Human Culture, ICU Visits, Macleans, More: Monday Buzz, July 11, 2016


Now available: a large, open-access database on human cultures. “The open-access D-PLACE database brings together a body of dispersed information on the language, geography, culture and environment of more than 1400 human societies, mainly pre-industrial societies described by ethnographers in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It will allow users to search across a range of variables including cultural practices, environment, language family or region.”

MIT has launched a large ICU data set. “The database, Medical Information Mart for Intensive Care (MIMIC), houses data on over 40,000 patients admitted ICUs at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center since 2000. The data was de-identified to conform with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and interested researchers must sign a data use agreement, promising not to use the data for any unlawful purpose among other guarantees. The data collected include vital signs, medications, laboratory measurements, observations, and notes charted by care providers, fluid balance, procedure codes, diagnostic codes, imaging reports, hospital length of stay, survival data, and more.”

Canadian publication Macleans has launched a new digital archive. “Archive subscribers can access every issue of Maclean’s ever published. That’s more than 100,000 stories from about 3,400 issues going back to 1905. (In fact, we pushed the launch up to coincide with Canada Day, so some issues are still being added, but rest assured—they’ll be up soon.) Access for the first month is free and after that it’s only $3.99 a month.”

Over at the Library of Congress, the Martin Van Buren papers have hit the Web. “The Martin Van Buren Papers, one of twenty-three presidential collections in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, contains more than 6,000 items dating from 1787 to circa 1910. The bulk of the material dates from the 1820s, when Van Buren (1782-1862) was a U.S. senator from New York, through his service as secretary of state and vice president in the Andrew Jackson administrations (1829-1837), to his own presidency (1837-1841) and through the decade thereafter when he made unsuccessful bids to return to the presidency with the Democratic and Free Soil parties. Included are correspondence, autobiographical materials, notes and other writings, drafts of messages to Congress in 1837 and 1838, and other speeches, legal and estate records, miscellany, and family items.”

The state of Maine has launched a new job matching service. “The Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Employment Services and its CareerCenter network has launched the new Maine JobLink, the replacement system to the Maine Job Bank, the state’s federally required, job-matching system….The system upgrade increased the number jobs available on Maine JobLink by 30 percent; the Maine Job Bank averaged about 9,500 open positions the week it was taken off line. Maine Joblink posts the real-time number of positions on its website, which has remained above 13,500 since going live on July 5, 2016.”

The British Library has put online military intelligence maps of British East Africa. “With generous funding from the Indigo Trust the British Library has published online over 550 colonial-era military intelligence maps relating to the former British East Africa: modern-day Kenya and Uganda, and adjacent parts of Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, DR Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. The sheets were created between 1890 and 1940, and comprise sketches, surveys and hand-drawn finished maps held at the British Library in the so-called War Office Archive.”

Now available: a database of HOAs in Florida (PRESS RELEASE). “Unlike existing online resources that simply provide lists of associations, the Database was developed as a geographic-based listing of all associations that affect a selected condominium or subdivision. Users simply enter a subdivision/condominium name or enter the recording information for the Declaration of Condominium or Plat. The Database then delivers a list of all associations that affect the selected subdivision or condominium, together with association contact information, management company name and contact information, recording information for source documents, and extensive notes to assist users.” Accessing the database is free but users are being asked to help provide information to complete the database.


WordPress 4.6 beta 2 is now available.


KICKSTARTER CORNER: A new Kickstarter is underway to build an archive of percussion instruments. I don’t have high hopes, though; the project is trying to raise $250,000 (!) and the English is a little awkward: “No drum or instrument is extinct from time. Referencing the video and pictures posted: Some instruments have over time been extinct from history. Using vintage catalogs, pictures, and technology, drums that have not been seen for 100’s of years will now resurface. In the video and 2 pictures below you can watch one of Ludwig’s first drums ever made resurface. This feature will be used to fill in the gaps of time. Catalogs, badges, drums, auxiliary percussion, xylophones, marimbas, and more will be recreated using today’s technology.” I like the ideas and I think Mr. Malone’s heart is in the right place, but this might be a bit ambitious for a first Kickstarter project.

A little old, as I fell a bit behind in my RSS feeds, but useful I think: Capturing and Preserving the EU Referendum Debate (Brexit) “Following the announcement in May 2015 that there would be a referendum on the UK’s EU membership; the Legal Deposit UK Web Archive, led by curators at the Bodleian Libraries, started a collection of websites. The team of curators includes contributors from the Bodleian Libraries, The British Library, the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales and also Queen’s University Belfast (for the Northern Ireland perspective) and the London School of Economics (for capturing and preserving individual documents, such as the pdf versions of campaigning leaflets).


If you haven’t heard about Pokemon Go you will soon; it’s everywhere. Someone at work even got me to install it on my phone. I’ve never played Pokemon before so I didn’t know what I was doing. I walked all over our parking lot and almost fell in a dumpster. POKEMON! Anyway, it’s not surprising to read that there’s already Pokemon Go malware out there. “Researchers at security firm Proofpoint have already found an Android version of the game containing malware. Once installed, it uses a remote access tool called DroidJack that can give a hacker full access to the phone, Proofpoint said Thursday.”

Turns out that smartwatches and other wearables have a bit of security problem. “Collaborative research conducted by a team from the department of electrical and computing engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology and Binghamton University in New York State, has demonstrated how a wearable device such as a smartwatch could end up compromising a user’s PIN thanks to the motion sensing data it generates.” Good morning, Internet…

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