Huna Tlingit, James Buchanan, Slave Insurance, More: Friday Buzz, February 23, 2018


Juneau Empire: Hoonah goes digital, launches trove of historic photos. “HHF [Huna Heritage Foundation] has been collecting photographs of historical and cultural relevance for the city of Hoonah and the Huna Tlingit people since its inception in the 1990s. Subject matter ranges from the arts, people, and places to activities like logging, fishing and specific events like the Hoonah fire of 1944. Now, through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the organization is working to bring its collection online for easy access by the public.”

Library of Congress: Papers of President James Buchanan and Harriet Lane Johnston Now Online . “The papers of President James Buchanan, who presided in the four years leading up to the Civil War, have been digitized and are now available online for the first time from the Library of Congress, along with the papers of his niece, Harriet Lane Johnston, who served as first lady in the White House. Buchanan was the nation’s only president who never married.”

Fairly new, I think, and spotted on TechCrunch: Treasury of Weary Souls, a Web site examining the practice of insuring slaves. From the linked page: “The Treasury of Weary Souls features about 1,300 antebellum policies, nearly half of them contributing to profits for some of the world’s largest insurance companies, including Aetna, AIG, and New York Life. Slave insurance was even more significant for US finance than these records reveal since The Treasury of Weary Souls features at most fifteen percent of antebellum slave insurance policies.”


Gizmodo: Conservative Twitter Users Lose Thousands of Followers, Mass Purge of Bots Suspected. “Twitter suspended thousands of accounts overnight and conservatives on the platform aren’t happy about it. Twitter has yet to make a public statement about the issue, but right-wing users believe that they’re being targeted in a mass purge of suspected Russian bot accounts.” The story has been updated with a statement from Twitter and from several real humans who had to confirm their accounts because Twitter was suspicious they were bots.

TechCrunch: Google debuts AdSense ‘auto ads’ with machine learning to make placement and monetization choices. “Google is today unveiling a new ad unit for AdSense that taps into the company’s big push to add more artificial intelligence into its business, and to potentially bring on more publishers who might consider ramping up their advertising efforts but don’t have the time or other resources to manage them.”


NPR: ‘Today In 1968’ Replays A Historic Year — On Twitter. “There’s no question that 1968 was a pivotal year in civil rights history. In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis; the Fair Housing Act was passed; two U.S. athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, took a stand and raised their fists in a monumental salute at the 1968 Summer Olympics; and Star Trek aired the first intergalactic and interracial on-screen kiss. All this, while the U.S. was embroiled in the Vietnam War.”

Family Tree Magazine: 22 Online Historical Photo Databases. “If you’re lucky, you know what your ancestors looked like from old pictures handed down in the family. But do you know what their house or neighborhood looked like? The businesses, churches and schools that formed the backdrop for their lives? The immigrant ships they sailed on? These images will turn your ancestors from words on a flat page to three-dimensional people with experiences of their own. But how to you get to there from here?” Nice roundup, decent annotations.


University of Tennessee Knoxville: Student volunteers are helping the McClung Museum uncover the history of black Civil War troops in Tennessee.. “For the past four years, hundreds of UT Chancellor’s Honor students have been transcribing more than 2,100 pages of handwritten Civil War documents. Their efforts are helping bring to life the history of the 1st US Colored Troops (Heavy Artillery) mustered in Knoxville in 1864. The goal is to make this overlooked African American achievement accessible in a digital archive.” The transcribing is expected to finish this year, but the digital archive won’t be available until after that.

Asia News Network: Jakarta to learn digital archiving. “Japan is offering to help Indonesia learn about digitally archiving its cultural heritage, as the Southeast Asian country is lagging behind its neighbours like Singapore and Malaysia, according to a prominent researcher in the heritage conservation field.”

The Guardian: YouTube promotes conspiracy videos attacking Florida’s shooting survivors. “YouTube is promoting conspiracy theory videos claiming that survivors of last week’s Florida school shooting are ‘crisis actors’, in the latest example of technology companies failing to tackle disinformation.”


Bloomberg Quint: Twitter, Google Sued From Opposite Sides Over White Pride. “Twitter Inc. is accused of censoring a self-proclaimed ‘white advocate,’ while Google faces claims that it didn’t protect employees from supremacist bullies. Silicon Valley was plunged deeper into the culture wars with a pair of new lawsuits in San Francisco Superior Court.”

Phys .org: Singapore invites cyberattacks to strengthen defences . “Hundreds of hackers have targeted Singapore’s defence ministry –- but the attacks were at the government’s invitation in an unusual attempt to strengthen cybersecurity. Authorities said Wednesday they had paid out US$14,750 in prize money to the best of the 264 so-called ‘white hat’ hackers—specialists who seek to break into networks to check for vulnerabilities—involved in the project.” Good morning, Internet…

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