WWI Photography, Chicago Buildings, Scout Report, More: Monday Buzz, May 30, 2016


In development: a digital archive of World War I aerial photography (which you do not read about every day!) “More than 1,000 amazing photographs of the First World War German trenches in France have been discovered. The aerial images date back 99 years … They are also very detailed – featuring a record of date, time, location and who took the pictures – and experts will now spend months putting them in an online archive.” I read about this right after I read a story about a large cache of historical photos being found at the Teesdale Mercury. A very good day for UK history!

New-to-me, though it looks like it’s been running for about six years: a database/map of vacant/abandoned buildings in Chicago. There are about 650 buildings on the map if you just look at the last couple of months, but if you look at the entire lifetime of the site there are 33,516 buildings listed. Some integration with municipal resources.


The Scout Report has put up its best of 2016 list. I tried to write for them back in 1995. Alas, it was not to be…

From Hongkiat: 12 Private Search Engines That Do Not Track You. I’m linking to this because I know there’s a lot of interest in no-track search engines and this gives you a list to start exploring. But please do your own due diligence. I did a story about Yippy back in 2010 and my readers had quite a bit to say about it.


The Butetown History and Arts Centre (Cardiff, Wales) is closing, but has no place to transfer or store its archives. “The archive contains items including recordings from people who were residents in Tiger Bay at the start of the 20th century. They were made from the 1980s onwards and include memories which go right back to the beginning of the 20th century – the heyday of the docks.”

I hope someone with more time than I have is tracking all the incidents of national governments either blocking or threatening to block social media access for their citizens. The latest? Ghana. “The Inspector General of Police John Kudalor has maintain his position that the police may block social media on election day. Responding to critics in an interview with Accra based Class FM, a defiant Kudalor said he made his comments from a security point of view, adding that no one can stop him if he wants to [block social media].”

Hmm. Edward Snowden does not want you to use Google Allo. “As he has been known to do quite a lot recently, the former NSA contractor took to Twitter to issue his warning. With the current focus on software security and computer users’ heightened awareness of privacy issues, Google’s decision to turn off end-to-end encryption is slightly baffling. It led Snowden to say: ‘Google’s decision to disable end-to-end encryption by default in its new #Allo chat app is dangerous, and makes it unsafe. Avoid it for now.'”

Looks like Toyota is going to buy Google-owned robot maker Boston Dynamics. (Read the whole article for some very interesting background.) “Tensions between Google and Boston Dynamics have been brewing since 2014, but a video released by Boston Dynamics in February of its humanoid robot, Atlas, was the tipping point for the separation, according to a Bloomberg article written in March. At the time, Bloomberg reported that Amazon and the Toyota Research Institute were possible acquirers of Boston Dynamics.”


Microsoft’s boneheaded handling of its Windows 10 updates is pushing people into bad security decisions. “Ironically, improved security is one of Windows 10’s selling points. But by pushing it on users in such a heavy-handed way, Microsoft is encouraging users who have very valid reasons to stick with Windows 7/8 to perform actions that leave their machines open to attack. That’s bad. Very bad.”

Lawyer up (or possibly more up) Google: France is not making a deal on taxes. “France will ‘go all the way’ to ensure that multinationals operating on its soil pay their taxes and more cases could follow after Google and McDonald’s were targeted by tax raids, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said. Sapin, speaking in an interview with Reuters and three European newspapers, ruled out negotiating any deal with Google on back taxes, as Britain did in January.”


Facebook is trying to figure out mirror selfies. I hope it also figures out “stolen pictures used in spoof accounts,” too. “Solving the mirror selfie problem is one of the most important questions left when it comes to machine vision: Image recognition software can now fairly reliably describe what it’s seeing, but it lacks the cultural knowledge or reasoning skills to put it into context.”

Google put together a list of the most frequently-misspelled word for each state. Giraffe? Good morning, Internet…

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