Stones, Fungi, UK Domains, More: Wednesday Buzz, September 9th, 2015


The National Park Service has launched a building stone database. “The website, named the National Building Stone Database, is part of an ongoing effort to document important quarries and the stone they produce…. The database, which currently contains over a hundred stones, is a work in progress. Researchers from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, where physical samples are housed, will continue to document and add new stones to the database into the future.”

Cornell will digitize its microfungi collection. “Microfungi are small molds, soil and water fungi, and Cornell holds more than 100,000 dried specimens in the Cornell Plant Pathology Herbarium, a research collection of 400,000 preserved fungi and other organisms that cause plant diseases.” It’s expected that digitizing will take about a year and will start this fall (which I guess means about now.)


From Edudemic: The Teacher’s Guide for Using YouTube in the Classroom. Some suggestions and some links.


The 2015 UK Domain Crawl has started! “What will the 2015 crawl be like? Will we find more urls? Surely the web grows every day, but how much? Will there be more data? Will we have more virus content? Tweet your suggestions and thoughts about the UK Domain @UKWebArchive or use the #UKWebCrawl2015.” Visit the blog post for crawl stats from 2013 and 2014.

The Knight News Challenge on Data is underway. “Winners will receive a share of $3 million, and we’re seeking ideas from anyone—journalists, startups, civic hackers, academics, media organizations, nonprofits, governments, individuals and more. The challenge is intended to create opportunities to analyze, collect, present, interpret and share data to increase transparency, enhance privacy and security, and improve journalism and storytelling techniques.”

Google’s got a new patent for glasses. No, not THOSE kinds of glasses. “The patent, awarded to Google today (Sept. 8), outlines a system built into a wearable device like Google Glass, that uses motors and motion detectors to automatically tighten or loosen the glasses’ arms depending on what the wearer is doing.”

Want to play with Google Jump? You’ll need fifteen thousand smackers. The article that I’ve linked to has a video that you can spin around as well as look up and down. Mindbending!


Do you use Kaspersky antivirus products? Make sure you’re up to date!. “Kaspersky Lab has released an emergency patch for some of its antivirus products after a security researcher found a critical vulnerability that could allow hackers to compromise computers.”

Hackers are already messing with self-driving cars. “Automated cars use laser ranging systems, known as lidar, to image the world around them and allow their computer systems to identify and track objects. But a tool similar to a laser pointer and costing less than $60 can be used to confuse lidar. The attack can be carried out from behind, in front or from the side of the car and without alerting the car’s passengers, according to a security researcher.”

Hey, Adobe released a security update! Must be a day ending in “y”. “Adobe has released a security update to address vulnerabilities in Shockwave Player. Exploitation of these vulnerabilities may allow a remote attacker to take control of an affected system.”

Further analysis of the Ashley Madison hack shows us that terrible passwords are still a problem. Warning: the list of stupid passwords contains obscenities. And stupid passwords. “While plenty of aspects of Ashley Madison’s business and operations have raised eyebrows, the firm did apparently use robust and respected encryption for its user passwords. But even bcrypt-hashed passwords can be cracked if the user choses a stupid password, like, er, password. Or 123456.”


Interesting: using Twitter volume to predict the death of apps. The researchers call it “social decay”. “Using Twitter data, BuzzFeed News analyzed the health of dozens of social apps to determine which ones might be fading away. To study a particular app, we tracked how the number of tweets linking to the app — for example, this tweet, which links to a live stream on Periscope, or this one linking to a live stream on Meerkat — changed over time. If the chart showed a steady decline over a number of months, we interpreted that as a warning sign. You might call it social decay.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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