WWII Pacific Theater, Nintendo Power, Nonprofit Finances, More: Thursday Buzz, August 4, 2016


NARA has released a new collection of records from the Pacific Theater of World War II. The records may not be online, but a catalog/finding aid is available online. “The National Declassification Center (NDC) at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently released 192,500 pages of formerly classified U.S. Navy Command Files from the World War II era. The Treasures from World War II US Navy Command Files consist primarily of records from the Pacific Theater. Most of the records date between 1941 and 1946. Some records, however, date as far back as 1917 and some up to 1967.”

The Internet is abuzz with the news that The Internet Archive has back issues of Nintendo Power (Not all the back issues, apparently, but the archive continues to grow.)

A new tool is trying to help track the flow of “dark money”. “The [Center for Public Integrity] downloaded 850,000 forms from about 250,000 nonprofits that were recently released in electronic format by the IRS; we extracted the grant data and made $170 billion reported over five years searchable. Nonprofits, while not required to publicly disclose donors, are required to report grants given to other nonprofits. The new tool allows researchers, reporters and average citizens to search for a so-called ‘dark money’ group, or any other nonprofit, and find out if it got money from another nonprofit.”

This looks terrific! A new Chrome plugin attempts to easily draw connections between items in PubMed. “Every day, more than 3,000 new abstracts are uploaded to PubMed, the main biomedical literature reference database. Even in a researcher’s narrowly-defined field, it is impossible to stay on top of the ever-evolving webs of interconnections between these papers. For example, a new gene is described – might it be relevant to a researcher’s specialty? It could take many painstaking hours of searching to discover the answer. Now a new tool developed in the A.C. Tan lab at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and described today in the journal Bioinformatics helps researchers make these connections. The free tool, HiPub, is available for download as plugin for the Chrome web browser.”

A new site aggregates hurricane predictions and forecasts going back to 1996. 1996, or, as I call it, Hurricane Fran. “Seasonal Hurricane Predictions brings together forecasts from major centers that specialize in hurricanes, with information dating back to 1996. It also offers extensive information to promote understanding of the factors that contribute to these meteorological phenomena, which can have devastating consequences, and to help explain why different models produce different predictions. Seasonal Hurricane Predictions has been created to pool predictions by the main centers carrying out forecasts on the hurricane season, which usually runs from early June to late November, and to make them available to the wider public.”


Bing’s adding its own set of Olympics stuff. “Bing is getting into the Olympic spirit, bringing the 2016 Rio Olympic Games into its search results and launching its ‘Events to Watch’ feature, recommending must-see Olympic events based on Bing Predicts technology.” NIIIICE use of predictive technology!

The Church of England is encouraging its clerics to embrace social media. “Officials in the CofE’s Church House headquarters in London fear that, in an era of shrinking congregations, unless the Church embraces social media it will fail to reach out to those they believe now live much of their lives online. A blog explaining the current thinking makes clear that clerics are now expected to make use of social media and offers places of ‘social media for beginners’ courses for liturgical luddites.”

Google will start testing drone delivery in the US. “As part of an effort to promote and research unmanned aircraft systems across the US, the White House on Tuesday announced that Project Wing, the brainchild of Alphabet’s experimental Google X division, will take flight at a Federal Aviation Administration unmanned aircraft system test site.”


From Gizmodo: 10 Tricks to Make Yourself a Google Drive Master.


Heartbreaking: a man in Indonesia is asking Google to unblur a Google Street View image for him. It’s of his deceased father, of whom the son does not have many pictures. “[Emir] Hartato had only just arrived in Christchurch in early 2015 when he heard his father had died suddenly. Far away from home, he says it was a very hard time for him. But while exploring his old neighbourhood in Bogor, Indonesia, through Google StreetView a few weeks ago, he recognised an image of his father, taken back in 2013.”

Ken Freedman on Radio World: The Future of Digital Radio Archives. “Most radio archivists focus on historic airchecks living on physical media such as reel and cassette tape, which means that the process of digitization becomes incredibly time-consuming and laborious, especially when adding metadata, tags and art. In comparison to that, digitizing media of the present is a cakewalk! It always astonishes me that so little archival effort is put into preserving the present, when last I heard, the present instantaneously becomes the past. The easiest, cheapest way to preserve radio for the future is to focus on the present, and then deal with the past when you have more time and money. As if that ever happens.” Can’t you do both?

A perspective on Reddit you rarely see in the media – and did I mention how much I enjoy The Atlantic? Is Reddit the World’s Best Advice Column? “r/Relationships is fascinating, and not just because the subreddit is a miles-deep reservoir of roiling drama. It’s also, by the food-fight standards of online discourse, a finely oiled machine. A team of volunteer moderators categorizes each post—there are many hundreds on a typical day—into groupings like ‘infidelity,’ ‘breakups,’ or ‘non-romantic,’ makes sure each is tagged with the ages and genders of the parties involved, and patrols the comment sections diligently for incivility. Astonishingly, the whole mechanism manages to dispense fairly level-headed advice.” Good morning, Internet…

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