Chimpanzees, Francis Bacon, Google Translate, More: Thursday Buzz, October 15th, 2015


In development: an online database of chimpanzee brains. “[George Washington University] will serve as a brain repository, where scientists can request tissue samples from the university’s collection to be sent to their own labs. The project team also will make available their assemblage of high-resolution MRI scans of chimpanzee brains along with observational data collected from studies on chimpanzees’ motor, social and cognitive skills. With this information, the researchers plan to create an online, searchable database that scientists can easily access. They also will build a detailed chimpanzee brain atlas and gene-expression map that can be used for research on the molecular pathways related to cognition and brain disease.”

You’ve heard of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”? Now there’s Six degrees of Francis Bacon. “Carnegie Mellon University and Georgetown University have created ‘Six Degrees of Francis Bacon,’ a groundbreaking digital humanities project that recreates the British early modern social network to trace the personal relationships among figures like Bacon, Shakespeare, Isaac Newton and many others. The website lets academics, students and anyone else interested in this period view and add to the network. The site currently identifies more than 13,000 individuals and highlights approximately 200,000 relationships.”


Google Translate is adding a couple new features. “We’re all about breaking language barriers, whatever language you speak or device you use. So with that in mind, over the next week, we’ll be rolling out two new Google Translate app features— instantly translating both English and German to Arabic and easier multitasking for iPad users.”


The Confidential Resource has a couple of options for searching Periscope and Meerkat.

Hongkiat has a great roundup of YouTube channels to help you learn photography.

Noupe takes a look at eight online imaging tools. I am a longtime (paying) customer of PicMonkey and I LOVE it. (DISCLAIMER: Not affiliated, just impressed.)


Facebook is working on new technology to help blind or visually-impaired people get more information about what’s in posted photos. “Right now, blind and visually impaired people who have access to screen readers — tools used to identify what’s displayed on a screen — can listen to what people are writing on Facebook, but there’s currently no way to figure out what’s going on in the millions of photos shared on Facebook every day.”

YouTube now has local versions in 85 countries. “Local versions of YouTube are good news for creators, too. It opens up the opportunity for creators to become a partner, earn money from their channels, and gain access to tools and resources that can help them make the most of YouTube. Creators can access online lessons via the YouTube Creator Academy to get started and learn best practices, and the Creator Community gives creators a place to meet each other, find collaborations, and more.”

Congratulations to Geneanet for reaching a milestone of three billion indexed people.

Twitter has a new executive chairman. “[Omid Kordestani] was the 11th employee hired at Google, and spent 10 years there before leaving the company in 2009. After several years advising start-ups like Spotify, he returned to Google in 2014 as chief business officer, before leaving again this summer as part of the company’s reorganization into Alphabet.”

Facebook UK paid out a ton of staff bonuses last year. Taxes? not so much. “Facebook made an accounting loss of £28.5m in Britain in 2014, after paying out more than £35m to its 362 staff in a share bonus scheme, according to the unit’s latest published accounts. Operating at a loss meant that Facebook was able to pay less than £5,000 in corporation tax to HM Revenue for the year.”

The New York Times “morgue” has been damaged by flooding. “A broken pipe on Saturday morning sent water cascading into the morgue — the storage area where The Times keeps its immense collection of historical photos, along with newspaper clippings, microfilm records, books and other archival material — causing minor damage and raising significant alarm.” It is estimated that 90% of the damaged photos can be salvaged. I’ve always wondered why important archival materials were kept in a basement. Keep the executives in the basement. If they get flooded they can dry out and the flooding will be fixed quicker. Good morning, Internet…

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