Homologation Documents, Library of Congress, Tennessee Teaching Materials, More: Wednesday Buzz, December 27, 2017


Before I link to this I must tell you I had to look up homologation. Wikipedia helped me out. “In motorsports, homologation is the approval process through which a vehicle, a race track, or a standardised part is required to go for certification to race in a given league or series.” Okay? Now, new-to-me, from Road & Track: Be Prepared to Spend Hours Looking at Old FIA Homologation Documents. “To get a road car homologated for FIA-sanctioned motorsports events, automakers have to submit all sorts of forms detailing everything about the car in question. And interestingly, we just discovered that many of those documents produced between 1956 and 2007 are up for viewing on the FIA’s website. This is pretty much heaven for race-car nerds with lots of time on their hands.” Oh, and FIA? That’s the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile.


Library of Congress: Update on the Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress. “In 2010, the Library of Congress announced an exciting and groundbreaking acquisition—a gift from Twitter of the entire archive of public tweet text beginning with the first tweets of 2006 through 2010, and continuing with all public tweet text going forward. The Library took this step for the same reason it collects other materials – to acquire and preserve a record of knowledge and creativity for Congress and the American people. The initiative was bold and celebrated among research communities. … The Library now has a secure collection of tweet text, documenting the first 12 years (2006-2017) of this dynamic communications channel—its emergence, its applications and its evolution. … Today, we announce a change in collections practice for Twitter. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the Library will acquire tweets on a selective basis—similar to our collections of web sites.” I understand why they’re doing things this way, but the LOC could be missing out on a massive opportunity here.

Tennessean: Tennessee Book Company revamps digital resource library for teachers through new partnership. “A digital textbook tool that was expected to be a key resource for Tennessee teachers is seeing new life after being underused in classrooms. The Tennessee Digital Resources Library will be run by Ingram Content Group-owned Tennessee Book Company after the expectation for the content sharing resource weren’t fulfilled.”

Marist College: ‘Whatever’ Loses Ground but Retains Annoying Word Title. “For the ninth consecutive year, Americans say ‘whatever’ is the most annoying word or phrase used in casual conversation. But, fewer Americans feel that way than in previous years. Residents under the age of 45, compared with their older counterparts, do not find the word all that bothersome.”


Digital Trends: Want to download audiobooks for free? Here are the sites to visit. “… an audio copy of Paula Hawkins’ best-selling novel The Girl on the Train will cost you a whopping $24 on iTunes. For reference, the ebook equivalent is $10. Even literary classics like The Great Gatsby, Huckleberry Finn, and The Hobbit can be rather expensive when not on sale. Luckily, the internet has opened the door to a veritable trove of audiobooks if you don’t mind forgoing top-notch narrations and sticking mainly with the classics. That said, here are our picks for the best websites to get audiobooks for free; you can also find apps that provide the same service.”


Observer: The Biggest Twitter Storms of 2017. “In the age of social media, every day brings a new Twitter controversy. But even by that standard, 2017 had a bumper crop of viral moments. While the year included its fair share of funny videos and controversial tweets, it was also notable thanks to the sheer amount of advocacy about serious issues that occurred on social media.”

Wired: 2017 Was The Year We Fell Out Of Love With Algorithms. “WE OWE A lot to 9th century Persian scholar Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi. Centuries after his death, al-Khwarizmi’s works introduced Europe to decimals and algebra, laying some of the foundations for today’s techno-centric age. The latinized version of his name has become a common word: algorithm. In 2017, it took on some sinister overtones.”

Search Engine Journal: 20 Years of SEO: A Brief History of Search Engine Optimization . “Search engine optimization (SEO) very much revolves around Google today. However, the practice we now know as SEO actually pre-dates the world’s most popular search engine co-founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Although it could be argued that SEO and all things search engine marketing began with the launch of the first website published in 1991, or perhaps when the first web search engine launched, the story of SEO ‘officially’ begins a bit later, around 1997.”

New Indian Express: Jammu and Kashmir government bars employees from airing political views on social media. “Airing political views on personal social media accounts could now land Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) government employees in trouble. The J&K government today barred its employees from using their social media accounts for any political activity by amending the conduct rules for them.”


New York Times: Cities Sue Over Pentagon’s Failure to Report Crimes to Gun Database. “Three major cities have filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department for its failure to report many criminal convictions in the military justice system to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its national gun background-check database. The Pentagon has for years run afoul of federal laws intended to keep guns out of the hands of felons and domestic abusers by not transmitting to the F.B.I. the names of service members convicted of crimes that disqualify gun ownership.”


Lauren Weinstein’s Blog: Google Home is Leaving Elderly and Disabled Users Behind. “I continue to be an enormous fan of Google Home…But as time goes on, it’s becoming obvious that a design decision by Google in the Home ecosystem is seriously disadvantaging large numbers of potential users — ironically, the very users who might otherwise most benefit from Home’s enormous capabilities.”

Quartz: Google’s voice-generating AI is now indistinguishable from humans. “Humans have officially given their voice to machines. A research paper published by Google this month—which has not been peer reviewed—details a text-to-speech system called Tacotron 2, which claims near-human accuracy at imitating audio of a person speaking from text.” Good morning, Internet…

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