Jewish Texts, Drug Company Marketing, Presidential Transparency, More: Monday Buzz, July 10, 2017


Times of Israel: Crowdsourced online database traces the global footsteps of Jewish texts. “The crowd-sourced project, entitled ‘Footprints: Jewish Books Through Time and Place,’ aims to create a database of handwritten inscriptions, censors’ stamps, book plates, annotations, and other marks in old books. The project examines everything besides the actual text in order to trace the life of a book from one owner and location to the next, explained Michelle Chesner, librarian for Jewish studies at Columbia and co-director of the project.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Drug companies spent $287 million in four years on ‘educational’ events for doctors. “The drug industry is spending $72 million a year ‘educating’ doctors, with one company splashing $750,000 on a weekend conference. A new database of pharmaceutical company-funded events created by Sydney University researchers shows 42 companies shelled out $286 million on 117,000 events for doctors and nurses over a four-year period. The average cost of an event was $2500.”

Reveal News: Help us investigate the Trump administration’s business connections. “Since Donald Trump became president in January, he and more than 400 of his appointees together have filed thousands of pages worth of information concerning their assets, income, business ties – and potential conflicts of interest. The Center for Public Integrity and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting today are asking you to help us tell the stories hidden in these records by becoming a #CitizenSleuth.”


Yale University Library: Fortunoff Archive receives Delmas grant to transcribe earliest testimonies. “The Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies is delighted to announce that it is the recipient of a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The Delmas Foundation, which was established to promote ‘the advancement and perpetuation of humanistic inquiry and artistic creativity,’ will help the Archive transcribe the oldest testimonies in its collection, which were recorded between 1979 and 1981 by the Archive’s predecessor organization: the Holocaust Survivors Film Project.”


MakeUseOf: How to Send Email in a Google Sheet With Google Scripts. “Maybe you’re an employee hoping to send a monthly email out to your boss with automatically-calculated formulas in Google Sheets. Or maybe you’re a manager who spends far too much time emailing individual members of your team with things like performance data or status updates. The Google Scripts function you’ll learn in this article will help you accomplish these tasks and much more. With just a little effort one time, you’ll never have to manually send out data again. Let Google Scripts act as your own personal assistant, doing all of the work for you.”


New York Times: What to Do With the Tributes After the Shooting Stops.”In recent years, archivists, historians and librarians have been asked to curate the aftermath of catastrophes: school massacres, a nightclub siege, a bombing, a rampage during a Bible study. The ease and speed with which the sprawling memorials appear belie the years of work that almost always follow…. For the cities that fill the grimmest of roll calls — Boston and Newtown, Aurora and Orlando, Blacksburg and Tucson, Charleston and College Station — advice on how to handle tragedy comes from conciliatory conference calls, knowing emails and occasional seminars at professional conferences. There are questions that are suddenly both logistical and existential: What do you do with truckloads of teddy bears? How do you prevent mildew? How soon is too soon to dismantle memorials?”

ZDNet: Is Mastodon the new social media star, or imploding black hole?. “Mastodon has exploded onto the social scene in the last week and is gaining users at a phenomenal rate. But is the new network an open source geek’s dream or Twitter’s ultimate nightmare?”

Ars Technica: State Department concocting “fake” intellectual property “Twitter feud”. “The US State Department wants to team up with other government agencies and Hollywood in a bid to create a ‘fake Twitter feud’ about the importance of intellectual property rights. As part of this charade, the State Department’s Bureau of Economic Affairs says it has been seeking the participation of the US Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the US Patent and Trademark Office, and ‘others.'”

BuzzFeed: Here’s How Labour Ran An Under-The-Radar Dark Ads Campaign During The General Election. “During the general election campaign the media focused on how the Conservatives’ Facebook advertising could swing key seats – but Labour campaign sources have revealed to BuzzFeed News how they spent £1.2 million on a similar strategy using in-house software.” I am adding this not because I want ResearchBuzz to be political, but because I want you to be aware of the non-transparent things that are being done on social media to influence voters.

Fast Company: How Instagram Learns From Your Likes To Keep You Hooked
. “The Explore tab is essentially one giant recommendation engine. But the ever-evolving methodology Instagram uses to sort through one of the world’s largest networks of photographs, comments, and likes is far more complex than your standard, ‘If you like that, you’ll like this’ logic. And, surprisingly, Instagram says that despite the image recognition capabilities of parent company Facebook, there’s no machine vision involved.”


Engadget: Judge sides with Twitter in lawsuit against the US government. “The lawsuit Twitter filed against the US government over the right to fully disclose national security requests hasn’t been resolved yet, but at least it isn’t dead. US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has allowed the case to go forward after the court deliberated the Department of Justice’s motion for summary judgment. The social network filed the lawsuit in late 2014, arguing that it should be allowed to post the exact number of national security letters and FISA court orders it gets in its transparency reports.”


UCSF: Google Searches Could Help Track Cancer Incidence, Mortality. “Google search volume across the United States could help fill in the gaps on cancer incidence and mortality data, according to a new study by scientists at UC San Francisco and the University of Pennsylvania. This is particularly true for cancers not documented in national registries, like basal and squamous cell carcinomas, the two most common kinds of skin cancer.” Good morning, Internet…

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