigned to each. The reputation system also gives researchers a quantifiable way to compare their skills with the rest of the participants in the program.”

Twitter is reconsidering how it displays tweets. If it starts going algo-only it’s going to be a lot less useful. “Tweets typically appear in reverse chronological order, but that seems to be up for grabs as the company looks for ways to make its service more intuitive and attract more users in the face of stubbornly sluggish growth.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The White House has announced some changes about the way it will respond to petitions. “For the most part, we’ve been pretty good about responding — before today, the Obama Administration had responded to 255 petitions that had collectively gathered more than 11 million signatures. That’s more than 91 percent of the petitions that have met our threshold requiring a response. Some responses have taken a little longer than others. But now, I’m happy to say, we have caught up.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

If you’re really, really worried about privacy online, you can get a browser plugin that randomizes the way your keyed input appears to Web sites. “Security researchers have refined a long-theoretical profiling technique into a highly practical attack that poses a threat to Tor users and anyone else who wants to shield their identity online. The technique collects user keystrokes as an individual enters usernames, passwords, and other data into a website. After a training session that typically takes less than 10 minutes, the website—or any other site connected to the website—can then determine with a high degree of certainty when the same individual is conducting subsequent online sessions…. The prospect of widely available databases that identify users based on subtle differences in their typing was unsettling enough to researchers Per Thorsheim and Paul Moore that they have created a Chrome browser plugin that’s designed to blunt the threat. The plugin caches the input keystrokes and after a brief delay relays them to the website in at a pseudo-random rate.” Good morning, Internet…

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!

ALL KINDSA STUFF: Tuesday Buzz, July 28th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

The Southern Voice Newspaper collection is now available in the Digital Library of Georgia. “We are excited to announce the availability the Southern Voice newspaper collection, 1988-1995 thanks to our partners at Kennesaw State University (KSU) Archives. The Southern Voice newspaper, also known as SOVO, was an alternative news source for lesbians and gay men in the greater Atlanta area and Southeast for over 20 years.”

Now available: an online archive of vintage Madagascar photographs. “The website went live on July 27, 2015, and offers a glimpse of everyday lives in Madagascar from 1850 to 1960. The collections is organized in four major periods: Pre-colonial Period, Colonial Period, Major Constructions, Everyday Life and Independence.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

This should be fun! IFTTT now has a Spotify channel.

USEFUL STUFF

From the always-interesting Preston Gralla: 5 great free apps for powering up Google Drive.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Twitter is asserting copyright to delete stolen jokes. Um… “Let’s face it: coming up with a grade-A tweet isn’t easy. That’s why some people just copy good tweets from other people and act like they came up with the 140-character witticism on their own. This has been going on since the beginning of Twitter. It now appears Twitter is using its legal authority to crack down on these tweet-stealers. A number of tweets have been deleted on copyright grounds for apparently stealing a bad joke.” Because Twitter has no other issues with content and user interaction that it should consider a higher priority. Nope nope nope.

The amount of stuff being uploaded to YouTube is getting scarier and scarier. It’s up to 400 hours a minute. You heard me. “YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki dropped a big data bomb at VidCon. On July 23, 2015 at her closing keynote speech for the annual online video event’s industry track, Wojcicki revealed Google’s online video site now claims over 400 hours of content uploaded every single minute. It was only in December 2014 when YouTube claimed 300 hours of content uploaded every minute, as per a report from ReelSEO. The publication noted those 300 hours per minute were the equivalent of about 49 years’ worth of content per day. Based on the most recent stats, 400 hours of content comes out to 24,000 days’ worth of content uploaded to YouTube every minute and 65.7 years’ worth of content uploaded every day.”

Science fiction fans raised almost $2000 to help digitize the Hevelin collection at the University of Iowa archives. “Rusty Hevelin was a science fiction fan, pulp collector, fanzine creator, huckster (a dealer at conventions), and voracious reader for most of his 89 years. He was also involved with the Iowa Science Fiction conventions ICON and Demicon from the time of their founding. After his death in 2011, his collections came to the University of Iowa Special Collections where a recent unprecedented initiative to digitize around 10,000 of the earliest fanzines from roughly 1930s-1950s has begun.”

The Smithsonian’s foray into Kickstarter is going really well. “That Kickstarter, dubbed ‘Reboot the Suit’ paid off, hitting its goal in 5 days. While large philanthropic organizations ask for thousands in private donations, the majority of backers donated $100 or less to this project.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Ewww. There is a really nasty Android bug out there. “It’s like something from a bad movie: eager to learn the details of the bad guy’s dastardly plot, the good guys hack his phone armed with little more than knowledge of his phone number. No physical access to the phone, no tricking him into opening some shady application; just a quick message sent to his phone, and bam — they’re in. Alas, that’s essentially how a new Android hack works, according to researchers… and the vast majority of Android devices are vulnerable.”

