Irish History, Protest Signs, Ashkenazic Judaism, More: Wednesday Buzz, January 24, 2018


Irish Times: Kate Adie launches ‘Divided Society’ archive of Troubles. “Journalist Kate Adie at the Linen Hall Library in central Belfast has launched a new online archive of the Troubles and of the peace process of the 1990s. The digital resource called Divided Society features a wide range of material relating to the 1990s when Northern Ireland made the transformation from conflict, to a peace process, to the Belfast Agreement of April 1998.”

WBUR: You Can Now See The Posters From Boston’s Women’s March Online . This is the 2017 march, not the 2018 march. “Ever wonder what happened to the signs from the Women’s March in Boston last year? With the help of Northeastern University, a team of scholars, students and volunteers created an online archive of more than 6,000 posters and pieces of artwork from the Jan. 21, 2017 protest.”

Columbia University: Columbia University Libraries Launches Website for the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry (LCAAJ). “The LCAAJ archive is an extraordinary resource for research in Yiddish studies that can shed much valuable light on language, ethnography, literature, folklore and music, anthropology, linguistics, Germanic and Slavic studies, and aspects of Central and East European history. The archive consists of over 600 interviews conducted between 1959 and 1972 with native speakers of Yiddish during a long-range comparative study to document the effects of physical, linguistic, and cultural channels and barriers on the geographic fragmentation of the Jewish and diverse non-Jewish populations that coexisted in Central and Eastern Europe before World War II. The LCAAJ project collected its interviews at essentially the last moment, when a diverse body of native speakers was still alive, aiming to address both the challenge of an endangered linguistic and cultural legacy, and the special potential that Yiddish provides for studying language and cultural contact and change.”


Engadget: Google’s $20 million Lunar Xprize will end without a winner. “The Lunar Xprize is about to come to an anticlimactic end after more than a decade. Google has confirmed to CNBC that it doesn’t plan to extend the $20 million competition past its March 31st deadline — itself an extension well beyond the original 2014 end date. Given that all the finalists either don’t have the funds to continue or don’t expect to launch that quickly (the fastest, SpaceIL, might not launch before the end of 2018), the competition is effectively over with no winners. Not that Google minds, however.”

CNET: Facebook seeks to redefine time with ‘flicks’. “If Facebook gets its way, maybe the next time you want your friend to hold the door for a second, you’ll say, ‘Hang on for 705,600,000 flicks.’ Well, OK, you probably won’t. But you could, because Facebook introduced a new unit of time on Monday called the flick. The company thinks it’ll be useful for programmers if not for talking to your pal while you run back for your keys.”


MakeUseOf: 5 Uncomplicated Note-Taking Web Apps to Be More Productive . “A lot of productivity is about discarding unnecessary things that you think are necessary. Strip the useless bits of note-taking apps and you’re left with lean and mean productivity tools, ready to get things done. It’s something that the Notes app on macOS and the ever-popular Simplenote app do well. And that’s the philosophy that more apps have taken up.”

Knight Center: Join the revolution in conversational journalism: Register now for ‘Building Bots for Journalism,’ a free online course. “Bots have been a buzzword for journalists in recent years because of their abilities to reach readers on platforms consumers are already using on a daily basis: SMS text, Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Facebook Messenger. In the next MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, John Keefe from news site Quartz — a pioneer and promoter of conversational journalism — will teach you the basics of writing a bot that will respond to readers like a human through text or speech.”


Bloomberg Quint: Google, Facebook Target Paris as a Center for AI Expansion. “Paris is gaining ground as a European hub for artificial intelligence research as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. pledge to hire staff and invest in labs, after their top executives met with French President Emmanuel Macron.”


CNN: Infant Social Security numbers are for sale on the dark web. “The personal details of children — including dates of birth and mother’s maiden names — have been sought after for years. Now, researchers have found an ad on a forum for the sale of data claiming to be from infants. The cost: $300 worth of bitcoin for each baby’s data set.”


New York Times: What if a Healthier Facebook Is Just … Instagram?. “For the past several years, Facebook has been conducting what amounts to an A/B test on human society, using two different social media apps. The first app in Facebook’s test has a maximalist design: It allows users to post lengthy status updates, with links to news articles, photos, videos and more. The app is designed as a giant megaphone, with an emphasis on public sharing and an algorithmic feed capable of sending posts rocketing around the world in seconds. The second app in the test is more minimalist, designed for intimate sharing rather than viral broadcasting.”

University of Southern California: Internet use at home soars to more than 17 hours per week. “Since the internet became mainstream less than 20 years ago, faith in traditional institutions and consumption of traditional media has also been displaced by faith in newer, digital institutions and consumption of newer, digital media, according to the 15th annual Digital Future Report recently produced by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. In the years since the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future published its first Digital Future Report in 2000, the internet has evolved from a secondary medium to an essential component of daily life.”

Ars Technica: Net neutrality is bad? 1 million PornHub employees can’t be wrong. Oh, wait.. “If Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai actually allowed the weight of public comments on the FCC’s proposed changes to network neutrality regulations to sway (or confirm) his position, he seems to have given more credence to the ‘opinions’ of spam-generating software “bots” than actual citizens, researchers have found. At the Shmoocon information security conference on Saturday, Leah Figueroa, lead data engineer at the data analytics software company Gravwell, presented a detailed analysis of the public comments submitted to the FCC regarding network neutrality. Applying filters to the over 22 million comments submitted to the FCC, Figueroa and her team attempted to identify which comments were submitted by real US citizens—and which were generated by bulk-uploading bots.” Good morning, Internet…

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