Hot Rods, SoundCloud, Twitter Hashtags, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, January 4, 2017


New-to-Me: The American Hot Rod Foundation (yes, really) has redone its Web site, which contains lots of pictures, a few videos, and an audio section (oral histories?) “coming soon”. “The Legends gallery offers an expanded selection of photos, stories and videos of some of hot rodding’s biggest names throughout its history. Executive Director David Steele will post a regular column and a podcast, and favorite features such as Jim’s News, a weekly commentary written by AHRF historian and curator Jim Miller, will still be available.”


Wha? Is Google thinking about buying SoundCloud? “After Spotify spurned the chance to acquire SoundCloud, some assumed the end was nigh for the loss-making streaming platform. High-level rumors are now beginning to bubble, however, that Google is very interested in snapping up the Berlin-based company – which boasts more than 175m users around the world.”

From Professor Deen Freelon: Beyond the Hashtags Twitter data. “In Appendix A of the public report ‘Beyond the Hashtags: #Ferguson, #Blacklivesmatter, and the Online Struggle for Offline Justice,’ my coauthors and I promised to release our Twitter data publicly in 2017. The time has come to make good on that promise. Unfortunately, Twitter’s Terms of Service restricts users from publishing any Twitter data except tweet IDs. However, these IDs can be programmatically “hydrated,” which recreates the original dataset minus any tweets that have been deleted or removed from public view since the dataset was generated. This blog post contains all the original tweet IDs separated by day along with sample code for hydrating them.”

CNET’s got a quick rundown of what Google has at CES.


Flowing Data: Best Data Visualization Projects of 2016. “Visualization continues its merging into the everyday — less standalone and more of a medium that blends with words. I think this is partially because of a concentration on mobile. There’s simply less visual space on a phone than there is a giant computer screen, so the visualization is stripped or split up into smaller pieces that are more easily digested while scrolling. Whereas last year seemed exploratory and long explainer-ish, this year was nimble and quickfire. Or maybe this year’s election season is still fresh in my mind. I can’t be sure.” Serious time sink!


From Inter Press Service: More Than 50 Internet Shutdowns in 2016. “Governments around the world shut down the internet more than 50 times in 2016 – suppressing elections, slowing economies and limiting free speech. In the worst cases internet shutdowns have been associated with human rights violations, Deji Olukotun, Senior Global Advocacy Manager at digital rights organisation Access Now told IPS.”


Consumerist: Did You Get A Gadget For Christmas? It’s Time To Opt Out Of Mandatory Arbitration!. “Did you receive any fun gadgets as holiday gifts? If so, it’s time to check read over that user agreement most people usually ignore to see if you have signed away your legal rights, or if you still have a chance to protect your right to a day in court.”


Oh dear. From CNET: Nearly half of Tumblr’s users end up seeing porn. “Whether they want to or not, nearly half of Tumblr’s users are seeing porn on their dashboards. Tumblr has had a hard time keeping porn off its site. In 2012, Tumblr founder David Carp said 2 to 4 percent of the site’s traffic was porn-related. An Italian study published last month suggests that number has grown significantly.”

Yahoo Finance: One way Snapchat can evolve to beat back Instagram. “In 2016, Instagram (FB) peered into Snapchat’s playbook, took copious notes and successfully implemented its popular features to its user base of 600 million. While Snapchat, which rebranded itself to Snap Inc., has focused on becoming a camera company, recently pushing out its first hardware device, Spectacles, Instagram has been steadily encroaching on Snap’s core product—ephemeral messaging.”

The Guardian: I’ve left Twitter. It is unusable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators. “I hate to disappoint anyone, but the breaking point for me wasn’t the trolls themselves (if I have learned anything from the dark side of Twitter, it is how to feel nothing when a frog calls you a c***) – it was the global repercussions of Twitter’s refusal to stop them. The white supremacist, anti-feminist, isolationist, transphobic ‘alt-right’ movement has been beta-testing its propaganda and intimidation machine on marginalised Twitter communities for years now – how much hate speech will bystanders ignore? When will Twitter intervene and start protecting its users? – and discovered, to its leering delight, that the limit did not exist.” I censored a swear word here. Good afternoon, Internet…

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