Blog Archives

Minecraft, Synthetic Biology, 3D Fossils, More: Friday Morning Buzz, May 9, 2014

Under development: a database for synthetic biologists. (I know, that sounds weird.) “For her project, called Synthetic Biology at ASU (SB.ASU), [Karmella] Haynes will collaborate with Catherine Seiler, an associate research professor at the ASU Biodesign Institute…. SB.ASU would give researchers an archive of detailed information about the characteristics of DNA fragments and how they can be expected to behave when combined. Such knowledge could enable more rapid assembling of effective DNA sequences that will ‘provide the foundation for accelerated progress in synthetic biology,’ she says.”

BBC Scotland has created an online database of over 21,000 of the Scots who died in World War II.

Phil Bradley unearths another little gem with his writeup about a search engine for slide presentations.

Man, The Atlantic sure publishes some interesting stuff. Can Wikipedia Ever Be a Definitive Medical Text? “Wikipedia being the sixth-largest site on the whole wide Internet, these people searching for medical information online are often going to end up there. Whether or not they should be doing it, they are. I am. Patients are, and so are doctors. Which is why efforts to improve the quality of Wikipedia’s medical information are important—if you can’t lead people away from the fountain of crowd-sourced knowledge, you can at least try to unmuddy the waters.”

TechCrunch writes about a Google parody site called Google Nest. C&D in 5…4…3…2…

A new Web site lets you zoom and rotate 3-D fossils. “3D bones from elephant-like mammoths and mastodons are available on the site, along with photo galleries of early whales and other vertebrates. Three-dimensional digital models of various ancient marine invertebrates—brachiopods, trilobites, clams, crinoids, snails, and others—will be added soon.”

Apparently the JFK airport security bins have Yahoo ads. Ewww.

How the New York Public Library put a historical map into Minecraft. I LOVE this.

The Next Web looks at Riffle, a Chrome extension for getting extensive information and stats on Twitter users.

Adobe has has released a free app (looks like iPad only) for making narrated video presentations. 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!

RPI, Dropbox, Mapping, More: Sunday Afternoon Buzz, March 2, 2014

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has digitized its newspaper archives. “Issues of The Poly from 1885 to 1976 can be searched online by anyone. An earlier iteration of The Poly that only lasted for one semester, the fall of 1869, is also available in the archives. Because some syndicated content is still protected by copyright, issues of The Poly from 1977 to 2001 can only be accessed on campus or with a current Rensselaer login.”

Nifty. Mapillary is trying to build a crowdsourced version of Google Street View. “With the app, a user can choose to collect images by walking, biking, or driving. Once you press a virtual shutter button within the app, it takes a photo every two seconds, until you press the button again. You can then upload the images to Mapillary’s service via Wi-Fi, where each photo’s location is noted through its GPS tag. Computer-vision software compares each photo with others that are within a radius of about 100 meters, searching for matching image features so it can find the geometric relationship between the photos. It then places those images properly on the map, and stitches them all together.”

Because all work and no play: Marvel is making thousands of comics available via an iOS and Android app.

You can now have unlimited secret boards on Pinterest.

Google is now showing restaurant menus in its search results, but this is a US-only feature at the moment…

Nice! Over 20 ideas and resources for teaching with Instagram. I think I found out about this from Pat O. Thanks Pat O!

The Economist has an interesting article about Wikipedia and the challenges it faces as it evolves.

From Lifehacker: 7 Downloads and Extensions to Make Dropbox Even More Awesome. 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!

iOS, Boxing, Nuremberg, More: Sunday Buzz, February 23, 2014

GMail is giving promotional e-mails a more distinctive unsubscribe link.

More Google: Chrome update has been released, and it has several security fixes, so please update.

More security: apparently there’s a pretty serious flaw in iOS and Mac OSX. “A major flaw in Apple Inc software for mobile devices could allow hackers to intercept email and other communications that are meant to be encrypted, the company said on Friday, and experts said Mac computers were even more exposed.” There has been a patch issued for iOS, so please update.

More More Google: Google has added 30 monuments of India (including Taj Mahal) to Google Street View.

I should have known, but I didn’t know there was a database devoted to the stats of boxers. People who box. Not the shorts. Also linked from the same site is the History of World Championship Boxing, which is a huge Wiki of stats and info.

The Preeclampsia Foundation has established the Preeclampsia Registry to gather information about women who have suffered preeclampsia. The goal is to get 10,000 participants in the hopes of doing more research on this condition.

The British Library needs your help tagging and georeferencing public domain maps.

Larry Ferlazzo is developing a list for resources on the protests in Ukraine.

