Midway Village Museum, California Air Pollution, 2017 Popular Culture, More: Monday Buzz, January 1, 2018


Northern Public Radio: Midway Village Museum Brings Historic Images To Your Computer. “Rockford’s Midway Village Museum is making it easier for people to access historic images from the city’s past. The Museum often is asked for photos to help history buffs for family trees, business research, and school projects. Previously, you would have needed an appointment. Now, more than a thousand of the Museum’s most popular images are available online.”

Central Valley Business: Now you can view individual facility air pollutants and toxics online . “The tool allows users to search for individual facility data by name, industrial sector, year, type of facility and pollutant. Large emitters can be isolated by air basin, air district, county, town or ZIP code. Users can also see a number of overlays, including the statewide CalEnviroScreen map of disadvantaged communities and state assembly and senate districts. The mapping tool uses data from the state’s greenhouse gas mandatory reporting program. Local air districts provided data on criteria (i.e. smog-forming) pollution and air toxics emissions.”


Google Blog: Year in Search: The most fantastic fads of 2017. “Here today, gone tomorrow. Our annual Year in Search is always a fun look back at the fads that captured our fancy and then fizzled out fast. See what this year’s biggest crazes were, through the lens of Google Search…”


Make Tech Easier: Not a WordPress Fan? Here are 5 of the Best Static Website CMS for You . “Static site generators (SSGs) have grown in popularity among developers for certain types of websites. Tools like Jekyll, Hugo, Hexo and others have made it really easy to set up a website without worrying about server side dependencies. You can just edit the content and build the site on your local machine and then deploy to a live web server. Any web server that can serve HTML files can be used to host a static website, and there are even some tools that will host your static website for free such as GitHub Pages and Gitlab Pages.”

Popular Science: How to save everything you post to social media. “In this guide, we focus on saving photos and videos, because text posts are slightly more complicated—the only way to really preserve text from Facebook and Twitter is to download your entire archive (we’ll explain how to do this below), and Instagram and Snapchat don’t let you save or export your instant messages at all.”


New York Times: How Climate Change Deniers Rise to the Top in Google Searches. “America’s technology giants have come under fire for their role in the spread of fake news during the 2016 presidential campaign, prompting promises from Google and others to crack down on sites that spread disinformation. Less scrutinized has been the way tech companies continue to provide a mass platform for the most extreme sites among those that use false or misleading science to reject the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. Google’s search page has become an especially contentious battleground between those who seek to educate the public on the established climate science and those who reject it.”

Engadget: US Representative calls for civics-focused social networks. “In an article published today in TechCrunch, US Representative Rick Crawford called for a change in how elected officials engage with their constituents on social networks. He compared current options like Facebook and Twitter to a constituent trying to share their thoughts on a proposed law to a committee while a TV was blaring loudly in the background, spewing misinformation about the law and the elected officials. ‘Unfortunately, the incredible volume of highly politicized, paid advertising and misinformation diminishes the possibility for authentic communication before it even starts,’ writes Crawford. ‘The American people and their government need a new platform – or a serious modification of existing platforms – to engage each other in a more effective way.'”

National Catholic Register: Priests Make Use of Social Media to Reach Their Flocks. “Because of the ever-increasing popularity of social media, quite a few priests use it to reach out to their flocks as a form of ministry. Father Leo Patalinghug, who has 75,000 followers on Facebook, 16,000 on Twitter and 7,000 on Instagram, sees it as a means of evangelization. ‘It’s just the new “areopagus” of St. Paul’s time.’ He added, ‘It’s important for various Catholic institutions, parishes and organizations to have a social-media presence.'”


Mental Floss: Taking Facebook Quizzes Could Put You at Risk for Identity Theft. “From phishing schemes to a thief pilfering your passport, there are plenty of ways to fall victim to identity theft. And now, participating in Facebook quizzes is one of them. As ABC News reports, the seemingly harmless surveys that populate your feed could wind up providing unscrupulous hackers with the answers to your online security questions.” Not if you have made up an entire set of security question answers that have nothing to do with reality.

Quartz: The latest alleged “Nigerian prince” email scammer is a man in Louisiana. “You know the email: A Nigerian Prince is in trouble, and he can pay you handsomely if you’ll help him—that is, he can pay you sometime after you wire money to his account or hand over all of your bank information. The scam is by now so well-known that it has become a common trope in jokes. But a recent such scam departed sharply from the caricature when police made an arrest very, very far from Nigeria.”


Ars Technica: Is “Big Data” racist? Why policing by data isn’t necessarily objective. “Algorithmic technologies that aid law enforcement in targeting crime must compete with a host of very human questions. What data goes into the computer model? After all, the inputs determine the outputs. How much data must go into the model? The choice of sample size can alter the outcome. How do you account for cultural differences? Sometimes algorithms try to smooth out the anomalies in the data—­anomalies that can correspond with minority populations. How do you address the complexity in the data or the ‘noise’ that results from imperfect results? The choices made to create an algorithm can radically impact the model’s usefulness or reliability. To examine the problem of algorithmic design, imagine that police in Cincinnati, Ohio, have a problem with the Bloods gang—­a national criminal gang, originating out of Los Angeles, that signifies membership by wearing the color red.”

Dan Cohen: The Significance of the Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress. “Most of what is archived is indeed done so on a very selective basis, assessed for historical significance at the time of preservation. Until the rise of digital documents and communications, the idea of ‘saving it all’ seemed ridiculous, and even now it seems like a poor strategy given limited resources. Archives have always had to make tough choices about what to preserve and what to discard. However, it is also true that we cannot always anticipate what future historians will want to see and read from our era. Much of what is now studied from the past are materials that somehow, fortunately, escaped the trash bin.” Good morning, Internet…

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