Facebook has been ordered by a German privacy watchdog to allow pseudonyms. “Facebook may not unilaterally change such accounts to the real names of users and may not block them, Johannes Caspar, Hamburg’s data regulator, said in an e-mailed statement. The company, whose European headquarters are in Ireland, can’t argue it’s only subject to that country’s law, he said.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Does Facebook lead young women to dangerous diets? “The study included 128 college-aged women who completed an online survey about their eating habits and their emotional connection to Facebook — such as how much time they spent on the social networking site and number of Facebook friends — and whether they compared their bodies to friends’ bodies in online photos.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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!

Oklahoma, Mongolia, Patents, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, July 27th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Historic maps of Oklahoma are now available for viewing online. “The collection includes more than 15,000 maps from 1820 to the present, including the 1,900 now online. It features Oklahoma streets and highways, counties and towns, waterways, railways, American Indian populations, cemeteries, telecommunication lines, trails, borderlines and boundaries, including U.S. government agency maps, [Chad] Williams said.”

Google Street View went to Mongolia and oh, wow. “Last fall we strapped a Street View camera onto a four-wheel drive pickup truck to begin capturing 360-imagery from rugged Mongolian roads. Since then we’ve also gone off-road to capture images of the country’s most beautiful places with Ariuntuul, our Mongolian Trekker operator, who carried the 18-kg Street View Trekker into the wild expanses of Mongolia’s diverse countryside.”

Coming this summer: a nationwide map of school attendance zones. I guess I should have assumed that any collection of arbitrarily-drawn boundaries could be gerrymandered, but I never thought about it. “Understanding who goes to which area school and why may soon become a lot easier for education officials and community members alike. The U.S. Department of Education plans to release the first nationwide map of school attendance boundaries this summer. Starting in November, school districts will be able to use an online tool to draw or upload their own maps and download or tweak existing maps. In the process, districts will create the most detailed picture yet of how American schools define their communities.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

WordPress has gotten a new security update. “WordPress versions 4.2.2 and earlier are affected by a cross-site scripting vulnerability, which could allow users with the Contributor or Author role to compromise a site. This was initially reported by Jon Cave and fixed by Robert Chapin, both of the WordPress security team, and later reported by Jouko Pynnönen.”

Bing has set up a revenge porn removal form. “Detailing the move in a blog post yesterday, Microsoft’s chief online safety officer, Jacqueline Beauchere, said it will also be cutting off access to revenge porn when it is shared via its OneDrive cloud storage service or the Xbox Live games service, as well as searched for via Bing.”

Yahoo is going to start offering a daily streaming news program. “Starting today, the Yahoo News team – led by Yahoo’s Global News Anchor Katie Couric – will get you up to speed on the top headlines of the day and take you on a deep dive into the most talked about story of the day with live interviews, reporting and analysis. From the Iran nuclear deal to the latest on the 2016 campaign trail, Yahoo News Live will provide perspective on the stories that are trending around the nation, and often the world. Yahoo News Live will stream every weekday (M-F) at 1:00pm ET on Yahoo: yahoo.com/katiecouric.”

Google is continuing to back away from Google+, which is great. “…in the coming months, a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google. YouTube will be one of the first products to make this change, and you can learn more on their blog. As always, your underlying Google Account won’t be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles. And for people who already created Google+ profiles but don’t plan to use Google+ itself, we’ll offer better options for managing and removing those public profiles.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Stephen Hawking is going to host a Reddit AMA.

Google wants to giave away patents to startups. “Back in April, Google launched a pop-up, temporary marketplace for companies to sell patents, with Google being the sole buyer. Today, the search and mobile giant is expanding that marketplace in the other direction: Google has started a program for startups to give away up to two non-organic patent families off Google, as well as potentially make offers to buy patents from it in the future. It’s tying up the offer with a requirement to join the LOT Network, a cross-company licensing push (others in the group include Dropbox, SAP and Canon) aimed at driving down the number of patent-trolling suits.”

Google is going to shut down “unverified” Google My Business listings tomorrow. And considering what an unholy mess Google Local business listings have been since they were brought under the aegis of Google+, I’m not looking forward to having to fix the problems that are no doubt going to crop up tomorrow. Good afternoon, Internet…

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!