Romanian Photojournalism, Venomous Snakes, Georgia Politics, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, March 18, 2016


The AGERPRES Romanian National News Agency is creating a photo archive (that link is in Romanian which I machine-translated to read the story.) “National News Agency has been present for over time by journalists and photographs them in all the major events of the contemporary history of the country. Thus, Agerpres holds an extensive archive of photographs that includes over 10 million images taken since 1927 to date. Hundreds of thousands of movies and about 5,000 are contained in archival photographic plates, each film having between 20 and 40 frames, the single plate.” Digitizing is expected to take ten years.

Now available: a database of venomous sea snakes. This is me, running away screaming. “Sea kraits, in the genus Laticauda, are closely related to cobras (found in Asia and Africa) and coral snakes (that can be found in the southern United States) and include seven species that feed almost exclusively on eels. Researchers believe that sea kraits’ powerful venom developed as a result of their specialized diet.”

The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia has released several new digital files related to Georgia politicians. “The Russell Library is pleased to announce the opening of digital files from thirteen collections related to Georgia politicians, including the papers of 2 Senators, 3 Congressman, 3 State Legislators, and 3 Georgia Governors. These files can be requested from the finding aid and are shared with the researcher through Google Drive.”


Facebook is testing topics. “Spotted: Facebook is working on testing a new feature that lets users converse around topics and themes of their choosing.” I guess so Facebook can have another way for your friends to generate posts which you won’t see.

Medium has launched a new “collections” feature. “Collections hold topic-based content from all sorts of places, both on and off Medium. Featured on the top of the homepage on iOS and Android, they are an amazing way to find diverse viewpoints about an idea, thing, place, person… well, anything. Want to find out more about the 2016 presidential campaign, including all the amazing articles from candidates on Medium? There’s a collection for that. And because collections can contain other collections, you can go as deep into Trump’s candidacy as you’d like or stay as broad as the entire election cycle.”


Turns out that Facebook showed different ads for the movie Straight Outta Compton depending on what color you were. “Universal and Facebook customized the trailers based on information that the non-African American, non-hispanic population (referred to as ‘the general population’ by Neil) wasn’t familiar with N.W.A. or the musical accomplishments of Dr. Dre, or Ice Cube.” So if you’re not white, you’re not “the general population”? And speaking as a pasty pink woman who grew up listening to 70s-80s rap and will still randomly start singing Charizma’s song Ice Cream Truck, I know who Ice Cube is.

Meanwhile, still hanging out on the Planet of Double Standards, Facebook has suspended accounts which posted an image of two Aboriginal Australian women performing in a public ceremony. Their breasts are exposed, including, if Facebook’s decency policies are to be believed, their Female Nipples of Doom. Meanwhile, as this article points out, Esquire can post a picture of Kim Kardashian completely naked (except for paint) and that is apparently perfectly okay. Nina Agdal showing her rump? Facebook doesn’t seem to have a problem with that either. It should be obvious from this summary, but I’ll warn you anyway: the story I’m linking to contains images of nudity.


A 24-year-old student has become the first person in Cambodia to be sent to jail over a social media post. “A 24-year-old university student, Kong Raya, was sentenced to 18 months in jail on Tuesday, after being found guilty of inciting crimes with an anti-government post he made on Facebook, a Phnom Penh court said.”


Harvard University has created an “environmental scan” of Web archiving. “The purpose of the environmental scan was to explore and document current web archiving programs (and institutions desiring a similar capacity) to identify common concerns, needs, and expectations in the collection and provision of web archives to users; the provision and maintenance of web archiving infrastructure and services; and the use of web archives by researchers.” The final report is free and available online.

Friday Fury: Martha Henson goes off on the lack of promotion for digital projects. “Stop wasting money on digital projects if you aren’t prepared to promote them properly. I’m serious. Do NOT embark on any digital project if you aren’t going to at least make a decent effort to tell people about it or otherwise figure out how people are going to see it.” I have a whole blog post about this from the other side — from someone who spends a lot of time surfacing great resources to talk about — but as a summary here let me just say RIGHT ON MARTHA. Good afternoon, Internet…

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