Marcel Proust, John F. Kennedy, New York Times, More: Monday Buzz, October 30, 2017


New York Times: Proust Fans Eagerly Await Trove of Letters Going Online. “Some 6,000 letters written by [Marcel] Proust, many of which had been collected and published by the scholar Philip Kolb of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will be put online and made available free to scholars and general readers alike. (Professor Kolb died in 1992.) The first tranche of the letters, several hundred related to World War I, is expected to be published online by Nov. 11, 2018, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of the war, according to Grenoble Alpes University, one of the French institutions collaborating on the project.”

NARA: National Archives Releases JFK Assassination Records . “The National Archives today released 2,891 records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that are subject to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (JFK Act). These records are available for download online. The President has also ordered that all remaining records governed by section 5 of the JFK Act be released, and thus additional records will be released subject to redactions recommended by the executive offices and agencies. NARA will process these records for release as soon as possible on a rolling basis.” I did not include this earlier because I was waiting for updates.


New York Times: The New York Times is Now Available as a Tor Onion Service. “The New York Times reports on stories all over the world, and our reporting is read by people around the world. Some readers choose to use Tor to access our journalism because they’re technically blocked from accessing our website; or because they worry about local network monitoring; or because they care about online privacy; or simply because that is the method that they prefer. The Times is dedicated to delivering quality, independent journalism, and our engineering team is committed to making sure that readers can access our journalism securely. This is why we are exploring ways to improve the experience of readers who use Tor to access our website.”

MIT Technology Review: Patreon Introduces Tools to Let Anyone with a Website Put Up a Paywall. “Fans can now sign up on an artist’s website to make recurring contributions, and creators can restrict content pages to be available to paying supporters only. This is effectively allowing easy paywall implementation on any WordPress site. Other plug-ins will allow for direct support of artists through MailChimp-powered newsletters, Patreon exclusive Discord voice and chat servers, and Patreon-only live-streaming through Crowdcast.”

Google Blog: Building trust online by partnering with the International Fact Checking Network. “Today, thousands of fact check articles appear on Google in Search results, on Google News, and across the open web. Fact checking articles—when a journalist looks at one single statement or issue and either verifies or debunks it—is important in today’s climate because it helps readers better understand viral news stories and relevant issues. That’s why we’re supporting the organizations who do the hard work of fact checking so that we can make it available in Google Search. Today we’re announcing a new partnership with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at The Poynter Institute.”

TechCrunch: eBay launches visual search tools that let you shop using photos from your phone or web. “eBay today is launching two new visual search tools that will allow online shoppers to use photos they snap, have saved on their phone, or even those they find while browsing the web or other social networking sites, in order to find matching products from eBay’s catalog. The tools, Image Search and Find it on eBay, leverage advancements in computer vision and deep learning, including the use of neural networks, the company notes.”


MakeUseOf: The 3 Best Free OCR Tools to Convert Your Files Back Into Editable Documents. “Believe it or not, some people still print documents on physical pieces of paper. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software takes those printed documents and converts them right back into machine-readable text. We’ve found some of the best free OCR tools and compared them for you here.”


Music In Africa: Preserving musical heritage in South Sudan. “War, famine, displacement and lack of funds means that the cultural heritage of South Sudan is under severe threat. However, there is growing interest in its preservation despite the many challenges. A draft culture policy is still being developed and the Ministry of Culture is supportive of its creation. The ministry has a consultant working on this policy while UNESCO plays an advisory role towards its development.”

RT is pushing back against Twitter refusing its advertising going forward. From RT: Revealed: How Twitter pushed RT to spend big on 2016 US election. “At the end of September, Twitter published a report titled ‘Russian interference in 2016 US elections, bots, & misinformation’ which included confidential data on RT ad campaigns and implied that the channel was trying to influence Twitter users via advertising on the platform. This absolutely groundless and greatly-misleading association compels us to reveal the details of the 2016 negotiations during which Twitter representatives pitched to RT a large-sum advertising proposal. It was developed around promoting RT’s US election coverage on the micro-blogging platform. This proposal was eventually declined by RT.”


Motherboard: Equifax Was Warned. “Months before its catastrophic data breach, a security researcher warned Equifax that it was vulnerable to the kind of attack that later compromised the personal data of more than 145 million Americans, Motherboard has learned. Six months after the researcher first notified the company about the vulnerability, Equifax patched it—but only after the massive breach that made headlines had already taken place, according to Equifax’s own timeline.”


Scholarly Kitchen: Guest Post — Does ResearchGate Emerge Unscathed, or Even Strengthened?. “ResearchGate is under assault. As a scholarly collaboration platform that enables both public and private sharing on a networked scale, ResearchGate is seen as dangerous, not only because it is potentially infringing copyright, but because it is doing so on a massive publisher-independent scale. A group of publishers tried to tame ResearchGate through a proposal that it endorse the STM Voluntary Principles on Article Sharing on Scholarly Collaboration Networks and implement antipiracy measures, but ResearchGate rejected this proposal. Though ResearchGate now faces the threat of thousands of takedown notices and a lawsuit, it is positioned to emerge at least unscathed, if not strengthened, from these assaults.” The comments are worth a read. Good morning, Internet…

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