Tibetan-Language Search, Smoky Mountains Biodiversity, Allis-Chalmers Tractors, More: Monday Buzz, August 8, 2016


In trials: a new Tibetan-language search engine. “Cloud Tibet, the world’s first search engine dedicated specially to Tibetan-speaking people, has been launched for trial operation, the China News Service reported on Tuesday. Developed by a Tibetan language research center in Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province, Cloud Tibet will help Tibetan-speaking people access a variety of information in text, graphic and video formats, said Tselo, head of the development team.”

Now available: a biodiversity Web app for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “Everyone from park managers to school groups can use Species Mapper to explore suitable habitats for species for more than 1,800 species. Species Mapper uses locations where species have been found to help predict additional places they may occur in the park. These predictions, or models, are based on observations made during ongoing resource monitoring as well as research studies conducted by scientists from all over the world.”

New-to-me: an online museum of Allis-Chalmers tractors. “Renfrew, Ontario’s George Nesbitt owns the world’s largest collection of Allis-Chalmers tractors. According to CBC, Nesbitt’s collection includes 400 tractors and could be values around $5 million CAN. Nesbitt has so many tractors that he’s opened an online museum on his farm for tractor enthusiasts to visit. It includes everything from the early AC models to the AC 7000 series.”

The University of Rochester is launched a site with the digitized diaries of a 19th century female cycling enthusiast. “Layered with original photographs, fabric swatches, correspondence, and other ephemera, the diaries, as the site notes, illustrate ‘the life of a single working woman set free by the bicycle and enlivened by friendships, the Kodak, the theatre, and a connection with the natural world.’ [May] Bragdon’s orbit included a constellation of family, coworkers, and friends, as well as obscure and well-known people. An avid cyclist and amateur photographer, Bragdon (1865-1947) cycled up to 13 miles a day. Her diaries contain dozens of photos that document Rochester’s active biking community at the turn of the 20th century.”


The State Archives of North Carolina has added more films to its North Carolina Sights and Sounds collection. “Currently 48 films from the collections of the State Archives of North Carolina are available through DigitalNC. They cover a wide range of subjects including the 1968 election, fishing, water quality, state historical events, tobacco, and everyday life in 1930s-1940s North Carolina.”

Google Maps, as you might expect, has done some updates for Rio. “Mapping a sprawling, densely populated city of 6 million people like Rio de Janeiro is a tough task. With an extra 10,000 athletes, half a million travelers, and tens of thousands of volunteers heading to the city this month, you can expect additional friction caused by road closures, traffic, and jam-packed attractions. Google Maps is putting the finishing touches on some first prize-worthy updates to help tourists and Rio residents alike get around ‘the Marvelous City’ with ease. We even threw in a couple changes for those enjoying the events from home to feel like they’re in the middle of the action.”

And the Olympics mayhem continues, with Snapchat adding filters, stickers, and lenses. “First off you have a couple of new lenses themed around the competition. One of them gives you a headband with your country’s flag on it, and pops up some fireworks when you open your mouth.”

Meanwhile, Yahoo has its own Olympics offerings. “Visual cards provide easy access to dynamic content – medal count, live schedule and other updates – and to statistics such as profiles on athletes, countries and venues. Yahoo is bringing these experiences directly to the Search results page, making it that much easier for you to find the information you seek.”

GhostMail is shutting down its consumer service. (It’ll keep offering its services to enterprise customers.) “In an email to customers and posted on the secure email provider’s website, Ghostmail said, ‘the world has changed for the worse, and we do not want to take the risk of supplying our extremely secure service to the wrong people.’ In addition, while Ghostmail still believes the average user has a right to privacy, a ‘strategic decision’ has been made to shift Ghostmail services exclusively to the enterprise sector.” Because apparently PEOPLE can be evil, but enterprises can’t. Or something.


Hongkiat: 9 Best Tools to Optimize Animated GIFs.


The Rise of Political Bots on Social Media. “Automated social media accounts – bots – have become part of our political communication. Bot armies can influence online discourse and pick fights with users. But are all bots bad? Thomas Baerthlein reports from London.” The link goes to the Daily News Egypt but the actual article is from Deutsche Welle.


Remember the good old days when you just had to worry about your computer getting hacked? Recently I mentioned the vulnerabilities of wireless mice and keyboards. Turns out you also have to worry about monitors as well. “A group of researchers has found a way to hack directly into the tiny computer that controls your monitor without getting into your actual computer, and both see the pixels displayed on the monitor—effectively spying on you—and also manipulate the pixels to display different images.” Good morning, Internet…

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