Wales Almanacs, VCU Research, Veterinary Clinical Studies, More: Monday Buzz, July 4, 2016


The National Library of Wales has released a big collection of Welsh almanacs. 178 of ’em, according to the announcement on Twitter. “Thomas Jones’s almanac, usually published under the title Newyddion oddiwrth y sêr (News from the stars), consisted of 20 or 24 leaves. It contained an astronomical and astrological guide for twelve months, lists of fairs and markets in Wales and the Borders, samples of Welsh poetry and literature, a chronology of important historical events, a guide to reading Welsh and keeping accounts, a list of the law terms, the names of Welsh bishops, and miscellaneous advertisements. It was aimed at poor farmers who relied on detailed weather forecasts for their livelihood, and who also held a superstitious belief in astrology.” The almanacs kept here span from 1681 to 1781. And, as you might imagine, they are in Welsh. I took a look at the one from 1681 and it was in surprisingly good shape, with the writing very readable. Unfortunately, the readable writing was in Welsh, so it didn’t do me any good…

Virginia Commonwealth University has launched a new site that tries to connect volunteers to the university’s current studies. “Some trials require patients with a disease, such as cancer or diabetes, but others need healthy volunteers, so options are available for virtually everyone, Aro said. More than 200 VCU studies are currently on the website….The center also is working to develop a smartphone application for StudyFinder that will make the platform easier to use on mobile devices, ensuring the website is easily accessible.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association has launched a database of clinical studies. “The AVMA launched the AVMA Animal Health Studies Database in June as a resource for researchers seeking animals to participate in clinical studies and for veterinarians and animal owners exploring options for treatment. Until now, there really haven’t been any national databases for veterinary studies, other than the Veterinary Cancer Trials website focusing on cancer in cats and dogs… Visitors to the website can view all available studies or search in the following categories: diagnosis or keywords, primary field of veterinary medicine, country, and species. Details about the studies include a project description, study type, intervention, inclusion criteria, exclusion criteria, potential medical benefits to enrolled animals, potential medical risks to enrolled animals, and financial incentives for study participants.” The database seems to be freely accessible to anyone; I did searches and accessed all data up to and including downloading clinical study information.

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library has announced a new digital library. “Covering topics from Woodrow Wilson’s personal and family life to official war correspondence, and containing articles, correspondence, and speeches by and about the 28th President of the United States, the WWPL Digital Library is free to access for anyone with an internet connection.”


Is Facebook taking people out of its trending topics? “Facebook’s Trending Topics has been a major source of controversy in recent months because of allegations that some of its editors had been downplaying conservative news outlets. The revelation that humans were involved in selecting what subjects and media outlets showed up in the section caught some by surprise. Those who watch Facebook closely knew that there was a human element to the system, but the company had seemed to be trying to downplay that as much as possible.”

Google wants to show you “better ads,” whatever the heck that means. “If you opt into the change, Google could start using information it has about you from its own services like Search, Chrome, and YouTube, to influence the ads that it’s showing you across its more than 2 million partners sites and apps, on any smartphone or desktop computer that you’re logged in on.”


Still contemplating leaving Evernote? The Next Web takes a look at three alternatives – Google Keep, Microsoft OneNote, and SimpleNote.

Are you ready for Facebook’s photo backup to stop working? MakeUseOf has ten alternatives. “Losing your photos when you drop a phone is terrifying; it’s one of the reasons the Facebook app offers to back up images as you take them. But now it’s not going to do that anymore. From 7th July, the app will no longer offer to upload photos in the background. You will continue to have access to every image you’ve uploaded to the social network, but only if you install Facebook’s Moments app. Not a fan? You’re not stuck. There are other ways to keep your images backed up in case something happens to your phone.”


A quirk/bug/thing meant Australian users trying to see Australian election results were seeing US results instead. “Australian internet users searching for ‘Election 2016’ are instead being shown results for the US presidential primaries. So instead of names like Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten popping up, users are seeing names like Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.”

The Library of Congress has bid one last fond farewell to THOMAS. “THOMAS, which launched with great fanfare on January 5, 1995, twenty-one and a half years ago, is nearing its retirement on July 5, 2016. Back when it launched, then-Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich led the initial celebration.”


The US Department of Defense is expanding its “bug bounty” program. “The Defense Department’s ‘Hack the Pentagon’ program using vetted hackers to find security vulnerabilities in public DOD websites was so successful that the DOD plans to use it in other areas of its security…. More than 250 participants submitted at least one vulnerability report, and 138 of those vulnerabilities were determined to be ‘legitimate, unique and eligible for a bounty,’ according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.


Twitter research: Feelings of hate drive TV viewership for certain kinds of shows (reality and drama). “According to a study of tweets related to hundreds of TV shows and thousands of episodes, social analytics TV company Canvs found that feelings of hate lead to bigger increases in viewership the following week for drama and reality shows. In fact, hate might be three times more powerful of a driving force than love. On the other hand, words like ‘love’ and ‘beauty’ were better indicators for comedy shows even than ‘funny.'” Good morning, Internet…

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