Classical Music: Royal College of Music launches new database of musical instruments. “The Royal College of Music has launched a brand new database of musical instruments. MINIM-UK brings together over 20,000 instruments from more than 200 UK collections, making them digitally available to the public for the first time.” I mentioned this briefly last July, but that was one aspect of what looks to be a substantial collection.
EurekAlert: New DNA database at Rutgers-Camden to strengthen forensic science . “In analyzing DNA mixtures, scientists will often find partial matches, so part of the determination of whether a suspect contributed to an item of evidence depends on interpretations by forensic scientists. The Project Research Openness for Validation with Empirical Data (PROVEDIt) database will help reduce the risk of misinterpreting the profile.”
KLCC: New Website Lets Oregonians See Inspection Reports For Food, Hotels, and Pool Facilities. “With 25,000 licensed dining, pool, and lodging facilities across Oregon, it’s hard to look up every individual report that lists violations. Now the Oregon Health Authority has a website called HealthSpace that lets users search by county and business name any place that’s been licensed and inspected. This includes warehouses and recreational parks.”
TWEAKS AND UPDATES
BBC: Government announces anti-fake news unit. “The UK government is to establish a new unit to counter ‘fake news’, Downing Street has said. Theresa May’s spokesman said the ‘dedicated national security communications unit’ would be charged with ‘combating disinformation by state actors and others’.”
CNN: Google launches audiobooks — with no monthly subscription fee. “Google Play Books rolls out in 45 countries and nine languages starting Tuesday. The audiobooks are available on Android, iOS, the web and with Google Assistant-enabled devices like Google Home smart speakers. No subscription is required, and audiobooks can be purchased individually.” I think I’ll be stickin’ with Audible.
Mashable: Siri can now read you the news on your iPhone . “Siri just gained an important new ability: reading the news. Apple’s latest iOS update, rolling out now to iPhone and iPads, adds support for Siri’s new news-reading powers. ”
Irish Genealogy News: Three free online courses from FutureLearn start soon. “Starting soon via FutureLearn, The Open University’s digital education platform, are three free online courses which may be of interest to researchers of Irish heritage. In each case, the courses are open to all and are presented using videos, online discussions (active engagement is optional) and, sometimes, the preparation of written assignments. There are no formal qualification criteria for joining, just an interest in the subject to be studied.”
AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
Washington Post: Google for the first time outspent every other company to influence Washington in 2017. “All told, the search giant broke its own record by allocating more than $18 million to lobby Congress, federal agencies and the White House on issues such as immigration, tax reform, and antitrust. It also spent money to weigh in on an effort by lawmakers and regulators to regulate online advertising, which is at the core of Google’s business, according to disclosures filed to the Senate Office of Public Records.”
WHTC: Key Democrats urge social media companies to investigate Russia-linked accounts. “Senior U.S. congressional Democrats urged social media companies on Tuesday to investigate reported actions by automated Russia-linked accounts, in connection with a Republican memorandum that was said to be critical of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of President Donald Trump’s ties with Russia. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, wrote to Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc , requesting an ‘in-depth forensic examination.'”
Yahoo Entertainment: A Bunch Of TV Writers Are Building A Salary Transparency Database. ” In the continued pursuit of transparency, a Google spreadsheet has been created for TV professionals like writers, assistants, producers, and script coordinators to anonymously enter details about their salaries so people can see what their colleagues are making. There are columns devoted to criteria such as gender, whether or not a contributor is a person of color, network, job title, salary, and more, and while the data is a little dense for those not in the industry, it offers an interesting look for the casual viewer at the pay hierarchy behind the shows they mainline. ” I tried to open this spreadsheet and was told I’d need to ask permission to access, so maybe it’s been changed since the story was written.
SECURITY & LEGAL
The Register: Fresh botnet recruiting routers with weak credentials. “Security researchers believe the author of the Satori botnet is at it again, this time attacking routers to craft a botnet dubbed ‘Masuta’. The early-January Satori botnet attacked a Huawei router zero-day. Masuta also hits routers.”
RESEARCH & OPINION
Phys.org: Century-old botany records may hold key to monarch butterfly survival. “Naturalists’ records dating back more than 100 years may be instrumental in determining the fate of the monarch butterfly in the 21st century. Jack Boyle, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow of Environmental Science and Policy at William & Mary, has been using the web to mine millions of century-old botany records to track abundance patterns of milkweed in America. His hope is to solve the puzzle of how innovations in agriculture have affected the natural habitat for monarch butterflies. Using recently digitized herbaria records to get a picture of the past, Boyle aims to predict what the future may look like for milkweed.” Good morning, Internet…
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