Immigrants, Marcus Cornelius Fronto, Twitter, More: Wednesday Buzz, November 4th, 2015


An effort is underway to crowdfund a database of personal effects of people who died attempting to get into the United States. “The database will collect and publish hundreds of photographs of personal effects that were retrieved in the wilderness alongside the bodies of fallen immigrants.” The campaign ends on November 7 and at this writing is at 92% of its goal of $20,000.

In development: a database of the work of Marcus Cornelius Fronto. “In 1815, Cardinal Angelo Mai discovered a cache of Fronto’s writings in a Milanese palimpsest (manuscript). Over the next few decades, these letters were published, but rather haphazardly. As a result, scholars interested in Fronto now could read his letters; yet no one produced a full-fledged commentary until the 1990s. This commentary, says Natoli, is extremely expensive and difficult to obtain. Therefore, even though Fronto’s importance is known, his works still cannot be accessed by anyone except a handful of scholars.”


Twitter is going from a star for favorites to a heart. Which I don’t like. I favorited stuff when I wanted to save it, or just note it as interesting. “Heart”ing something has positive implications I don’t find appropriate for how I use it. Of course if Twitter had a thriving third-party developer community and a very open API people could develop all kinds of structures for liking content.

Google’s Inbox now has “Smart Reply”. “Smart Reply suggests up to three responses based on the emails you get. For those emails that only need a quick response, it can take care of the thinking and save precious time spent typing. And for those emails that require a bit more thought, it gives you a jump start so you can respond right away.”

Apparently you can’t “Maybe” Facebook events anymore — but hey, you can say you’re interested: “The company has officially made the decision to drop the ‘maybe’ button from public Facebook events in favor of an ‘interested’ option, according to a spokesperson today.”


Noupe has a quick writeup on Infogram, a tool for making infographics.

From Hongkiat: 30 Tools to Create Online Quizzes, Polls & Surveys


Google is rushing to assure people that the Chrome OS isn’t going anywhere. “Over the last few days, there’s been some confusion about the future of Chrome OS and Chromebooks based on speculation that Chrome OS will be folded into Android. While we’ve been working on ways to bring together the best of both operating systems, there’s no plan to phase out Chrome OS.”

Incredibly thoughtful article from The Atlantic: The Decay of Twitter. I’m delighted that the article is extremely cerebral and academic and then throws in the word smoosh. “…on Twitter, people say things that they think of as ephemeral and chatty. Their utterances are then treated as unequivocal political statements by people outside the conversation. Because there’s a kind of sensationalistic value in interpreting someone’s chattiness in partisan terms, tweets ‘are taken up as magnum opi to be leapt upon and eviscerated, not only by ideological opponents or threatened employers but by in-network peers.'”

Wow: English Wikipedia has surpassed five million articles. “The milestone was reached with an article on the persoonia terminalis, a shrub of the family Proteaceae native to eastern Australia. It was created by Cas Liber, an Australian editor who has created almost 1,500 articles on the English Wikipedia in his more than 140,000 edits.”


Elsevier has gotten a preliminary injunction against several sites which host “pirated” academic papers. “A New York District Court has granted Elsevier’s request for a preliminary injunction against several sites that host academic publications without permission. As a result the site’s operators are now ordered to quit offering access to infringing content, while the associated registries must suspend their domain names.” Good morning, Internet…

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