Self-Driving Car Data, Camera App, Secret Service, More: Wednesday Evening Buzz, October 12, 2016


An enormous open data set of self-driving car data was recently released. “A necessity in building an open source self-driving car is data. Lots and lots of data. We recently open sourced 40GB of driving data to assist the participants of the Udacity Self-Driving Car Challenge , but now we’re going much bigger with a 183GB release. This data is free for anyone to use, anywhere in the world.”

Google has launched a new camera app for Android: Sprayscape. “Sprayscape is a quick hack using the phone’s gyroscope to take pictures on the inside of a 360-degree sphere. Just point your phone and tap the screen to spray faces, places, or anything else onto your canvas.”


The US Secret Service is trying to change its image with a social media campaign. “The social media blitz comes as the Secret Service works to improve its image after a string of revelations about security breaches and agent misconduct in recent years. It includes photos, videos and as-it-happens updates, but reveals little about sensitive operations that the Secret Service wants to keep, well, secret.”

Google – and Facebook – are working on a new undersea cable. “…Google is teaming with Facebook and communications companies Pacific Light Data Communication and TE Subcom to build an undersea fiber-optic cable between the two cities.”


Less-than-eight-minutes video, found via Reddit: The Easiest Way to Use Google Sheets as a Database – Sheetrock.js – Powerslacker #2. The same channel also has Get Started with NightmareJS – Craigslist Screen Scraping Tutorial – Powerslacker #1, which clocks in at just under ten minutes. (Sorry, I hate getting pointed to a video and nobody tells me how long it is.)


These are the kind of stories that make me want to throw things: Dozens of suspicious court cases, with missing defendants, aim at getting web pages taken down or deindexed. “Now, you might ask, what’s the point of suing a fake defendant (to the extent that some of these defendants are indeed fake)? How can anyone get any real money from a fake defendant? How can anyone order a fake defendant to obey a real injunction? The answer is that Google and various other Internet platforms have a policy: They won’t take down material (or, in Google’s case, remove it from Google indexes) just because someone says it’s defamatory. Understandable — why would these companies want to adjudicate such factual disputes? But if they see a court order that declares that some material is defamatory, they tend to take down or deindex the material, relying on the court’s decision.”


Excellent news: West Point Report: ISIS’ Use of Social Media ‘Declined Significantly’ Since 2015. “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) use of social media to disseminate its propaganda ‘has declined significantly since its highpoint in the summer of 2015,’ according to a new report by Daniel Milton, director of research at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.”

WaPo: ‘Angry and personal’: Social media is fueling attacks on celebrities, new study finds. “Social media has altered the motives and targets of those who set out to kill public figures, spreading the threat beyond politicians to music stars, athletes and other pop-culture icons, according to a new study by a senior FBI official and a prominent forensic psychologist. The study, which was published online Wednesday in the journal Behavioral Sciences and the Law, aims to update a landmark Secret Service report that examined attacks on public figures between 1949 and 1995, ending with ‘Unabomber’ Ted Kaczysnki.” This archivist is urging you not to put your faith in Facebook. “While the privatization of public functions is decades old, the apparent embrace of this trend by these social justice and advocacy organizations, especially those working with poor and Black communities, stands at odds with the Movement’s criticisms of neoliberal power structures. Perhaps paradoxically, the authors of the letter asked Facebook, in essence, to become a library, and as a librarian, that concerns me because Facebook knows as much about librarianship as I know about building the world’s largest social media site.” Good evening, Internet…

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