Gaston College, Appalachia Coal Mining, Netherlands Genealogy, More: Tuesday Buzz, July 31, 2018


DigitalNC: Over 60 Years of Gaston College Catalogs Now Online at DigitalNC. “Over 60 years and dozens of catalogs from Gaston College are now online at DigitalNC. The publications span over six decades, from 1955 to 2018. Founded in 1952, the institution was originally called Gaston Technical Institute. Run under the banner of the School of Engineering at North Carolina State College (which changed its name to NC State University in 1962), the school was later renamed to Gaston College in 1964. These catalogs cover admissions, student registration for classes, scheduling, financial aid information, and lists of programs and classes.”

Yale Environment 360: New Mapping Tool Visualizes 30 Years of Mountaintop Removal. “From 1985 to 2015, coal companies blasted an average of 21,000 acres of Appalachian land every year in search of coal — an area about half the size of Washington, D.C., according to a new satellite mapping tool that allows users to track mountaintop removal over the last three decades in 74 key coal-mining counties.”


FamilySearch: FamilySearch Adds 29 Million Netherlands Records. “If you’re looking for your Dutch ancestors, your search has just become much easier. FamilySearch has published 29 million new, free historical records from the Netherlands, making it easier than ever to trace your Dutch roots. With the latest additions, FamilySearch now offers over 65 million free images and indexes in its Netherlands collections.”

Tubefilter: Google Categorically Refuses to Remove The Pirate Bay’s Homepage. “It’s hard to spot consistent trends in the mass influx of DMCA takedown notices Google receives. One thing is pretty clear though, the search engine consistently refuses to remove The Pirate Bay’s homepage from its index. This, despite dozens of attempts from a wide variety of copyright holders over the years.”


Wired: When in Nature, Google Lens Does What the Human Brain Can’t . “AI-powered visual search tools, like Google Lens and Bing Visual Search, promise a new way to search the world—but most people still type into a search box rather than point their camera at something. We’ve gotten used to manually searching for things over the past 25 years or so that search engines have been at our fingertips. Also, not all objects are directly in front of us at the time we’re searching for information about them.”

Slate: How to Track the Wildfires Raging Across the Western U.S. Online. “The Carr fire raging in Shasta County, California has already claimed the lives of six people, with another seven people reported missing. It’s responsible for the destruction of 966 structures, making it the ninth most destructive wildfire in the state’s history according to Cal Fire statistics. While firefighters have gained some ground in Shasta county, according to a Reuters report, there are still more than 60 wildfires that are considered uncontained, mostly concentrated on the western side of the country.”


Quartz: Google is laying the groundwork for life beyond advertising. “In spite of its dominance in mobile operating systems, productivity tools like Gmail, and forays into media with subscription services such as Google Play Music and YouTube TV, the company still makes nearly 90% of its money from advertisements and its advertising platform. Advertising is also the primary driver of revenue for its holding company, Alphabet, which has a large portfolio of other businesses including AI research lab DeepMind, autonomous driving company Waymo, life sciences company Verily, and investment groups GV and CapitalG.”

The Guardian: YouTube ‘found footage’ docs: urban legends in their own words. “Is a documentary still a documentary if no original material has been shot for it? Some intriguing new releases comprising ‘found’ YouTube clips and other online video ephemera suggest it definitely is. The resulting films can be profound and disturbing comments on how our obsession with online video is creating subcultures where myths and legends are shared and amplified. What’s really true in the ‘real’ world doesn’t matter.”


Ars Technica: 20 states take aim at 3D gun company, sue to get files off the Internet. “Twenty states announced Monday that they plan to ask a federal judge in Seattle to immediately issue a temporary restraining order against Defense Distributed, a Texas-based group that has already begun making 3D-printer gun files available on its DEFCAD website after a recent legal settlement with the US State Department.”


The Conversation: The math behind Trump’s tweets. “Given the volume of Trump’s tweets and their potential political relevance, we thought it would be revealing and novel to use mathematical methods to analyze the web of interactions formed by his most frequently used keywords.”

Arizona State University: Office of Naval Research awards ASU $1.6 million to study Russian propaganda. “Arizona State University has been awarded a $1.6 million grant from the Office of Naval Research, a division of the United States Department of the Navy. The project will examine thousands of mass media and social media postings in the Baltic States — Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — to help detect if Russia is planning a military invasion there.”

Tubefilter: Insights: Twitter, Facebook Investors Find No Upside In Doing The Right Thing. “The stock collapses this past week for Facebook and Twitter are not quite Ragnarok in Influencer Land, but perhaps we’re finally seeing a reckoning for transgressions past. The only problem: lessons learned here are unlikely to be the ones we need going forward. The message investors sent along with their sell orders is that outrageous behavior, fake followers, bogus news, fraudulent conspiracy theories, and election manipulation are fine, as long as ad and subscriber growth continue apace. But don’t you dare try to fix things so the business can be bigger in the long run.” Good morning, Internet…

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