North Carolina, Climate, LYCOS, More: Monday Buzz, August 23rd, 2015

Please note my schedule is going to be weird for the next eight days. Post times may be random.


The state archives of North Carolina has created a STEM collection. “The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Digital Collection, part of North Carolina Digital Collections, is an attempt to highlight a representative sample of the holdings of the State Archives of North Carolina related to the STEM fields….To create this digital collection, we have drawn material from over 50 records series and collections held by the State Archives of North Carolina including: State Agency Records, Private Collections, Photograph Collections, Organization Records, General Assembly Records, and Map Collections.”

Now available: a database of multiple-model climate data. “Studies in biogeography and macroecology have been increasing massively since climate and biodiversity databases became easily accessible. Climate simulations for past, present, and future have enabled macroecologists and biogeographers to combine data on species’ occurrences with detailed information on climatic conditions through time to predict biological responses across large spatial and temporal scales. Here we present and describe ecoClimate, a free and open data repository developed to serve useful climate data to macroecologists and biogeographers.”

New to me: did you know there was a digital archive of Route 66 postcards? I had no idea.


Michael L. Mauldin has returned to LYCOS (PRESS RELEASE). “LYCOS, (NSE & BSE: ‘LYCOS’ or the company), one of the most widely known Internet brands and one of the first search engines on the web is delighted to welcome back the creator of LYCOS, Michael L. Mauldin, to serve as an Independent Director on its Board. The appointment is effective on August 24, 2015. Mauldin, the founder of LYCOS in 1994 also served as the Chief Scientist of the Lycos Internet search engine company. Mauldin developed the Lycos Search Engine while working on the Informedia Digital Library project at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also former director of Conversive, Inc., an Artificial Intelligence Software company based in Malibu, California.”

A year ago, the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, made tens of thousands of its images available for reuse. A year later and it looks back at the results. “The paper is divided into three parts. Part One details the reasons why Te Papa developed an open access program, describing what we hoped might happen if we made our collection images available for reuse; and exploring the international, New Zealand and organisational context within which the decision to support an open access program was made. Part Two explains Te Papa’s open access program in more depth, documenting what we put in place to deliver downloadable images and describing the initial response we received after launch. The final part of the paper, Part Three, explores the results of the program one year on, describing the extent – and ways – to which Te Papa’s collection images have been used; and compares this activity with similar open access programs internationally.”

The Atlantic has a fascinating article on preserving movies in VHS format. “VHS is a maligned medium. Libraries are rapidly culling it from their collections, a project in Ontario, Canada, wants to recycle the province’s 2.26 billion tapes, and the rise of digital streaming has made it mostly irrelevant to the general public. It’s often described as obsolete, even by those charged with preserving America’s cultural heritage. One reason Yale bought this video collection was to preserve rare titles—it’s been estimated that about 40 to 45 percent of content distributed on VHS never made its way into any subsequent digital format. But the primary focus of this collection effort was the physical nature of the medium and the cultures it changed and created.”

Twitter’s stock is having a terrible time. “In the post-IPO market, Twitter is sucking air. At least it isn’t alone. Alibaba also set a record low today. After repeated quarterly reports detailing slowing, anemic user growth, shares in Twitter today reached a new nadir: the firm’s IPO price.”

More Twitter: it has completely killed Politwhoops. “The Open State Foundation (OSF) knew this was coming. The US account was shut down by Twitter in May. Now the hammer has come down on the rest of the group’s Politwoops accounts – each of which was dedicated to monitoring deletions by elected officials in a specific country.” Twitter is saying this is because privacy. But why? These are public statements made to the public by an elected official in their capacity as an elected official. Grr Twitter.


First Microsoft stopped giving the heads-up on Windows patch releases. Now it’s not talking as much about what’s in the patches. “Microsoft has now released three cumulative updates for Windows 10. These updates combine security fixes with non-security bug fixes, and so far, Microsoft hasn’t done a very good job of describing the contents of these cumulative updates. While the security content is quite fully described, explanations of the non-security fixes have been lacking.”

We’ve been warned ten thousand times about common passwords. But what about common Android Lock Patterns (ALPs)? “The Tic-Tac-Toe-style patterns, it turns out, frequently adhere to their own sets of predictable rules and often possess only a fraction of the complexity they’re capable of. The research is in its infancy since Android lock Patterns (ALPs) are so new and the number of collected real-world-patterns is comparatively miniscule. Still, the predictability suggests the patterns could one day be subject to the same sorts of intensive attacks that regularly visit passwords.”


Jason Scott and a bevy of valiant volunteers have have saved a huge collection of technical manuals. “A few of us tried to do a very rough, very hand-wavy job of determining what the total number of manuals was, because it sure as hell wasn’t 25,000. At the end we decided that it is definitely over 50,000 and it is probably as high as 75,000. So we rescued twice as many items as I was told the room contained. That’s fantastic.” So wonderful. What a great job. Good evening, Internet…

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