Antarctica Geophysics, India Languages, Jordan Archaeology, More: Tuesday Buzz, December 5, 2017


EurekAlert: UGR researchers put a geophysical database of Antarctica at the disposal of the scientific community. “An international group of scientists, led by Professor of Earth Physics Jesús M. Ibáñez Godoy from the University of Granada (UGR), has made available to the whole scientific community, through a public, free access database, the results of a geophysical research they carried out on Deception Island, Antarctica.”

The Hindu: Bharatavani portal offers digital dictionaries of vanishing Indian languages. “The word for sunlight or sunshine in Angami — a language spoken by around 130,000 people in the North East — is niakikezie. In the Ao-language of Nagaland, it is anüpu oranüsangwa. And this reporter in far away Bengaluru could look up these words and many more from several Indian languages, thanks to digital dictionaries available on the Bharatavani website. Most cities in India have infrastructure to teach many foreign languages . But how many look inwards to tap the domestic cultural motherlode of more than 1,500 Indian languages? It is this question that spurred Bharatavani, an online Indian Languages platform hosted by the Central Institute for Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysuru, to not only publish content in 121 Indian languages, but work towards starting online classes.”


The Jordan Times: New geodatabase of Jordan’s heritage sites under development — official. “A new version of the Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities (MEGA) Jordan is under development to serve as a user-friendly web-based geospatial information system on the country’s archaeological and heritage sites, according to a senior government official. The new version, called ‘Arches Jordan’, will provide researchers and the public with coordinates and data on all of Jordan’s registered archaeological sites, buildings, structures, landscapes and heritage ensembles or districts, the official said.”


The Next Web: Turn your phone into a Google Slides remote control with this Chrome extension. “Google Slides already lets you beam your presentation deck to a Chromecast-equipped screen from your iOS or Android device. Now, there’s another way to use your phone as a presentation remote, thanks to this handy browser extension created by Malaysia-based developer Henry Lim.”

PopSugar Tech: 13 Ways to Print Instagram Photos. “Instagram is the easiest way to create dreamy camera-phone photos in a flash. The filters work their magic so well that nearly every picture comes out looking like a keepsake. Making those memories permanent can be just as easy with these tools for turning Instagram photos into lasting works of art.” Quick roundup with decent annotation.

MakeUseOf: The Easy Guide to Google Chrome. “Google’s Chrome is now the biggest browser in the world, with half the world using it as their default browser. But that doesn’t mean everyone is using it right. There is a lot more to Chrome than meets the eye. This guide looks at the fundamentals of Google Chrome and the advantages you get when you use its features well. It is meant for the beginner who wants to explore what the world’s most popular web browser is all about.” I doubt anybody who’s reading this newsletter needs an overview as extensive as this for learning Chrome. But it could be an absolute blessing for beginners or people who are switching from another browser.


BBC: Saving India’s photo studios in the digital age. “Photo studios are on the verge of extinction in the digital era. But as they struggle to keep theirs shutters open, one research project is looking at ways to preserve their legacy by digitising archival images. The project, funded by the British Library, visited around 100 photo studios across the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu and preserved, or rather digitised, 10,000 prints. Many of the photos were taken between 1880-1980, and they ranged from portraits of families and famous stars to weddings and funerals.”

Anil Dash on Medium: Underscores, Optimization & Arms Races. “A dozen years ago, the web started to reshape itself around major companies like Google. We can understand the genesis of today’s algorithmic arms race against the tech titans just by looking at a single character.” This is an important read. Depressing, but important.

The Getty Iris: Digital Preservation in Practice. “At the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles we have been using Rosetta, the digital preservation solution from Ex Libris, since 2012. Although Rosetta is a vendor solution, and so in some ways proprietary, it is based on OAIS (Open Archival Information System) principles and uses many of the standard community-developed digital preservation tools and metadata formats such as Jhove, DROID, PREMIS, and METS. The vendor, Ex Libris, works closely with Rosetta customers to continually enhance the product following best practices for digital preservation. Even with a vendor solution, there is still quite a bit of opportunity for customization and local configuration. We started out preserving materials that we digitized and more recently began depositing born-digital institutional records as well. Below you’ll hear from two of the staff members at the Getty Research Institute who interact with Rosetta on a regular basis. They describe some of the issues they encounter in trying to preserve our resources.”


Australian Associated Press: Watchdog to probe Google, Facebook impact. “The Turnbull government has directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate the impact of the digital platform services, as part of a deal with the Nick Xenophon Team.” Here’s a Reuters article with a bit more detail (found later and added on)

Tubefilter: FTC Finalizes Its First Settlement For Social Media Influencers. “This week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) unanimously approved, by way of a 2-0 vote, a finalized order in what has become widely known as the first-ever FTC case brought against individual social media influencers. As previously reported on Tubefilter, Trevor ‘TmarTn’ Martin and Thomas ‘Syndicate’ Cassell posted videos on their YouTube channels showing the pair of stars (with a respective more than 3.3 million and 10 million subscribers) taking part in the online gambling service CSGO Lotto. The problem was that the two ‘Let’s Play’ social influencers failed to properly disclose they each held a 42.5% ownership interest in the online gambling company, directly in violation of FTC disclosure laws.”


Alphr: Google’s AI builds its own AI child and it’s better than anything humans have made. “Google’s AI-building AI actually went ahead and built a fully-functional AI child that, as it turns out, is more capable than any AI built by human hands. Historians will look back at this moment, from their ruined cities and hideouts from their robot masters, as the time where the downfall of humanity began. Of course, it’s not actually all that doom and gloom, the child AI is really only capable of a specific task – image recognition.” Good morning, Internet…

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