Warsaw Property, Veteran Oral Histories, Pearl Harbor, More: Wednesday Buzz, December 7, 2016


A new database has been launched to help Holocaust survivors or their heirs reclaim property lost in Warsaw (Poland) during World War II. “Under a new Polish law, people will have just six months to file claims for more than 2,600 properties in Warsaw after those properties are listed publicly in a newspaper or online, something expected to happen soon. Not all of the properties belonged to Jews, but it is believed that many of them did.”

Now available: a digital archive of oral histories from veterans. “A pilot low on fuel, desperately searching for an airfield. Squadron-mates’ empty bunks following combat missions. A family lost to war. These moments — and thousands more — are recalled by veterans in Chronicles of Courage: Stories of Wartime and Innovation, an online video archive of in-depth interviews put together by the Flying Heritage Collection.” There are 335 interviews here. The archive does not seem to focus on any one conflict but appears to be more oriented toward aviation.

A new digital archive of Pearl Harbor eyewitness accounts is now available. “Gripping, and at times chilling, eyewitness accounts by U.S. military personnel and family members in Pearl Harbor at the time of Japan’s 1941 attack can now be accessed online. The site, Pearl Harbor Archive … also carries photos of U.S. warships ablaze and sinking.”


Do you ever follow Twitter reenactments? This one looks pretty interesting. “In 1901 ice-harvesting on the Milwaukee River was a big business; families and businesses needed the ice during the warm months to chill their food. When two companies and their employees each believed they had the rights to a stretch of the Milwaukee River, the resulting conflict was wild enough to attract a crowd of thousands on the banks of the river. Listen to their experiences while these nine character[s] live-tweet as if the event is unfolding in real time.” It happens this Friday, December 9th.


Lifehacker India: Google Docs In G Suite Now Makes It Easy To Add MLA, APA, And Chicago-Style Citations. “If you’re in a rush to get your papers finished before the semester is over, Google can help you with some of the tedious stuff. Now, Google Docs can automatically create citations in your paper in your preferred style.”

This useful item focuses on just one thing – photography – but I was very impressed playing with it. Digital Trends: Most Amateurs Avoid Manual Mode – So One Animator Decided to Simplify Things. “Learning manual modes toss photographers-to-be into a jumbled mix of terms like aperture, shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, noise and blur — but one animator is hoping to make the process a bit simpler. Photography Mapped is a new interactive animation that helps newbies get their feet wet by offering a “hands on” look at manual modes, without the actual camera.”


Great article from The Getty Iris: The Database Conservators Built. “AATA, or AATA Online as it’s known today, is a free research database for professionals working in conservation and management of the world’s material cultural heritage—art and cultural objects, architecture, and archaeological sites and materials. With more than 138,000 records, AATA Online covers literature from around the globe from sources as early as the first century BCE. It includes references and abstracts for books, journals, webpages, AV materials, dissertations, and even unpublished manuscripts on topics as varied as radiography, pigments, historic gardens, and the ethics of conservation.”

Al Jazeera: How Facebook hurt the Syrian Revolution. “Erica Chenoweth, a professor at the School of International Studies at the University of Denver, has argued that social media is helping dictators, while giving the masses an illusion of empowerment and political worthiness. At a recent lecture at Columbia University, when asked for an example where social media played a negative role in a social movement, Chenoweth paused a little to finally say, ‘what comes to my mind now is Syria.'”


When it comes to online security, it looks like MasterCard has one big advantage over Visa. “Criminals can work out the card number, expiry date and security code for a Visa debit or credit card in as little as six seconds using guesswork, researchers have found. Experts from Newcastle University said it was ‘frighteningly easy’ to do with a laptop and an internet connection.”


What a great article from Scientific Computing: Social Sciences & Humanities Researchers Use Supercomputers to Amplify Voices of Black Women Silenced by History. “It’s axiomatic that history is written by the winners. But what if you were part of a group that was so marginalized by society that you often don’t even make it into the history books? This is the case for black women, say a group of social science and humanities researchers who are using supercomputers to shine a light in the dark corners of history to find obscure historical records that point to the presence of black women, even when the women themselves were not able to speak for themselves.”

MIT News: “Google Docs” for life sciences accelerates discovery. “Numerous innovations have hit life science labs in the past decade, such as new techniques for designing DNA and editing genomes. Yet, researchers still rely on older tools — such as paper notebooks, Excel spreadsheets, and email — to manage data collected from those innovations. This means time is wasted organizing, finding, and duplicating information before even starting new experiments. Now MIT spinout Benchling is bringing life science researchers a cloud-based platform that integrates different types of lab software into one place, with aims of making research and development easier, quicker, and more collaborative.”

Monday Note: Facebook’s Walled Wonderland Is Inherently Incompatible With News. “Forgive me for filling this post with so many quotes but… if those who keep whining about Facebook’s negative impact on the 2016 election had read what Facebook repeatedly and plainly stated, they would have been less surprised. As we say in French, ‘c’est écrit sur l’emballage’ (it’s written on the package). If Facebook can’t be criticized for not warning its stakeholders in the news media, it still misled them it two major ways.” Good morning, Internet…

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