Veteran Legacies, Commercial Fishing, Irish Film, More: Friday Buzz, September 16, 2016


The US Department of Veterans Affairs has launched the Veterans Legacy Program blog. “We launched this blog to help share the efforts of the Veterans Legacy Program, a new effort launched by VA’s National Cemetery Administration to provide opportunities for students, teachers and the general public to learn and explore how the stories of Veteran service and sacrifice are woven into U.S. history, local history and contemporary issues. Through this blog we will feature NCA professionals, students, teachers and the general public contributing to this work.”

Global Fishing Watch has officially launched in beta (PRESS RELEASE). “The product of a partnership between Oceana, SkyTruth and Google, Global Fishing Watch is an intuitive and free interactive online tool that shows the apparent fishing activity of 35,000 (and counting) commercial fishing vessels operating throughout the world. The platform is regularly updated to show vessel tracks and fishing activity from January 1, 2012 through three days prior to present time. By sharing this critical information publically for the first time, Global Fishing Watch will have immeasurable and wide-ranging positive impacts on ocean health.”

The Irish Film Institute is making it easier for people around the world to explore its archives. “This morning (September 14th) the Irish Film Institute (IFI) launched their new IFI Player, a virtual viewing room for giving global audiences instant access to the Irish Film Archive. The IFI Irish Film Archive collects, preserves and shares Ireland’s national moving image collection, a diverse resource that chronicles over one hundred years of Irish achievement and experience. The Archive collection spans 1897 to the present day, and the cameras of filmmakers have captured the development of modern Ireland in a uniquely accessible manner.”

The European Space Agency has released its first data in its project to build an atlas of one billion stars. “Mission manager Fred Jansen told a news conference in Madrid that the project has already collected some 500 billion measurements and he is ‘extremely happy’ with the precision of the data. It is being distributed among scientists for analysis. At the heart of the five-year mission is the 10-metre-wide Gaia spacecraft, which resembles a barrel sitting on a silver saucer. It carries two telescopes and is orbiting slowly around the sun.” The data are also available online.

10 Downing Street – the home of the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister – is now available on Google Street View. “Google’s Street View cameras were used to capture nine areas of the building. These include the Thatcher Room, the Anterroom (covered with images of the Queen), and the entrance hall, which mysteriously has a painting blurred on the right-hand side. (WIRED contacted Downing Street which clarified the image is blurred for copyright reasons).”


The Visual Resources Collection (VRC) at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) has updated its online database of architectural images. “Released within the Artstor Digital Library, the collection was launched earlier this year with 10,000 images. Now, after the completion of Phase 2, the database includes images from nearly 1,000 built projects from 44 countries as well as documentation of unbuilt projects and competitions such as the Chicago Tribune Tower and the Lenin Library.”

Mmmkay: Gannett has invested in Digg. “Gannett announced Tuesday that it has invested in the news aggregator Digg. That investment, for an undisclosed amount, will help Gannett’s USA Today Network reach more people and offer Digg more original and local content, according to a press release.”


MakeUseOf: 9 Quick Ways to Manage Links With Chrome Extensions. Good roundup of resources here.


A report from the Japanese government says Google and Apple are inhibiting competition in app sales. “The report looked at how these two U.S. technology giants, as well as others that control platforms through which smartphone applications are sold, use their positions of power to decide what app developers can and cannot do. Restricting what payment methods developers can accept and limiting their pricing freedom may not directly violate Japan’s anti-monopoly law, but these practices lead to elimination of competitors, the report asserts.”

When it comes to privacy on Google Maps, it’s good to see that Google is respecting everybody. Even cows. “A cow roaming on a canal tow path has proved an internet hit – after someone spotted Google had given the same blur treatment normally given to human’s to protect their privacy. The animal was captured by Google’s street view cameras at Coe Fen in Cambridge in August last year.”

Google is saying that despite statements to the contrary it is not involved in the AdBlock Plus Ad network. “This would have been a big deal because Adblock Plus parent company Eyeo’s business model is controversial, to say the least. The company charges large entities — including Google — to get their ads whitelisted. That means that as long as their ads meet the Adblock Plus “acceptable ads” standards, their ads will still be served to Adblock Plus users (except those with the most stringent settings). Adblock Plus charges companies a fee of 30% of the additional revenue they earned by having those ads unblocked.” This isn’t extortion because why?


Scary stuff from Schneier on Security: Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet. “Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don’t know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses.” Good morning, Internet…

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