Air Jordans, Holocaust Victims, Library of Congress, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, October 20, 2017


Slam Online: Jordan Brand Launches Online Sneaker Database. “Jordan Brand just unveiled a new online database that details every sneaker they’ve ever created. Original shoe sketches, designs, stories and images are featured on the site. There’s also a few hidden gems like some Deion Sanders PEs and a look at the original idea for the Air Jordan VII.”

Haaretz: An Ambitious Project Aims to Name All Those Killed in the Holocaust. “Only a few years ago no one knew anything about Samuel (Shmuel) Lederer. Even his name was undocumented. The farmer and public figure, one of the 13 Jews who lived in the remote Hungarian village of Magyarmecske, disappeared without a trace. Statistically, he was only a number, just one person out of the million anonymous Holocaust victims, whose names remained unknown some 70 years after the end of World War II. Recently, the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem completed a unique documentary project, giving Lederer his name back – along with his life story.”


Library of Congress: Announcing the Library of Congress Congressional Data Challenge. “Today we launch a Congressional Data Challenge, a competition asking participants to leverage legislative data sets on and other platforms to develop digital projects that analyze, interpret or share congressional data in user-friendly ways. ‘There is so much information now available online about our legislative process, and that is a great thing,’ said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. ‘But it can also be overwhelming and sometimes intimidating. We are asking citizen coders to explore ways to analyze, interpret or share this information in user-friendly ways. I hope this challenge will spark an interest in the legislative process and also a spirit of information sharing by the tech-savvy and digital humanities pioneers who answer the call. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.’ ”

CNET: Twitter now has a timeline to go after bullies and trolls. “To tackle abusive behavior, Twitter has put a specific timeline in place. By the end of October? Expanding the definition of nonconsensual nudity and creating an appeals process for people whose accounts have been suspended. In November?”


The Next Web: Companies are collecting a mountain of data. What should they do with it?. “From our tweets and status updates to our Yelp reviews and Amazon product ratings, the internet-connected portion of the human race generates 2.5 quintillion bytes of computer data every single day. That’s 2.5 million one-terabyte hard drives filled every 24 hours. The takeaway is clear: in 2017, there’s more data than there’s ever been, and there’s only more on the way. So what are savvy companies doing to harness the data that their human users shed on a daily basis?”

New York Times: Hundreds of Mysterious Stone ‘Gates’ Found in Saudi Arabia’s Desert. “Google Earth has unlocked the gates to ancient mysteries around the world. For years, amateur and professional archaeologists have used the search engine’s satellite imagery to discover mysterious earthworks in Kazakhstan, Roman ruins, a forgotten fortress in Afghanistan and more. In the past decade, Google Earth also has helped identify thousands of burial sites and other ‘works of the old men,’ as they’re called, scattered across Saudi Arabia. Now, archaeologists have uncovered nearly 400 previously undocumented stone structures they call “gates” in the Arabian desert that they believe may have been built by nomadic tribes thousands of years ago.”

Lyft Blog: Alphabet’s CapitalG Leads $1 Billion Round in Lyft. “Today we’re happy to announce CapitalG — Alphabet’s growth investment fund — is leading a $1 billion financing round in Lyft. This brings Lyft’s post-money valuation to $11 billion. We’re also excited to work with CapitalG Partner David Lawee, who is joining Lyft’s Board.”


Gizmodo: Justice Department Drops Request for Names of People Who ‘Liked’ Anti-Trump Facebook Page. “In a court hearing today, the Department of Justice dropped its request for the names of an estimated 6,000 people who ‘liked’ a Facebook page about an Inauguration Day protest, the American Civil Liberties Union said. The ACLU challenged several warrants related to protests against President Trump’s inauguration on Friday, one of which included the search, claiming they were over-broad.”


TechCrunch: Google’s AVA data set raises the bar for identifying human actions in videos. “Today Google announced a new labeled data set of human actions taking place in videos. That may sound obscure, but it’s a big deal for anyone working to solve problems in computer vision. If you’ve been following along, you’ve noticed the significant uptick in companies building products and services that act as a second pair of human eyes. Video detectors like Matroid, security systems like Lighthouse and even autonomous cars benefit from an understanding of what’s going on inside a video, and that understanding is borne on the back of good labeled data sets for training and benchmarking.”

Quartz: Silicon Valley has designed algorithms to reflect your biases, not disrupt them. “Silicon Valley dominates the internet—and that prevents us from learning more deeply about other people, cultures, and places. To support richer understandings of one another across our differences, we need to redesign social media networks and search systems to better represent diverse cultural and political perspectives.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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