Ukraine Folklore, Vine, Chrome, More: Monday Buzz, May 7, 2018


Launching May 19th — a digital archive of Ukranian folklore. From the site’s homepage: “Polyphony Project is proudly presenting the archives of a disappearing European heritage created to preserve the living tradition of Ukrainian vocal music. Our mission involves recording the intangible heritage of rural Ukraine in state-of-the-art sound and image quality, launching the archives and implementing online learning functions in order to integrate knowledge accumulated by generations into modern society.” There is a video on Facebook of five women who I believe are in the upcoming archive. For the first few minutes they just talk, but at about 3:05 they start singing and WOW. If you’re into vocal harmony groups like Sweet Honey in the Rock, do yourself a favor and watch that video.


The Verge: Vine co-founder postpones successor v2 for ‘indefinite amount of time’. “Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann announced today that his planned sequel to the popular and now-defunct short-form video app, tentatively called v2, will be postponed for an ‘indefinite amount of time’ while he figures out funding and logistical hurdles. The announcement, made on the v2 forums and reposted this morning by the official v2 Twitter handle, is a disappointing but understanding turn of events. Back in January, Hofmann suggested the app may launch as soon as this summer, which was an ambitious timetable.”

Google Blog: Improving Autoplay in Chrome . “For many, Chrome is more than a browser—it’s also a TV, phone, radio, and jukebox for the wide range of media experiences the web has to offer. And when you hit your favorite pump-up playlist, you want to get right to it instead of having to hit ‘play’ every time. At the same time, you probably don’t like it when you click on a link, land on a website, and it automatically plays sound that you weren’t expecting. In fact, in Chrome a significant number of autoplays are paused, muted, or have their tab closed within six seconds by people who don’t want them. That’s why we’re announcing a new policy on Chrome desktop to block unwanted autoplays.”


Martin Pitt: De-Googling my phone. “On a few long weekends this year it got a hold of me, and I had a look over the Google fence to see how Free Software is doing on Android and how to reduce my dependency on Google Play Services and Google apps. Less because I would actually severely distrust Google, as they have a lot of business and goodwill to lose if they ever majorly screw up; but more because of simple curiosity and for learning new things. I want to note down my experience here for sharing and discussing. I started experimenting on my old Nexus 4 by completely blanking it and installing current LineageOS 14.1 without the Google apps. This provides a nice testing ground that is completely free of any proprietary Google stuff. From that I can apply good solutions on my ‘production’ Xperia.”

MakeUseOf: 7 Instagram Alternatives for Smartphone Photographers. “Whatever kind of smartphone photographer you are, you’re probably on Instagram. But what if you’re bored of everyone’s over-the-top food pics, selfies, and other staged-for-Insta photos? Or you’re just not happy about Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and want to get away from everything related to Facebook (who happens to own Instagram)? Thankfully there are a number of great alternatives to Instagram. And we’ve compiled a list of them to save you having to go searching.”


designMENA: Digital archive of MIT Press’ landmark architecture books will be available free online. “The MIT Press, in collaboration with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has announced that it will digitise some of the most important out-of-print architecture and urban studies books published by the former, and make them freely accessible online for discovery and research. A $157,000 grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will help MIT Press, arguably the most influential architecture and urban research publishers, digitise an archive of image-rich and intellectually sought-after architecture and urban studies titles, which will come new forewords, specially commissioned for the collection. Upon the completion of this initiative, MIT Press aims to make available freely a minimum of 25 titles on several platforms, including its own ebook service.”

Tubefilter: More Than 250 Creators Get Into Hot Water For Promoting Academic Essay-Writing Service EduBirdie. “Influencer marketing allows online video channels to serve as legitimate businesses, but creators must still be careful about the companies they promote. Hundreds learned that lesson after a BBC report revealed that EduBirdie, an essay-writing service whose product has been described as a form of academic dishonesty, ran a widespread campaign of branded videos on YouTube.”

State Archives of North Carolina: Help Preserve and Protect N.C. Military History. “The Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina has launched, through the institution’s nonprofit support organization, the ‘Preserve N.C. Military History’ fundraising effort. The goal is to raise $9,500 to hire a contract archivist for 6 months or longer to help the Military Collection Archivist process, organize, describe, and make available a selection of over 75 feet of original military records and papers documenting North Carolina’s military history.” The state archives have started a GoFundMe and to my horror have raised nothing. It probably doesn’t help that the reward levels start at $100. C’mon y’all.


Miami Herald: Do Trump’s tweets contaminate 9/11 trial? War court judge to decide.. “President Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks about military justice stirred a dramatic exchange in a hearing Thursday for the accused conspirators of the 9/11 attacks, with defense lawyers arguing that the commander-in-chief exerted unlawful influence. At issue are Trump’s remarks on Twitter and in person about the decision to give no prison time to Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl and to urge the death penalty on a man who had not yet been charged for driving a van through a New York City bike path, killing eight people.”

F-Secure: Pr0nbots2: Revenge Of The Pr0nbots. “A month and a half ago I posted an article in which I uncovered a series of Twitter accounts advertising adult dating (read: scam) websites. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend taking a look at it before reading this article, since I’ll refer back to it occasionally. To start with, let’s recap. In my previous research, I used a script to recursively query Twitter accounts for specific patterns, and found just over 22,000 Twitter bots using this process. This figure was based on the fact that I concluded my research (stopped my script) after querying only 3000 of the 22,000 discovered accounts. I have a suspicion that my script would have uncovered a lot more accounts, had I let it run longer.”


The Next Web: OpenAI’s Debate Game teaches you and your friends how to lie like robots. “OpenAI’s new Debate Game teaches machines how to argue and lie in order to get what they want. And you can play it with your friends even if none of you are robots.”

TechCrunch: Our “modern” Congress doesn’t understand 21st century technology . “Facebook is a business that sells social connection, its algorithms are made for targeted advertising. The data that we users provide via friends, likes and shares makes their model lucrative. But connecting a person to a pair of shoes cannot be the same engagement algorithm that we use to build a cohesive democratic society. Watch any hearing on Capitol Hill. It’s a durable, if old fashioned bridge between leaders and citizens. Informed deliberation could be a lot more compelling, but it can never compete on the same turf with funny GIFs and targeted videos. Algorithms optimized for commercial engagement do not protect public goods like democratic discourse. They are built for shareholders, not citizens. To the contrary, they can exploit and damage democracy’s most precious resource– civic trust.” Good morning, Internet…

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