afternoonbuzz

Canada Genealogy, Toronto Raves, Libertarian Candidates, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, May 17, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Genealogists doing research in Canada, you’ll like this: a new project is underway to aggregate historical census boundary information. “In Ontario, Scholars Portal and the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL), have begun a year-long project to gather and convert all existing Canadian digital census boundary files, including the DLI collection, and other census boundaries digitized over the years by university libraries across Canada. The project will make data and documentation available openly in an interactive geoportal – Scholars GeoPortal.”

New to me: The Toronto Rave Mixtape Archive. Just what it sounds like on the tin: a collection of downloadable DJ sets from the Toronto rave scene. There must be at least a thousand sets here, going back to the early 1990s. There’s also a small number of videos and a small but decently-annotated link list.

In development: a database of Libertarian political candidates. “Last month, we soft launched Phase I: the #VoteDifferent engine. We had a blast creating the first candidate database where voters can search for Libertarians running for office. Thanks to dozens of record corrections submitted by candidates, it’s now the largest and most accurate database.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

This’ll be a nice change: Twitter will stop counting links and photos toward a tweet’s 140-character limit. “The company earlier this year considered raising the limit to as many as 10,000 characters. But the quick, concise nature of Tweets has helped set the site apart from the competition. Executives have spent the last few months emphasizing how Twitter is a destination for live events and discussion. Removing the character requirement for links and photos may encourage users to add more media to their posts.”

Hey! A new Raspberry Pi Zero is now available.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Wikipedia breaks down its ten longest featured articles. SPOILER: Elvis is #1. “The English Wikipedia has more than 4,700 featured articles at the time of writing—fewer than 0.1 percent of all articles. Featured articles, known in the community as ‘FAs’, must undergo a rigorous assessment process where their compatibility with several criteria is checked and scrutinised. In exchange, they’re adorned with a little bronze star and used as an example of the best articles Wikipedia has to offer.”

The country of New Zealand is considering a database of NZ company ownership information. “The Government is considering a public database which would show who owns, controls and benefits from New Zealand companies, including people based overseas….The register would show which companies had a record of bribery and corruption charges.”

Hoo boy. Apparently Facebook is going to sell ads on behalf of other companies. What could POSSIBLY go wrong. “The company said on Monday it will help marketers sell and place ‘in-stream’ and ‘in-article’ video advertisements across third-party websites and applications, including those operated by Daily Mail, Mashable and USA Today Sports Media Group.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Privacy concerns are driving people all over the world away from social media. “Due to online privacy concerns, social media use in the Middle East is shifting away from Twitter and Facebook and further toward direct-messaging platforms such as Snapchat and WhatsApp, according to Northwestern University. The survey found that Facebook’s popularity has declined in the last three years by 6 percentage points to 82% in 2016. Twitter’s usage tumbled during the period by a whopping 17 percentage points to 28% this year. Only one year ago, Twitter was embraced by 40% of the users.” Tech companies taking a pro-privacy stance may be essential for survival.

Okay, it’s not as much fun as a cat riding a Roomba, but I’m excited to hear that researchers have worked out a way to make random numbers even more random. “With an advance that one cryptography expert called a ‘masterpiece,’ University of Texas at Austin computer scientists have developed a new method for producing truly random numbers, a breakthrough that could be used to encrypt data, make electronic voting more secure, conduct statistically significant polls and more accurately simulate complex systems such as Earth’s climate.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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