Medical Library, Latin American Books, Facebook Marketplace, More: Tuesday Buzz, October 4, 2016

In yesterday’s evening Buzz I referred to Penn State when writing about research that actually came from The University of Pennsylvania. I fixed it. Apologies for the stupidness. Thank you Cathy O for pointing out the error.


The Library at St. George’s, University of London, has launched a new archives project. “St George’s has a long and rich history, dating back to the early 18th century. The Hospital was first founded in 1733 and even before the Medical School was formally established at the Hospital in the 19th century, St George’s already had a long history of training pupils. The pupil registers held in the archives date back to 1756, and John Hunter, one of our most well-known alumnus, is the first name listed on his entry to the Hospital as House Surgeon.”

The University of Texas at Austin has put a huge collection of Latin American books online. “More than 500,000 books from the stacks of the Benson Latin American Collection, a trove of treasures related to Latin America, have been digitized and are now accessible online. The project is an extension of the University of Texas Libraries partnership with Google to digitize books and other literature to create a massive digital repository.” The blurb mentions Google books but the volumes are available at HathiTrust.

Facebook has launched a new feature called Marketplace. “The company says that selling things on the site is already hugely popular – with 450 million buying and selling groups. About a quarter of people who visit Facebook use it as a way of trading things. And so the new Marketplace is meant as a destination for people looking to discover or sell things with people around them.”


Seems like they’ve got chatbots for everything else, so why not for building Web sites? “Heek’s service is surprisingly easy to use. With a click to get started from the Heek website, the bot begins by asking for your name, your company’s name, the type of business you have, then presents you with a variety of site templates to choose from, ranging from e-commerce storefronts to sites for public figures, charities, businesses without products to sell, or those in the ‘media/entertainment’ space, like news, food, music, sports, education, animals, and more.”


From Marketing Land: What brands should know about Facebook’s new and upcoming average watch time metrics. “Facebook’s new average watch time measurement, which is provided for Pages’ organic videos and for video ads, takes the total amount of time that people watched a video and divides it by the number of times that video was played, either automatically or after being clicked. Simple enough, except that Facebook defines a ‘play’ differently from the way you might expect. Facebook counts a play only once when someone watches a given video within a 30-minute period that the company refers to as a ‘user session,’ i.e., any replays within that time frame are not counted, and it’s possible for a video’s average watch time to exceed the actual length of the video, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed.”

Weird: Facebook has been banning accounts for sharing a particular cat picture. “According to Fonearena‘s Varun Krishnan, on sharing an innocent cat photo on Messenger, his Facebook account was instantly deactivated. ‘I was actually chatting with some friends over Facebook Messenger and after I sent this image , I automatically started getting logged out of messenger. I opened the Facebook app and that said Session time out and asked me to login again. I felt something was wrong with my phone or internet, I decided to get online on my computer. Only then It began to strike me that Facebook has actually disabled my complete Facebook account – Messenger , Facebook, Ads and what else I don’t know – in a matter of seconds and I was being logged out of the service on all my devices.'” The image also has some blurred non-English text I can’t make out.

Washington Post: Google Translate is getting really, really accurate. “Last week, Google launched an updated translation tool that utilizes sophisticated artificial intelligence to produce startlingly accurate language translations. While the tool has been used to successfully translate between English and Spanish, French and Chinese in a research setting, it’s only available currently to everyday users for Chinese to English translations. The new system, which uses deep machine learning to mimic the functioning of a human brain, is called the Google Neural Machine Translation system, or GNMT. To test the system, Google had human raters evaluate translations on a scale from 0 to 6. Translating from English to Spanish, the new Google tool’s translation was rated an average of 5.43; human translators earned an average of 5.5.”

Vanity Fair: What the Twitter Sale Reveals About Twitter, Itself. “witter was a hothouse that succeeded in spite of an undercurrent of chaos, consumed by furtive battles over power and control and subsequently, vision. (Was it a social network? A media company? A messaging platform?) Into this void, Twitter, which became all of those things and more, also became a haven for excreta. And whoever was running Twitter, which has essentially had five chiefs in its decade of life as a company, wanted to prove that they were the ones who could tame the beast and solve all of its problems. This chaos, perhaps more than anything else, is what really stopped potential suitors from swooping up Twitter—and for a long time, that was just the serendipity of the situation.”


Boston University: COM Prof’s Study Sheds Light on Undergrad Facebook Habits. “The hours young adults spend on social media networks every day influence their behavior and attitudes about privacy. Heavy social network users who read friends’ updates and share information about themselves become acclimated to the act of posting their information as they read daily about their friends and the world, spurring them to post more themselves—and to share more during off-line encounters. This effect of social media is one of the big takeaways of a new study of undergraduate-aged Facebook users coauthored by Mina Tsay-Vogel, a College of Communication assistant professor of mass communications and codirector of BU’s Communication Research Center.”

From the Hamilton Spectator: How Google searched for — and found — perfect tax havens “It used to be that most advertising revenues went to newspapers, TV and radio. Canadian journalists, musicians, actors and other workers in the cultural industries depended on that revenue for their jobs. Now more than a third of all ad spending goes to online advertising, which continues to grow at the expense of newspaper, radio and TV ads. Online advertising is dominated by multinational giants like Google and Facebook. And they don’t pay Canadian value added taxes such as the HST or corporate income taxes on profits generated in Canada. It creates an uneven playing field that makes it difficult for Canadian companies, who do pay sales and corporate income tax.”

It’s 2016 and there’s social media and therefore relationships are complicated. “I know it’s tempting, but maybe don’t Facebook friend request that new guy [or girl – RB] you’re dating. The Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking recently published a study that suggests connecting on social media too early can negatively affect a person’s view of his or her SO.”

A recent Google patent filing takes wearables to the next level. “A recent patent application filed by Google has revealed a skin-implantable diagnostic system that monitors physiological parameters of the person by analyzing blood, sweat, or interstitial fluid through a sensor implanted under a person’s skin. Further, the skin-implantable diagnostic system includes an antenna for sending and receiving wireless signals from the sensor implanted inside the person’s skin to a reader device.” Good morning, Internet…

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