morningbuzz

Coins, Animal Shelters, CRS, More: Tuesday Buzz, December 15th, 2015

Working on-site this week and staying in a hotel. Don’t you wish you were me? No you don’t. You would not believe the thing they call a desk chair. Anyway, updates random this week.

NEW RESOURCES

The American Numismatic Society (ANS) and the Newman Numismatic Portal are teaming up for a big scanning project. “First to be scanned will be the Library’s entire run of early American auction catalogs, which include those of Frossard, Woodward, Chapman, Elder, and other notable names in the field.” (The Newman Numismatic Portal is administered by Washington University in St. Louis.)

In development: a database of shelter animals in the US. “The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, often cited by The Associated Press, estimates there are 13,600 shelters across the country taking in 7.6 million companion animals a year. Of those, 2.7 million are euthanized, 2.7 million are adopted and 649,000 are returned to their owners (with the other 1.5 million including animals besides cats and dogs, feral animals and other categories).”

Now available: a new Web site aggregating Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports. “[Antoine] McGrath, who worked for the nonprofit Internet Archive, a free digital library, is collaborating on his CRS project with two software programmers who have written a code that scans about 100 sites for metadata in CRS studies. The oldest one they’ve found dates to March 24, 1989: ‘The Corporate Minimum Tax: Rationale, Effects, and Issues.'”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Google Maps for iOS is finally getting offline navigation. “Now you can select a portion of the map and save it locally onto your iPhone or iPad. And this does more than just save the local street layout. Saving a section of Maps lets you search for destinations even without a data connection; you can also get turn-by-turn navigation, business hours, and contact details when offline.”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf takes a look at YouTube’s “speed up” feature. “Though you can use outside tools to customize YouTube, such as forcing videos to play in HD right away, one of its best features is hidden right in the interface itself: the ability to speed up playback.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The Peterson Automotive Museum and The Enthusiast Network (TEN) are teaming up. (Don’t have a timeframe for launch which is why I’m not including it in the New Resources section. “The TEN photo archive will be the largest automotive enthusiast archive in the world and will include 8 million images from 1955-1997, thousands of which have never before been seen. At the heart of the photo archive is imagery from Petersen Publishing, which is responsible for the creation of both HOT ROD (1948) and MOTOR TREND (1949) magazines.”

Today’s Yahoo pile-on comes courtesy of the New York Times. “[Marissa Mayer] paid about $3 billion for acquisitions of companies you’ve mostly never heard of, like Aviate, Polyvore and Distill (and one company you may have heard of, Tumblr). She spent $9.4 billion on stock buybacks; over the last two years, when the stock was trading higher, the buybacks have been a $2.5 billion money-losing trade. About $365 million of compensation went to Ms. Mayer herself, assuming she stays for an additional year and a half. And $109 million to an executive she hired to be her chief operating officer, who was then summarily fired 15 months later. An estimated $450 million on free food for the staff. And, depending on whom you believe, double-digit millions of dollars on parties and events, including a ‘Great Gatsby’-themed holiday party several weeks ago that was held with no apparent irony.”

And in our latest episode of “weird features,” Facebook is apparently testing a feature to show you when a friend is writing a comment. “Some users have noticed recently that a new feature has popped up when tells them when one of their friends is writing a comment on one of their posts.”

Can’t wait for the new Star Wars movie to come out? You can add a lightsaber to your profile picture. “And in keeping with the attention to fan service detail common to most things Star Wars, users don’t have to settle for one color — you can choose either a blue lightsaber (the color of the Jedi) or a red lightsaber (the color of the Sith).”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Drones in the US will now require registration. “According to the Federal Aviation Administration, starting February 19, all drones weighing between 0.55 to 50 pounds must be registered with their owners’ names and addresses in a national database. Violators can face civil penalties of up to $27,500 and three years in jail.”

Bangladesh has lifted its ban on social media. “The decision to lift ban on all social media platforms came hours after the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s (BTRC) new instruction to block three more online voice and messaging services — Twitter, Skype, imo.” Good morning, Internet…

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