Lunar New Year, King George III, Twitter, More: Sunday Buzz, January 29, 2017


Google has launched a new resource to learn about the Lunar New Year. “Google Arts & Culture teamed up with 12 museums from Beijing to Washington to create a new online exhibition, so everyone can discover the craftsmanship and arts that make this holiday so colorful. Follow the zodiac animals across 1,000 years of art history, learn about the art of the New Year prints with which people decorate their homes, or find out how to give and accept a traditional red envelope.”

The British Royal Archives have released a bevy of documents about King George III. “King George III was king from 1760 to 1820, and ruled over the American colonies until the Treaty of Paris created the US as a separate nation following the American Revolution. Some of the documents included in Saturday’s release will involve the revolutionary war. One of the documents that will be released will be his handwritten draft abdicating the throne in 1783, the year the treaty was signed. The letter was laden with corrections and written during a political crisis.”


Twitter has released two national security letters. “Although Twitter has disclosed these two letters and informed the targeted users, it’s likely that the company has also received other NSLs that it is still gagged from discussing. TechCrunch recently revealed that, although Cloudflare and CREDO Mobile have published several NSLs, they have received others that remain secret. Twitter is currently suing the Department of Justice in an effort to speak more publicly about secret requests for user data.”

Is Google planning a new Pixel already? “Citing an undisclosed but reliable source, 9to5Google reports the Big G has set its sights on bringing a bundle of enhancements to its second-generation Pixel as well as a modest ‘budget’ model of the flagship device, aimed at ’emerging markets.'”


Lifehacker: Everything You Need to Shoot Good-Looking Video With Your iPhone. “If you own an iPhone, you already have what you need to make professional-looking videos. Whether you’re just dabbling or a video wizard, you can shoot videos so good-looking that people won’t believe you used a phone. Here’s how.”

Genealogists, How-To Geek has a very thorough article on how to use Google’s PhotoScan. “The app works identically on both iOS and Android. I’ll be using a Pixel XL for this tutorial, but you should be able to follow along regardless.”


Backchannel: Thousands of College Kids Are Powering a Clickbait Empire. “In the spring of 2015, the internet briefly became obsessed with the virility of the ‘dadbod.’ For a moment, the merits of the pudgy-middled male physique seemed to outweigh a six pack or chiseled biceps. That year, the Collins English Dictionary added the term ‘dadbod’ to its list of new words. ‘Hail to the average man,’ the fad seemed to suggest. Like all short-lived, much-loved internet phenomenon, the dadbod had to start somewhere, and in this case, it started as a story published by a 19-year-old college student, posted to an online platform called Odyssey.”

BBC: Trump executive order prompts Google to recall staff. “Google has recalled travelling staff members to the US after an executive order from President Donald Trump restricting entry for nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries.”


Mark Zuckerberg has dropped his Hawaii land lawsuits. “Last week, Zuckerberg drew major criticism after news first surfaced about the lawsuits, called ‘quiet title actions’ and filed in December. Zuckerberg initially defended the suits, saying the reaction was due to a misunderstanding. He said the intent of the suits was to identify the people so he could pay them — without evicting them from the land. Earlier this week, Zuckerberg said he was ‘reconsidering’ the lawsuits. On Friday, he dropped them altogether.”

Center for Democracy and Technology: Violates Government Policy on Website Privacy “Visitors to the White House’s new website are greeted by a splash page that asks for their email address and zip code before they can proceed. It’s easy to understand why the new president might be eager to collect email addresses from visitors, but the Trump administration’s splash page violates a number of privacy norms and longstanding practices – it even violates the government’s own rules. The website doesn’t comply with guidance from the Office of Management and Budget.” The quote I’m using here might be misunderstood. You don’t have to provide personal data before you proceed – I just tested the site – but still, using a splash this way is in terrible taste and very user-unfriendly.


PC Magazine: Digital Research Is Vital to a 21st Century University, Society “Most conversations in edtech—and higher-education reform more broadly—begin and end with the classroom. And not without good reason. Teaching is a primary function of the university, especially at community colleges. However, what gets lost in teaching-centric conversations is another important, and arguably complementary, end—research.”

Good stuff as always from Doc Searls: Privacy is an Inside Job. “For real privacy, we can’t depend on anybody else’s policies, public or private. We can’t wait for Privacy as a Service. We can’t wait for our abusers to get the clues and start respecting personal spaces we’ve hardly begun to mark out (even though they ought to be obvious). And we can’t wait for the world’s regulators to start smacking our abusers around (which, while satisfying, won’t solve the problem). We need to work with the knitters and builders already on the case in the networked world, and recruit more to help out. Their job is to make privacy policies technologies we wear, we inhabit, we choose, and we use to signal what’s okay and not okay to others.” Good morning, Internet…

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