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Food Canning, World Sailing, Library Lending, More: Monday Buzz, August 1, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The USDA has launched a new online exhibit on food canning. “‘How Did We Can?’ highlights changes in home canning guidelines based on a growing understanding of bacteriology. Around the turn of the 20th century, the four most prominent canning techniques were oven, open-kettle, water bath, and pressure canning. By the end of World War II, the USDA recommended only two techniques: water bath for high-acid foods and pressure canning for low-acid foods. Those recommendations remain the same under the current USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.”

A new Web archive chronicling the circumnavigation of the globe by 70-year-old sailor Pat Lawless has been launched. “On July 23, 1996, 70-year-old Limerick sailor Pat Lawless was hailed as a hero after sailing single-handedly around the globe. It had taken him three years and three days to complete and was his third attempt, the first two having ended in near disaster. Now 20 years on – and six years after his death – Pat’s extensive archive of journals, photographs, interviews, newspaper clippings and video diaries has been put online…”

What an interesting project! The early lending records of Easton Library Company have been digitized. “On the website, people can look at images of the original ledger pages, written in a librarian’s meticulous, tight script. They can also search for books by title and authors and peruse the records of the library’s patrons.”

The Natural Products Association has launched a new database of warning letters and government actions. “The new online tool, which is available free to NPA members, allows users to view violations against dietary supplement GMPs, information about dietary supplement labeling regulation, and instances of companies making unauthorized health claims on product labels. While listing FDA warning letters is a big part of the database, it goes well beyond that, explained Dan Fabricant, CEO and executive director of NPA.” I’m pretty sure that in this case GMPs stands for Good Manufacturing Practices.

A new Web site hopes to use crowdsourcing to track dengue fever outbreaks (PRESS RELEASE). “Through a userfriendly online chat system, the tool will build a crowdsourced map of dengue outbreak. Users – known as Dengue Trackers – can access free toolkits to help them reduce their risk of dengue fever while providing details of outbreaks.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google is making it easier to set up a Google Alert about yourself. “Now, when you Google yourself, so long as you’re logged into Google and you’ve allowed it to save your web and app activity, Google will show you a new widget at the bottom of the first page of search results that will help you easily set up a Google Alert to track new references to your name.”

Oooh! Wolfram|Alpha has now has an add-in for Google Drive. “Wolfram|Alpha answers a ton of computational and factual questions every day—through our website, mobile apps, APIs, and from within the Wolfram Language itself. Now we would like to introduce a new way to harness the power of computation with the Wolfram|Alpha Add-ons for Google Drive. These free add-ons for Google Docs and Google Sheets enable you to bring up a Wolfram|Alpha sidebar next to your file or get Wolfram|Alpha results instantly, all without interrupting your workflow.”

A release candidate for WordPress 4.6 is now available. WordPress is hoping to release the final on August 16th.

It looks like Google has brought back Google Image Labeler. Sort of. “Google Image Labeler used to be a game that helped Google categorize images and improve image search. It was launched in 2006 and discontinued in 2013. Now Image Labeler is back, but it’s no longer a game.”

Nice, looks like Waze might be adding a “kid in the car” reminder. “With Waze’s new child reminder feature, you can receive a notification once you reach your destination.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

From the Guardian: Trash talk: how Twitter is shaping the new politics. “Nobody cares about smart alecks trading insults in an empty room, of course, and to anyone who doesn’t use Twitter – most Britons – it doubtless looks fairly empty. But then nobody really cared back in the 80s when Ronald Reagan’s speechwriters first responded to commercial pressures on American broadcasters by peppering his scripts with simple, punchy clips a few seconds long. Nobody cared much when, a few years later, rolling 24-hour news took off in Britain. And by the time we’d woken up to the way sound bites plus a newly voracious news cycle that had changed both political debate and the nature of who prospers in it – well, it was too late. You may not care about social media now, but if you read a newspaper, listen to the radio or watch TV, then it’s shaping your world already.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

The Glow fertility/pregnancy app apparently has some pretty severe privacy problems. “Recently, Consumer Reports tested Glow for security and privacy features as part of a broader project, and found surprising vulnerabilities. One security flaw might have let someone with no hacking skills at all access a woman’s personal data. Other vulnerabilities would have allowed an attacker with rudimentary software tools to collect email addresses, change passwords, and access personal information from participants in Glow’s community forums, where people discuss their sex lives and health concerns.” Eek. Apparently a new version of the app fixes the problem. Good morning, Internet…

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