Photography, Hiking, Spare Rib, More: Sunday Buzz, April 10, 2016


Wow, if you’re into photography, check out this new database. “The New York Public Magazine launched an incredibly useful photographic resource. The Photographers’ Identities Catalog (PIC) is an online collection of biographical data of around 110,000 photographers, studios, dealers and others involved in photography production.” For the searches I did, it’s more of a jumping-off point than a standalone resource, but there’s plenty of information for successfully furthering your research!

Now available: an online database of hiking trails in Montana. “After a year of preparation and mapping, the site offers a list of more than 200 trails across the Treasure State. Volunteers spent last summer taking photos and gathering trail information for each hike listed; all with the goal of connecting people to the wild outdoors.” The work shows; this site is excellently done.


The archive of the publication SPARE RIB, which I have mentioned before, is having some of its content removed. “From 1st June 2016 the British Library will redact approximately 20% of the content on its Spare Rib website. In this blog post Curator Polly Russell explains why the redactions are taking place and calls for Spare Rib magazine contributors to come forward.”

Facebook is offering businesses a bunch of tools for Facebook Messenger. “A day after people started noticing Facebook was now suggesting business to chat with while in Messenger, the social network officially announced a suite of tools and updates designed to help Facebook users better connect with the businesses using its platform. As part of these changes, businesses will now see their Facebook Page usernames being more heavily promoted across the site, and they’ve been given two new ways for people to begin chatting with them: Messenger Links, which are short URLs, and scannable Messenger Codes.”


First Draft News is offering free guides to verify photos and videos. “In recent weeks, members of the First Draft Coalition have worked together to create a verification guide which we hope will help in these situations, a guide which journalists can keep with them and refer to when necessary. This verification guide for photos can be downloaded via the link below, as can the video verification guide and double-sided booklet guide.”

Amit Agarwal builds on his recent YouTube video with How to write a Twitter bot in five minutes. “A bot can automatically favorite or retweet tweets that match certain criteria. It can follow Twitter user who have tweeted a particular phrase. A brand may build an auto-reply bot that automatically responds when the brand gets a @mention on Twitter. You may have a bot that auto-sends a DM (direct message) to users who follow you on Twitter.”


Using social media in Egypt? Be careful what you say. “Mansoura University engineering student Abdallah Azmy was studying for his midterm exam a few weeks ago, when one of his friends took his mobile and cursed their college on Azmy’s personal Facebook account. Azmy never imagined that such a prank would lead to his suspension for the rest of the semester.” This quote made me really sad: “Egyptian laws usually do not offer any legal protections to citizens in such cases, says [lawyer Fatma] Serag. When she has defended clients in such cases, Serag has pointed to the Constitution, which protects people’s right to freely express their opinions and their right to privacy. But ‘the Constitution is usually not translated to laws, unfortunately,’ she says.”

Speaking of social media in individual countries, I just found a most interesting question on Reddit (it’s true that I rarely log in to Reddit, but I monitor it other ways.) The question is How to use Facebook properly in the USA? and it starts “I am studying in the USA right now, and I am from a country where the Facebook is banned. Currently I get some questions about the Facebook culture and American social networking routine.” Some thoughtful responses too.


Whoa: it looks like Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood will get to investigate Google after all. “The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to vacate an injunction prohibiting Mississippi AG Jim Hood from bringing a civil or criminal charge against Google for making accessible third-party content like imported prescription drugs and pirated movies.”

If for whatever reason you still have to run Flash, please patch it because there’s a nasty zero day running around.

You may have heard that the federal health insurance Web site has/had some issues. Apparently there are issues with state-level health insurance sites, too. “Federal investigators found significant cybersecurity weaknesses in the health insurance websites of California, Kentucky and Vermont that could enable hackers to get their hands on sensitive personal information about hundreds of thousands of people, The Associated Press has learned. And some of those flaws have yet to be fixed. The vulnerabilities were discovered by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, and shared with state officials last September. Vermont authorities would not discuss the findings, but officials in California and Kentucky said this week that there was no evidence hackers succeeded in stealing anything.” One wonders how thoroughly they looked.


Zow! Scientists have stored digital images in DNA. I’m imagining my DNA as a vast archive of Zippy the Pinhead cartoons. Sounds about right. “The University of Washington team, in partnership with engineers from Microsoft, was able to encode four digital images into strings of DNA. This required converting the 1s and 0s of the files into the four basic elements of DNA – adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. But even more challenging was reversing the process without any errors.” Good morning, Internet…

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