Facebook is apparently testing a feed that shows only major life events.

The Nuremberg Papers of Senator Thomas Dodd have been digitized (partially, with more on the way.). “The former Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General supervised the day-to-day prosecution team of the United States during the International Military Tribunals in 1945-46, which prosecuted the leadership of Nazi Germany for war crimes during World War II.” 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!

Theatre, New Search Engines, Maps, Real-Time Subtitle Translation, More: Morning Buzz, July 24, 2012

Birmingham Rep is getting a digital archive: “The REP 100 website – http://www.rep100.org – will contain more than 3,000 records of The REP’s historic productions – including photographs, letters, documents and other fascinating ephemera from its history and will be made available to the public, many for the first time, next year.”

From TechCrunch: “Ohloh Wants to Fill the Gap Left by Google Code Search”: “Besides code search, Ohloh features an exhaustive directory of open source projects, complete with statistics on how often the projects are updated.”

VentureBeat has an article about a new social search engine: Bottlenose. Going to try to give a text drive next week.

The Census Bureau has launched a new database on HIV/AIDS statistics. “The database was developed in 1987 and now holds 149,000 statistics, an increase of approximately 10,800 new estimates in the last year, making it the most complete of its kind in the world.”

An e-mail based diary that prompts you with questions and then uses AI to generate more and more specific questions over time? MyFutureSelf sounds like a really interesting tool.

Google has announced lots more detailed maps: “And today, we’re launching updated maps of Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lesotho, Macau, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore and Vatican City…”

Nifty article from UberGizmo — real time subtitle translation. Apparently inspired by Google Glass, but using Microsoft’s translation APIs. Just saying.

Speaking of Google, have you heard about the new face blurring tool on YouTube?

The Internet Archive gives an update on its music collections. I think I’m going to be spending a lot of time in the DNA Lounge archives… good morning, Internet…

Maps, Yahoo, Rhode Island, More: Morning Buzz, July 17, 2012

A huge map digitization project is nearly finished. “The United States Geological Survey has nearly completed its project to digitize over 200,000 topographical maps and create a free, searchable online archive.” (Look at the maps in the comments.)

The Providence Journal has launched a new tool for tracking new businesses incorporated in Rhode Island.

Is Spool going to Give Facebook a “Read it Later” feature? One can only hope…

Google has added panoramic images of the Antarctic.

Coming in September: an archive devoted to “audiovisual memory in the Mediterranean”.

Congratulations to Googler (ex-Googler) Marissa Mayer for her appointment as the Yahoo CEO. I can’t wait to see what she does with the Yahoo properties. Good morning, Internet…

NOAA Creates Collection of Civil War Nautical Charts

The NOAA announced last week the release of “Charting a More Perfect Union,” a collection of over 400 documents including Civil War-era maps and nautical charts, and annual summaries of the US Coast Survey. It’s available at http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/history/CivilWar/.

You can browse this collection a variety of ways, including keyword, state or region, and year. I did a search for charts in Alabama and got 7 results. The results don’t provide a lot of detail (title, year, links to download in SID or JPG format.) There’s a preview link that brings up the chart in a Flash viewer that’s very nice.

I called up a map of Mobile from 1863 and was able to quickly zoom down so far that I could read the gun count on the noted coastal battery and see where the obstructions and shallow water canal were placed.

In addition to the images, you can also review the Notes on the Coast of the United States. This is a series of eight documents written in 1861, fascinating handwritten items analyzing various state coastlines. (North Carolina, for example, takes up one entire document; 69 pages of analysis and charts.)

There’s also the coastal survey documents for 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, and 1865, available as individual PDF documents.

Nice collection here.

Google Earth’s Got a New Web Site

With Google Instant taking up all the search nerd bandwidth on the Internet last week, you’d think Google didn’t announce anything else. But it did. Google noted last week that it had launched a new Web site for Google Earth. The new site is currently English-only (more languages to come) at http://earth.google.com/.

The new site has a link to download Google Earth, of course, but has other content as well. There’s a featured content section that goes beyond Google Earth to show highlights from several properties, including Mars and Earth’s moon as well as the ocean. There are over a dozen video tutorials that range from the very basic (Searching for Places) to the more advanced (Importing KML, KMZ and GPS Data) to Google software that’s related to Google Earth (several SketchUp topics.) There’s also a huge gallery that holds all kinds of content: 360 city panoramas, ancient maps, outdoor trails, castle models… you could be exploring just the galley for hours.

Google Earth is a free download for Mac, PC, and Linux. There’s also a Earth View in Google Maps but alas, my system apparently doesn’t support it. Just as well, I could spend all day browsing the gallery.

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