Nat Turner, Holocaust Testimonies, Pesticide Companies, More: Saturday Buzz, October 1, 2016

I’m sorry I missed yesterday – I haven’t missed a day in a long time. My mother’s best friend from 3rd grade is in town, and she’s staying with my Granny, and the three of them wanted to go downtown yesterday to see Al Roker, and, and, and … well, to make a long story short it was a very busy day and I am Team Al Roker for life. But I’m back now.


Now available: a Web site about enslaved African American Nat Turner. “The new hub is believed to be a first for this controversial yet historically significant individual. It includes newspaper articles, court documents, maps, interviews with slaves and slaveholders, as well as other information about Turner’s life, and times.”

A Toronto Holocaust center has launched a testimony archive of over 1200 videos. “The initiative revives a project that began in the late 1980s, when a group of Holocaust survivors in Canada sought to further Holocaust education and remembrance by recording audio and visual testimony. More than 400 videos were recorded in Toronto at the time, but had since remained in a storage area for years because they were recorded on outdated technology, such as VHS tapes.”

Health Canada has launched a new database with information on pest control / pesticide product manufacturing companies. “Canadians can search the Pest Control Registrant Inspections Database for specific inspection findings, as well as summary report cards from inspections and information about companies’ history of compliance with the Pest Control Products Act and its Regulations.”

ProPublica has launched a Google Chrome extension to help you discover how much Facebook knows about you. “We’ve spent the year investigating algorithms, from how they’ve been used to predict future criminals to Amazon’s use of them to advantage itself over competitors. All too often, these algorithms are a black box: It’s impossible for outsiders to know what’s going inside them. Today we’re launching a series of experiments to help give you the power to see inside. Our first stop: Facebook and your personal data.”


ScraperWiki is bringing its old scraper back. (The other scrapers don’t know how to act.) “7 years ago ScraperWiki launched with a plan to make scraping accessible to a wider public. It did this by creating an online space where people could easily write and run scrapers; and by making it possible to read and adapt scrapers written by other users (the ‘wiki’ part)…. The company has been renamed The Sensible Code Company, and the ScraperWiki product is now QuickCode, pitched as an internal programming tool rather than something specific to scraping.”


From SocialSchool4Edu: How to Use Snapchat For Your School. “I’ve been wanting to report on this for awhile, but since there are not a lot of schools jumping in, it’s been hard! Today I have a school willing to share all of its experiences using the popular teen platform to help you see how it is working for one district. After reading this, you’ll be better equipped to make a decision for your school.” This is a (useful) Q&A in advance of a free Webinar on 5 October.


A Google office has been raided again — this time in Indonesia. “Google Inc.’s Jakarta office was raided by Indonesian authorities after they warned the company for refusing a tax audit. Officers visited Google’s office in central Jakarta ‘many times’ in the past two weeks to collect data and repeatedly sought meetings with senior company officials, Muhammad Haniv, the head of special taxpayers at the Finance Ministry, said in a phone interview Thursday.”

LinkedIn has released a transparency report. “The report provides the number of government requests for member data LinkedIn processed from January through June of 2016. We saw a slight increase in the total number of government requests received compared to the previous period (145 total requests worldwide, compared to the 139 from the second half of 2015).”

Mashable: Why IBM Watson is interested in Twitter data and supporting developers. “IBM Watson can do much more than answer questions on Jeopardy. Earlier this month, the artificial intelligence system created a movie trailer. It also powers driverless cars and is helping doctors with cancer care and research. Watson is IBM’s bet on the next era of computing that is built to understand, reason, learn and interact, according to IBM Watson’s Chief Marketing Officer Steve Gold.”


Ugh. The New York Times has some background on the Yahoo breach: “Certainly, many big companies have struggled with cyberattacks in recent years. But Yahoo’s security efforts appear to have fallen short, in particular, when compared with those of banks and other big tech companies. To make computer systems more secure, a company often has to make its products slower and more difficult to use. It was a trade-off Yahoo’s leadership was often unwilling to make.”

Not too long ago Google cracked down on payday loan advertising. At the same time, however, Google’s parent company Alphabet had actually backed a payday loan company with capital. Now that company is in trouble with regulators. “The company, California-based LendUp, bills itself as an alternative to traditional payday lenders that can help risky borrowers build up their credit with short-term loans and get access to more favorable lending terms over time. But federal and state regulators say that LendUp didn’t live up to its promises, and now the company has agreed to pay a total of $6.3 million in penalties.” Good morning, Internet…

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