One Million Album Covers and More: Thursday Morning Buzz, May 28th, 2015


Want a data set to play around with? The Internet Archive has one million album covers for you. If that’s a bit much (148 GB!), it also has a 1200-album cover set (200 MB).

Bozeman High School of Bozeman, Montana, has put about 80 years’ worth of high school newspapers online.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has launched a new tool. “A new data tool–International Trade and Investment Country Facts Application–on the Bureau of Economic Analysis website gives users a snapshot of statistics on trade and investment between the United States and another country by simply clicking on a world map.”


You may have heard about the huge car recall related to Takata airbags. Has a VIN lookup tool so you can check and see if your car was impacted.

Ridiculously extensive article from Buffer: the best fonts and colors for social media sharing.

Mocavo has made US Federal census images free to everyone. I don’t know how well it’s working, though – every search I tried came up with 0 results. Even when I searched the whole database for the name “Smith”. Nada.


More records from FamilySearch. “Notable collection updates include 327,195 images from the Peru, Lima, Civil Registration, 1874–1996 collection; 275,449 images from the Peru, Puno, Civil Registration, 1890–2005 collection; and 249,700 images from the Peru, San Martín, Civil Registration, 1850–1999 collection.”

Facebook is testing a new “security checkup” for accounts.

Spotify has added several new features. “Alongside the introduction of new media types, such as podcasts and videos, the service will also serve up playlists that are more personalized and relevant to what you’re doing at the time.”


Congressional Research Service documents continue to be withheld from the general public. “Constituents can request this information from their representatives, but they are under no obligation to produce the documents. The same public that paid for the research once now spends its own money maintaining archives of any CRS reports they manage to acquire. FAS hosts hundreds of liberated reports. Wikileaks has posted nearly 7,000 CRS reports to its archives as well. ”


From MIT: handle “big data” by shrinking it. “At the ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing in June, MIT researchers will present a new algorithm that finds the smallest possible approximation of the original matrix that guarantees reliable computations. For a class of problems important in engineering and machine learning, this is a significant improvement over previous techniques. And for all classes of problems, the algorithm finds the approximation as quickly as possible.”

This Medium post is CREEEEE-PY. Stalking your friends with Facebook Messenger. “When I came to college Facebook Messenger became an integral part of my digital life. I quickly found that it was the easiest way to keep in touch with old high school friends, contact people I had just met, organize impromptu poker games with people I hardly knew, and everything in between. However, I didn’t realize how much data about me Messenger was revealing to the people I chatted with until last week when I began tinkering with my message history.”


A little off-topic, but fascinating! Using 3D printing technology to copy – and use! – 18th century tools. Good morning, Internet…

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