Fireworks, Syrian War, Slave Narratives, More: Saturday Buzz, December 31, 2016

Hey! Want some New Year fireworks but don’t want to wait until midnight? The fireworks display in Dubai will be livestreamed from Twitter (PRESS RELEASE). “The live show will air on New Year’s Eve from Downtown Dubai at 11:30pm GST/11:30am PST and will be available worldwide to Twitter’s logged-in and logged-out audience on Twitter and connected devices. A series of fireworks crescendos will extend across the 500-acre Downtown Dubai and can be viewed from key locations across the city.”

If you can’t watch that Facebook will let you shoot off some much more modest fireworks. “This December 31st and January 1st, you can set off animated fireworks on your Facebook News Feed to welcome 2017.”


From Deutsche Welle: Syrian Archive catalogues war atrocities online. “Two young men working from their homes in Berlin with 3,000 euros ($3,130) in funding have created a database of atrocities in the Syrian war that is being used as a source by the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as lawyers and activists all around the world.”

Southern University has launched an online archive of slave narratives. “The collection is entitled “Opinions Regarding Slavery: Slave Narratives, 1822-1865.” It may be accessed through the library’s website. The collection was assembled by John B. Cade Sr., a professor and dean at Southern University in the early twentieth century. Cade and a group of his students traveled throughout the South in the 1930s to interview former slaves.”


Ars Technica has put together its 2017 tech company “deathwatch” (Though it’s really more like an obsolescence watch.) “This year, we’ve picked a magnificent seven companies for the Deathwatch. 2017’s list includes two (well, three, sort of) returning champions and a whole bunch of new contenders. Let’s kick things off by noting that it’s a bad year for companies whose names start with ‘Y.'”

Pinterest is predicting trends for 2017. I’m linking to the overview article and not to the Pinterest document because it’s a PDF. (A big, slow-loading PDF. I could have invented a new Elvish language in the time it took for that PDF to load. Perhaps I exaggerate a bit. Anyway.) “The third annual Pinterest 100 report, put together by Pinterest’s insight team, breaks down its predicted trends into 10 key categories based on the topics and interests that enjoyed a year-over-year increase in interest on Pinterest. The top 10 categories are wellness, beauty, women’s style, men’s style, home, personal interests, travel, life events, food and kids.”


MakeUseOf: 20 Best VR Apps for Google Cardboard. “Cardboard is the simplest and most affordable way to try virtual reality today. There’s already so much content for Android devices (it works on iPhone too), and it’s getting better all the time. But where do you start? Here’s our pick of 20 of the best Cardboard apps and games for Android.”


WIRED: The 21 Best New Words of 2016. “Now that 2016 is almost over, we’ve pulled together Keats’ best finds—the 21 most weird and wired words of the year. Well, make it 20 and a half; sadly, lemmium was officially quashed in November.” These are much more science and tech than culture.

Jack Dorsey is asking Twitter for advice on how to improve Twitter. “Jack Dorsey is one of the guys who founded Twitter. He’s also the guy who cofounded payment company Square. The 40-year-old entrepreneur is heralded as the product visionary for the two Silicon Valley startups, and he currently presides as CEO of both.” Which in my opinion is a lot of the problem.


The Verge: Twitter’s New Year’s resolutions will be hard to keep. “Yesterday, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey launched an interesting experiment, asking his nearly four million followers to send him what they want to see the company improve or create. The replies ranged from basic design gripes to extinguishing national socialism, but today Dorsey boiled the responses down to four basic themes. The result is a kind of New Year’s resolution list for a company that’s coming off a very rough year. It’s not everything that came up, but it’s clearly the four areas Dorsey finds most compelling.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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