International Trade, Trans Mountain, Facebook Advertising, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, May 28, 2018


EurekAlert: New platform for analyzing global trade in the last two centuries . “This new web platform, called Federico-Tena World Trade Historical Database, collects information about imports and exports from 140 countries from every continent from 1800 to 1938. This new data considerably improves previous studies and enables accurate historical continuity to current United Nations estimations, which contain data from 1948 to the present day.”

APTN: #TrackingTransMountain: A database of how Indigenous communities are affected by Kinder Morgan’s pipeline proposal. “Reporters across Canada are documenting a range of Indigenous voices that express support, concern and everything in between. These stories sometimes conflict, adding noise to a confusing but important part of the Trans Mountain story and leaving room for industry, anti-pipeline activists, and others to make competing claims to support their position. #TrackingTransMountain aims to present a more clear picture of the state of consultation across all of the communities affected. Building from the hundreds of pages of official documents, existing reporting and interviews with leaders and community members themselves, The Discourse, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and HuffPost Canada hope to offer information to help inform discussions about what’s happening.”

VentureBeat: Facebook releases its U.S. political ad archive. “The archive contains both ads promoting candidates for political office as well as those that Facebook has deemed to be ‘issue ads’ — ads that touch on a list of 20 hot-button topics that Facebook released earlier this month. These ads will also be labeled in users’ news feeds starting today, with a ‘paid for by’ tag. Political and issue ads on Instagram will also be labeled.”


BetaNews: Apple to add details of government app takedown requests to transparency report. “Apple has announced that it is to expand the scope of its twice-yearly transparency report. Starting with one of its next report — the one which will cover the period July 1 to December 31, 2018 — the company will share details of government app takedown requests.”


Atlas Obscura: The Wit and Wisdom of Ancient Jewish Graffiti . “Starting some 3,000 years ago, Jews scratched walls at homes and public spaces with prayers, warnings, blessings on deceased relatives, and store advertisements. They even used graffiti to mark rows of theater seats that were reserved for Jewish groups. In the margins of the texts, they sketched outlines of ships, people, menorahs, and synagogue columns…. Dr. [Karen] Stern plans to create an online database of Jewish graffiti, which can be updated as more examples surface. ‘Sometimes it’s accidents that produce exciting finds,’ she says. People plowing fields or excavating basements still uncover ruins sometimes, where someone Jewish once engraved messages to grieve, scare away thieves, market local products or save seats for some cousins.”

Motherboard: Leaked Documents Show Facebook’s Post-Charlottesville Reckoning with American Nazis. “‘James Fields did nothing wrong,’ the post on Facebook read, referring to the man who drove a car through a crowd protesting against white supremacy in Charlottesville in August 2017, killing one. The post accompanied an article from, a conservative website. In training materials given to its army of moderators, Facebook says the post is an example of content ‘praising hate crime,’ and it and others like it should be removed. But after Charlottesville Facebook had something of an internal reckoning around hate speech, and pushed to re-educate its moderators about American white supremacists in particular, according to a cache of Facebook documents obtained by Motherboard.”

Hoodline: African American Museum receives grant to digitize rare protest footage. “Rarely-seen footage of protests from the 1960s – 70s will soon be freely available online thanks to a grant awarded to the African American Museum & Library at Oakland…. The grant will be used to digitize 98 films and four audiotapes documenting protest movements, including protests by the Black Panther Party, students protesting the Vietnam War and union demonstrations.”


The Register: You know that silly fear about Alexa recording everything and leaking it online? It just happened. “It’s time to break out your ‘Alexa, I Told You So’ banners – because a Portland, Oregon, couple received a phone call from one of the husband’s employees earlier this month, telling them she had just received a recording of them talking privately in their home.”


University of Oslo: Researching old Germanic languages. “What do Old English, Old Norse, Old High German, Old Saxon and Gothic have in common? Well, they are all old Germanic languages, and are now the subject of a new research project at the Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages. The project is led by Associate Professor Kristin Bech…. As part of the research project, the researchers are also working on developing a completely new database of noun phrases. This is pioneering work, explains Kristin Bech.

Internet Archive: The ACCESS to Recordings Act is the Right Way to Fix Music Copyright. “Senator Wyden (D-OR) has introduced a common sense bill to fix a bad mistake made by Congress in the 1970s as an alternative to the bad bill Congress is currently considering. The Accessibility for Curators, Creators, Educators, Scholars, and Society (ACCESS) to Recordings Act would extend full federal copyright to sound recordings created before 1972–works that currently only have state law protection.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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