India, Lynx, Android, More: Sunday Buzz, August 9th, 2015


A long-running study of A-bomb survivors is being turned into a digital archive. “In 1949, four years after the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, American geneticist William Jack Schull travelled to Japan to join a study examining the effects of ionizing radiation on A-bomb survivors. Little did he expect that 68 years later, he would still be associated with the same study. He is now working to share his memories by collating a digital archive based on his time in Japan.”

India is getting a database of flora. “The Botanical Survey of India (BSI) has developed the first open-access online database of India’s floral diversity to document over 18,000 flowering plant species in an effort at boosting digitisation and conservation of endangered ones.” It’s currently in a test release.

Microsoft has a new translator app. “Released Thursday, Microsoft Translator is a new app designed by the software giant for iOS and Android users. The app supports phones and tablets as well as the Apple Watch and smartwatches that run Android Wear, Google’s adaptation of its mobile software for wearables. You can type or speak the word or phrase you want translated. In response, the app shows you the translated text on the screen and then speaks it for you.” 50 different languages are currently supported.


Yahoo is working on its e-mail search functionality. “When you start typing the name of a person or company in the search box, Yahoo will now automatically suggest what or whom you might be looking for and offer to create a search term. So if you’re looking for a ticket you bought from American Airlines, for example, you can limit the results to messages from the carrier and exclude other messages that simply contain the words American and airline.”


How to use Evernote to Research and Write Amazing Blogs. Solid article, though very Google-centric.

Do you remember Lynx? It was a text-only Web browser from way back in the day. Amit’s got a line on a cloud-based text browser. (Lynx is still available too.)


Google has patented a Glass screen that attaches to your hat. “The technology consists of a mount, which attaches to the hat, and the display part of Glass. The display part attaches to the mount magnetically and can move into different positions.”

Is Twitter going to shuffle its board? “The board may expand or be shuffled to include directors from different backgrounds, such as minorities and those with experience in adjacent industries, including advertising and e-commerce, the people said. Any changes may also address the fact that the current board includes three former CEOs — Jack Dorsey, Ev Williams and Costolo — an issue that would make it difficult for any new CEO to run the company.”


Another day, another Android vulnerability. Maybe it is as bad as Flash. “Dubbed Certifi-gate, the researchers say that vulnerabilities in the OEM (manufacturers of Android devices like Samsung, LG and Sony) implementation of Remote Support allows a third party app’s plugins to access a device’s screens and actions using an OEMs own signed certificates. That means a nefarious individual could see what you’re doing and control your phone or tablet. And according to the researchers, there’s no reasonable way to revoke the certificates as an end user.”


Do Facebook likes predict the impact of scientific research? “Due to the increasing amount of scientific work and the typical delays in publication, promptly assessing the impact of scholarly work is a huge challenge. To meet this challenge, one solution may be to create and discover innovative indicators. The goal of this paper is to investigate whether Facebook likes for unpublished manuscripts that are uploaded to the Internet could be used as an early indicator of the future impact of the scientific work. To address our research question, we compared Facebook likes for manuscripts uploaded to the Harvard Business School website (Study 1) and the bioRxiv website (Study 2) with traditional impact indicators (journal article citations, Impact Factor, Immediacy Index) for those manuscripts that have been published as a journal article.” The whole paper is available here.

Do Internet search engines influence elections? Holy cow, this just gets scarier and scarier. “In a third experiment, the team tested its hypothesis in a real, ongoing election: the 2014 general election in India. After recruiting a sample of 2150 undecided Indian voters, the researchers repeated the original experiment, replacing the Australian candidates with the three Indian politicians who were actually running at the time. The results of the real world trial were slightly less dramatic—an outcome that researchers attribute to voters’ higher familiarity with the candidates. But merely changing which candidate appeared higher in the results still increased the number of undecided Indian voters who would vote for that candidate by 12% or more compared with controls. And once again, awareness of the manipulation enhanced the effect.” You do not want to hear my rant on ballot access. But man oh man, do I have a rant on ballot access and non-transparent search and social media algorithms.


I’ve seen all kinds of museums, libraries, and so forth with Instagram and Tumblr accounts, but the University of Iowa Special Collections & University Archives has a Vine. Mostly acquisition unboxings. Good morning, Internet…

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