Medieval Paintings, Twitter, Google Voice, More: Thursday Buzz, May 24, 2018


Radio Praha: National Gallery’s App Reveals Hidden Medieval Secrets. “The National Gallery in Prague has launched its first mobile application, called Hidden Secrets of Medieval Paintings. It offers visitors an interactive viewing of selected panel paintings, which are on display in the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia, and uncovers some interesting facts about their origin as well as some secrets hidden under the top layer.”


The Verge: Twitter is killing off its apps for Xbox, Roku, and Android TV. “Today Twitter announced it is killing off several of its apps, including Twitter for Android TV, Twitter for Roku, and Twitter for Xbox. Twitter for Xbox allowed for curated Twitter commentary to display while watching videos, and had a whopping average rating of one and a half stars out of five on the Microsoft store. The dismal feedback is due to the fact that these Twitter apps don’t actually allow you to tweet from your account or fully interact with the Twittersphere in general.”


CNET: How to port your landline number to Google Voice. “Still hanging onto your home phone? Worse, still paying for it? I suspect this is pretty common. It’s a hassle to give up a landline, if only because that number you’ve had for so many years is ‘on file’ at so many places. It’s your home number — and you need to keep that, right? The number, yes. But the service? Well, that’s another matter. By porting that number to Google Voice, you can keep your home number and actually make it a little more versatile. You can also stop paying extra for it — probably.”


Sydney Morning Herald: National Archives confirms 10 jobs to go, admits to ‘decline’ in access to records. “A ‘downsizing’ at the National Archives of Australia has left it less able to give access to records, its boss David Fricker says. The agency that describes itself as Australia’s memory will lose another 10 staff this year after staffing cuts in 2017-18, he confirmed at a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday. It comes as the archives faces more applications from researchers to access records.”

Motherboard: The Wayback Machine is Deleting Evidence of Malware Sold to Stalkers. “The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is a service that preserves web pages. But the site has been deleting evidence of companies selling malware to illegally spy on spouses, highlighting the need to diversify digital archives.” WHAT?

Variety: First New ‘Popeye’ Official Content in 10 Years Coming to YouTube. “Popeye, the 89-year-old spinach-powered mariner, will be launching his first new adventures in more than a decade in new animated originals slated to debut on the brand’s YouTube channel. The new material will come under a pact between WildBrain, a digital kids’ network and studio, and Hearst’s King Features Syndicate, which handles licensing for the Popeye franchise. WildBrain will create new animated content in the ‘squash-and-stretch’ animation style of Popeye, in collaboration with King Features.”


Scottish Legal News: Google comes under fire for revealing rape victims in searches. “Google is enabling users to uncover the identities of rape victims whose anonymity is guaranteed under law, The Times reports. Searches for criminals and alleged attackers in a number of prominent sexual assault cases reveal the names of women they have been convicted of attacking or accused of attacking.” You may remember that a similar issue was reported in Canada last September.

New York Times: Is Facebook Just a Platform? A Lawyer to the Stars Says No. “Paul Tweed made his name suing news organizations like CNN, Forbes and The National Enquirer on behalf of Hollywood movie stars, winning high-profile cases for celebrities like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake by hopscotching among Belfast, London and Dublin to take advantage of their favorable defamation or privacy laws. So it was telling last year when Mr. Tweed stopped by the Dublin office of a lawyer for Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants — many of which keep their non-United States headquarters in Ireland for tax reasons — with some half-playful questions.”


Engadget: Inside the animal internet. “Halfway across the world, a goat is shivering. You know this because you’ve hooked her up to an accelerometer, which can measure tiny changes in her body movements. You also know the goat’s heart rate, body temperature, how much energy she’s using, when she’s looking up or down and where exactly in her habitat she is at all times through high tech monitors. You have information about her immediate environment, things like temperature, humidity and altitude. With cameras, you can see the world from her vantage point. With acoustic sensors, you can hear her drink, feed and call to her goat kin.”

Pacific Standard Magazine: How To Protect Rare Books And Manuscripts From The Ravages Of Climate Change. “Centuries of written history are at risk of being damaged by climate change. Yet archivists, the stewards of this history, have sometimes been slow to wake up to the danger. This history, in the form of manuscripts, codices, printed books, and other material artifacts, is kept in expensive and well-ventilated university collections; it is tucked in crumpling cardboard boxes under the desks of local librarians; it sits crammed into the storage cupboards of city governments. Some documents attract scholars from around the world, while others hold scant interest beyond hobbyist historians. Many are irreplaceable. Almost all are at risk of degradation caused by projected temperature changes, humidity, sea level rise, storm surges, and precipitation, according to new research on United States collections by a group of archivists and climate scientists.”

MIT Technology Review: The US military is funding an effort to catch deepfakes and other AI trickery. “The Department of Defense is funding a project that will try to determine whether the increasingly real-looking fake video and audio generated by artificial intelligence might soon be impossible to distinguish from the real thing—even for another AI system. This summer, under a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the world’s leading digital forensics experts will gather for an AI fakery contest. They will compete to generate the most convincing AI-generated fake video, imagery, and audio—and they will also try to develop tools that can catch these counterfeits automatically.”


New Atlas: Music-search app gets you to draw songs in the air. “If you like moving your hands as if you’re conducting a piece of music that you like, then SoundTracer may be right up your alley. The experimental new iOS app allows you to find a song within a digital library, by ‘drawing’ that music in the air with your phone.” It’s very limited at the moment but I love the idea. Good morning, Internet…

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