LGBTQ Video Games, Islamic Studies, American Fiction, More: Friday Buzz, May 13, 2016


Now available: an online catalog with information about LGBTQ content in video games. “This ‘archive’ of LGBTQ video game content is meant to be a resource for researchers, journalists, critics, game designers/developers/publishers, students, gamers and/or people who play games and anyone else who is interested in learning more about the history of LGBTQ content in video games. Why ‘archive’? Well because this is not a traditional collection of primary sources that would be required for an Archive. We are working on plans to create more robust Archive, but for now this is really a ‘curated collection of information about LGBTQ and queerly read game content.’ ” The site currently has information on about 550 examples in 351 video games

The McGill Library has announced that its Islamic Studies Library digital collection is now available in the Internet Archive. “Currently, the collection includes 395 manuscripts, lithographs, and rare books in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Urdu, published between 1488 and 2013 A.D., and is continually growing.”

Gale has launched a new American fiction archive (PRESS RELEASE). “Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, has released American Fiction, 1774-1920, a new digital archive in its Gale Primary Sources program. The new archive includes more than 17,500 works of fiction, many of which have never before been available online. For students who use only e-resources in their work, this archive opens up thousands of texts for research. Through the novels, short stories, romances, travel accounts and sketches included in the archive, researchers can explore the socioeconomic, political, and religious tenor of America through centuries of radical change.” This is a pay resource as you might guess.


Google has made several updates to Google Translate. The biggest thing to me is that Word Lens (focus your phone’s camera on a item and it’s automatically translated in the image) now supports Chinese. I love Word Lens; it really feels like magic.

Google has also tweaked Google Photos. “Following Facebook Moments’ expansion to the EU and Canada earlier this week, Google is launching new features on its own photo-sharing service, Google Photos, aimed at making its app both more competitive with Moments and more social. The company is adding support for both commenting and ‘suggested additions.’ This latter feature makes it easier for users to add their photos to a shared album they’ve received from a friend, explains Google.”


MakeUseOf: 10 Free Online Batch Image Tools to Resize, Convert & Optimize.


An article in the Irish Times explores the legal requirements (or lack of legal requirements) for archiving digital items. “A print book versus an ebook. A report printed by a government agency versus one available from the agency’s website. Same thing, just in a different format, right? Wrong. In one case, the print item here falls under a statutory requirement to be archived and made available in the library at Trinity College Dublin, which, along with a number of UK-based institutions such as the British Library, has been a legal deposit library for both these islands since 1801. However, contrary to the situation in the UK, no equivalent legislation exists in Ireland to cover digital items.”

An interesting (and surprisingly funny) article about the tech behind the Internet Archive’s Political Ad Archive. “Remember that time you were watching Netflix and you blacked out because your cat sucker-punched you?” No, wait, that was one of the funny parts. Hang on: “Our mission is to provide a free and open resource for citizens, journalists, and researchers who want to understand the paid messages from their politicians, and to archive billions of dollars worth of democracy….This post is about how the service works, but I’ll start with the punch line: we watch tons of TV—probably literally, our servers are heavy—and filter out the noise, leaving only the political ads. Then our DVR robots (DVRRs for short) activate and count all copies of those ads, keep track of when and where they were played, toss in a little human contributed metadata, and share the DVRR results (DVRRRs) and code base with you, our DVRRR recipients.”


The UK is considering handing harsher sentences to young people who post images/video of committed crimes online. “Judges have been told to consider the malicious use of sites such as Snapchat and Facebook when handing out punishments to those aged between 10 and 17. The move is intended to take into account the extra harm and humiliation caused to victims when ordeals are filmed and circulated on the internet.”

Odd: there was apparently a data leak of prominent Chinese citizens. “The account @shenfenzheng — which means ‘personal identification’ in Chinese — was suspended by Twitter on Thursday afternoon, its posts no longer available. Before it was suspended, the account was used to post photographs and screenshots containing personal information, like addresses, national identification numbers, educational attainment and marital statuses of well-known Chinese, including the two richest people in mainland China, Jack Ma, the chairman of the Internet giant Alibaba Group, and Wang Jianlin, the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, a real estate company.”

Oh dear. Will people really give up passwords in exchange for chocolate? “During the experiment, researchers asked randomly selected passers-by about their attitude towards computer security, but also asked them for their password. The interviewers were carrying University of Luxembourg bags, but were otherwise unknown to the respondents. In one condition, participants were given chocolate before being asked for their password, while in the control group they were only given chocolate after the interview. The research showed that this small gift greatly increased the likelihood of participants giving away their password. If the chocolate was only given out afterwards, 29.8 per cent of participants revealed their passwords. However, if the chocolate was received generally beforehand, a total of 43.5% of the respondents shared their password with the interviewer.”


More use of social media is linked to body image concerns in young adults. “Logging on to social media sites frequently throughout the week or spending hours trolling various social feeds during the day is linked to a greater risk of young adults developing eating and body image concerns, a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine analysis discovered.” Good morning, Internet…

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