RSS, Biology in VR, Windows 95, More: Friday Buzz, August 24, 2018


CogDogBlog: My 15 Year Old Web Tool Still Works (and was just updated) . “Do you know what you were doing in 2003? What do you rely on? I know, I have My Blog, My Outboard Brain. On May 5, 2003, maybe at the time Harvard Blogs was just starting, I was messing around with this way to have a service that would make RSS Feed content be something mere mortals could include in their web pages. The first one was called RSStoJS and used a bit of PHP code found elsewhere (on a site that is gone now) to parse a feed, take a few options, and return a set of JavaScript write statements to put that content on another page.”

Arizona State University: ASU Online biology course is first to offer virtual-reality lab in Google partnership. “Students in general biology classes usually don’t get to take blood samples from people, but an online class at Arizona State University not only lets students draw blood, they also can manipulate DNA — all in virtual reality. Thirty students in the general biology course under way now are using virtual-reality headsets to complete their lab requirement as part of a new partnership among ASU Online, Google and Labster. In total, 140 pairs of headsets will be available for students to borrow for the next round of classes starting in October.”

BetaNews: You can now run Windows 95 on Windows, macOS, and Linux. “…if you want to actually try out the original again (or for the first time if you came into Windows more recently) you can do so by installing a new app that runs on Windows, macOS, or Linux. Created by Slack developer Felix Rieseberg, it’s available in the form of an electron app. Most things work exactly as you’d expect them to, including WordPad, FreeCell, Calculator and Media Player, although you can’t currently browse the web with Internet Explorer sadly. It opens but pages don’t load.”

CNET: Twitch’s epic Pokemon marathon to stream 19 seasons, 16 movies. “Pokemon fans better get ready to tune into Twitch from Monday, when a marathon of the long-running show and its movies begins.”


From the excellent Larry Ferlazzo: “Elementari” Might Have Potential As A Story-creating Tool For Students. “Elementari is new tool to create stories or presentations. It’s free – for now, at least – and they are developing classroom features for teachers.”


The Woodstock Independent: ‘Groundhog Day’ Will Go On And On And On. “Those of us living in the real world, where time marches on, might still find it difficult to grasp that ‘Groundhog Day’ premiered 25 years, a quarter-century, a generation ago. And while Woodstock enthusiastically celebrates the movie every February, and now even in August, some of those involved in the filmmaking have passed away (notably director Harold Ramis in 2014), and memories inevitably fade. Hence, Woodstock resident Jennifer Wegmann-Gabb sees the need to preserve the stories, photographs, and memorabilia from the making of the movie in Woodstock in March to June of 1992.”

Reveal: Lost on the border: A decade later, a man finds his father’s remains on Facebook. “Eliseo Cárdenas Sánchez was browsing Facebook late one night in March when he landed on a series of photos: snapshots of his father’s identification card and a small pile of bones. Cárdenas Sánchez suddenly realized he likely was looking at all that was left of his father, Eliseo Cárdenas Zetina, who disappeared after trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in 2008.” Please be warned that this article includes graphic images of human remains.

Economic Times: Prepare a database of stolen antiques, make FIRs public: CIC tells ASI. “The Archaeological Survey of India should start publishing alerts, photographs and FIRs about thefts of antiques from historical sites to make their smuggling difficult, the Central Information Commission has said.” FIR in this case stands for First Information Report; you can get more details here.

Nieman Journalism Lab: We’re getting closer to the day when news apps and interactives can be easily preserved in perpetuity. “What if all the interactives a news organization ever made could be stored somewhere, accessible in the same form forever, even as the technologies people might use to access them change? That’s the dream, and that’s what a small team led by Katherine Boss, the librarian for journalism, media, culture and communication at New York University, and Meredith Broussard, assistant professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU, are trying to get the news industry closer to.”


The Register: Apache’s latest SNAFU – Struts normal, all fscked up: Web app framework needs urgent patching. “Another critical security hole has been found in Apache Struts 2, requiring an immediate update. The vulnerability – CVE-2018-11776 – affects core code and allows miscreants to pull off remote code execution against vulnerable servers and websites. It affects all versions of Struts 2, the popular open-source framework for Java web apps.” Does “Apache Struts” sound familiar even though you’re not a Web developer? Think Equifax.

Washington Post: 1,464 Western Australian government officials used ‘Password123’ as their password. Cool, cool.. “Somewhere in Western Australia, a government IT employee is probably laughing or crying or pulling their hair out (or maybe all of the above). A security audit of the Western Australian government released by the state’s auditor general this week found that 26 percent of its officials had weak, common passwords — including more than 5,000 including the word ‘password’ out of 234,000 in 17 government agencies.”


EurekAlert: Research finds bots and Russian trolls influenced vaccine discussion on Twitter . “Social media bots and Russian trolls promoted discord and spread false information about vaccines on Twitter, according to new research led by the George Washington University. Using tactics similar to those at work during the 2016 United States presidential election, these Twitter accounts entered into vaccine debates months before election season was underway.” Good morning, Internet…

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