Flooding, The Guggenheim, Cylinder Recordings, More: Monday Buzz, November 9th, 2015


The Cumberland River Basin flood of 1939 how has a digital archive of images. “Tammy Kirk, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District librarian, scanned more than 200 photos from the 1939 flood so that academics, members of the press, genealogists and local historians can research and utilize the images.”

The Guggenheim has launched its first online exhibit. But it’s a bit more than you might expect. “Troy Therrien, curator of architecture and digital initiatives at the Guggenheim, has a different approach for thinking about the role digital technology plays. He believes rather than incorporating digital works into the analog status quo, museums should be rethinking the architecture of exhibitions altogether. This is why last week, Therrien launched Åzone Futures Market, the Guggenheim’s first digital exhibition that allows visitors to invest in technologies of the future.”


The University of California Santa Barbara has relaunched the Web site for its digital archive of cylinder recordings. There are over 10,000 recordings in this collection, spanning the late 19th century to the early 20th. Note that these recordings capture the attitudes of our culture in that time, and therefore some of them would be considered both racist and offensive today.

Google Calendar now has a “trash” feature. “If you have edit rights for a given calendar in the web app, you will be able to click on its dropdown menu and access its Trash folder. From there, you can restore deleted calendar events or delete them forever.”

YouTube has added VR features to its Android App. “The company added support for virtual reality videos to its Android app Thursday and announced that any YouTube video can now be viewed with the company’s Cardboard virtual reality headset. The changes are limited to YouTube’s Android app for now, but iOS is coming soon, Google says.”


Ancestry is apparently making some of its military records free through November 11. From the NGS: “ is making some of its military collection FREELY accessible November 6-11, 2015. This is in honor of Remembrance weekend (Canada and England) and Veterans Day (US). I only checked these three countries. There may also be similar free access for other countries. Please do check and let us know where else you were able to gain free access.”

Researchers at Harvard and MIT have done a study to discover what makes infographics memorable. “In a new study that analyzes people’s eye movements as they look at charts, graphs and infographics, researchers have been able to determine which aspects of visualizations make them memorable, understandable and informative. The findings reveal how to make sure your own graphics really pop.” The article has some hints, but apparently the data are also being released in a database.

Do you have a page on Facebook? Ever wonder how the “Insights” statistics work? Yoast has you covered. “This post is about all the information that can be found in Facebook Page Insights, and what we feel does and doesn’t make sense to look at for most of our visitors. It all depends on the kind of website you have, of course.”

James Tanner of Genealogy’s Star test-searched for an ancestor on several different search engines. Including Excite, Dogpile, and Lycos. I would love to see this search run with additional, more current engines like Gigablast, Startpage/Ixquick, and maybe Yandex (which does have an English interface.


Google has awarded grants to groups fighting racism. “The technology giant’s philanthropic arm chose organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area taking on systemic racism in America’s criminal justice, prison and educational systems, says Justin Steele, who leads’s Bay Area giving efforts.”

You may have heard of a popular blog called Grantland, which was run by ESPN. ESPN announced its shutdown late last month and the Internet Archive leapt into action to get the site archived. “You can see a visual representation of this effort if you look at the past few months of Grantland archives in the Wayback Machine, which crawls and preserves pieces of the web for the Internet Archive.”

From MIT Technology Review: Google Aims to Make VR Hardware Irrelevant Before It Even Gets Going. “Smartphones have sidelined digital cameras and other special-purpose devices. Now Google thinks mobile phones will shove virtual-reality headsets like the Oculus Rift into the shadows, too.”


Oh eww. There’s apparently a new kind of ransomware that holds entire sites for ransom. “This latest criminal innovation, innocuously dubbed ‘Linux.Encoder.1’ by Russian antivirus and security firm Dr.Web, targets sites powered by the Linux operating system….Typically, the malware is injected into Web sites via known vulnerabilities in site plugins or third-party software — such shopping cart programs. Once on a host machine, the malware will encrypt all of the files in the ‘home’ directories on the system, as well backup directories and most of the system folders typically associated with Web site files, images, pages, code libraries and scripts.”

A citizen of Scotland has been indicted for a Twitter-based stock manipulation scheme. “According to the indictment, [James Alan] Craig, 62, of Dunragit, Scotland, alleged set up Twitter accounts using names similar to real market research firms for the purpose of manipulating stock prices. Craig issued tweets with false and fraudulent information about publicly-traded securities, causing the price of the securities to rapidly decline. Craig then bought securities of the targeted companies through his girlfriend’s brokerage account and later sold them at a higher price per security. Craig’s actions are alleged to have caused of more than $1.6 million in losses to shareholders.”

The FCC has announced that it can’t force Google and Facebook to stop tracking its users. “The Federal Communications Commission said Friday that it will not seek to impose a requirement on Google, Facebook and other Internet companies that would make it harder for them to track consumers’ online activities.”

Wow, sounds like there’s some really horrible Android malware out there. “Lookout has noticed a trend toward Android malware that masquerades as a popular app, but quietly gets root-level access to your phone and buries itself deep in the operating system. If that happens, you’re in serious trouble. Unless you can walk through loading a fresh ROM or carefully modify system files over ADB, it may be easier to just replace the device, or have your phone company reflash it — a simple factory reset won’t get the job done.”

Google says a recent Samsung Galaxy phone has a whole host of bugs. “Google has revealed that Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S6 Edge Android smartphone suffered 11 ‘high impact’ security issues that were introduced by the company’s customisation of Android. Of the 11 bugs that were found in a week-long focus on Samsung’s device by Google’s Project Zero security bug hunting team, some could allow hackers to take over the device and steal personal data.” Looks like most of them have already been fixed.


Interesting reading from Exploration in science and ranking journals by novelty. “What is the problem with rankings based on citations? For one, they do not depend at all on what kind of science is being pursued – they make no distinction between novel and conventional science. Though a highly cited paper might play with novel ideas, there is no intrinsic reason for it to do so….To address this problem, we recently developed a new journal ranking approach that rewards playing with new ideas, rather than influence (Packalen and Bhattacharya 2015). Journals are ranked based on their propensity to publish articles that build on ideas that are relatively new. Journals that publish articles that build only on well-established knowledge – no matter how influential – are not rewarded in our ranking.” Good morning, Internet…

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