afternoonbuzz

Diffusion Values, Quaternary Fossils, Google Cultural Institute, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, July 19, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: a database of diffusion values. “Led by Dane Morgan, Harvey D. Spangler Professor in Materials Science and Engineering at UW–Madison, the researchers published details of their advance July 19 in the journal Scientific Data. They also made the entire database freely available online, along with an online application to easily search and visualize the data and a utility called the Materials Simulation Toolkit (MAST) for engineers across the globe to access and use in their own materials design applications. Diffusion not only drives cream to disperse in a hot cup of black coffee, but also determines the useful life of devices made from mixtures of multiple elements or composites — like semiconductors or alloys stabilized by rare-earth elements.”

Now available: a database of fossils from Sahul. Specifically: Quaternary, non-human, vertebrates. “This, the FosSahul database, includes 9,302 fossil records from 363 deposits, for a total of 478 species within 215 genera, of which 27 are from extinct and extant megafaunal species (2,559 records). We also provide a rating of reliability of individual absolute age based on the dating protocols and association between the dated materials and the fossil remains. Our proposed rating system identified 2,422 records with high-quality ages (i.e., a reduction of 74%). There are many applications of the database, including disentangling the confounding influences of hypothetical extinction drivers, better spatial distribution estimates of species relative to palaeo-climates, and potentially identifying new areas for fossil discovery.”

Google has launched a new Google Arts & Culture Web site AND app AND YouTube channel. “With a virtual reality viewer like Google Cardboard, you can use the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS and Android to take a virtual tour of the street art scene in Rome; step inside a creation by famous street artist, Insa; or even travel 2,500 years back in time and look around the ancient Greek temple of Zeus.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Really disturbing news about what’s happening to SSRN after its acquisition by Elsevier. “As predicted, the popular and useful Social Sciences repository SSRN, having been acquired by Elsevier, is now being destroyed. Papers are being quietly vanished from SSRN, without their authors even being notified. This is happening even in cases when the copyright is held by the authors (who posted them, giving implicit permission for them to be redistributed), and even more astonishingly when papers are under Creative Commons licences.”

MyHeritage has launched “SuperSearch Alerts”. “When MyHeritage finds new results for those previous searches, the company will send you an email message with links to view the records, and if you’d like, you can save it to your family tree, extract information to the relevant people in your family tree, or add new individuals to your tree.” Doesn’t look like it’s in full rollout now, according to the article.

Twitter’s latest livestreaming hook is the NBA. “Twitter Inc. and the NBA have signed a deal that will give the microblogging service two new, exclusive shows to stream, as well as additional video, the organizations said Tuesday.”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: 5 Clever Free Tools to Beat Twitter’s Restrictions & Annoyances Tall Tweets looks good. When it comes to apps for Twitter, I quite like Tweetbot. (Disclaimer: I paid for the app, they don’t know me, this post not sponsored, etc.)

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

I know that most of the focus is on the political conventions, but there’s another tire fire going on if you care to look. “As today’s results showed, for example, Mayer’s flagship acquisition of Tumblr has proven to be a zero. Yahoo paid $1.1 billion for the social networking site in 2013, but wrote down the value of it by $230 million in the last quarter. Today, it added an additional $482 million to the write-down. And Yahoo is still losing in the search game, another favorite area of former Googler Mayer. And in display. And, well, everywhere.”

There have been some articles about the coup attempt in Turkey and how social media played a role in providing real-time information on the event, but in a Washington Post article Joshua Tucker gets right down to it. “In the days to come, we will undoubtedly see sophisticated and detailed analysis of the different ways in which social media played a role in Friday night’s events in Turkey. … But beyond simply providing an enhanced form of viewing the news, why might we suspect that social media could have a profound impact on the way coups will unfold in the modern Web 2.0 era? To answer this question, we need to begin with a couple of pertinent facts about coups.”

There’s a lot of regulatory focus on Google in Europe, but meanwhile, Google is spreading the cash around. “Google has been staging a full-court press in Europe to finance everything from start-up offices to YouTube-sponsored music concerts, trying to remake its image in the region as it battles a mounting list of regulatory woes. Those efforts represent a campaign of ‘soft lobbying’ where instead of, or alongside, paying registered lobbyists to advocate its case in the corridors of power, a company looks to change the minds of the public at large.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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