UVA, NLM, Vietnam, More: Sunday Buzz, December 6th, 2015


The University of Virginia is building an online archive of its yearbooks as well as some historic photographs. “The centerpiece of the virtual museum will be the library, where visitors can search and browse the entire online archive of Corks & Curls, available online for the first time. The museum also will display the Roseberry Collection, photographs from the 1949 graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce who spent nearly his entire life living and working in the Charlottesville area. Roseberry, who served as the University’s photographer throughout the 1960s and ’70s, contributed to Corks & Curls for more than 40 years.”

The National Library of Medicine has released three new educational/game apps for iOS. From the announcement: “Two of the iOS apps, Bohr Thru and Base Chase, were developed in collaboration with a high school educator and are easily usable within the biology/chemistry classroom setting. The third game, Run4Green, is a fun and informative learning tool that reinforces concepts relating to environmental conservation and can be used as an engagement extension activity.” I want to play Bohr Thru: “This Candy Crush style game requires users to collect and organize protons, neutrons and electrons in order to form the Bohr Model first 18 elements on the periodic table, such as Carbon, Nitrogen and Lithium.”

In development: a database for adopted Vietnamese children. “Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong has approved a project to support Vietnamese children adopted by foreigners in searching for their origins and visiting their native places….Another part of the project is to computerise information about adopted Vietnamese persons and their origins. A digital database is expected to make it easier to search for information.”

New-to-Me, thanks to the person on Facebook who mentioned it (Facebook is horrible to search, sing out and I’ll give you a hat tip) – an Arborglyph database. Basque sheepherders in Idaho carved their initials and other information into trees, mostly on aspens. They’re being mapped, photographed, and cataloged. Fascinating!


Looks like Google’s building some Pinterest functionality into image search. “The perfect image of your next big adventure, knitting project or style-changing haircut is bound to exist somewhere out there. But what happens once you find the image? Take a screenshot? Maybe try to save the webpage? Starting today there is an easier option: you can now star and bookmark images directly from Google’s image search in your mobile browser.”

Wikipedia is hoping AI will make it easier to find bad edits. “Today, we’re announcing the release of a new artificial intelligence service designed to improve the way editors maintain the quality of Wikipedia. This service empowers Wikipedia editors by helping them discover damaging edits and can be used to immediately ‘score’ the quality of any Wikipedia article. We’ve made this artificial intelligence available as an open web service that anyone can use.”


Spencer Greenhalgh at Michigan State University has written an interesting four-part series on mapping locations in Twitter with R. His series of posts is just the kind I love: he finds something he wants to do and then explores all the problems he had and solutions he found while doing it. I linked to his author page; he’s got some other interesting Twitter articles as well.


A Google Spreadsheet is helping the victims of the Chennai floods. “The document, which has been shared extensively on social media in the last two days, provides detailed information about where locals can find help in the form of shelter, food, electricity and other basic necessities. It provides information on close to 220 locations in the city where people in need can take refuge, and the curator advises people to make quick updates so that more and more users can give their inputs here.”

Facebook has locked out users in Belgium from looking at public pages unless they’re logged in. “The country’s Privacy Commission said that the site should not be able track people who come to such pages without being logged in. In response to a court ruling, Facebook has now banned people from seeing the pages altogether.”

It’s gotten to the point that folks are talking about Marissa Mayer’s severance package. Spoiler: it’s disgusting. “Not surprisingly, given that Mayer is one of the country’s best-paid executives, she has a lucrative change-in-control severance benefit in place. Her severance plan — which would kick in if she is terminated without cause due to a change of control of the company — would have been worth $157.9 million in 2014, according to a company tabulation in corporate filings.” Apparently the state the company’s in now is not considered “cause”.

Congratulations to Barry Schwartz for 12 years of Search Engine Roundtable!


Adobe is telling people to stop using Flash. Nice of them to catch up. “In an announcement last night, Adobe said that it will now ‘encourage content creators to build with new web standards,’ such as HTML5, rather than Flash. It’s also beginning to deprecate the Flash name by renaming its animation app to Animate CC, away from Flash Professional CC.” Good morning, Internet…

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