Cat Conservation, Seattle TV, Utah Wildfires, More: Friday Buzz, August 5, 2016


We know what’s up: the Internet is not a “series of tubes,” it’s a collection of cat pictures. And Zooniverse needs some help identifying those pictures in a new crowdsourcing project. “A critical part of protecting big cats and their landscapes is documenting the presence and behavior of wild cats using camera-traps. Every year, Panthera’s motion-activated cameras collect hundreds of thousands of wildlife images. With your help, we can analyze these photos to identify the animals shown, enabling us to track wild cat population trends over time and determine what conservation actions are needed to better protect these species.”

In development: an archive of local TV programming in Seattle, Washington. “The archive’s stated mission is to be an open-ended, publicly accessible research project ‘aimed at recovering, archiving and publicizing the local history of television in Seattle’ and to serve as a site for original scholarship on the history of television.”

A new Web site gives citizens of Utah information about wildfires and wildfire risks in the state. “After clicking on a specific area, what the site calls ‘assess your location,’ the map pulls up a color-coded indication for the threat. Red patches — indicating the highest risk on the scale that ranges from ‘very, very low’ to ‘extreme’ — currently cover central and southwestern Utah. The algorithm is based on probabilities, [Brian] Cottam said. Just because an area is red doesn’t mean there will be a fire, but it is likely.”

The Vatican Library has digitized a 1600-year-old edition of Virgil. “Created in Rome around 400AD, the Vatican Virgil consists of 76 surviving pages, and 50 illustrations. The fragments of text are from the Latin poet’s Aeneid, his epic tale of Aeneas’s journey from the sack of Troy to Carthage, the underworld and then Italy, where he founds Rome. It also contains fragments from Virgil’s poem of the land, The Georgics, but the original manuscript is likely to have contained all of Virgil’s canonical works.”

Google has released a new map app – but this one’s for kids. “Google today released a new application designed to get kids to explore the world using maps and 3D imagery. The new app, which the company describes as ‘an experiment,’ takes advantage of Google Maps’ 3D imagery of the Himalayas but combines it with a bit of gameplay to make the idea of zooming around the 3D scene more fun and engaging.”


Hey! YouTube Red now supports YouTube Kids. “This is especially ideal for those who have already subscribed to the $14.99 family plan. YouTube Kids apps associated with a Red subscription will no longer show ads and allow users to download and play videos for when there isn’t a connection. Additionally, audio playback can continue when the app is in the background and when the screen is locked.”


Google wants to get one billion citizens of India online. “‘We have a very simple mission in India. We want to get a billion Indians online ,’ its vice president for South East Asia and India, Rajan Anandan said at an event here. However he did not give any timeline for the target, but said India has 350 million internet users now and the number is expected to reach 600 million by 2020.”


Wow! Someone actually got arrested for running a Nigerian e-mail scam. “A Nigerian man has been arrested in a joint operation involving INTERPOL and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). Known only as Mike, the 40-year old is accused of scamming victims worldwide out of more than $60 million. He, and his 38-year old co-conspirator, are now facing a number of charges in Nigeria including hacking, conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretenses.”

Unfortunately, the efforts of large Internet platforms to fight harassment seem to be having mixed results (PRESS RELEASE). “A comprehensive survey of adult Americans released today by Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and craigconnects, Rad Campaign, and Lincoln Park Strategies, shows that bullying, harassment, and threatening behavior on social networks has remained roughly the same over two years (22% in 2016 compared to 25% in 2014) despite efforts by social media companies to curb harassment….” There is a little good news: “While overall experience of harassment remained constant, pollsters noted changes in the form of harassment over the two year period. Sexual harassment showed a decline by almost half (falling from 44% in 2014, to 27% in 2016), while political harassment almost doubled from 16% in 2014 to 30% in 2016, leading up to the U.S. Presidential Election.”


Facebook granted the emergency request of law enforcement and took offline the account of a woman who was in a standoff with police. “Baltimore County police officers shot and killed [Korryn] Gaines on Monday after she barricaded herself inside her Randallstown apartment with her five-year-old son and pointed a shotgun at officers attempting to serve an arrest warrant on charges stemming from a 10 March traffic stop including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.”

Jack Ashby: Why Pokémon Go is a gift to museums. “Since it was released in the UK last month, Pokémon Go has been nothing short of a phenomenon. It is impossible to walk down a street and not spot people gazing at their screens as they try to catch digital creatures or stock up on supplies as they pass Pokéstops. It is the Pokéstop aspect of the game that I believe is the gift that museums have been given.”

Interesting thoughts from The Kinder Institute of Urban Research at Rice University: What the Latest Version of Google Maps Tells Us About Cities. “Google clearly expects the move to help raise advertising revenue by creating a more helpful consumer experience and attracting more users. That the redesign is tied to improving Google’s bottom line demonstrates the biases inherent in every map. But beyond making money for Google, the redesign acts as an activity guide to the city for users — both visitor and resident alike.” Good morning, Internet…

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