Chinese Canadian Artifacts, Thinga, Bullet Ballistics, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, July 8, 2016


British Columbia has launched a Chinese Canadian artifact database. “The Chinese Canadian Artifacts Project (CCAP), which is one of eight Chinese legacy projects, contains more than 6,000 culturally significant artifacts from 16 museums throughout the province. Some of these artifacts include Chinese coins, scrolls, photographs and historic texts.”

Microsoft wants you to create your own digital archive with a new app called Thinga. “Microsoft’s experimental project wing Garage has announced a new iOS app that turns physical collections into digital archives. The app, called Thinga.Me, is currently in an invite-only beta, with no set release date in sight. The app revolves around digital shelves that showcase photos of each object in the user’s collection.” Currently in closed beta; I’ve requested an invite and will keep you posted.

Now available: a database of open-access 3D ballistics research. “To seed the database with data, [Xiaoyu Alan] Zheng went to forensics and law enforcement conferences asking agencies to test-fire every 9-mm firearm in their reference collection—9 mm being the caliber most commonly used in the commission of crimes. After completing the test fires, labs sent the bullets and cartridge cases to Zheng at NIST, along with data on the gun that fired it. At the lab, technicians scanned these samples using a microscope that produces a high-resolution, 3-D topographic surface map—a virtual model of the physical object itself. These surface maps produce more detailed comparison data than the two-dimensional images that are traditionally used to match bullets. For this reason, the field of forensic firearms identification is starting to make the transition to 3-D.”

A new Web site tracks campaign funds in Idaho. “To determine who is funding a candidate’s political campaign, users simply plug the name into a search box to view a list of contributions and expenditures. Donors can be searched as well. [Ken] De Vries told his Facebook followers the site will help them determine whether lawmakers in their districts are serving them or special interest groups.”


Is Google going to drop an estimated count from its search results? I’m annoyed about this but not surprised; that count number’s been off for years.

Facebook’s recent changes are causing trouble for at least one visually-disabled user. “I’m legally blind. When I look at Facebook using Safari on my iMac, I use the pinch-to-zoom function available thru my wireless trackpad. This allows me to blow up the News Feed to a size that’s comfortable for me to read. I’ve done it this way for years without incident. Until yesterday.”

Facebook is testing a feature to download and view videos offline. “Starting July 11, the testing will occur among a small group of people in India, according to a Facebook email received by blog site TechCrunch. The company targeted that country because of feedback that ‘mobile data and Internet connectivity is limited’ in regions like India. Many people there also wrestle with poor-quality video.”


Google’s auto autos are getting really good at recognizing hand signals. No, not THOSE hand signals. “Biking alongside manually driven cars can be a nightmare for both the biker and the driver. Bikers can be fast. They weave in and out of traffic and sometimes human drivers toe the line when deciding how much space to give them — and sometimes they don’t. But now, thanks to Google’s many in-house bikers, the company’s self-driving car not only knows how to navigate around cyclists but can recognize, understand and remember their hand signals.”


This looks like it could be very useful: CyberTwitter: Using Twitter to generate alerts for Cybersecurity Threats and Vulnerabilities “In order to secure vital personal and organizational system we require timely intelligence on cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. Intelligence about these threats is generally available in both overt and covert sources like the National Vulnerability Database, CERT alerts, blog posts, social media, and dark web resources. Intelligence updates about cybersecurity can be viewed as temporal events that a security analyst must keep up with so as to secure a computer system. We describe CyberTwitter, a system to discover and analyze cybersecurity intelligence on Twitter and serve as a OSINT (Open–source intelligence) source.”

Researchers have developed an algorithm to predict a Facebook user’s intelligence based on their profile photo. “The algorithm doesn’t just take faces into account, but also ‘behavioral cues’ such as how people pose for the camera, the clothes they wear, and the presence of friends and partners in their pictures — all of which reveal information about people’s lifestyles and the way they choose to present themselves to the world. The study used profile images from 1,122 Facebook users who had taken an IQ test, and analyzed recurring photo features with higher or lower scores.” Good afternoon, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Categories: afternoonbuzz

Leave a Reply