Crowdsourced Drawings, Furry Fandom, WWII Draft Cards, More: Saturday Buzz, May 20, 2017


Quartz: See 111,000 attempts to draw the Mona Lisa in under 20 seconds, collected by Google. “Fifty million doodles have been created in Quick, Draw! a game built by machine learning researchers, in collaboration with Google’s Creative Lab, since its release in November. The doodles come in categories like ‘giraffe,’ ‘moustache,’ and ‘the Mona Lisa.’ Yesterday the game’s creators made all of those drawings and their metadata open-source, for anyone to explore, download, and analyze.”

Now available: an archive of furry fandom going back to the 80s. “The long abandoned site, revitalized with nearly 2000 images and files to search (so far) is now the Confurence Archive. Anyone and everyone can now access documents from the early (pre-Internet) years of science fiction and comic conventions, the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization (C/FO, the first US animation fan club with emphasis on the animation of Japan), and of course, ConFurence and the furry community. The site is still growing, but it’s open now.”


Fold3: New States Added to WWII Draft Registration Cards!. “Fold3 has added new U.S. states to its collection of WWII Draft Registration Cards! The collection (via the National Archives) now also includes Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, West Virginia, Utah, Alaska, Wyoming, and Virginia. The cards in this collection are registration cards for the draft and do not necessarily indicate that the individual served in the military.”

FYI, genealogists: Ancestry Insider is shutting down. “This newsletter began at a time when Ancestry’s communication policy was to say nothing. FamilySearch didn’t do much better when I started reporting on the rollout of New FamilySearch. Today, both organizations have healthy, vibrant communication programs.”

Telegram has a new version. “Telegram 4.0 has officially been released and is available right now from iOS and Android’s respective app stores. The release is a major one bringing with it video messages, Telescope, Instant View support on most websites, and bot payment support.”

TechCrunch: Medium launches audio versions of stories for members. ” Medium has launched a new feature that could add more incentive to its paid membership program: audio stories. The paid member exclusive offering will provide an audio version of every story created specifically for its members, and will also be made available for some of the best posts on Medium, as selected from the company’s own staff.” Human-narrated, not machine-narrated.


Upfront With NGS: FREE Access to ALL Pennsylvania Resources on (16-23 May 2017). “Starting at 12:01 a.m. (EDST) on Tuesday, May 16, through midnight (EDST) Tuesday, May 23, New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and American Ancestors will offer free access to many Pennsylvania genealogical resources on For one week, family historians may search databases for Pennsylvanian ancestors and register for a free webinar on Pennsylvania genealogical research methods.”

Poynter: This tool tells you when sources try to make quiet changes online. “[Klaxon] (takes) a little bit to set up, which we can talk about in a minute. But once it’s set up, you go to a webpage and you get this bookmarklet, you know those little things you put in your browser? Google Analytics has one. You click the bookmarklet, and this tab comes up, and you highlight what you want to keep an eye on. Hit save, and it will tell you when that thing has changed.” This is a page-monitoring tool I did not know about. Look forward to playing with it.

Gizmodo: AI-Powered Software Makes It Incredibly Easy to Colorize Black and White Photos. “AI-powered software that can automatically colorize old black and white photos exists, but it’s often far from perfect. In comparison, manually colorizing an image in Photoshop yields stunning results, if you’ve got lots of time and impressive skills. But a new app, developed at the University of California at Berkeley, cleverly merges both approaches so it’s easy to accurately colorize a black and white pic.”


CNET: Google Tango bringing indoor AR mapping to 400 Lowe’s stores. “On-screen directions show you where the paint is when you hold up your phone. And how to get there. Maybe, even, remember where you shopped last. Lowe’s hardware stores have already been experimenting with indoor mapping via Google Tango, and now 400 stores will be indoor-mapped in the future.”


Oh for crying out loud. From TorrentFreak: Elsevier Wants $15 Million Piracy Damages From Sci-Hub and Libgen. “‘Pirate’ sites Sci-Hub and LibGen face millions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit filed by Elsevier, one of the largest academic publishers. Elsevier has requested a default judgment of $15 million against the defendants for their ‘truly egregious conduct’ and ‘staggering’ infringement.”


MakeUseOf: I Switched From Chrome to Opera and I’m Never Going Back. “I personally have every major browser installed on my system — the needs of my job require it. But if I wasn’t burdened by that, I can confidently say that I’d be an Opera man. Despite using Chrome for the past eight months, I recently switched back to Opera, and here are my reasons why.” Good morning, Internet…

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