Vietnam Political Prisoners, African-American Genealogy, Public Transportation, More: Monday Buzz, March 5, 2018


Global Voices: Here’s What We Learned from the Online Database of Vietnam’s Political Prisoners. “Launched in January 2018, the Vietnamese Political Prisoner Database provides comprehensive and routinely updated information on the country’s political prisoners. Built by 88 Project, a group that works to extend assistance to political prisoners and their families, the website currently lists 113 activists who are in detention, 23 of whom are facing pre-trial investigation.”

Please note, this link is to a Facebook Page post. Maryland State Archives has launched a new African-American genealogy guide. “We are proud to announce our new guide to Researching African American Families at the Maryland State Archives. This publication was updated by Archives’ staff thanks to a generous grant by the Four Rivers Heritage Area and the Friends of the Maryland State Archives. Print copies are available in our public search room, and you can access a complete web enabled version online.”

Holy cow, I love the Internet. Mobility Lab: The ultimate TV and movie public transportation database. “We’re excited to present the first-ever database of public transportation’s appearances in TV shows and movies. Entertainment plays a big role in influencing our decision-making, as we discussed in this article about Hollywood’s misrepresentation of transit. One reader even told me that her husband was scared to ride the New York subway after watching The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3 in the 1970s. At Mobility Lab, we believe that we can create the transportation system we want by using the existing infrastructure in more sustainable and equitable ways. When we drive less, we make more room for biking, better bus service, and walking.”


A tip o’ the nib to Sarah CS! From the Newberry: With New Open Access Policy, the Newberry’s Digital Collections Are Now Available for Re-use without Licensing or Permission Fees. “The Newberry has announced a major revision to its policy regarding the re-use of collection images: images derived from collection items are now available to anyone for any lawful purpose, whether commercial or non-commercial, without licensing or permission fees to the library. Applying to everything from the pictures researchers take in the library’s reading rooms to the 1.7 million high-resolution Newberry images currently available online, the revised policy is intended to encourage users to interact more freely with collection items as they produce new scholarly and creative work.” As the press release notes, it is still your responsibility to determine whether an item might have other permission requirements associated with it.

The Register: Dropbox to let Google reach inside it and rummage about. “Dropbox and Google have announced they will integrate some of their services. As explained by Dropbox, the plan means its users ‘will be able to create, open, edit, save, and share Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides directly from Dropbox. And when you’re working in Dropbox, you’ll be able to save Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to your Dropbox account.'”

TechCrunch: Twitter is now specifically focusing on increasing black, Latinx and female representation. “Twitter met or surpassed many of the diversity and inclusion goals it set for itself for 2017, the company announced today. Twitter is now 38.4 percent female, compared to 37 percent in 2016. Regarding underrepresented minorities at Twitter, representation increased from 11 percent in 2016 to 12.5 percent in 2017. Though, Twitter’s process for defining URMs is to include people who declined to self-identify, which is a undoubtedly a weird way to do things.”


Wolfram Blog: Web Scraping with the Wolfram Language, Part 1: Importing and Interpreting. “Do you want to do more with data available on the web? Meaningful data exploration requires computation—and the Wolfram Language is well suited to the tasks of acquiring and organizing data. I’ll walk through the process of importing information from a webpage into a Wolfram Notebook and extracting specific parts for basic computation.” oo!


The Next Web: This startup is creating the cultural cryptocurrency for museums and institutions. “At its core, Cultural Places is a social network for artists, curators, and patrons, built by Oroundo, whose founders developed the concept over the last three years, which is creating a cultural ecosystem connecting customers and suppliers. The first version of the app has already been deployed with more than 30 institutions and landmarks including the Stephansdom cathedral in Vienna and the Borobudur Buddhist temple in Indonesia. But now it is moving on to its next phase – the Cultural Coin.”

Polygon: Discord is purging alt-right, white nationalist and hateful servers. “Atomwaffen Division, The Right Server, Nordic Resistance Movement, Iron March and European Domas are just some of the servers that were shut down recently as part of Discord’s attempt to purge its platform of hateful content.” Discord is a chat app designed for gamers but some people just use it because they like it. Lifehacker has a good overview article.


Ars Technica: 23,000 HTTPS certificates axed after CEO emails private keys. “A major dust-up on an Internet discussion forum is touching off troubling questions about the security of some browser-trusted HTTPS certificates when it revealed the CEO of a certificate reseller emailed a partner the sensitive private keys for 23,000 TLS certificates.” Womp womp womp wooooooompppp.


Arizona Public Media: Do Social Media Posts About Exercise Motivate? It’s Not Black or White, Study Says. “A new report co-authored by a University of Arizona researcher has mixed news for users of social media. The study found that some people become more self-conscious after seeing an exercise-related post, while others are motivated to do more physical activity as a result. UA communications professor Stephen Rains was an author behind the study. He noted the findings were similar to others looking at the impact of social media.”

The Hill: Congressional parties and social media – who is winning the Hill Twitter wars. “While receiving less attention than the president’s use of social media, congressional parties are also using the latest communications tools to their advantage. Are there differences between Republicans and Democrats in the volume and content of their messages? And do these differences have any political impact? The short answer is yes. Analyzing the use of Twitter by congressional parties provides some key insights.”


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