Cloud Computing, Mesoamerican Ethnobotany, Internet Rabbit Holes, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, August 18, 2016


A new Web site wants to map the “cloud” part of the Internet. “The New Cloud Atlas … is a global effort to map each data place that makes up the cloud in an open and accountable way. It’s a project to find and map each warehouse data centre, each internet exchange, each connecting cable and switch. Anything of any physical significance in the operation of the cloud should be observed in some way, and recorded for everyone to see and use. Data is stored in OpenStreetMap and users can map things using the on site iD editor with custom telecoms presets for the first time. Map tiles with two styles have been produced and have now made visible this hidden infrastructure.”

Now available: the Mesoamerican Ethnobotanical Database. “Having already demonstrated that ancient botanical remains could be collected from lowland tropical locations during excavations of prehistoric Maya sites in Belize, the team discovered that few resources existed to identify the family, genus or species of the specimens…. ‘Over the span of four years we identified, located and scanned more than 2,500 plant vouchers [plant samples mounted on 11-by-17-inch sheets of paper] representing more than 1,300 species from 148 plant families,’ [Jon] Hageman said of the tedious process.”

A new tool helps you trace your journey down the rabbit holes of the Internet. “A cross between a bookmarklet and a web-crawler, Pilgrim extracts the content of an article, then loads the links a user clicks on inline in the same browser. On the top of the page, it leaves behind a path of pages you’ve visited through links, essentially tracing your Wikipedia wormhole or internet research and keeping it all together on one page.”


Instagram is adding an Events channel. “The channel will be personalized for each user and feature videos from concerts, sports games, and other live events depending on what’s happening around the world, what types of live events users are interested in, and what type of accounts the user follows.”



Harvard Business Review: To Get More Out of Social Media, Think Like an Anthropologist. “There is something marketing managers seem to forget about the internet: it was made for people, not for companies and brands. As such, it offers managers a source of insight they never had — social listening…. despite its potential, companies underleverage the social media stream for market intelligence. Analysts look for data confirming a predetermined viewpoint, or view the social media conversation as something to be managed rather than listened to. They frame listening as a descriptive exercise rather than the high-potential strategic project it should become.”


A privacy suit over GMail will move forward. “Thanks to a judge’s order, Google must face another proposed class-action lawsuit over its scanning of Gmail. The issue is a lingering headache for the search giant, which has faced allegations for years now that scanning Gmail in order to create personalized ads violates US wiretapping laws.”


RAND: US social media strategy can weaken ISIS influence on Twitter. “Opponents of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are six times greater in number on Twitter than ISIS supporters, but those sympathetic to the group are more active on the social media platform, according to a new RAND Corporation study. Analyzing more than 23 million tweets posted in Arabic over a 10-month period, researchers found that supporters of ISIS produce 50 percent more tweets than opponents on a typical day, although there is evidence that ISIS opponents are increasing their activity.”

From Vice: We Need to Make Digital Data That Dies Like Us “Humans have a cool 200,000 years worth of experience in dealing with death, but we’re probably worse at it than ever. Technology circa 2016 makes it seem like such a violation—an unnaturalness. It’s not that death has ever been a good thing to happen, but maybe at certain points in the history of the species it has been more of a normal thing to happen than it is right now. Some large part of this abnormality is the existence of digital identities.”


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Categories: afternoonbuzz

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