morningbuzz

African-American Genealogy, California Ballot, Wyoming Administrative Rules, More: Friday Buzz, October 14, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: an index of early African-American marriages in Lexington, Kentucky. “The four volumes of the Colored Marriage Indexes are the original finding aids used to locate the early marriage bonds of African Americans in Lexington. The indexes contain the name of each bride and groom, and the page number of the actual marriage bond held at the Fayette County Clerk’s Office. As the marriage indexes and bond books have been in continuous use by the public for many years, some are in fragile condition. The digitized versions of the indexes are now freely available to the public on ExploreUK, UK’s digital library…. The typed indexes have been run through optical character recognition (OCR) and are searchable.”

California voters have a new tool to explore ballot measures and their backers. “Today, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announces there is a new online ‘quick guide’ to the 17 statewide ballot propositions for Californians to peruse not only the measures but contributions each has received and by whom. Within a few clicks voters are able to do a little self-research into the total donations and the ten largest contributions during the election cycle to both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns for each measure; next to each, condensed overview information is also provided.”

The state of Wyoming has launched a new administrative rules Web site. “The rules database offers word search capability for current, proposed and past rules. In order to track rule development more closely, any member of the public may subscribe to receive notifications of emergency, proposed, and final rules. These new online services eliminate the paper-based delivery system for rules used in the past. All administrative rules are searchable online and immediately available for viewing by anyone on this website maintained by the Secretary of State’s Office.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google News will start labeling articles which contain fact-checking. “In the seven years since we started labeling types of articles in Google News (e.g., In-Depth, Opinion, Wikipedia), we’ve heard that many readers enjoy having easy access to a diverse range of content types. Earlier this year, we added a ‘Local Source’ Tag to highlight local coverage of major stories. Today, we’re adding another new tag, ‘Fact check,’ to help readers find fact checking in large news stories. You’ll see the tagged articles in the expanded story box on news.google.com and in the Google News & Weather iOS and Android apps, starting with the U.S. and the U.K.”

Russian search engine Yandex is launching a phone partnership program. “To grow its business outside of its current core market of Russia, the company launched a new partnership program to work with smartphone handset makers, where it will offer its Android launcher and browser, powered by its Yandex Zen artificial intelligence engine, as pre-loaded services, replacing products typically bundled with Google’s Android OS.”

Yahoo’s engineers seem to have time to add account event tracking but apparently you still can’t auto-forward your e-mail. “Following news of its large-scale data breach affecting 500 million account holders, Yahoo today rolled out a change to its Yahoo Account settings screen that will better alert users to unauthorized activity on their accounts. The feature is similar to Google’s in that it tracks the account activity and devices associated with your Yahoo account, but it doesn’t provide as much detail.”

Is Twitter Going to get rid of Moments? “The company is now testing a change that replaces the Moments tab with a feature called ‘Explore,’ Twitter confirmed to Mashable. With the change, Twitter is opting to put ‘content discovery’ front and center in the app, rather than Moments alone.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

From Exposing the Invisible: Mikel Maron: Crowdsourcing satellite imagery to document deforestation. “The project Logging Roads maps roads built for logging in the Congo Basin in order to draw attention to illegal logging and deforestation. Since its launch in 2015, contributors have used satellite imagery to map 30,532 roads, revealing the vast interconnected system of deforestation which has developed over time. In this interview with Lisa Gutermuth, he discuss this project along with the differences between aerial imagery and other more traditional forms of mapping, verification and collaborative mapping.”

The former President of Cyprus has donated his digital archives to the University of Cyprus. “Former President of the Republic, George Vassiliou, has donated his personal digital archives, referring to his five-year term in office (1988-1993), to the University of Cyprus. The archives include, among others, the full texts of Vassiliou`s talks on the Cyprus problem with the then Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, under the auspices of the then UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar and his successor Boutros Boutros-Ghali.”

Facebook has apparently done a lot to drive voter registration. “At least nine secretaries of state have credited the social network’s voter registration reminder, displayed for four days in September, with boosting sign-ups, in some cases by considerable amounts. Data from nine other states show that registrations rose drastically on the first day of the campaign compared with the day before.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Route Fifty: Criminals Increasingly Hold Government Computers for Ransom. “Cyber-age extortionists — who use so-called ransomware software to hijack computer systems and hold them hostage until their victims pay a ransom — increasingly are preying on local governments, hospitals and even police departments, and forcing officials to decide whether to meet the demands or risk losing their data.”

Facebook has told the IRS it will not pay additional taxes after using the “Double Irish” method (which is apparently a way to deal with taxes, even though it sounds like an excellent dessert drink.) “Facebook … established an overseas subsidiary in Ireland largely for tax purposes—using what is known as the ‘Double Irish’ technique—and named Dublin its base for business outside North America. But the Internal Revenue Service claims Facebook undervalued the move, and the IRS wants the California company to pay $1.7 million in taxes, plus interest, for the year 2010 and possibly subsequent years—an amount that Facebook says could reach billions.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Pando: Good news! Twitter isn’t the new Yahoo. It’s failing in a completely new way “Give Twitter and Dorsey at least credit for one thing: It’s flailing in a way I’ve never seen a major Internet property flail before. Twitter has always described its challenge as a struggle to go mainstream. But if you are the platform of choice of a demagogue who is supported by uneducated masses…. If you are on cable news every moment of everyday… you are mainstream. The user growth isn’t a problem of taking a product ‘mainstream.’ It’s a problem of people simply not wanting to use the platform, because they either ‘don’t get it’ or find it toxic.” Good morning, Internet…

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