Underground Mass Transport, Museum TV, Lesser Known Timber Species, More: Tuesday Buzz, August 30, 2016


In development: an online archive of underground mass transport station images. The curation is taking place via Instagram. “The daily commute is the most mundane and often the most frustrating part of city living — but photographer Chris Forsyth wants us to appreciate the beauty hidden in our transit systems. The 20-year-old has spent two years capturing busy underground stations — devoid of people.”

Netflix and chill? Pffft. How about Sotheby’s and contemplate. “Today the British-founded New York auction house will launch its own online ‘Museum Network’ to showcase videos and TV series made by the world’s leading art museums. Available on as well as Sotheby’s Apple TV channel app, you’ll be able to see inside internationally-renowned galleries including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate galleries, and the National Palace Museum in Taiwan.”

Now available with a slant toward builders and architects: a database of lesser-known timber species (LKTS). “The website allows users to search through more than 200 species and 50 case studies of current applications of LKTS (and will be constantly updated as new cases and data become available), providing inspiration and guidance for architects and designers looking to use wood in their projects. The database gives technical descriptions of the capabilities of each species, as well as their practical applications and examples of existing projects in which they have been used. By making this information publicly available, FCS Denmark hopes that designers will begin to employ a more diverse selection of wood types as an alternative to the more well-known ones.” The number of countries available in the database is limited but I found plenty of use cases.

Google has released a crowdsourcing app for Android so you can help it make more money. Oh, sorry, I mean make its data better. “It might be more accurate to say that it makes Google’s internet services more useful, not the entire internet, since Google doesn’t offer free access to the underlying data of Google Maps or Google Translate. But as a longtime contributor to Google services, I can attest that offering free labor to the company — or to reviews at Yelp, TripAdvisor and Amazon — can give you a little dopamine hit. I’ve benefited from others’ freely donated labor countless times, and this is a way to reciprocate, even if Google shareholders benefit, too.” I would like it better if for every x things I did, Google donated y to the nonprofit of my choice. C’mon Google.


Facebook’s “trending topics” are a mess. “Well, that was fast. Three days after Facebook said it would remove the human editors who curate the Trending topics section and replace them with a purely algorithmic system, the company trended a fake news story about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.”

More Facebook: Facebook wants to make Facebook safety checks available to everyone. “Facebook’s Safety Check has proven an invaluable tool for people to contact their friends and families in the immediate aftermath of large scale disasters. At a public Q&A session in Luiss University in Rome on Monday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the crowd that his company is also working on a means of letting any user activate the emergency system on their own.”


Microsoft is being blamed for errors in gene studies. “Microsoft’s Excel has been blamed for errors in academic papers on genomics. Researchers trying to raise awareness of the issue claim that the spreadsheet software automatically converts the names of certain genes into dates.” I wonder if Gnumeric does this? It is my spreadsheet of choice.

If you ever wonder why people just don’t seem to like Twitter, here you go: How a GIF of Aly Raisman’s Floor Routine Got Me Permanently Banned From Twitter. “I had read that the IOC was banning the press from using GIFs but I didn’t see how that applied to me. Sure, I didn’t have the rights to any footage at the Olympics — just like countless blogs and users don’t have rights to the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA footage that they create GIFs out of and profit from every day. But I figured the worst thing that would happen is the GIF would be deleted from my account, as Twitter often does in these situations. Boy was I wrong.”

Google has opened registration for its first Indie Games festival. “Google is kicking off registration for its first-ever festival aimed at celebrating indie games on Android. The company is now taking sign-ups for those who want to attend the Google Play Indie Games Festival in San Francisco, and it’s announcing the exhibitor line-up. This includes 30 games, half of which have yet to be released to the general public, or are still in a limited beta.”


CNN is reporting that hackers have breached election systems in two states. “The Illinois database included voters’ names, addresses, sex and birthdays in addition to other information. Some of the records include either last four digits of a voter’s social security number or drivers’ license numbers. The database is comprised of records for 15 million individuals and is 10 years old. Not all outdated information has been purged, according to Menzel, so some of those records likely include information for deceased voters or those who have subsequently moved.”

Use Opera? You may need to know about this hack of Opera Sync. I say may because most Opera users don’t use the Sync feature. “Opera says the sync feature on its browsers was recently hacked, and data of some of its users was compromised. As a security measure, the Norway-based software firm is forcing all sync users to reset their passwords.”


Research: In the aftermath of disaster, social media helps build a sense of community. “Social media can disseminate critical information as well as unite disaster victims during their recovery efforts, suggests a study published in Frontiers in Communication. After natural disasters communities rely heavily on local governments to provide the necessary resources and information to respond to such disasters, but these approaches are not well equipped to meeting individual needs.” Good morning, Internet…

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Categories: morningbuzz

1 reply »

  1. Really like ResearchBuzz.
    Good job!
    I follow via RSS for years, now,.

    the Opera Sync breach
    you reported today 08/30/2016:
    “…the Norway-based software firm…”.

    Correct me if I’m wrong,
    but wasn’t Opera recently sold
    to a company in China?

    Of course,
    there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing…
    (use Seinfeld voice) 🙂

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