Harriet Tubman, Disney Parks, Iowa Alcoholic Beverages, More: Thursday Buzz, March 8, 2018


Library of Congress: Library Conserves, Digitizes Rare Photographs Including Harriet Tubman Portrait. “The Library of Congress has conserved and digitized an album containing 48 rare photographs dating to the 1860s – including a previously unrecorded portrait of Harriet Tubman and images of other abolitionists – and the album will be exhibited for the first time at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture later this year. Each image was cleaned, digitally scanned and returned to the album.”

Engadget: Google adds Disney parks to Street View. “Last year Google revamped its Street View cameras to help us better map the real world, now it’s taken the technology to a much more magical land. From today, you’ll be able to explore inside 11 Disney Parks, getting an on-the-ground glimpse of all its castles, rides and attractions, including the captivating Avatar-themed world of Pandora.”

New-to-me: a Web site listing producers of alcoholic beverages in Iowa. “The Iowa Tourism Office recently announced an update to the Iowa Wine and Beer app and a new Iowa Wine and Beer directory. The update adds 15 more breweries since the app originally launched in 2015.” Making just over 175 of them.

British Library: Introducing the Lotus Sutra Project. “The Lotus Sūtra, whose earliest known Sanskrit title is the Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra and means ‘Sūtra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma,’ was possibly composed between the first century BCE and the second century CE. It is thought to contain the Buddha’s final teaching, complete and sufficient for salvation…. If a few have already been digitised and are now accessible via the International Dunhuang Project (IDP) website, a large proportion has remained practically untouched since their discovery in 1907 and is currently unavailable online. Thanks to a generous grant from the Bei Shan Tang Foundation, in Hong Kong, work is now underway to address this issue. The aim of this four-year project is to conserve and digitise nearly 800 copies of the Lotus Sūtra in Chinese, with a view to make images and information about them freely accessible on the Internet.”


Baltimore Sun: Maryland’s highest court reinstates police officers’ names to database of cases. “Maryland’s highest court voted unanimously Tuesday to restore the names of police officers to the public’s online database of court cases, overturning changes that erased the names last week and ignited swift backlash.”

Bleeping Computer: Google Chrome 65 Released with Tab-Under Blocking, New APIs, 45 Security Fixes. “Of all the new features shipped with Chrome, probably the most important is a new security feature that now blocks tab-under redirects —when a web page opens links in new tabs and redirects the old tab to a new URL. Tab-unders are used by malvertisers, but also by your regular advertisers as well, mainly because they bypass Chrome’s built-in popup blocker and allow advertisers to open multiple tabs pushing unwanted products, services, or sites.”

The Next Web: Google Lens now describes landmarks and creates contacts from business cards. “Google Lens is a handy little tool. Announced at Google I/O 2017, Lens is essentially a visual search engine. Take a picture with your phone, and Google will do some clever analysis and provide insights into what you’re looking at. Now, it’s getting even better, and can store information from business cards as contacts, and even describe landmarks you’ve spotted.”


Buzzfeed: Facebook’s Political Nightmare Is About To Get Worse. “For Facebook, which is still reeling from manipulation of its platform by fake news purveyors and Kremlin-linked trolls seeking to disrupt US politics, November’s midterms are a chance to show ornery regulators and an increasingly distrustful public that it can effectively shut down malicious activity within its own platform. But they’re a daunting challenge as well, one complicated by fast-evolving tools of misinformation, bad actors incentivized by Russian success, and a ferociously politicized environment — all contributing to a broad and ongoing pollution of the public discourse.”

Harvard Business Review: Can African Tech Startups Succeed in a World Dominated by Facebook and Google?. “Last year Facebook became the second largest e-commerce company in Africa after Jumia, the industry leader. The American social media giant did not celebrate that feat, though, because it never promoted itself as an e-commerce firm. But as global technology brands penetrate African economies, it is becoming evident that most local startups are experiencing new levels of competition, which could potentially disrupt their operations.”


The Guardian: Blocked by Trump on Twitter – now crusaders take their case to court. “Figueroa O’Reilly is now a co-plaintiff in a high-profile free-speech lawsuit that accuses the president of violating her first amendment rights by silencing her in an online forum maintained by him and select aides. Oral arguments in the case, brought in US district court by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, are scheduled for Thursday in New York. The case is being watched closely not only for its curiosity value, but also as a test of how courts will apply the first amendment in the context of public officials’ use of social media accounts, at a time when the role of social networks in politics has generated intense controversy.”


Bloomberg Quint: Google AI Used by Pentagon Drone Project in Rare Test. “Google’s artificial intelligence technology is being used by the U.S. Department of Defense to analyze drone footage, a rare and controversial move by a company that’s actively limited its work with the military in the past.”

Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society: Organic search: How metaphors help cultivate the web. “Do you prefer your search results ‘organic’? What may sound funny to the rest of us has long been a concern for search engine professionals around the world. Already the 2010 version of Google’s own Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide called those ten blue links usually associated with search results ‘organic’ – everything else was ‘paid’ or ‘sponsored’.” Good morning, Internet…

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