Orchids, Web Archives, Music Downloads, More: Tuesday Buzz, August 7, 2018


Smithsonian Insider: See thousands of orchids in incredible detail in the Smithsonian’s newly digitized collection. “More than 8,000 living specimens in the Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection have been digitized and are now available to see and study from anywhere in the world. The Smithsonian’s Mass Digitization Program, in association with the National Collections Program, started photographing the plants in December 2017 and recently put the complete collection online.”

Library of Congress: More Web Archives, Less Process. “The Library of Congress Digital Content Management Section is excited to announce the release of 4,240 new web archives across 43 event and thematic collections on, our largest single release of web archives to date! Web archives such as Slate Magazine from 2002 to present, Elizabeth Mesa’s Iraq War blog, and Sri Lanka’s current president Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign website (no longer live on the web) are now waiting to be discovered alongside millions of other Library items.”


Digital Trends: Here are the best free music download sites that are totally legal. “The internet has made it easy (but not totally legal) to download just about any song you want for free, but illegally downloading music isn’t an option if you’re looking to support the artists and producers who enrich our lives. As any true music lover knows, you should try to support the people who make your favorite tunes whenever possible. Downloading may not be as popular as streaming music, and there are some convenient ways to stream your favorite tracks for free — such as Spotify — but if you don’t want to pay, streaming options beyond that are fairly limited. So, what are the best free music download sites?”


Channel NewsAsia: Turkey to block Periscope during live football broadcasts. “A Turkish court on Saturday (Aug 4) ruled to block the live video-streaming service Periscope during top flight football matches, following a demand from the company with the exclusive rights to broadcast the games.”

WRAL: Crackdown on ‘bots’ sweeps up people who tweet often. “Nina Tomasieski logs on to Twitter before the sun rises. Seated at her dining room table with a nearby TV constantly tuned to Fox News, the 70-year-old grandmother spends up to 14 hours a day tweeting the praises of President Trump and his political allies, particularly those on the ballot this fall, and deriding their opponents…. While her goal is simply to advance the agenda of a president she adores, she and her friends have been swept up in an expanded effort by Twitter and other social media companies to crack down on nefarious tactics used to meddle in the 2016 election.”

Phys .org: Bangladesh shuts down mobile internet to tackle teen protests. “Bangladesh authorities have shut down mobile internet across swathes of the country, officials and local media said Sunday, as the authorities try to quell massive student protests that have spiralled into violence. For the last week students have brought parts of the capital Dhaka to a standstill with a protest against poor road safety after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus.”

Washington Post: The strange birth, death and rebirth of a Russian troll account called “AllForUSA”. “An Indiana man named Jesse D. Allen created a website in 2005 with the title, apparently to pursue some business interests, but he soon abandoned the site. A decade later, at the age of 80, Allen died. But AllForUSA was just getting started.”


PC Magazine: Facial Recognition: Should We Fear It or Embrace It?. “Advances in deep learning and artificial neural networks have propelled the speed and accuracy of facial recognition to new levels. But who’s making sure the tech is not being abused? At least one tech CEO is in favor of regulation to address this.”


TorrentFreak: Sci-Hub Proves That Piracy Can be Dangerously Useful. “Despite two lost legal battles in the US, domain name seizures, and millions of dollars in damage claims, Sci-Hub continues to offer unauthorized access to academic papers. The site’s founder says that she would rather operate legally, but copyright gets in the way. Sci-Hub is not the problem she argues, it’s a solution, something many academics appear to agree with.”

ScienceBlog: Artificial Intelligence Device Identifies Objects At The Speed Of Light. “A team of UCLA electrical and computer engineers has created a physical artificial neural network — a device modeled on how the human brain works — that can analyze large volumes of data and identify objects at the actual speed of light. The device was created using a 3D printer at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering.”

The Next Web: GDPR is eroding our privacy, not protecting it. “It’s been more than a couple of months since GDPR (the EU General Data Protection Regulation) came into force. The promise of giving the citizens back control of their personal data was brash and resonated with many of us, but apart from emboldening few data protection activists, the GDPR has not meaningfully changed the privacy status quo and hasn’t won us much control over our data.”


BGR: History buffs will love this site that maps the oldest building in every U.S. state. “We report so much on the bleeding edge of all things tech, but there’s another story on the far opposite side of that world that’s just as fascinating and as relevant to everything we see around us today. We’re talking about history — more specifically, the history of the built environment, which is the focus of one site that’s gone ahead and mapped the oldest still-intact structure in all 50 states.” Good morning, Internet…

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