Veterans’ History, Nutrition Data, Immersive Journalism, More: Sunday Buzz, September 18, 2016


I found a very brief story (with autoplaying video argh) about a new app to easily record and submit oral histories to the Veterans History Project. I dug around and could not find more detail, and then I got annoyed because I’m supposed to know what I’m doing. So I dug a little more and found an announcement from Congressman Joe Kennedy, which led me to this page. “The VHP App is an innovative new mobile application that promises to dramatically increase participation in the Veteran’s History Project (VHP). The VHP App has the potential to help bridge the civil-military gap, creating pride in service, a rich archive of information, and a more empathic, informed electorate…. ” The big deal is that you will be able to record and upload an oral history without having to mail a recorded CD to the Library of Congress.

The USDA has launched a new online database with nutrition information on over 80,000 branded food products. “The Branded Food Products Database greatly expands and enhances, the USDA National Nutrient Database, which contained basic information on about 8,800 branded foods and has served as a main source of food composition data for government, researchers and the food industry. As information is added in the coming months, it is expected the new database will include up to 500,000 products with an expanded level of detail including serving size, servings per package and nutrients shown on the Nutrition Facts Panel or the Expanded Nutrition Facts Panel, plus weights and measures, ingredient list and sub-list, and a date stamp associated with current formulation of the product.”

A group of people and companies have come together to launch Journalism 360. “Today, the Google News Lab and the Knight Foundation announced Journalism 360, a community of storytellers, producers, shooters, stitchers, editors, educators, entrepreneurs, ethicists and enthusiasts who are all in the same boat — trying to navigate the uncharted territory of immersive storytelling. We created this effort to ensure that knowledge sharing is open and the community can come together to develop best practices and gain access to resources. These resources will also include grants, funded by the Google News Lab and the Knight Foundation, specifically for immersive Journalism projects.”


Google has launched a new hacking contest for Android. “For those out of the loop, Project Zero is Google’s own internal team of security researchers who find and document vulnerabilities and bugs in widely-available software (i.e. Android, Chrome OS, etc). Now Project Zero has announced a hacking contest for anyone that might be up to the challenge. What needs to be done? Participants will be tasked with attempting to find ‘a vulnerability or bug chain that achieves remote code execution on multiple Android devices knowing only the devices’ phone number and email address.'”

Facebook will apparently be taking questions for the first US Presidential Debate. Because Facebook has proved itself to be a non-biased, credible arbiter of news and information. “For the first time in a presidential general election debate, Facebook will source questions from users, according to a plan released by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Those questions will then be given to the moderators of the October 9 town hall-style debate, who will then choose which ones to ask the candidates.”

Chrome and Firefox are both blocking The Pirate Bay. “Visitors of the popular torrent website The Pirate Bay will now be in for a surprise when using Google’s Chrome browser, which is now stating that the website has been blocked due to it ‘hosting harmful programs.’ Going to the website isn’t enough to see the message however. The homepage will load as usual, but opening a torrent page will now summon the red full screen message, urging visitors to turn back and not continue.”

Google has acquired Urban Engines. “Urban Engines uses the buzz phrase the ‘internet of moving things’ to describe its big picture idea, utilizing analytics gathered by urban commuters to help control the flow of cities. And now the company is taking its data collection and platform back to the Mountain View mothership.”


From Recode: Who will buy Twitter? We ranked all the possible buyers. Is anybody making it an “if” at this point? “The travails of the San Francisco-based social communications company have been an ongoing soap opera for a long time now, one that has gotten Google-sized attention despite its relatively small size and tech impact. Like the slow-moving train wreck of Yahoo, to which Twitter is increasingly compared, it’s partly due to the media fascination with the company. And there is no doubt that the app’s social impact is immeasurable, especially in the way it holds a perpetual mirror in front of all the narcissists in the world (Trump! Kanye! Various and sundry VCs on Sand Hill Road!).” What? You didn’t mention Amazon?

There’s a lot of great stuff in Quartz: More African governments are enacting open data policies but still aren’t willing to share information. “Despite well-earned reputations of authoritarianism and conservative attitudes to governance, it turns out more African governments are opening up to their citizens in the guise of espousing transparency and accountability in the conduct of their affairs. However, in truth, a government saying it’s allowing citizens to access data or information is very different from the actual practice of enabling that access. For the most part, several governments’ open data initiatives often serve far more mundane purposes and may not be the data that citizens really want—the kind that potentially exposes corruption or laxity in public service.” Actually this sounds kind of familiar.


Well, this stinks. EurekAlert has gone offline because of a hack attack. “As you know, an aggressive September 9 attack on the EurekAlert! website compromised registrants’ usernames and passwords, and resulted in the premature release of two embargoed news releases. The integrity of EurekAlert!’s content and infrastructure remains our primary concern at AAAS. We deeply regret the inconvenience that this hack has caused, and we are taking deliberate steps to restore and strengthen the system.”


Quartz: Facebook has the disturbing power to rewrite our collective history. “Algorithms often determine the content we see (and don’t see) on Facebook, and users need to be aware that they can’t necessarily trust the information presented to them. While we can gleam valuable information and discourse from Facebook, skimming a newsfeed should not take the place of actively seeking out content generated by news organizations. We must also educate ourselves about what is and what is not news. A screaming pundit pushing an agenda is not news. The piece you are currently reading is an op-ed; while rooted in fact, it is meant to persuade. We must teach our children to be media savvy, integrating media literacy in the K-12 curriculum and at the college level.”

From PLOS: Please Like Me: Facebook and Public Health Communication. “This study sought to identify the features of Facebook posts that are associated with higher user engagement on Australian public health organisations’ Facebook pages. We selected 20 eligible pages through a systematic search and coded 360-days of posts for each page. Posts were coded by: post type (e.g., photo, text only etc.), communication technique employed (e.g. testimonial, informative etc.) and use of marketing elements (e.g., branding, use of mascots). A series of negative binomial regressions were used to assess associations between post characteristics and user engagement as measured by the number of likes, shares and comments.” Good morning, Internet…

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Categories: morningbuzz

2 replies »

  1. Re: Veterans History – In Chrome you can block video autoplay by installing “Disable HTML5 Autoplay” extension. It works well on your referenced site.

    Re your App reference – I’m still left out because I use a PC. I don’t use a smartphone, and plan on staying that way for the foreseeable future. My history is from 1961-64 and I suspect the app conscious decision maker is less interested in recording history and more interested in getting more recent recruitment material.

  2. Just wondering … is there anyone standing up for the general public’s freedom of access to the people of other nations. Corporations, governments and NGOs already buy all our information and distribute it amongst themselves for profit. I’ve no objection to that but it seems the people whose information is being profited from should share a portion of the pie and not block the public’s access to each other. Just say’n.

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