Nature Paintings, Place Name Mapping, Facebook Advertising, More: Sunday Buzz, December 3, 2017


Hyperallergic: Explore the Color Code of a 19th-Century Artist Who Painted Nature. “After Austrian artist Ferdinand Bauer visited the Australian coastline in the early 1800s, it took him up to a decade to complete his watercolors based on his on-site sketches. Yet the colors are just as precise as if he was witnessing the living animals and plants, thanks to an extensive color code Bauer created. Involving up to 1,000 hues, the code was used to exactly label colors on his small sketches, which are now an invaluable record of Australian flora and fauna.”

University of Notre Dame: English professor wins NEH grant to bolster major digital humanities research database. “Associate Professor of English Matthew Wilkens is fascinated by the use of geography in literature over time. How, for example, did the Civil War affect the importance of certain places in American literature, and what can literature tells us about Americans’ sense of place? The answer can be found in books written during that period — potentially thousands of them, many more than Wilkens could ever read and analyze himself. To consider the widest possible range of literary production, Wilkens turned to computation. He was recently awarded a $325,000 Digital Humanities Implementation Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to bolster Textual Geographies, a database and suite of tools he is developing that allow users to find, map, and analyze more than 14 billion place name mentions from books and journals in English, Spanish, German, and Chinese.”


TechCrunch: Facebook will temporarily disable a tool that lets advertisers exclude people of color. “Facebook has been under fire for its practices and policies that enable advertisers to exclude ‘multicultural affinity’ groups from the audiences they reach via the social network. Now, in light of a ProPublica investigation and pressure from the Congressional Black Caucus, Facebook says it’s committed to taking a closer look at its advertising policies, its COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a letter to CBC Chairperson Cedric Richmond.”

Digital Trends: 25 million businesses are now on Instagram, so the network is gaining new tools. “In September, Instagram showed user growth that has the platform on pace to hit a billion users as soon as next year — but individual users aren’t the only ones growing the platform. On Thursday, November 30, Instagram reached 25 million businesses on the social network. To celebrate that milestone, it will be rolling out new insights for business users over the next few weeks.”


Poynter: This tool helps you save those videos you worked so hard on. “It’s essentially a program that allows you to save any video you find on the internet. There is some ethical grey area there that we should talk about in a bit, but it’s the perfect tool for downloading videos you’ve created when you no longer have access to the original file. It’s also great for teachers and people who are remixing video or editing newsworthy videos created by other people. I guess I should tell you what it’s called. It’s Downie 3, created by a guy named Charlie Monroe who seems to be a pretty prolific toolmaker.”


Hungry Horse News: McCready Has A Love Of The Railroad. “Flathead historian Kevin McCready has spent 14 years digging through historic newspaper articles, conducting interviews and sifting through old family photo albums. His hours of research have resulted in a digital archive of local history containing more than 69,000 items that he expects to soon make available to the public so others may learn and do their own research.” Mr. McCready’s primary interest is railroading, the Great Northern Railway to be specific.

Digital Arts: Information is Beautiful 2017 – take a look at the best infographics and data visualisations of this year. “It’s probably hard to get excited about infographics, data visualisations and information design until you see these winning designs from the Information is Beautiful Awards in London last night. Hosted at LSO St Luke’s in Old Street, we saw exceptional work from studios, news organisations like The Guardian, students such as autistic University of Oxford student Rhodes Scholar, Jory Fleming – and individuals including Dutch astronomer gone full-time data designer Nadieh Bremer, who took out three awards.” The Lifecycle and Preservation of Electronic Records. “November 30, 2017, is International Digital Preservation Day (Twitter hashtag #IDPD17). The National Archives is participating in this worldwide initiative to promote digital preservation by talking about its work with electronic records. Today’s post comes from Ted Hull (Electronic Records Division), Leslie Johnston (Digital Preservation), and John Martinez (Policy and Standards Team).”


The Register: US credit repair biz damages own security: 111GB of personal info exposed in S3 blunder. “The National Credit Federation, a US credit repair biz, left 111GB of thousands of folks’ highly sensitive personal details exposed to the public internet, according to security researchers. In yet another AWS S3 configuration cockup, Americans’ names, addresses, dates of birth, photos of driver licenses and social security cards, credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, detailed financial histories, and credit card and bank account numbers, were all left sitting out in the open for miscreants to find, it is claimed.”

The Guardian: Google refuses legal request to share pay records in gender discrimination case. “Google is resisting a legal request to disclose salary records in a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit, marking the technology company’s latest efforts to prevent scrutiny of how much it pays its female employees. Google attorneys argued in court on Friday that a judge should block a suit brought by former employees alleging systematic pay disparities on behalf of all women at the company. The company is also arguing that it should not have to provide information on the salaries of men and women or disclose wage policy documents until a first ruling on the class-action status.”


Johns Hopkins News-Letter: How social media influences culture and language. “The creation of AS.300.304, aka ‘Hopkins/Memes/Lost Hopes and Dreams,’ seems to embody the influence that internet culture has had on our generation. As college students, we’re connected to the internet almost every second of every day, whether it be through social media sites like Snapchat and Facebook or through more academically-related pages like Blackboard. Accordingly, this has significantly shaped the ways in which we speak and act in everyday life.”

Pew (pew pew pew pew pew!): First-time internet users: Who they are and what they do when they get online. “Decades after internet access became widely available, Pew Research Center surveys show that about a tenth of American adults (12%) remain offline. But what happens when some of them take the plunge and connect? A new analysis provides a glimpse of the online behaviors of those who are new to the internet.” Every week I have dinner with seven other people. Three of them have never been online. This keeps me humble. Well, a little humble. 🙂

Motherboard: New Study Finds That Most Redditors Don’t Actually Read the Articles They Vote On. “It’s probably not at all surprising that most content posted to Reddit is voted on more or less blindly. I’ll cop to liking articles that friends have shared on Facebook without reading, let alone evaluating them. I’d say there’s even sort of an aggregation myth that pervades our view of social media, that buried within discussions of fake news and social media corporate responsibility is this assumption that people are actually reading the articles, or at least that a lot of them are. The data, however, suggests that they aren’t.” Good morning, Internet…

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