Video Game Art, Early Literacy, Santa Claus, More: Monday Evening Buzz, December 4, 2017


New-to-me: a collection of open resources for video game art and design. From the site’s FAQ: “If you’ve ever browsed Free/Open Source game sites (such as The Linux Game Tome, you’ll notice that a fairly significant number of the games available suffer from what’s lovingly referred to as ‘programmer art’. There are, of course, some notable exceptions to this, but it’s clear that, for an open source game to produce good art, it has to become large and popular enough to attract artists….The purpose of this site is to provide a solid (and hopefully ever-expanding) variety of high quality, freely licensed art, so that free/open source game developers can use it in their games.”

PRNewswire: NSF-Funded Digital Library for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Now Available on App Stores (PRESS RELEASE). “ReadAskChat™, a National Science Foundation funded early-learning system, launched its digital library for children 0-4 that embeds on-demand guidance for parents and caregivers in a method of interactive (or ‘dialogic’) reading—an activity the American Academy of Pediatrics says is vital for children’s development.” It looks like the initial app is free but you can subscribe for more content.


SlashGear: Google’s Santa Tracker returns, this time with elf selfies. “Google’s Santa Village has returned, marking the first of December and the slow countdown to Christmas. As in previous years, Google’s festive offering brings Santa and other Christmas-themed content, a countdown timer, plus changes for 2017. Most notable among those changes is an elf selfie tool, enabling kids (and adults!) to take an elf selfie (‘elfies’) at famous landmarks around the world.”

Bustle: How To Edit A DM On Instagram With The App’s New Remix Feature. “There are a lot of reasons I shouldn’t be given the power to edit and draw on my friends’ photos, but the biggest one is that there is roughly zero chance I won’t draw something funny on the photo, like a pair of Harry Potter-inspired glasses or something. Still, Instagram is daring to give me — and every other user on the app — the power to do just that. In a new update released Tuesday, Instagram introduced their new ‘remix’ feature, which allows users to edit, draw on, or even add stickers and emojis to direct message photos their friends send them. They can then send the photos back, and as a result, their friend will be able to edit the previously edited photo even more than it already is. I know, it sounds a little complicated — but trust me, figuring out how to edit a DM on Instagram is super easy with remix.”

Digital Trends: Vidme shuts down due to increased competition from YouTube and Facebook. “After more than three years in the business, the community-driven video share site Vidme is shutting down. In a Medium post, the Vidme team said that the site will be taken down on December 15. Existing Vidme videos remain playable and exportable until December 15, but video uploads and account activations will cease as of the time of this article’s publication.”

Advertising Age: Facebook To Lift Longtime Ban On Pre-Roll Ads. “Facebook plans to test video ads at the start of Watch shows, according to advertisers who are familiar with the social network’s strategy, exploring what would be a significant shift.”


Halifax Today: Saint Mary’s University historian creating Halifax Explosion database. “A Saint Mary’s University postdoctoral fellow is creating the Halifax Explosion database (HExD), which aims to track details of every person who died in the disaster on December 6, 1917. Dr. Claire Halstead told NEWS 95.7’s The Rick Howe Show her research started with the Halifax Explosion Remembrance Book at the Nova Scotia Archives, which gave her raw data, including names, addresses and ages, and her research is adding to that information.”

EurekAlert: KFU, RAS Institute of Geography, Roscosmos are working on a space photo database. “The project, titled ‘Geography from Space’, is a joint effort by leading researchers from several institutions. It is aimed at middle school teachers and university academics. Lev Desinov (RAS Institute of Geography employee and Lead Research Associate of the KFU Space Management of Territorial Development Lab) was the one who came up with the idea.” KFU in this case is Kazan Federal University, while the RAS Institute of Geography is the Russian Academy of Sciences.


Wired: A New Bill Wants Jail Time For Execs Who Hide Data Breaches. “What do this year’s various mega-breaches have in common, from Equifax to Yahoo to, most recently and irresponsibly, Uber? Shoddy disclosure practices that leave customers unaware that their personal information—including, in some cases, extra-sensitive details like Social Security and driver’s license numbers—is in the hands of unknown hackers. While state-level legislation already forms a patchwork of penalties for that sort of behavior, a new bill introduced in the US Senate this week wants to make nondisclosure a jailable offense no matter where it happens in the country. Failure to report within 30 days could come with imprisonment of up to five years for the execs who decided to cover it up.”


Vanity Fair: The End Of The Social Era Can’t Come Soon Enough. “Many people imagine 19th-century antebellum America as a frontier fantasia: men with handlebar mustaches sitting in dusty saloons, kicking back moonshine whiskey, as a piano player picks out tunes in the background. In reality, though, life was a little more sordid: Americans spent their time after work in fully legal heroin dens; in 1885, opium and cocaine were even given to children to help with teething. ‘Cocaine Toothache Drops,’ which were marketed as presenting an ‘instantaneous cure’ were sold for 15 cents a box. Today, in the midst of our opioid crisis, we hear about this past and wonder unequivocally, what the hell were they thinking?” Good evening, Internet…

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