Idaho Natural History, Minneapolis Police, Rhode Island Photographs, More: Monday Buzz, October 17, 2016


Now available: an Idaho Virtual Museum. “Most of the items on display are from the Idaho Museum of Natural History collections, but a few of the dinosaur bones are from the Natural History Museum of Utah. Items on display include dinosaur, mammal, reptile, fish and other fossils; artifacts such as arrowheads, stone ax heads, arrow shafts, pottery and an assortment of other objects; and mammal, bird and fish bone collections.”

The city of Minneapolis has launched an online portal of police conduct cases. “The complaints are color coded, mapped out and broken down further, by precinct to see if there’s a pattern.Complaints can be filed anonymously and fall under these categories: criminal misconduct, discrimination, failure to provide protection, harassment, inappropriate language, retaliation, theft, excessive force or policy violation. The online records date back three years.”

Providence Public Library has launched the Rhode Island Photograph Collection. “The Rhode Island Photograph Collection features more than 6,500 photographs of people, places and events from across the state from the mid-19th century through the 20th century. The photographs document life from Woonsocket to Westerly and all points in between. The collection reflects nearly a century of photograph donations from a wide variety of donors.”


Google has launched its own “Open Source Report Card”. If I’d known I could make my own report cards and grade myself, maybe I wouldn’t have dropped out of high school. “Today we’re sharing our first Open Source Report Card, highlighting our most popular projects, sharing a few statistics and detailing some of the projects we’ve released in 2016. We’ve open sourced over 20 million lines of code to date and you can find a listing of some of our best known project releases on our website.”


Interesting article with a lot of examples: Using Digital Archives to Teach Nineteenth-Century African American Writers. “In other nineteenth-century American literature classes I’ve taught, I’ve spent one day on digital archival research, introducing it and having students try it out. Students like it as an in-class exercise, but very few end up continuing to delve into the archive for their end-of-term papers. So this term, I’m committing to devoting a bit of time to the archive for each author we read. I intend this strand of the course as a practical help for potential use in their research papers, but primarily I want us to dig into the digital newspaper archive on a regular basis to help students get into a nineteenth century mindset—old fonts, tiny print, narrow newspapers columns, business ads, letters to the editor, and all.”

Lifehacker did a Google Translate vs. Microsoft Translator smackdown. “Whether you’re a globetrotter, language student, or business owner, tools like Google Translate and Microsoft Translator make it easier for everyone in the world to understand one another. But while both can translate text, speech, and images, they still each have their own quirks. So all aboard the showdown train! Next stop: translation station.”


The Smithsonian’s next Kickstarter campaign will be to preserve Dorothy’s ruby slippers. “The Ruby Slippers are one of the National Museum of American History’s most popular and treasured artifacts. The museum’s mission to care for the collections are a top priority, but even the best care cannot stop the ravages of time. The museum needs public help to conserve the shoes.”

A Google advertising mixup led to a mis-delivered deceased body. “A Tonbridge funeral directors has been dragged into a battle for advertising which came to a head when a body was mistakenly delivered to a competitor. Several customers trying to get hold of Abbey Funeral Services have accidentally called through to the Co-Op’s Funeralcare service due to an advert that appeared at the top of a Google search referring to ‘Abbey Funeral Services’with a Tonbridge High Street address and telephone number listed underneath.”

Hey Google, maybe you want to be a bit more careful about what ends up in your news search engine. “In a stunning announcement, Eric Schmidt, head of Alphabet, Inc., the holding company that owns Google, said today in a press conference at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, that at midnight on New Year’s Eve of this year, the iconic Google search engine will become property of a new nonprofit organization called Unlimited Years of Search, or UYS.” This is a rip of an article in the Huffington Post which I think is supposed to be satire or something. That article is apparently indexed by Google News too.


Facebook has done some big bug bounty payouts in the last five years. “Facebook has paid security researchers US$5million in five years, after they found vulnerabilities in its platforms and quietly disclosed them under its bug bounty program…. Security engineer Joey Tyson says the money went to about 900 researchers with an average payout of US$5,556.”


Drexel University: Just Give Me Some Privacy — Anonymous Wikipedia Editors and Tor Users Explain Why They Don’t Want You to Know Who They Are “Not everyone who strives to navigate the internet without being tracked is up to no good. This is the underlying premise of a qualitative study led by a trio of Drexel University researchers, who set out to gather the stories of people working on collaborative projects online — like editing Wikipedia — and are concerned about their privacy and taking steps to protect it.”

From UC Santa Barbara: Giving Credit Where Credit is Due. “Solving today’s environmental problems involves vast amounts of data, which have to be gathered, stored, retrieved, analyzed and — increasingly — cited in academic journals. That last step, however, presents a problem. ‘For purposes of honesty and reproducibility, academic publishers are very rapidly moving toward requiring those who publish an article to also publish the data backing it up,’ said James Frew, an associate professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and an expert on data storage and provenance…. In a new paper, Frew and colleagues from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Pennsylvania offer a solution whereby citations would be generated automatically.” Good morning, Internet…

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2 replies »

  1. Just so you know — FB keeps telling me the link to the Idaho Virtual Museum doesn’t work. Even tho I’ve used the links directly, and they DO work. Go figure!

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