Utah Judges, African-American History, Evernote, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, September 14, 2016


Citizens of Utah have a new Web site to get information about judges. “JPEC’s evaluations… provide summaries on legal ability, judicial temperament, procedural fairness and administrative performance. The site also allows public comment on any judge serving in Utah.”

Google is teaming up with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). “In addition to the interactive exhibit, we’re also launching two new Google Expeditions that take students on a digital journey through African American history. Earlier this year, we formed the African American Expeditions Council — a group of top minds in Black culture, academia and curation — to help develop Expeditions that tell the story of Africans in America. With participation from the National Park Service, the Expeditions team captured images of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, which commemorates the events, people and route of the 1965 Voting Rights March. A second Expedition, from the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, takes you around Dr. King’s childhood home and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached.”


Evernote is headed to the cloud. “After an intensive period of research and investigation involving several cloud providers, we have selected Google Cloud Platform to provide our data infrastructure moving forward. Until now, Evernote has owned, configured, and maintained its own servers and networks. This approach gave us the ability to build the service we wanted the way we wanted to build it. But it is also limiting—expensive to maintain, slow to upgrade, and difficult to scale. And while the infrastructure we have now is perfectly suited to support Evernote as it runs today, it lacks the speed and flexibility we need for tomorrow.”


Backchannel has a wonderful profile and Carl Malamud. “On August 8, Carl Malamud wakes up early. He usually does. Most days, from the moment his eyes open, he is fixated on the mission. Early morning offers great hours to get work done, though afternoons and evenings are good for that, too. The mission takes a lot of time and effort. For the past 25 years or so, Carl Malamud’s lonely mission has been to seize on the internet’s potential for spreading information — public information that people have a right to see, hear, and read. ‘Heroes for me are ones who take risks in pursuit of something they think is good,’ says Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and a frequent collaborator of Malamud’s. ‘He is in that category.'”

Monday Note: The Trouble With Facebook’s Insular Culture. “In short, a growing percentage of the population get its news from Facebook. This negatively impacts the news industry in two ways. One, it dilutes existing brands because fewer and fewer people are able to clearly attribute a content they choose to its original publisher (and I’m not even mentioning author recognition here, it’s lost in the process.) Two, Facebook has become a giant filter: roughly 10% to 20% of a publisher’s output that is pushed into Facebook actually ends up in user’s newsfeed — even if she subscribed to it.” I think 10% to 20% is probably optimistic. I would have said 5% to 10%.

Phrases I never imagined I’d type: Google’s Burrito Delivery Drones. “Last week we learned that X’s Project Wing (formerly Google) and Chipotle would soon be testing burrito-delivery drones at Virginia Tech. Well, the Roanoke Times has the first photos and video of what appear to be tests in nearby Blacksburg, Virginia.”


Researchers are training AI to make videos out of images. Not videos out of a series of images, but rather a video based on one image. “The neural net was trained using more than 2 million videos downloaded from Flickr. These were sorted into four types of scenes; golf courses, beaches, train stations, and hospitals (this latter category made up of images of babies), and the footage was stabilized to remove camera shake. Using this data, the team’s neural nets were able to not only generate short videos that resembled these scenes (that’s the GIF at the top of the page), but to also look at a still and create footage that might follow (that’s the GIF below). This essentially predicting what will happen next, albeit in a limited manner that is only guessing how pixels might change, rather than understanding the scene.” If this got really good can you imagine what it would do for forensics research?

Research: finding geotagged photos on the Dark Web. “Our study sought to analyze the prevalence of a similar privacy oversight in one of the most anonymity-valuing realms on the Internet: dark net markets. Is it possible that the users of such sites are unwittingly revealing their location as they post images to the markets?”

From Slate: The Electric Archive: What does it mean for a magazine to leave no paper trail? “Archives like Slate’s are inevitably the archives of the future, because more and more creative work exists only online. Yet the medium is so different from paper that they change the nature of the archiving endeavor and the historical interpretation it allows. When you look up “Superman Comes to the Supermarket” in an old copy of Esquire, the pages may be sallow, but the text, the art, and the design are a time capsule. Not so online, where page design across the site changes with coded rules. Art shrinks. Fonts change. I’m sure that many articles look better than at first—Slate had an unlovely digital adolescence—but others seem haggard with the passage of time.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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