Chemical industry, California Advertising, Taiwan Martial Arts, More: Saturday Buzz, July 29, 2017


The Intercept: 100,000 Pages Of Chemical Industry Secrets Gathered Dust In An Oregon Barn For Decades — Until Now. “FOR DECADES, SOME of the dirtiest, darkest secrets of the chemical industry have been kept in Carol Van Strum’s barn. Creaky, damp, and prowled by the occasional black bear, the listing, 80-year-old structure in rural Oregon housed more than 100,000 pages of documents obtained through legal discovery in lawsuits against Dow, Monsanto, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the Air Force, and pulp and paper companies, among others. As of today, those documents and others that have been collected by environmental activists will be publicly available through a project called the Poison Papers.”

New to me, from KCET: Bright Colors, Big City: One Man’s Massive Collection of Postwar California Print Media. “Inside a cheerful Koreatown home, the promise of post-war Los Angeles is spread across the kitchen table. It is but a fraction of the collection of J.J. Englender, curator of the vivid online archive ADSAUSAGE. There are local magazines, ad inserts, teen ‘zines, and trade brochures, all brightly colored and striking, advertising the growth and vibrancy of 1950s-‘80s California. They are the tangible embodiment of the dreams of Englender, a friendly, optimistic man, whose childhood love of 20th-century kitsch and Hollywood has grown into an archive of thousands of pieces.”

Taipei Times (Taiwan): Martial arts to be digitally archived. “The Sports Administration on Wednesday said it would start creating digital records of traditional martial arts indigenous to the nation as the pilot of a digital archive project to document the nation’s sports culture.”

Retraction Watch: Looking to avoid a bad lab? A new site wants to help. “We’ve all heard horror stories of lab disputes that can quickly spin out of control. (Such as a graduate student obtaining a restraining order against his supervisor, which we covered earlier this year for Science.) Naturally, prospective students want to do their homework before committing to a particular laboratory or supervisor. A new website, QCist, is trying to make that process easier, by letting students rate labs. It’s still new – only several dozen lab heads have been rated so far, mostly from the U.S. – but founder and Executive Director Qian-Chen Yong has plans for it to grow much bigger. We spoke with Yong, currently a research fellow at the Cancer Research Institute, Baylor Scott & White Health in Texas — who completed a postdoc at Texas A&M Health Science Center and a PhD at the National University of Singapore — about the plan to keep the site from becoming a place to smear a tough boss’s reputation.” Interesting comments. No, really.


Engadget: Microsoft is getting its own AI-powered photo search. “Microsoft’s upcoming Photos app is getting AI image search so that it can spot and classify objects, much like Google Photos and Apple Photos can. Spotted by Windows Central, the latest Insider Preview version of the app now has a search bar that you can use to enter terms like ‘flower,’ ‘wine bottle,’ and ‘bar.’ It will then use a cloud-based image recognition algorithm to pick and sort out those items in your photo collection, much as the rival apps do.”

Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” has reached alpha 2. “Today, the upcoming version of Ubuntu — version 17.10 which is named named ‘Artful Aardvark’ — celebrates a new milestone. While not yet in beta status, it has reached the second alpha stage; the stable version is not due until October. While not all desktop environments are available at this point — GNOME is absent, for instance — there are several excellent options for testers, such as MATE, Budgie, and KDE.”

TechCrunch: Anonymous app Whisper lays off 20% of staff to survive. “Startups are dying all over the place as last year’s investment cool-off leads many to run out of cash. But Whisper refuses to race into the graveyard like fellow anonymous social apps Secret and Yik Yak. A source told TechCrunch that Whisper experienced layoffs this week, and after requesting comment, the startup now confirms to us it’s let go of 20% of staff so it can become sustainable for the long run.”


Amit Agarwal: The Easiest Way to Extract Email Addresses from your Gmail Account. “Introducing Gmail Address Extractor, a web app that parses email messages in your Gmail mailbox, finds all the email addresses in them and stores the list in a Google Sheet. You can export the sheet as a CSV file and import into Google Contacts, Outlook address book, MailChimp, or any other mailing list software.”


Marketing Land: Twitter is testing a subscription-style ad program that costs $99 a month. “Twitter is testing a subscription-style ad program that would have businesses pay $99 a month for their accounts and some of their tweets to be automatically promoted on the social network. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the test on Friday, which was earlier spotted by Twitter user @davidiwanow.” How about paid access to the API, Twitter??!!

Voice of America: Decades Later, Governments Still Wary of Social Media. “Social media has become a rallying ground for global citizens at odds with their governments. And while many governments have learned to coexist with this new reality, others still see it as a potential threat.”

The Register: Facebook’s freebie for poor people under fire again. “Two-thirds of the planet doesn’t have internet access – but some aren’t keen to see Facebook make a bridge across that digital divide…. Facebook’s free service for the world’s poorest people – many of whom typically earn $1 a day – was labelled ‘colonialism’ this week by an NGO supported by both Facebook’s biggest rival, Google, and Facebook itself.”


Ars Technica: Politicians’ social media pages can be 1st Amendment forums, judge says. “To be sure, it’s a digital-age-based constitutional theory about social media rights in a day and age when politicians, from the president on down, are using their private accounts to discuss public affairs. Now there’s some legal precedent on the matter. It comes from a federal judge in Virginia who said that a local politician had violated the First Amendment rights of a constituent because the politician briefly banned the constituent from the politician’s personal Facebook account.” Good morning, Internet…

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