Alabama Photojournalism, Childhood Cancer, Facial Recognition, More: Saturday Buzz, December 17, 2016


Wow. The Alabama Department of Archives and History is getting a huge gift of photojournalism. “Alabama Media Group is donating its massive collection of historical photographic negatives chronicling the people, places and events of the 20th century to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, where the images will be preserved, catalogued, digitized and made available online to the public. Containing more than 3 million images from The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and Mobile’s Press-Register, the collection is the largest gift of historical content received by the state archives in its 115-year history.”

Baylor College of Medicine has launched a new site in an effort to promote global education on childhood cancer. “Through the SIOP – Paediatric Oncology in Developing Countries Education/Training Working Group, [Dr. Jeremy] Slone and colleagues developed a website called Paediatric Oncology International Network for Training and Education, or POINTE, with a goal of promoting global childhood cancer education. The website was launched at the SIOP Annual Congress in Dublin last month. The online database lists more than 70 unique training opportunities in the field of hematology/oncology for healthcare workers in resource-limited settings. Because many healthcare professionals in resource-limited settings lack an adequate internet connection, it‘s also available as a printable spreadsheet. It lists opportunity type, intended audience, location, duration of training, application deadline and other important information.”


Buzzfeed: A Russian Program Just Launched To Help You Find Anyone’s Face On Twitter. “Ever wondered just how many Beyoncé avatars there are on Twitter? On Wednesday a Russian company will make it possible to find the answer with the launch of its newest FindFace program. The facial recognition software will allow users to scan Twitter’s database of more than 300 million accounts to find a single face in less than a second.”

Wired: Facebook Finally Gets Real About Fighting Fake News. “Facebook’s strategy combines crowdsourcing similar to how Facebook polices mature content, reliance on third-party fact checkers, and financial disincentives for fake news hucksters. Each aspect of the rollout has its strengths, but also invites a few questions.” Don’t see anything here about fighting obviously fake, scammy ads on Facebook.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Yahoo / Verizon deal is in danger. “Verizon Communications Inc. is exploring a price cut or possible exit from its $4.83 billion pending acquisition of Yahoo! Inc., after the company reported a second major e-mail hack affecting as many as 1 billion user accounts, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

I was kind of wondering that myself: Where is Marissa Mayer? “This would be a busy week for any tech CEO: One billion user accounts hacked, and a $4.83 billion deal on the line. Yet we haven’t heard a peep from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.”


Language wonks, you will love this but it’s a heck of a time sink: a Twitter word mapper. “At the beginning of 2016, Jack Grieve shared the first iteration of the Word Mapper app he had developed with Andrea Nini and Diansheng Guo, which let users map the relative frequencies of the 10,000 most common words in a big Twitter-based corpus covering the contiguous United States.” The upgraded version includes over 97,000 words.

More assistance on getting the heck off Yahoo: How to replace 5 major Yahoo services and delete your Yahoo account. “I don’t know about you, but I’m done. I wasn’t much of a Yahoo user to begin with but the uses I do have for the company are over. I know that’s easy for me to say. I have a single account that I only use to play fantasy football. But what about those of you who are more fully invested in Yahoo? Here’s a guide to replacing Yahoo’s major services with alternative options, then deleting your Yahoo account.”


From WIRED: 150 Filmmakers Ask Nikon and Canon to Sell Encrypted Cameras. “In the summer of of 2013, when documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was shooting a still-secret NSA leaker named Edward Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel room, she took security seriously. She’d periodically transfer her footage to encrypted hard drives, and would later go so far as to destroy the SD cards onto which her camera recorded. But as she watched Snowden through her lens, she was haunted by the possibility that security agents might barge through the door at any moment to seize her camera. And the memory card inside of it remained dangerously unencrypted, full of unedited confessions of a whistleblower who hadn’t yet gotten his secrets out to the world.”

The Texas Tribune is crowdfunding the position of community reporter at its publication. “No matter if you’re elated or dejected by the election results, one thing is clear: Voices not previously heard by the political establishment are being heard now. It’s a good time for the press to hone its listening skills too. This is and always has been — or should have been — a two-way conversation. That’s why we’re crowdfunding the Trib’s first-ever community reporter position, and we need your help.” The goal is $25,000.

A little far afield, but I find it fascinating so there. From Smithsonian Magazine: How the Cell Phone Is Forever Changing Human Communication. “Sure — it may sound ridiculous that Snapchat, an application through which friends send pictures that can only be viewed for a few seconds before deletion, has the ability to destroy relationships, but cell phones have started a new type of conversation, one that has catalyzed the restructuring of our social environment. Every picture, every snapchat, every punctuation mark is part of a new form of language brought about by a new tool of communication.”


The New York Times Magazine: The Great AI Awakening. (Put aside some time for this one – it’s a long article.) “Late one Friday night in early November, Jun Rekimoto, a distinguished professor of human-computer interaction at the University of Tokyo, was online preparing for a lecture when he began to notice some peculiar posts rolling in on social media. Apparently Google Translate, the company’s popular machine-translation service, had suddenly and almost immeasurably improved. Rekimoto visited Translate himself and began to experiment with it. He was astonished. He had to go to sleep, but Translate refused to relax its grip on his imagination.” Good morning, Internet…

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