Lakota Language, Horror Movies, JavaScript OCR, More: Sunday Buzz, October 23, 2016


In development: a digital archive of Lakota language and culture. “Some linguists predict that up to 90 percent of the world’s 7,000 languages will be extinct by the end of this century. Professor Richard Henne-Ochoa, education, is working to make sure Lakota is not among them. Spoken by the Lakota people, who are part of seven related Sioux Native American tribes indigenous to the Northern Plains of the United States, the language has been the focus of Henne-Ochoa’s research since he first visited the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation as a tourist more than two decades ago.”

New-to-me, and you might find it useful for Halloween: . It’s a database of scary horror movies. On the home page especially gory movies are highlighted, as are recently-released and upcoming movies.


For all my OCR nerds: MIT has ported the Tesseract OCR engine to JavaScript. “Tesseract.js, released this month, supports more than 60 languages, automatic text orientation, and script detection. Running in either a browser or a server via Node.js, it features a simple interface for reading paragraph, word, and character bounding boxes.”

Still optimistic that you can actually discuss the election with your friends? Good luck with that. In the meantime, Alexa can provide fact checking when things get too heated. “This fact-checking is being made possible by way of a new skill – one of the many add-on, voice-activated apps that enhance the powers of Amazon’s virtual assistant, who lives on devices like the Amazon Echo speaker, Fire TV, and others. The new ‘Share the Facts’ skill comes from the Duke Reporters’ Lab, which leverages respected fact checkers, including those from the Washington Post’s Fact Checker,, and PolitiFact, in order to answer your questions.”

Is Instagram going to get live video? “According to a report from Russian news site T Journal, Instagram is testing live video in its ‘Stories’ feature. The Snapchat-esque service allows users to post images and video as part of a story, which then disappears after 24 hours. ”


An alliance of medical groups is hoping to create a database of 3D printed hearts. “With use of 3-D printed heart models expected to grow, Illinois hospital system OSF HealthCare and the federal National Institutes of Health hope to partner with the American Heart Association to improve the quality of printed hearts, with the goal of helping more patients. OSF has 10 hospitals in Illinois, all outside the Chicago area, including OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria and OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford. The groups want to create an online database of 3-D printed hearts from patients with congenital heart defects, reviewed by experts in the field. The idea is to help standardize the process of printing hearts.”

I was wondering why George Takei was sharing so many stories from Knowable. Boy, am I naive. From Digiday: Facebook-thirsty publishers turn to celebrities to worm into the news feed. “Facebook is choking off reach in the news feed, so publishers are getting more creative with how to get their content in front of audiences there. One popular method: pay celebrities for sharing it. Visit the page of a celebrity like Star Trek’s George Takei to see how this works. Takei, who has 9.8 million followers on Facebook, has a remarkable affinity for a certain group of Facebook-thirsty publishers like Mic, Slate and Knowable. In the past week alone, Takei has shared a dozen Mic stories, and nearly 20 Knowable ones.”

Reuters: Thai junta says Google removing content with royal insults. “Thailand’s government met with representatives from Internet giant Google, amid growing calls from Thai hardline royalists to bring those who insult the monarchy to justice, as many Thais look with uncertainty to a future without their revered king. King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death on Oct. 13 has thrown the country of 67 million into mourning. It has also led to the rise of ultra-royalist vigilante groups who say they will punish anyone perceived to have insulted the monarchy during a highly sensitive time for Thailand.”


The big DDOS attack on Friday? Blame the Internet of Things. “We already know at least one method the hackers are using. According to security intelligence firm Flashpoint, their researchers have observed a Mirai botnet attacking Dyn. Roland Dobbins, principal engineer at Arbor Networks, agrees: ‘A significant proportion of the DDoS attack traffic targeting Dyn is being sourced from compromised IoT devices participating in Mirai botnets.'”

It’s easier than it should be. From Vice: How Hackers Broke Into John Podesta and Colin Powell’s Gmail Accounts. “On March 19 of this year, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta received an alarming email that appeared to come from Google. The email, however, didn’t come from the internet giant. It was actually an attempt to hack into his personal account. In fact, the message came from a group of hackers that security researchers, as well as the US government, believe are spies working for the Russian government. At the time, however, Podesta didn’t know any of this, and he clicked on the malicious link contained in the email, giving hackers access to his account.”


From Amy Johnson Crow, a must-read for genealogists: How FindAGrave Could – and Should – Be Made Better. “Cemeteries have a special place in the hearts of many genealogists, including me. FindAGrave has more than 154 million memorials on its site and is a valuable research tool. However, there are two key areas where FindAGrave could be made better — and should be made better.”

Found at PubMed: Evaluating Google, Twitter, and Wikipedia as Tools for Influenza Surveillance Using Bayesian Change Point Analysis: A Comparative Analysis. “Traditional influenza surveillance relies on influenza-like illness (ILI) syndrome that is reported by health care providers. It primarily captures individuals who seek medical care and misses those who do not. Recently, Web-based data sources have been studied for application to public health surveillance, as there is a growing number of people who search, post, and tweet about their illnesses before seeking medical care. Existing research has shown some promise of using data from Google, Twitter, and Wikipedia to complement traditional surveillance for ILI. However, past studies have evaluated these Web-based sources individually or dually without comparing all 3 of them, and it would be beneficial to know which of the Web-based sources performs best in order to be considered to complement traditional methods.” Good morning, Internet…

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