Female Music Producers, County Governments, Morocco Library, More: Tuesday Buzz, October 25, 2016


New-to-me: a digital archive dedicated to women in sound and music production. “New York–based art-pop band The Blow (Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne) have been making music for over a decade, but it was only recently that they discovered an underappreciated history of women in sound and music production.”

I love this because I’m a municipal government nerd. A new tool lets you compare data points across all the counties in the United States. “How does your county stack up against the other 3,143 in the U.S. when it comes to per-capita income? What about domestic water use? Or degreed residents? If such questions have ever nagged at you, you’ll be happy to know there’s now an artificial intelligence-based County Benchmarking Engine able to answer them empirically.” This is a huge timesink if you’re a municipal government nerd….

In development: a digital library for a 9th century library in Morocco. “The al-Qarawiyyin library in the former Moroccan capital, Fez, is home to some of the rarest and most unique manuscripts in the world, with access limited to just the curator in some special cases. However, the library installed a new laboratory this year to oversee the protection and digitalizing of the 4,000 manuscripts on site in conjunction with the Institute of Computational Linguistics in Italy.”


Facebook has rebooted its Safety Center. “Facebook is also partnering with more than 60 nonprofit organizations to help get the word out to its 1.7 billion users across the globe, hoping to address how the social network can sometimes be conducive to harmful and hurtful behaviors. The relaunched platform provides in-depth resources — including videos and tips — to encourage ‘safe and secure sharing.'”

Flickr’s desktop feed has gotten some upgrades. “We’re always looking to provide our users with with easier ways to discover and engage with photographs and groups that inspire them. As part of this vision, today we’re announcing updates to Flickr’s desktop Feed that will keep content fresh and puts groups at the forefront. Learn more about these new features below!”

Facebook Messenger and PayPal are getting cozy. “PayPal is deepening its relationship with Facebook, and will now become one of the payment options within Messenger, among other integrations. That means customers who shop via the growing number of chatbots from online merchants will be able to transact on Messenger using PayPal’s payment service.”

More chatter that Google is working on a standalone VR headset for realz this time. “Though Recode reported in July that Google’s standalone VR headset project had been shelved, Engadget wrote Monday that the idea is alive and well. The new headset, according to the report, would have its own built-in computer instead of requiring a PC or phone, would have eye-tracking tech and use computer vision chips from Movidius to help figure out where it is in a room.”


Lifehacker: How to Quickly Research All Your Local Elections. “The 2016 election is just a few weeks away and many of us already have mail-in and sample ballots, packed with local candidates, ballot initiatives, questions, and judges. Whether you’re trying to suss through California’s 223-page voter guide or something less overwhelming, a few tools can simplify the research process so you don’t need a law degree to make an educated vote.”


On at least one college campus, there’s a goofy hoax about voting going around. “Oh, those crazy college kids. No, students can’t cast a vote in next month’s Presidential election using a social media hashtag, though flyers found on State University of New York, New Paltz’s campus Sunday claim they can.”

More depressing-but-important stuff from NPR: How Free Web Content Traps People In An Abyss Of Ads And Clickbait. “If you feel like Internet ads are more pervasive and invasive than ever before, you’re not alone. Author Tim Wu tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that the Web has gotten worse over the years, not better — and unrelenting ads are to blame.”

Chinese search engine Baidu is feeling the advertising slump (stronger rules on what it can and cannot advertise probably aren’t helping either.) “Chinese internet search giant Baidu is widely expected to report its third consecutive quarter of net profit decline, as the company continues to face a slow recovery in its core advertising business.”


Google has officially gotten more assignment extensions than I did in high school. Well done. Reuters: Deadline extended for Google to respond to EU’s AdSense complaint. “Alphabet unit Google has been given an extra week to formally respond to allegations by the European Commission that it was blocking rivals in online search advertising, a move likely to delay a regulatory decision on the case until next year.”

TechCrunch: FTC complaint alleges Google, Disney & others profit from deceptive ads aimed at kids. “Consumer watchdog groups, CCFC, Public Citizen, and the Center for Digital Democracy, are again targeting the deceptive advertising practices of ‘influencer marketing’ in a new complaint filed with the FTC on Friday. The groups specifically call out Google’s YouTube and YouTube Kids, Disney-owned Maker Studios, Dreamworks’ AwesomenessTV and others, as being involved in this damaging practice.” Good morning, Internet…

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