Kentucky Coalfields, Texas Legal Custody, Yahoo Messenger, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, July 28, 2016


The University of Kentucky has digitized a large collection of information about economic development in Kentucky coal fields. “The newly digitized materials at UK focus on 189 years of economic development in the Eastern Kentucky coalfield from 1788 to 1976…. These collections include the Benham Coal Company records, Wheelwright collection, Sherrill Martin papers, Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company and Lexington and Eastern Railway Company records and the Kentucky Union Land Company records.”

Now available: an online archive of people who died while within legal custody in Texas, 2005-2015. It’s important to note that this database is about all deaths, and not only deaths that occurred as a direct action of law enforcement. “The final product was culled from thousands of internal reports and includes names, time and place of death, cause of death, time in custody, and a description of the circumstances. Aided by web developers, Patrick Diaz and Vitaly Kezlya, and her husband, Robert Pinkard, [Amanda] Woog envisioned and created a website that’s well organized and cleanly designed.”


Yahoo Messenger is getting new Windows and Mac apps. “Yahoo has launched the new clients to replace the ‘legacy’ programs, which will no longer work after August 5. What you now get is a fresh design and a number of really nice features that add up to a user experience closer to Android, iOS, and the web.”

Tumblr will start placing advertising on its blogs. Why didn’t this happen years ago? “The company did not provide specific details on how the program will operate, but it appears to be an expansion of its earlier Creatrs program, which connects brands with Tumblr users directly, instead of having advertisers work with third-party influencer networks.”


Ubergizmo has a writeup on what sounds like a really handy tool for those of us who like long YouTube videos. “As you can see in the screenshot above, what BriefTube does is that it is able to organize the video for you into chapters, meaning that you are able to skip to various parts of the video to get to where you want.”


From the Texas Tribune: Rick Perry’s Digital Legacy Gives Texas Archivists New Momentum. “When the archivists embarked on this undertaking, Texas was one of about 10 states that had no archived electronic records. Now, according to state archivists across the country, Texas is a national leader in electronic records management.”

Google Maps is getting caught up in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. “Russian officials have condemned tech-giant Google for updating its online map of the Crimea with new names decided by the Ukrainian government. The company has updated its maps in of the peninsula in accordance with a new Ukrainian de-communization law designed to modernize the country’s Communist-era place names, the RBC news website reported Thursday.”


The US Olympics Committee, possibly in pursuit of a gold medal for stupidity, is trying to put the kibosh on non-sponsor commercial companies tweeting about the Olympics. “‘Commercial entities may not post about the Trials or Games on their corporate social media accounts,’ reads the letter written by USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird…. The letter further stipulates that a company whose primary mission is not media-related cannot reference any Olympic results, cannot share or repost anything from the official Olympic account and cannot use any pictures taken at the Olympics.”

When it comes to e-mailed malware, Locky is the current big problem. “According to the latest Proofpoint Quarterly Threat Summary, malicious mails were up 230% quarter-over-quarter, with campaigns peaking at hundreds of millions of messages per day. Among email attacks that used malicious document attachments, 69% featured the new Locky ransomware in Q2, versus 24% in Q1.”


I believe have taken one selfie in my life, and it was before they were called selfies. I was a teenager and goofing around with a camera. If you’re more of a selfie enthusiast than I am, science wants to help you take better ones. “Princeton researchers have unveiled a new method for transforming individual selfies. The method can modify a person’s face to look as though it were photographed from farther away, like at the distances opted for by professional photographers. The editing tool can also alter someone’s apparent pose, as if the camera were placed higher, lower, or at an angle. When superimposed, images adjusted in this manner can further be used to generate 3-D head shots. Down the road, the researchers said, it may even be possible to make ‘live’ photos that seem to move uncannily, like the portraits hanging in the Hogwarts School from the Harry Potter franchise.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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