Emojis, Egyptian Revolution, North Carolina Wills, More: Saturday Buzz, January 27, 2018


Sidney Daily News: Wright State student develops emoji software. “There is a smiley face and a frowny face. There are clapping hands, thumbs up and thumbs down. There are hearts and kissy lips. They are emojis — those wildly popular images that have become a language of their own among smartphone users. And there are a lot of emojis — 2,766 to be exact. Wright State University researchers have created a new database that more precisely defines the meaning of each emoji and promises to improve communication between those who send and receive them. And the database is now being used by the largest group of computer scientists on the planet.”

The Atlantic: An Internet Archive Seeks to Rekindle the Egyptian Revolution’s Spirit. “Egypt’s 2011 revolution was remarkable for its self-awareness. The power to photograph, film, and broadcast protests across the Internet in real time seemed to prove the emancipatory power of technology. At Tahrir Square, an independent media group formed by a handful of young activists called Mosireen collected videos recorded by smartphone-wielding protesters that documented police abuses. Mosireen hoped to use the crowd-sourced videos as evidence against President Hosni Mubarak’s brutal security forces in court. But those trials never came to pass: Egyptian courts cleared Mubarak and some of his top aides of any responsibility for the shooting of demonstrators in the revolution’s first days.”

State Archives of North Carolina: New Digital Collection: Secretary of State Wills. “The State Archives of North Carolina would like to announce the creation of the new digital collection, North Carolina Secretary of State Wills. The digital collection contains wills from 1663 to 1789. These are loose original wills probated in the province. After 1760 most original wills were kept by the clerk in the county in which they were probated, though there are some wills after 1760 in the collection.”


The Next Web: Google is building Bulletin, a hyperlocal community news service. “Google is working on a new way to source and highlight hyperlocal news from citizen journalists. It’s called Bulletin, and it lets anyone publish a news story just by blogging and sharing images and video straight from their phone through the platform’s mobile app – without the need to create an outlet of their own. The idea is to highlight stories from within communities, by making them visible through Google search.” While I’m a big fan of local and hyperlocal news, I’m having trouble reconciling this with Google’s problems with fraudulent information in its regular Google News product. Surely you don’t get rid of that by opening a platform wider?

DigitalNC: Twelve More Years of the News-Record Digitized. “Twelve years and over 7200 pages of the News-Record have been added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Madison County Public Library. The collection had previously covered from 1912 to 1976 sporadically – these new pages cover from 1976 to 1988, adding over 650 issues to our holdings. Based out of Marshall, the News-Record is a weekly newspaper that covers Marshall, Mars Hill, and the rest of Madison County.” To be clear this is the Madison News-Record, and not the Greensboro News & Record.


The Register: Acronis: Ransomware protection! Get yer free ransomware protection!. “Acronis has released a free, standalone version of its Acronis Ransomware Protection with AI-based Active Protection tech. It can be used alongside existing backup and antivirus products on Windows systems.” The software is Windows only, but it is free and doesn’t require any sort of registration to download.

Lifehacker: How to Translate Wikipedia’s Pronunciation Guides. “Say you’re looking up the Möbius strip on Wikipedia, and you wonder how it’s pronounced. Wikipedia only shows some elaborate pronunciation guide written in the International Phonetic Alphabet. You could start googling it in another tab, but there’s an easy way to translate that pronunciation guide into plain English.”


The Himalayan Times: Chronicler of Himalayan expeditions Elizabeth Hawley passes away. “Elizabeth Hawley, chronicler of Himalayan expeditions, died of pneumonia early Friday morning, according to the officials in the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. She was 95. Ministry official Gyanendra Kumar Shrestha informed, Hawley, the founder of the Himalayan Database, breathed her last at the CIWEC Hospital — a travel medicine centre to treat foreign diplomats and aid workers in Nepal — at around 3:00 am today. She was admitted to the hospital a week before.”

ThinkProgress: A dangerous piece of fake news is spreading like wildfire on Facebook. “A study from NewsWhip found earlier this week that one of the top four stories with the most engagement since Facebook’s change belonged to YourNewsWire, a notorious fake news factory. The story, which claimed that an unnamed ‘CDC doctor’ said the flu vaccine was ‘causing [the] deadly flu outbreak,’ had at the time generated more overall engagements than any story from outlets like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, CNN, NPR, or even Fox News. (The YourNewsWire story has since fallen a few slots.) At last check, the YourNewsWire story had nearly a half-million total Facebook engagements. ”


AP: Kansas ethics database taken offline over privacy questions. “Kansas took an ethics database offline Thursday over questions about how it gave users access to financial disclosure forms for hundreds of elected officials and state employees that included the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.”


Go Dan River: Open the database to the public. “Two years ago, reporters for the Daily Press, the newspaper for Newport News and the Hampton Roads region, embarked on a massive data dive to examine statewide patterns of justice in Virginia. An online database of circuit court cases is maintained by the Supreme Court of Virginia. It’s a veritable treasure trove of information with information on millions of cases, but it’s hardly user-friendly. Daily Press reporters found it could only be searched on a case-by-case basis — it’s impossible to pull up, say, all the cases for a specific judicial circuit, municipality, crime or any other criteria.”

Quartz: A Facebook experiment with California liberals and Alabama conservatives suggests beliefs, not facts, are what really divide us. “Just over a year after voters placed Donald Trump in the White House, the country remains more divided than ever. After initial overtures, many voters and pundits have sprinted farther away from one another. On one side are essays like Frank Rich’s ‘No Sympathy for the Hillbilly.’ On the other, is the ongoing vitriol of Trump’s online legions. But going into mid-term elections later this year, one group thinks there is common ground. It’s bringing together Democrats and Republicans from the Deep South and coastal California. And it’s using the same platform that helped tear apart these two groups in the first place: Facebook.” Good morning, Internet…

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