Racism, Cornish Life, Infocom, More: Thursday Buzz, November 26th, 2015


Virginia Commonwealth University has launched a new digital mapping project showing the spread of the Ku Klux Klan across the United States. (and for those of you who thought the KKK was only a southern thing… no.) “The project, ‘Mapping the Second Ku Klux Klan, 1915-1940,’ is an animated, online map that illustrates the rise of the second Klan, which was founded in Atlanta in 1915 and spread rapidly across the country to total more than 2,000 local units, known as Klaverns.”

Now available: a digital archive of Cornish life. “The collection of more than 30,000 items, some dating back to 1850, have been donated by professional and amateur photographers.” Now, I thought “Cornish” just meant “resident of Cornwall,” in the UK. But apparently it is a distinct ethnic identity with its own language. I learn so much doing ResearchBuzz!

Jason Scott, who I have mentioned before and on whom I have a nerdcrush, has begun a digital archive of the papers of Steve Meretzky. If you don’t know Steve Meretzky let me say: game designer. Then let me say: Infocom, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (and many other titles.) Ok? “Today, I’m dropping the first set of what I hope will be the vast majority of the stuff I scanned during that production year, onto the Internet Archive. The collection is called The Infocom Cabinet, and right now it has every design notebook/binder that Steve Meretzky kept during the period of what most people consider ‘Classic’ Infocom.”


WordPress.com has gotten a big makeover. “What’s changed under the hood will likely be interesting only to developers — what it equates to for the average blogger is a refined experience on the web, and an all new desktop application.” The open-sourcing is nice. It would also be nice if we could have access to a few more plugins (vetted, of course.)


The Smithsonian wants to crowdsource some Rock N’ Roll. “Smithsonian Books and Smithsonian Media will launch rockandroll.si.edu Dec. 1. They are asking the public to go through their attics, basements, boxes, drawers, digital cameras, photo albums, cell phones, cloud, photo-upload sites and computer hard drives for pictures that show the greatest moments in the history of rock ’n’ roll.”

Search tech nerds! TIME has a huge article on the challenges facing Google search.

More Google: it is painting the town of Austin red. No, that’s not right. It’s letting the town of Austin paint its self-driving cars. “Google’s fun little project called ‘Paint The Town’ for its self-driving cars is a great way to connect with communities. It takes trust to allow vehicles that drive themselves for the most part, and Austin seems to be trusting Google quite a bit.”

More More Google: it and Duke Power are teaming up for a solar energy project (PRESS RELEASE). “A 61-megawatt solar project will be constructed in Rutherford County in Duke Energy Carolinas’ service territory. Under a power purchase agreement with the Rutherford Farms, LLC, solar project, Duke Energy will secure power to meet new energy demand from Google’s expanded data center.”


So you know that “most used words” quiz that’s been going around Facebook? It’s a terrible idea. I hope you haven’t taken it. “The ‘quiz,’ created by a company called Vonvon.me, has risen to over 16 million shares in a matter of days. It’s been written about in the Independent, Cosmopolitan, and EliteDaily. Sounds fun, right? Wrong. That’s over 16 million people who agreed to give up almost every private detail about themselves to a company they likely know nothing about.”

You’ve heard me mention “bug bounty” programs in ResearchBuzz posts. Ever wonder how many there are? The short answer: a ton. “The ‘list of bug bounty” impact over 426+ international security programs world wide. Commercial programs like bug bounty or reward systems but also regular security acknowledgments. The table list provides 5 item categories. The first list shows the last 10 entries and the second list shows the full list of bug bounty programs Feel free to send us new updates and contribute to the public bug bounty-, security acknowledgment- or reward- programs list.”


Researchers are working on a way for disabled people to control Google Glass. “The silent speech system makes use of a magnetic tongue-control system similar to that previously used by paralysed patients to control wheelchairs, as well as ear pieces that use infrared light to map how the shape of the ear canal changes when a person utters a particular word, as each word in the English vocabulary manipulates the ear canal in a different way.”

I love reading the MIT Technology Review! Check this out: using data-mining to track the evolution of smiling.. “By mining a vast database of high-school yearbook photos, a machine-vision algorithm reveals the change in hairstyles, clothing, and even smiles over the last century.” Good morning, Internet…

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