Bhopal Disaster, Legal Advice, Student Architects, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, October 7, 2016

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There’s a new digital archive coming to the University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Bhopal: Law, Accidents and Disasters in India” “According to Marc Galanter, UW professor emeritus of law and South Asian studies, more than 20,000 people died and hundreds of thousands more were injured as a result of the 1984 chemical leak that took place in Bhopal, India. … Now, thanks to gifts amounting to $30,000, Galanter’s extensive collection of legal documents and news clippings relating to the American and Indian litigation has been digitized and housed at UW Law Library. The searchable archive contains more than 3,600 items and is expected to grow.”

The American Bar Association has launched, in limited release, a new site that provides pro bono civil law advice to low-income citizens. “The American Bar Association has rolled out a new web program … to give income-eligible users the ability to pose civil legal questions to volunteer attorneys. The new service, a virtual legal advice clinic, is now available in eight states — Connecticut, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming — with plans to have service available in the majority of states by the end of this year.”

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture will create a digital archive for its Student Work collection. “The Institutes of Museum and Library Services grant will allow the archive to organize, catalog, and digitize more than 30,000 works, including 4,000 student projects dating back to the 1930s, blueprints, photographs, drawings, and small and large-scale models.”


The names of over 3500 French soldiers have been added to a Web site about the Hundred Years War. “The names of over 3,500 French soldiers linked to the Battle of Agincourt (1415) have been added to They join the quarter of a million names already available for English armies who fought in a number of campaigns, including Agincourt– forming what’s believed to be the largest database of medieval people in the world.”

Google has open-sourced an indoor mapping tool called Cartographer. “Cartographer is designed to enable what is known as real-time simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM)—or the ability to build a 2D or 3D map while at the same time keeping track of an individual or robotic agent’s location within that map. The algorithms used in SLAM combine data from various sensors such as Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) systems and cameras to determine the position of an object within an environment and to map that environment.”

Looks like Facebook is going all-in on VR. “In 20 years, virtual reality will be the main form of computing, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicted today at the Oculus Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif. But Oculus, which makes the Rift VR headset, is focused on how the technology will evolve in the next three years. To that end, the company announced several new hardware and software improvements that are intended to broaden the appeal of its VR platform.”


First Draft News: How to get started investigating the Arabic-language internet. “Whether it’s the civil war in Syria, Saudi bombardment of Yemen, or protests in Egypt, the Arab world never seems to be far from the headlines. The proliferation of camera phones across the region at a time of turmoil and unrest has seen citizen media become central to the way mainstream sources cover events in the Middle East, and being able to conduct basic research on the thousands of videos and photos emerging daily is essential for journalists working in digital newsgathering and verification.”

Make sure you download all your stuff first. HelpNet Security: How to Close Your Yahoo Account.


From the Wall Street Journal: A Primer on the Facebook Measurement Wars “Facebook has been taking heat over the revelation that for two years it miscalculated a key metric, overestimating by as much as 80% the average time people spent watching video on its platform. Some in the ad world say the controversy highlights why Facebook and other big digital platforms shouldn’t be ‘grading their own homework,’ but should instead be submitting to measurement by independent, third-party tracking companies. It’s become a flashpoint for those arguing internet giants operate ‘walled gardens’ with little transparency.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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