Slovenia, Pregnancy, Thomas Thistlewood, More: Friday Buzz, November 13th, 2015


The Slovenian Theatre Institute has launched a digital library of Slovenian plays. The link above is just a snippet; it’s pay access.

Now available: a new database with information about pregnancy and premature birth (PRESS RELEASE). “The new database, called GEneSTATION, combining the words “gene” and “gestation” — is a resource designed to help researchers leverage the growing knowledge of the human genome and its function to advance their understanding of the triggers for full-term, as well as preterm labor. The goal is to develop new ways to prevent and treat preterm birth (before 37 weeks of gestation)….The GEneSTATION database brings together various types of information, such as genomics, proteomics, and transcriptomics, among others, for 23 mammalian species. That data also is linked to other specialized clinical databases with information about human pregnancy-specific disorders.”

The Yale Library has digitized the papers of plantation and slave owner Thomas Thistlewood. “The papers consist of diaries, weather journals, commonplace books, reading notes and other materials documenting Thistlewood’s life, work, and intellectual interests. His 37 diaries contain daily entries dating between 1750 and 1786. Topics include Thistlewood’s work as an overseer, and later owner, of slaves, including his methods of assigning work, allotting provisions, and discipline; his personal and sexual relationships with several slaves, including his lengthy relationship with Phibbah; and slave rebellions and rumors of rebellions, including Tacky’s Revolt (1760).” I did not see a direct link to the holdings in this announcement, so I e-mailed the Beinecke Library. They pointed me to a finding aid at .


WordPress 4.4 Beta 4 is now available.

Google has open-sourced TensorFlow. “Google has just announced that it’s open sourcing TensorFlow under the Apache 2 license. That awfully nerdy sentence means that part of the software that Google uses to power its machine learning systems — the stuff that can translate words on a sign with your camera or learn what a cat looks like just by looking at a ton of photos — will now be free for anybody to use or alter.”


New York Magazine has a great roundup of weird Twitter bots. Maybe you’ll get some ideas. “Bots can be the absolute worst part of Twitter. They can also be the best. In the last few years, artists and programmers have turned Twitter bots into an internet-native art form, producing bots that are often hilarious, usually weird, and sometimes unexpectedly poetic.”

Not useful. Except that it might make you laugh. Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Get a tweet converted to a cuneiform tablet. For the person who has everything.


India is getting really aggressive about banning stuff on Facebook. “India is far and away the country that bans the most content on Facebook, the social network’s transparency report for the six months between January and July 2015 has revealed. In that time, India had the viewing of 15,155 pieces of content restricted to its residents, according to Facebook, more than three times the 4,496 pieces of content banned in Turkey,”

Yahoo has apparently hired McKinsey to consider a reorganization. Uh-oh. “In addition to the reflection on what should happen to revive the core, which largely remains an advertising business, Mayer has also over the last month asked her top execs to make three- to five-year commitments to Yahoo. Sources said she told senior staff at meetings in late August and early September that they had to either verbally or in writing make the promise to remain.” Double uh-oh.

Tag Heuer and Google have teamed up for a smartwatch. Which will cost 1500 smackeroos. “The Carrera Connected was made in conjunction with Intel and Google, and runs on Google’s Android Wear operating system. In a presentation in New York, Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver said that this launch marks the marriage of the traditional Swiss watch world with Silicon Valley, and the future. Perhaps more importantly, however, the Carrera Connected represents the market’s first luxury Android watch, meant to compete more directly with the Apple Watch.”


Snicker: Google’s own safe browsing tool is reporting as partially unsafe. I’ve gotten Google marking it’s own Google Alert e-mails as possible scams before, but I haven’t seen this.


From The Guardian: Twitter is teetering because it has turned into one big pyramid scheme. “So you’re being followed by 2,000 or 20,000 people – now what? Experience teaches me that genuinely tending to the tweets of more than 200 people becomes impractical (and unenjoyable) unless you treat it as part of your profession. What this implies is a law of diminishing returns, with everyone sending out tweets few people have the time or energy to read or act upon. Essentially, Twitter, like the economy it is part of, is eating itself: it has become a social pyramid scheme whose enormous strengths are undermined by its own – our own – market-derived metrics, which tell us nothing about the quality of the experience.” Good morning, Internet…

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