Books, Museums, Elephants, More: Wednesday Buzz, September 16th, 2015


GDELT has swallowed and digested 3.5 million books from the Internet Archive and HathiTrust. What’s bigger than big data? “Today we are enormously excited to announce that more than 3.5 million digitized books stretching back two centuries, encompassing the complete English-language public domain collections of the Internet Archive (1.3M volumes) and HathiTrust (2.2 million volumes), have been processed using the GDELT Global Knowledge Graph and are now available in Google BigQuery. More than a billion pages stretching back 215 years have been examined to compile a list of all people, organizations, and other names, fulltext geocoded to render them fully mappable, and more than 4,500 emotions and themes compiled. All of this computed metadata is combined with all available book-level metadata, including title, author, publisher, and subject tags as provided by the contributing libraries. Even more excitingly, the complete fulltext of all Internet Archive books published 1800-1922 are included to allow you to perform your own near-realtime analyses. All of this is housed in Google BigQuery, making it possible to perform sophisticated analyses across 122 years of history in just seconds. A single line of SQL can execute even the most complex regular expression or complete JavaScript algorithm over nearly half a terabyte of fulltext in just 11 seconds and combine it with all of the extracted data above. Track emotions or themes over time or map the geography of the world as seen through books – the sky is the limit!”

The Digital Library of Georgia has added two new collections. “The Digital Library of Georgia is pleased to announce two brand-new online exhibitions on the subjects of children in Progressive-era America, and Georgia’s home front during World War II that are now available through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).”


WordPress has been updated to 4.3.1. “This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately. This release addresses three issues, including two cross-site scripting vulnerabilities and a potential privilege escalation.”

Hey! Google Street View now has elephants. “Research shows that 100,000 elephants across Africa were killed for their ivory between 2010-2012, but thanks to our work in the Samburu National Reserve their numbers are now slowly increasing. Today, a visit to Samburu is a chance not only to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, but also discover a uniquely beautiful landscape where people’s lives are interwoven with the landscape’s wildlife. It’s my honour to invite you on a journey to my homeland with Street View in Google Maps.”


Interesting: How To Make Cool GMail Signatures Right in Google Drive. “Email signatures are the simplest communication devices, but they are also the most ignored part of emails. Isn’t that a tragedy when a meaningful personal signature is so easy to create? There are always email signature tools like WiseStamp, the most popular signature service around. But to give the Gmail signature a dash and stroke of your personality, Gmail and Google Drive give you everything to unleash an original signature on your contact list.”

From Practical E-Commerce: 20 Chrome Extensions for Web Design.

From Flowing Data Automatic Charts and Insights in Google Sheets. “So you have your data neat and tidy in a single spreadsheet, and it’s finally time to explore. There’s a problem though. Maybe you don’t know what to look for or where to start. Maybe you’re not in the mood for a trip to clicksville to make all those charts. With a new exploration tab, Google Sheets might be a good place to start.”


Hey: there’s a Super Mario Brothers Easter egg in Google search. And boy, is it noisy…

Facebook with the virtual reality phone app? “Facebook is working on a stand-alone app that would support 360-degree—or ‘spherical’—video, allowing users to alter their viewing perspective with the mere tilt of their phones.”

More Facebook: it is promising Germany that it will help combat racist and xenophobic content. “Germany’s Justice minister, Heiko Maas, said after meeting with Facebook executives Monday that the social-networking giant had agreed to work with a task force to identify and remove content deemed hateful or xenophobic, according to a Reuters report. The partnership comes just days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Facebook to do more to combat racist comments and hate posts on the social network’s German version.”

From Advertising Age: How YouTube Is Reprogramming Video and Increasing Watch Time. “YouTube has always denied ambitions to become a programmer akin to CBS or Netflix, and it remains an atypical sort today. It is not, for example, arranging a marquee section on its home page to push a flagship series the way a broadcast network flogs its new lineup. But under CEO Susan Wojcicki, its engineers are steadily rolling out products, updating existing platforms and making it easier to connect videos with audiences — and the advertisers that follow.” Good morning, Internet…

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