Tamil Books, WWI Veterans, Dutch Genealogy, More: Monday Buzz, September 25, 2017


Edex Live: Book lovers rejoice, Tamil Nadu Virtual Academy digitises and uploads around 10K rare Tamil books. “More than 4,000 rare Tamil books maintained at the medieval Saraswathi Mahal library have been digitised and uploaded in digital format in the digital library, created by the Tamil Virtual Academy (TNVA). In the first phase, one lakh books are to be digitised. So far, about 10,000 books and magazines from all the participating institutions have been uploaded in the digital library website.” One lakh is one hundred thousand.

Library of Congress: Veterans History Project Launches Final Installment of WWI Web Series . “The Veterans History Project (VHP) today launched ‘A World Overturned,’ the final chapter in a three-part, online website series titled ‘Experiencing War,’ dedicated to U.S. veterans of the First World War. ‘A World Overturned’ highlights eight digitized veterans’ stories about how World War I forever changed their lives, shared through original photographs, letters, diaries, memoirs and other materials. This series has been presented as a companion site to the Library of Congress exhibit ‘Echoes of the Great War.'”

FamilySearch: New Records and Resources to Discover Your Dutch Ancestors . “If you’re looking for ancestors from your Dutch heritage, you’re in luck! FamilySearch has recently published millions of records (51 million to be exact) from the Netherlands, making it easier than ever to trace your Dutch roots. These new records have increased FamilySearch’s collection of Dutch names from 4,074,736 to over 55 million. If you’ve ever gotten stuck looking for your ancestors before they immigrated or looking for any relatives you may still have in the Netherlands, this may be the perfect opportunity to dive in and find some answers!”


New York Magazine: A Bizarre Facebook Hoax Has Turned These Facebook Users Into Minor Celebrities. “If you’ve been on Facebook over the last couple of days, you’ve probably seen some version of this chain message going around:’If you go into your ACCOUNT SETTINGS then to BLOCKING (on left side of screen), then in the BLOCKED USERS search bar type in “following me” without the quotes, you might be startled by who is following you. Unfortunately you have to block them 1 at a time, which is annoying. I had 20 in the list and knew none of them. I blocked all of them. You might share or copy/paste if you found this helpful.’ Like many things on Facebook, it’s totally false.”


ZDNet: This new app can detect wireless credit card skimmers at gas pumps. “Credit card skimmers on gas pumps and ATMs are more common than you think — and anyone (including yours truly) can get hit by them. Now, there’s an app that might just stop you from getting stung in the future. The app, currently only available for Android, works by looking for a Bluetooth module nearby that’s commonly used in modern credit card skimmers.” Very cool!


Reuters: German election campaign largely unaffected by fake news or bots. “Germany is on guard against any last-minute meddling in Sunday’s election but experts have seen only isolated attempts to swing votes during the campaign. There are also no signs that fake news will affect the outcome of the election, which Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats are expected to win.”

Wired: Why Facebook Will Struggle To Regulate Political Ads. “IN 2011, FACEBOOK asked the Federal Election Commission to exempt it from rules requiring political advertisers to disclose who’s paying for an ad. Political ads on TV and radio must include such disclosures. But Facebook argued that its ads should be regulated as ‘small items,’ similar to bumper stickers, which don’t require disclosures. The FEC ended up deadlocked on the issue, and the question of how to handle digital ads has languished for six years. Now, it’s blowing up again—and damaging Facebook in the process.”

Quartz: With a series of Wikipedia Edit-a-Thons, Indian women are finally getting their due online. “You only have to look at the Wikipedia page of the early 20th century Indian painter Amrita Sher-Gil to know that she’s a household name: It’s detailed, well-sourced, and full of pictures of her works, some of which have been sold for millions of dollars. But there’s a whole world of contemporary woman artists that hasn’t been half as lucky when it comes to Wikipedia, lacking even a page on the go-to online encyclopedia, let alone a comprehensive one. And it’s this glaring discrepancy that a small group of students and young professionals came together to fix on Sept. 16, as part of a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon dedicated to Indian women in contemporary art.”


BetaNews: Over one million phishing websites are created every month . “Every month, almost 1.5 million new phishing websites are created. This is according to a new report by Webroot, showing just how big of an industry phishing really is. The Webroot Quarterly Threat Trends Report says that 1.385 million new phishing sites are created every month. May was the busiest of them all, with 2.3 million sites created.”

Ars Technica: Justice Department goes nuclear on Google in search warrant fight. “The Justice Department is demanding that a federal judge sanction Google for failing to abide by court orders to turn over data tied to 22 e-mail accounts. ‘Google’s conduct here amounts to a willful and contemptuous disregard of various court orders,’ the government wrote (PDF) in a legal filing to US District Judge Richard Seeborg of California.”

RESEARCH & OPINION Twitter bots for good: Study reveals how information spreads on social media. “After an election year marked by heated exchanges and the distribution of fake news, Twitter bots earned a bad reputation—but not all bots are bad, suggests a new study co-authored by Emilio Ferrara, a USC Information Sciences Institute computer scientist and a research assistant professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science. In a large-scale experiment designed to analyze the spread of information on social networks, Ferrara and a team from the Technical University of Denmark deployed a network of algorithm-driven Twitter accounts, or social bots, programmed to spread positive messages on Twitter.”


Lifehacker: Add Your House to the “Teal Pumpkin Project” Map to Make Halloween Safer for Kids With Allergies . “Started in 2014 by FARE, the Teal Pumpkin Project is a campaign that aims to make Halloween safer for everyone, including the one in 13 kids who has a food allergy ranging from mild to life-threatening. Common allergens in candies include nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat. To participate in the project, you simply need to provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters, and place a teal pumpkin—the color symbolizing food allergy awareness—in front of your home.” Good morning, Internet…

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