HerbalGram, US Workers, Nova Scotia, More: Saturday Buzz, July 16, 2016


The American Botanical Council has created a complete digital archive of its journal, HerbalGram. “All issues of HerbalGram are now available as PDF files. Previously, only issues 85 through the latest issue were available in this format. The first 21 issues are available as PDF files only, while all subsequent issues also include HTML versions of individual articles. Issues 93 through the current issue are also available in a ‘page-flip’ version, a reader-friendly format that was added to the ABC website in 2012.”

In development: a new database on workers and labor in the United States. “Once completed, the Skills Cooperative Research Database will be a shared public resource akin to the output of the Human Genome Project — containing the ‘DNA’ of every job in America. Economists may use the database to study phenomena such as post-recession job recovery, worker mobility, and labor market resilience, or to build new predictive macroeconomic models. Employers and governments could also use the data to observe local and up-to-date trends in job skill supply and demand, guiding workforce training and recruitment programs.”


Now on Google Street View: the wild horses of Sable Island. “Curious people can explore the crescent-shaped island, situated roughly 290 kilometres southeast of Halifax, with just a few clicks. Dozens of seals can be seen grazing in the white sand and blue surf on the expansive shoreline of the island, and horses can be spotted nibbling on grass amongst the shifting sand dunes.” Sounds like a great place to curl up and take a nap.

More Google: Google wants to help you register to vote. “Google has a announced a new Search feature to make it easier for people in the US to register to vote and find out more about their local requirements.”

Don’t know what to look at on Periscope? There’s now an “Editor’s Picks” section. “If you open up the app, you’ll find the new channel under your suggested broadcasts, along with a ‘featured’ tag. It seems rather than finding ongoing streams – which would be pretty difficult – Periscope says the channel will help you ‘browse for unique moments you may have missed’ to start.”


From The High-Tech Hobbyist: Tutorial: How to Create Interactive 360 Degree Panoramas for Facebook. “We’ve all seen those amazing interactive images on Facebook by now: beautiful 360 degree panoramas shot from a drone. Whether of a bustling city or a quiet country landscape, they all make us feel like we’re there. After doing some some research, I have found little help on this subject. In this article, I’ll be doing a step-by-step tutorial to show you how to accomplish this. There’s the paid/easy way, or the free/more work way. I’ll be going over both methods.” Great article, but you’ll need a drone.


Oooh, I love it. From American Libraries Magazine: Fielding a Field Notes Comeback. “Until recently, researcher field notes and firsthand observations were difficult to digitize because of handwriting issues and formatting. Three projects—the Field Book Project, the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) Field Notes Project, and Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literature—are changing that.”

Apparently the last bids for Yahoo are due Monday. “The bidders for Yahoo’s operations include the telecommunications giants Verizon Communications and AT&T, several private equity firms and a Quicken Loans co-founder, Dan Gilbert, who is getting financial backing from Warren E. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The offers are expected to vary depending on what assets are included, but Wall Street expects the business to fetch as much as $6 billion, including intellectual property and land.” I think that’s way too high.

Google will be hosting a game conference for indie developers. “The web giant will host a Google Play Indie Games Festival in San Francisco on September 24, Google Play said Thursday. The event, which is free, will give developers a chance to showcase their games to the public, network, and win prizes such as Tango devices, tickets to Google I/O 2017, and even ad campaign support from Google.”


What’s worse than ransomware? Fake ransomware that just deletes your files. “Ranscam is a purely amateur attempt to cash in on the cryptoransomware trend that demands payment for ‘encrypted’ files that were actually just plain deleted by a batch command. ‘Once it executes it, it pops up a ransom message looking like any other ransomware,’ Earl Carter, security research engineer at Cisco Talos, told Ars. ‘But then what happens is it forces a reboot, and it just deletes all the files. It doesn’t try to encrypt anything—it just deletes them all.'” Thankfully this does not appear to be a widespread problem.

After the shootings of police officers in Dallas, Texas, people are reportedly being arrested for criticizing the police online. “Five police officers were killed in the Dallas shootings, constituting the highest number of police casualties in an attack since September 11. And as a result, law enforcement officials everywhere are suddenly much more sensitive to threats against their lives. But one result has been that several police departments across the country have arrested individuals for posts on social media accounts, often from citizen tips — raising concerns among free speech advocates.”


From MD Magazine: Social Media: What Are Medical Researchers Doing Reading Facebook Posts? “Clearly, social media research is new territory for software companies, science and medicine. But with it come new ethical and legal concerns, says Eric Swirsky, JD, MA, of the University of Illinois at Chicago (Photo, left). Writing in the American Journal of Bioethics, Swirsky and two colleagues described the issues facing [Institutional Review Boards].”


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