Globes, Glass, Google, More: Thursday Buzz, July 9th, 2015


A Tokyo company is going to digitize a collection of historic globes from France and put them online. “Dai Nippon Printing Co. will digitally copy 55 of the historic terrestrial and celestial globes in the National Library of France’s collection so that people can view them on screen. The globes were handcrafted in Europe and the Middle East from the 11th to the 19th centuries, are extremely valuable, and include a 15th-century copy of the world’s oldest terrestrial globe.”


Hey! IFTTT now has a Pinterest channel. Triggers are either liking a Pin or adding a Pin to your board; its action is adding a Pin to your board. Tons of interesting stuff here. I like tracking Pins on a Google Spreadsheet, or cataloging Pin information to a Dropbox text file.

WordPress 4.3 Beta 2 is now available.

What a great idea: Google is now offering a wired adapter for its Chromecast. The bad news: it’s already sold out. “The powered accessory plugs into the USB port on your Chromecast. From there, you just need to run an Ethernet cable from your router to the power supply. It’s that simple.”


A Japanese court has ordered Google to remove search results relating to a man’s arrest. “…the Saitama District Court has ordered the company to scrub the records of a man’s arrest from three years ago. The man in question was arrested for molesting a girl under 18 and was subsequently fined 500,000 yen.”


The Wall Street Journal has an early review of Google’s Project Fi. They seem pretty meh about it. “Dead simple to set up and use, its rates start at $30 a month. It could save you some money if you accept some big limitations. It only works with one phone, for starters. The Nexus 6, built by Motorola in collaboration with Google, is a speedy smartphone with a gorgeous display and the best, most unaltered version of Android you can find. But it has a middling camera and its 6-inch display makes it massive to hold. If Project Fi’s SIM cards worked in phones from Samsung, HTC—dare I say, Apple?—it’d be easier to recommend.”

It looks like the next iteration of Google Glass will be focused on the enterprise. “We told you yesterday about a new device that passed through the FCC—codenamed GG1—and many have speculated that it’s the next generation of the Google Glass hardware. While it’s often suggested that the device is soon going to get some iterative Explorer Edition overhaul and see its first official consumer launch, it’s much more probable that Google is first going to push this hardware toward the one place it has seen success: the enterprise market.” Google Glass for vertical markets is what I’ve been saying the whole time. Personally I would love to get my mittens on one of these for some of the work I do in the warehouse.


Interesting article from MIT Technology Review: Live Streaming: Social Control from Afar.
“…there is something about the dynamics of a remote audience that seems to inspire otherwise reasonable people to cause trouble. This was one of the lessons we learned from an experiment we conducted at the MIT Media Lab in 2001. The setup was that an actor equipped with a camera mounted on her forehead and a backpack full of electronics would do whatever the audience (the “directors,” connected via the Internet) collectively decided she should do. Directors could suggest and vote on actions; every few minutes the highest-rated one would be sent to the actor to carry out. She ended up dancing on the table and eating from other people’s plates. Suggesting something transgressive was irresistible.”

More studies on the use of Twitter, this time from the University of Kansas. “A University of Kansas professor has co-authored research examining the reasons Latinos and whites use the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, finding the former use them significantly more for advocacy and identity exploration than their counterparts. Mike Radlick, content creator at Come Recommended, a public relations firm in Maryland, and Joseph Erba, assistant professor of journalism at KU, surveyed 140 white and 115 Latino Facebook and Twitter users to determine why and how they use the platforms and the gratifications they take from them.”

Terrifying research from the University of Southern California. The article is called The Social-Network Illusion That Tricks Your Mind. It’s about how human and social networks can be mislead into thinking something is common and popular when it’s not. “That’s interesting work that immediately explains a number of interesting phenomena. For a start, it shows how some content can spread globally while other similar content does not—the key is to start with a small number of well-connected early adopters fooling the rest of the network into thinking it is common.” What’s so terrifying about that? The issue is that Facebook distributes posts among friends based at least partially on early reactions to it. They may be applying a skewed amount of weight – and giving an untoward amount of power – to a small subset of users. This research could explain why viewpoints that are truly minority, or overtly antisocial, may get more visibility than they might otherwise. Now, add to that notion the research from Pew (pew pew pew!) that millenials use Facebook as their top source of political news – and you can come up with any number of nightmare scenarios about what information/data millenials are using to make their voting decisions.

Is Google’s ad-targeting discriminatory? “Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the International Computer Science Institute built a tool called AdFisher to probe the targeting of ads served up by Google on third-party websites. They found that fake Web users believed by Google to be male job seekers were much more likely than equivalent female job seekers to be shown a pair of ads for high-paying executive jobs when they later visited a news website.” Advertisers CAN limit their ads to show only to males or females, but I can’t imagine why you’d do that with employment ads. Besides just being a stupid idea, can you imagine a corporation being busted for just showing executive ads to just men (or just women, for that matter)? They’d get sued into oblivion.

Fascinating to me and hopefully of use to you, you fabulous reader, an article from Duke University Libraries: The Elastic Ruler: Measuring Scholarly Use of Digital Collections “Regardless of how much value we assign to different kinds of uses, determining the impact of our work is a hard problem to solve. There are no simple instruments to measure our outcomes, and the measurements we do take can at times feel uncertain, as if taken of a moving object with a wildly elastic ruler. Some helpful resources are out there, of both theoretical and practical varieties, but focusing on what matters most remains a challenge. Back to our mission: how much are our collections actually used for the scholarly purposes we trumpet–teaching, learning, and research–versus other more casual uses?” There is some analysis done here but the author is still looking for methods and answers. A lot to think about! Good morning, Internet…

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