CIA, Trustees of Reservations, Day of the Dead, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, October 28, 2016


The CIA will put up a massive archive of declassified documents. “The CIA will publish more than 11 million declassified documents onto the internet, making its library of old files dramatically more accessible to the public, the agency announced this week. Currently, the CIA Records Search Tool (CREST) is only accessible to researchers who travel in person to an office of the National Archives in College Park, Md., severely limiting the public’s access. Once there, users can search through the database’s millions of electronic records that have already been reviewed and approved for public release.”

The Trustees of Reservations have created a digital archive (PRESS RELEASE). “The Trustees is a member-supported, non-profit organization that cares for some of Massachusetts’ most treasured natural, scenic, and historic sites, including reservations and historic houses across more than 27,000 acres in 75 communities… Key pieces of history within the organization’s collections include historical documents such as original letters written by Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson, accounts of early Massachusetts cabinetmakers, and Charles Eliot’s scrapbook documenting the founding of The Trustees, a 140-page account of clippings, letters, pamphlets, and more.”

Google has launched a “Day of the Dead” exhibition (AND quoted Octavio Paz, one of my favorite poets!) “Today, we want to invite everyone to experience Mexico’s tradition of paying tribute to life, through the Day of the Dead exhibition on Google Arts & Culture. The content is curated by 10 cultural organizations from Mexico, Peru and the United States and explores the Pre-Columbian roots of this festivity, its many transformations through history and its contemporary manifestations as told by pieces of archaeology, folk art, prints, paintings, sculptures, street art and many other artforms. The collection includes over 500 artworks and artifacts, 20 exhibits, 11 Street View virtual tours through cemeteries and museums and two guided tours that users can experience with a Cardboard viewer.”


Interesting: is now open-source. “Taking the source code public, a move overseen by the city’s Digital Team, will speed the rate at which the site evolves through the addition of new features developed by local software designers, academic institutions and organizations. The repository is available via GitHub, where coding contributions can be proposed and accepted based on citizens’ needs.”

Google Assistant has gotten IFTTT support. With one big caveat: “Just know this: you can only set up Assistant-enabled IFTTT recipes if you’re using a Pixel phone or the (as yet unreleased) Google Home.”

Yahoo released a transparency report yesterday. Um… “As we previously reported, Yaho’s spring 2015 transparency report does not reflect an unusually high number data disclosures to the government, as might be expected from a dragnet email scanning program. At the time, the company only reported 21,000-21,499 user accounts requested under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and 0-499 accounts requested with National Security Letters. However, Yahoo allegedly scanned all of its nearly 300 million users’ email accounts — a vastly larger group than reported.” Making this report about as useful as a concrete hamburger.


From the University of Mary Washington: 16 Creative Online Educators You Should Follow on Twitter Right Now. “What I’ve assembled are 15 online teachers active on Twitter who have inspired me (presented here in no particular order). I’ve also gathered a much longer list of crowd-sourced suggestions. Many of these are fully online teachers. Some teach courses of 25 students. Some teach to thousands. Some write about online learning in critical ways. Some are experimenting at the edge of on-ground and online learning. Some are online learners who have made their learning visible in ways that also makes them teachers.”

Vine’s shutting down. If you want to save your videos, Heavy has some options. Of course Twitter has said the Vine Web site will not be shut down immediately but just in case…


There may be worries about the viability of the advertising model for publishers, but Google’s still having a good old time. “Google’s ad revenue rose 18.1 per cent to US$19.82 billion in the third quarter, accounting for 89.1 percent of Google’s total revenue, compared with 89.8 percent of revenue in the second quarter. Paid clicks rose 33 per cent, compared with a rise of 29 per cent in the second quarter. Paid clicks are those ads on which an advertiser pays only if a user clicks on them.”


Interesting post on Medium: What my Facebook feed looks like without news. “The fact that a majority of U.S. adults get their news on social media platforms like Facebook is not a newsflash. The fact that Facebook and Google now command nearly eighty-five cents of every new dollar spent in online advertising is also not breaking news. And of course, many have written eloquently and at length about the dramatic impact that Facebook has had on the publishing ecosystem. Still, what I think is interesting to practically consider is what kind of experience Facebook would be without news, and to gauge how essential it might be to the News Feed.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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