Kirtan Songs, NBA Jerseys, Image Data Sets, More: Sunday Buzz, October 2, 2016


In development: a digital archive about Kirtan music. “A digital archive on Kirtan is being developed to preserve the rich tradition of the devotional music form, which is on the verge of extinction in India, noted Indologist Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri said here on Thursday. Called ‘Towards the History of Kirtan’, the project aims at mapping and documenting the genre’s evolution since the 12th century.”

New to me: a database of NBA jerseys. (According to the site, it’s every NBA jersey ever, but I don’t know enough about the NBA to check that.)

Google has launched the Open Images data set. “In the last few years, advances in machine learning have enabled Computer Vision to progress rapidly, allowing for systems that can automatically caption images to apps that can create natural language replies in response to shared photos. Much of this progress can be attributed to publicly available image datasets, such as ImageNet and COCO for supervised learning, and YFCC100M for unsupervised learning. Today, we introduce Open Images, a dataset consisting of ~9 million URLs to images that have been annotated with labels spanning over 6000 categories. We tried to make the dataset as practical as possible: the labels cover more real-life entities than the 1000 ImageNet classes, there are enough images to train a deep neural network from scratch and the images are listed as having a Creative Commons Attribution license*.” Google is not confirming the CC licenses, however; you have to check them yourself. Nine million times?

A new database tracks illegal trade in great apes going back to 2005. “A new database suggests say there has been a dramatic under-reporting of the live, illegal trade in great apes. Around 1,800 orangutans, chimpanzees and gorillas were seized in 23 different countries since 2005, the figures show. Since 90% of the cases were within national borders they didn’t appear in major data records, which only contain international seizures.”


This is neat: Google Calendar events on Google Maps. “Starting today, Android users worldwide will start to see their Google Calendar events on Google Maps. So whether you’re heading to a family dinner or getting subway directions to a birthday party, you can now quickly and easily access your events directly from the map.” Of course you have to enter an address for your event in the first place.

Facebook continues to get more Snapchatty. “Nearly two months after the release of Instagram Stories, Facebook is testing another similar mobile storytelling format inside Messenger. The feature, called Messenger Day, launched Friday and is apparently only available to Messengers users in Poland.”


From Free Technology for Teachers: 5 Neat Things Students Can Do With Google Drawings. An eight-minute video.


The Guardian: In the age of the algorithm, the human gatekeeper is back. “The more we have, the more we rely on algorithms and automated recommendation systems. Hence the unstoppable march of algorithmic recommendations, machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data into the cultural sphere. Yet this isn’t the end of the story. Search, for example, tells us what we want to know, but can’t help if we don’t already know what we want. Far from disappearing, human curation and sensibilities have a new value in the age of algorithms. Yes, the more we have the more we need automation. But we also increasingly want informed and idiosyncratic selections. Humans are back.” Some of us never left.

Are publishers getting over Facebook’s “Instant Articles”? “NewsWhip looked at several publishers’ posts to Instant Articles during a five-day period (Sept. 16-20). It’s hard to draw generalizations from such a short timeframe, but it found that while some publishers including The Huffington Post, Mic and Washington Post are essentially all in on the format, other early adopters (BBC News, National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal) barely seem to be using Instant Articles at all recently. NBC News and Business Insider, ‘seem to have pulled back as well from creating Instant Articles.’ Facebook hasn’t yet responded to requests for comment.”


It looks like the EU may be about the bring the crackdown on Google. “EU antitrust regulators plan to order Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google to stop paying financial incentives to smartphone makers to pre-install Google Search exclusively on their devices and warned the company of a large fine, an EU document showed. The document, running to more than 150 pages, was sent to complainants last week for feedback.”


Do airlines really listen to all the social media crabbing and stories of travel woe? Apparently, yes. “While every major airline tracks and answers customers online, some do it better than others. For example, Southwest answers almost half of the customers who mention the airline on social media, the best among airlines in North America. Alaska Airlines is the fastest, answering social media posts within three minutes, according to Conversocial, which works with airlines like Alaska and tracks the industry’s interaction with millions of travelers.”

Looks like Twitter can be good for political newcomers. “Political candidates, companies and individuals alike are struggling to figure out what kind of ROI their brand can earn from social media. New research co-authored by Wharton marketing professor Pinar Yildirim, Maria Petrova of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics and Ananya Sen of the Toulouse School of Economics shows that adopting a new platform gives a financial boost to those vying for U.S. Congressional seats – but only if they are political newcomers.” Good morning, Internet…

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