19th Century Medical Writings, Visual History Archive, Snapchat, More: Wednesday Buzz, August 31, 2016

I put up a very quick post on the Firehose about a couple of Google Alerts I got this morning: Government, Social Media, and Fraud.


Now online: two new collections of medical writings from the early 19th century. “The Lamar Soutter Library, in conjunction with the Worcester District Medical Society and the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital and through funding from the New England Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine has launched two online collections of historical medical writings specific to central Massachusetts. The first collection is comprised of papers from the Union Medical Association, a group of physicians active in southern Worcester County between 1834 and 1858. The second collection is a portion of the unpublished papers of Dr. Samuel B. Woodward, first superintendent of the State Lunatic Asylum in Worcester which opened in 1833.”


The University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive has added a great deal of new content. “The Visual History Archive added 1,302 new testimonies, 1,361 new interviewees, six new experience groups, one new historic event and 10 new collections in a single update over the weekend. The update includes the first 10 Guatemalan Genocide testimonies, 1,179 Holocaust testimonies from the new Canadian Collections, the final 87 Armenian Genocide testimonies and 21 testimonies for the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis in Rwanda Collection. The Visual History Archive now has 53,973 testimonies.”

Snapchat wants to make it really easy for you to make your own geofilter. “Ever wanted to create your very own Snapchat filter for a party or wedding, but didn’t know where to start? Instead of paying someone on Fiverr or Etsy to do it for you, Snapchat’s new tool has filter templates you can create in minutes.”

I didn’t even remember Facebook had a coupon product. But apparently it does. “When Facebook introduced Offers in February 2012 for brands to distribute coupons on the social network, it was more or less a me-too product. Now Facebook is trying to make it more of a Facebook product.”

Google is shuffling Nest again. “Nest’s entire platform team will become part of Google, which also resides under the Alphabet umbrella, in order to create a unified Internet of things platform. It will be led by longtime Google executive Hiroshi Lockheimer…”


Does Google’s login page have a security bug? “A security researcher found a problem in Google’s own login page that could allow a hacker to easily steal people’s passwords — and the company apparently isn’t too worried about fixing it. In a post published Saturday on his personal website, Aidan Woods writes of the find and some frustrating interactions he had with Google’s security team, which told him they would not track it as a security bug.”

Oh, ewwwwwwww: Facebook recommended that this psychiatrist’s patients friend each other. “While some of these incredibly accurate friend suggestions are amusing, others are alarming, such as this story from Lisa*, a psychiatrist who is an infrequent Facebook user, mostly signing in to RSVP for events. Last summer, she noticed that the social network had started recommending her patients as friends—and she had no idea why…. The next week, things got weirder.” Facebook didn’t have a good explanation, which might be the most disturbing element of this story.


Research: computers learning human languages also learn human biases. “New research from computer scientists at Princeton suggests computers learning human languages will also inevitably learn those human biases. In a draft paper, researchers describe how they used a common language-learning algorithm to infer associations between English words. The results demonstrated biases similar to those found in traditional psychology research and across a variety of topics. In fact, the authors were able to replicate every implicit bias study they tested using the computer model.”

Research: younger audiences now using social media as the primary news source. “Social media is a great place to learn about the news because it’s so easy for journalists to get bottom-line information to the audience quickly. Where it becomes ‘interesting’ — to coin a term — is where social media is the dominant source of information. The majority of a younger audience now gets its news primarily through social media. ” Good afternoon, Internet…

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