Undark: In ToxicDocs.org, a Treasure Trove of Industry Secrets . “The site officially launched last Friday with an initial 20 million pages of material focused on six toxic substances: asbestos, benzene, lead, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), polyvinyl chloride, and silica, and millions more pages are coming.” The whole article is worth a read; in particular, the problems solved to process five million pages of documents with OCR. “A recent batch of about 1.5 million pages only required about three days to convert to OCR.” Yow!
Rutgers University Libraries: Historical NJ Newspapers Now Available in Digital Format through Library of Congress National Digital Newspaper Program. “The New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project is pleased to announce that the Perth Amboy Evening News, from 1903 to 1922, will be the first New Jersey newspaper to be digitized and made publically available through the Library of Congress Chronicling America website.”
Phys .org: Dark Energy Survey publicly releases first three years of data. “At a special session held during the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., scientists on the Dark Energy Survey (DES) announced today the public release of their first three years of data. This first major release of data from the Survey includes information on about 400 million astronomical objects, including distant galaxies billions of light-years away as well as stars in our own galaxy.”
TWEAKS AND UPDATES
CBR: Facebook launches open source group chat encryption tool . “Facebook has made a new tool available via GitHub that allows users to apply encryption to their social media group chats. Named the Asynchronous Ratcheting Tree, the open source tool is designed to enhance the security of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and the Signal App among others. In the event of a security breach, the tool would work to re-establish security, instead of simply leaving the entry point open for a hacker to return to in future.”
Polygon: YouTube removes Logan Paul from top-tier Google ad platform, YouTube Red projects on hold. “YouTube is beginning to punish Logan Paul in the wake of controversy. The company announced today that it will not move forward with a planned YouTube Red movie that Paul was supposed to star in. The Thinning: New World Order was supposed to be the sequel to Paul’s 2016 YouTube Red movie, The Thinning. A YouTube representative also confirmed to Polygon he is removed from Google’s top tier preferred ad program.” But did not kick him off entirely. I guess YouTube thinks there’s something redeemable about a vlogger who sees no problem filming and uploading a video featuring a corpse.
The Independent: How to shoot a film, or just better Instagram videos, on your iPhone. “Frederic van Strydonck is a filmmaker who shoots video exclusively with his iPhone. He’s been doing this for seven different models now and also runs workshops on filmmaking with smartphones.”
Library of Congress: Digital Scholarship Resource Guide: Making Digital Resources, Part 2 of 7. “The first step in creating an electronic copy of an analog (non-digital) document is usually scanning it to create a digitized image (for example, a .pdf or a .jpg). Scanning a document is like taking an electronic photograph of it–now it’s in a file format that can be saved to a computer, uploaded to the Internet, or shared in an e-mail. In some cases, such as when you are digitizing a film photograph, a high-quality digital image is all you need. But in the case of textual documents, a digital image is often insufficient, or at least inconvenient.”
AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
Axios: Twitter misses deadline to answer Senate Intel’s Russia questions. “Twitter missed a Monday deadline to respond to written questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee about Russian online interference in the election, the panel’s top Democrat said on Tuesday.”
New York Times: How Much Has ‘Climate Change’ Been Scrubbed From Federal Websites? A Lot.. “Nearly a year into the Trump administration, mentions of climate change have been systematically removed, altered or played down on websites across the federal government, according to a report made public Wednesday.”
Bloomberg: FBI Task Force to Expose Russian Social Media Manipulation. “The FBI plans to alert U.S. companies and the public about efforts by Russia or other nations to use disinformation and social media manipulation to interfere in upcoming elections, while being careful not to upset free speech and constitutional rights, a top law enforcement official said. The direction that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ‘foreign influence’ task force is heading could dramatically reshape the relationship between government and social media companies in order to address vulnerabilities that enabled Russia to meddle in the 2016 election.”
SECURITY & LEGAL
The Next Web: AI learns how to fool text-to-speech. That’s bad news for voice assistants. “A pair of computer scientists at the University of California, Berkeley developed an AI-based attack that targets text-to-speech systems. With their method, no matter what an audio file sounds like, the text output will be whatever the attacker wants it to be. This one is pretty cool, but it’s also another entry for the ‘terrifying uses of AI’ category.”
RESEARCH & OPINION
EurekAlert: Incorporating social media reviews can improve surveillance of restaurant health problems. “A recent paper published in JAMIA, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, illustrates the success of an improved system that tracks foodborne illness via online Yelp restaurant reviews developed by the Columbia University Department of Computer Science. Since 2012 this system has been used by the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to identify instances of foodborne illness in NYC restaurants.” Good morning, Internet…
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