Quran Calligraphy, China Books, Data Sets, More: Saturday Buzz, August 26, 2017


Daily Sabah: Qurans by master calligraphers digitalized for new project. “From Quran copies by calligraphers Derviş Ali, Hüseyin Efendi, Kebecizade Mehmed Vasfi Efendi and Mustafa Hamid Boyabadi to paintings by Osman Hamdi Bey, Fausto Zonaro, Ivan Ayvazovski and Şeker Ahmed Paşa, Sakıp Sabancı Museum’s ambitious digitalization project digitalSSM brings together an impressive collection of manuscripts and paintings.” The Web site is at And while there is an “English” button on it for navigating, I found I got more information by letting Google translate each page.

Library of Congress: New Online: Pre-1958 Chinese Collection. “The contents of the Asian Division’s Pre-1958 Chinese Collection, totaling more than 40,000 items, are now fully searchable through the Library’s online catalog in both Chinese characters and Romanized script…. Around 23,000 of the works in the collection—including 5,300 titles designated as rare books—were created before 1911, when the rule of China’s final imperial dynasty ended. Among these works are rare Song and Yuan dynasty editions (960–1368), including 11 Buddhist sutras and 6,000 volumes of Chinese and Tibetan works donated in 1915.”


TechCrunch: Google releases millions of bad drawings for you (and your AI) to paw through. “Back in November, Google showcased a few of its funky machine learning experiments, and among them was Quick, Draw! (their bang, not mine) — a game where you sketch something and an image recognition system guesses what it is. Now the company is releasing the millions upon millions of sketches players submitted as an open data set for AI developers to play with.”

CNET: Google Chrome makes it easy to mute annoying auto-play audio. “Sometimes the best advances are the simplest. Google Chrome is testing a feature to make it easier than ever to mute audio from websites. The new feature is available in Google Chrome Canary, a version of Chrome aimed at developers and early adopters.”

Las Cruces Sun-News: NMSU art project tells stories through Las Cruces’ murals. “A joint art-preservation project between the departments of History, Art and Anthropology at New Mexico State University is gearing up to launch a new website containing pictures and descriptions of murals around Las Cruces.”


TechCrunch: Universities and museums join in effort to ‘scan all vertebrates’. “It seems that even scientific endeavors fall victim to feature creep — or in the case of an effort to scan all fishes that has expanded to include all vertebrates, creature creep. More than a dozen learning institutions are pooling their resources to create detailed 3D scans, inside and out, of more than 20,000 animals.”

Cornell Chronicle: Three projects awarded 2017 digitization grants. “Since its inception in 2010, the Grants Program for Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences has helped to digitize items in Cornell’s collections, from punk music flyers to historic glacial images of Alaska and Greenland to Japanese woodblocks. For 2017, three projects were chosen from 14 applications.”

BBC News: YouTube football team Hashtag United ‘living the dream’. “The squad is a group of mates, most of whom have day jobs off the pitch which have nothing to do with sport. And yet they have toured the US, Serbia, Ireland and Jersey, had their own kit custom-made by sportswear giant Umbro and average 700,000 views per match. They’ve also played at the UK’s top stadiums including Wembley and the Etihad, as well as the O2 Arena and Everton’s training ground. And it’s all thanks to a carefully crafted presence on YouTube.”

Recode: Twitter CMO Leslie Berland is also taking over human resources as the new ‘Head of People’. “Twitter has found someone to take over its top human resources role that’s been empty for almost six months: Leslie Berland, who is already in the building as Twitter’s CMO and head of communications.” I’m sure she’s a great person, but Twitter has – what? over 3000 people? – and she’s going to be the head of HR and marketing?


The Spokesman-Review: WSU professor says IRS is breaking privacy laws by mining social media. “Those Facebook posts from your vacation on a white sand beach, or that purchase of a fancy new vehicle, could be attracting views from the federal government. As its staff shrinks, the Internal Revenue Service has turned to mining social media and large data sets in search of taxpayers to audit, a Washington State University professor says in a recent report in the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law.”


MIT Technology Review: Climate-Change Research Is Getting a Big Dose of AI. “Studying the climate is now a big-data problem, researchers say—and they’re enlisting artificial intelligence to help solve it. As a piece in Nature observes, everything from global-scale modeling efforts to individual weather forecasts are getting a boost from machine learning, as earth scientists have found themselves in need of computer assistance to make sense of the torrents of data their field is generating.”

Slate: Russian Bots Are Trying to Sow Discord on Twitter After Charlottesville. “Although the recent events in Charlottesville happened 5,000 miles from Moscow, Russia didn’t sit this one out. As has become almost routine after every polarizing U.S. political event in the past 12 months, online Russian propagandists quickly got involved. This time around, they took to Twitter with an army of bots to promote and share extremist right-wing tweets and disinformation.” Good morning, Internet…

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