Internet Archive, US Army, Virginia Legal, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, June 14, 2016


Not too long ago I mentioned a Python tool to download Wayback Machine content. Because there seemed to be a fair amount of interest in it, I want to note what’s apparently a new tool on GitHub: a tool to scrape the Wayback Machine (also in Python.)

The United States Army has launched a new Web site – but what I found most interesting is that it’s also developing an API. “Much of what’s on — in particular, the print news stories, and most of the imagery — comes from a content management system called CORE. Redesign of that back-end is slated for this year…. programmers have developed a new application programming interface, or API, to connect CORE to the new design. Howard said that documentation for the API will eventually be made available to other web developers, enabling them to use CORE-provided content.”

A new Web site in Virginia is designed to help individuals in the legal system. “The Virginia Judicial System Court Self-Help Website… reportedly provides neutral legal information as a public service on common topics of interest for self-represented litigants. Topics include traffic tickets, divorce, and landlord-tenant issues. The website features glossaries of legal terms used in the district and circuit courts and instructions for routine processes.” Note that this site was apparently developed by the state of Virginia, not a third party/lawyer/etc.


We’re going to be seeing a lot more ads on Snapchat. “Snapchat is ready to make the big bucks that could let it go public thanks to a slew of important updates to its ads offering. They’ll give advertisers the spotlight, buying flexibility, return on investment opportunities and measurement to throw huge budgets at Snapchat’s 150 million daily users.”

The SNCF (state railway company of France) and Google are teaming up. “SNCF has announced plans to add its stations to Google Maps and Street View. Thirty-three stations have already been added to Google Maps and Street View in time for the European Football Championships. SNCF plans to create detailed 3D maps of 160 stations around the country by the end of the year.”


Recode sees the LinkedIn sale as good news for Twitter. “News that LinkedIn sold to Microsoft on Monday for more than $26 billion has pushed Twitter stock up more than 8 percent in early-morning trading. The reason? If Microsoft is willing to break the bank for LinkedIn, maybe there’s a savior out there for Twitter, too!”

Chinese search engine Baidu has cut its revenue forecast after advertising restrictions. “Chinese online search giant Baidu Inc BIDU.O cut its revenue forecast for the current quarter, saying regulatory scrutiny into healthcare and related ads was hurting its advertising revenue. The company’s shares plunged 6 percent in extended trading on Monday.”


We’ve read a lot about AI making images, but what about making sounds? “Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have demonstrated an algorithm that has effectively learned how to predict sound: When shown a silent video clip of an object being hit, the algorithm can produce a sound for the hit that is realistic enough to fool human viewers. This ‘Turing Test for sound’ represents much more than just a clever computer trick: Researchers envision future versions of similar algorithms being used to automatically produce sound effects for movies and TV shows, as well as to help robots better understand objects’ properties.”

Cornell and Google Finding and blocking fake social media engagement. “If you’ve ever watched a crummy video on YouTube with thousands of views and wondered how it generated such positive attention, you may have been the victim of ‘fake engagement activities.’ According to a joint Cornell University and Google research team, these are ploys undertaken by ‘bad actors’ posting fake content or artificially inflating the number of YouTube engagements through automated means or by paying people to ‘like’ the content or add comments. The goal is to game the system by inflating engagement metrics in order to obtain better rankings for videos.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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