Library of Congress, Yandex, VPNs, More: Monday Evening Buzz, October 22, 2018


Library of Congress: New strategy! New crowd! New team!. “Big news! We’ll launch a crowdsourcing program at the Library of Congress on October 24. We’re asking everyone to join us as we improve discovery and access across our diverse collections through transcription and tagging. The program is grounded in what we’ve learned through our previous experiences with participatory projects at the Library, including image description in Flickr and our newspaper captioning pilot Beyond Words. We’ll tell you more about the new initiative and its featured collections at launch next week…”

TorrentFreak: Yandex Under Fire Again, This Time For Linking to Blocked RuTracker. “Russian search giant Yandex is under fire again, this time for linking to previously blocked sites including RuTracker. A law passed last year forbids search engines from linking to sites previously blocked on the orders of the Moscow City Court, so a group of book publishers is now demanding fines and even a potential ISP blockade of Yandex in a first-of-its-kind action.”


Social Media Explorer: How to Use a VPN If Social Networks Are Blocked in Your Country. “Censorship of website content is a growing concern in countries all over the world. Governments and organizations may restrict website content gain more control. They don’t want citizens to have freedom of speech, or they want to eliminate competition for certain services. They might be concerned about the government image being ruined or the population organizing a revolt. Some of the most commonly blocked websites are social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. These social sites encourage freedom of expression, which goes against the laws in many of these countries.”

Google Blog: A new course to teach people about fairness in machine learning. “As [machine learning] practitioners build, evaluate, and deploy machine learning models, they should keep fairness considerations (such as how different demographics of people will be affected by a model’s predictions) in the forefront of their minds. Additionally, they should proactively develop strategies to identify and ameliorate the effects of algorithmic bias. To help practitioners achieve these goals, Google’s engineering education and ML fairness teams developed a 60-minute self-study training module on fairness, which is now available publicly as part of our popular Machine Learning Crash Course (MLCC).”

MakeUseOf: A Complete Guide to Managing Firefox Bookmarks. “Many people claim that browser bookmarks have become obsolete with the advent of online bookmarking, social bookmarking, speed dials, and features like that. But bookmarks are still useful if you learn how to manage and organize them. Today we’ll show you how to create, organize, and manage your bookmarks in Firefox so you don’t end up with a cluttered, chaotic collection.”


Los Angeles Times: Guadalupe Rosales used Instagram to create an archive of Chicano youth of the ’90s — now it’s an art installation. “‘Veteranas and Rucas’ began as a lark. It was 2015 and Rosales posted a few ’90s images to Instagram and invited others to send in their own ‘throwback photos.’ Of that initial post, she says, ‘I was just trying to connect with my family and culture.’ The connections poured in. Readers from all over — Venice, El Monte, Santa Ana, Ontario and Boyle Heights — submitted hundreds of digital images. Others submitted physical photographs, articles of clothing and old party flyers. Soon after, as the submissions began to span multiple decades, she started a second Instagram account, Map Pointz, devoted specifically to ’90s party culture.” I mentioned Ms. Rosales back in 2016 — linking to a cached version of the article as the original is gone. Glad she’s getting more recognition.


The Guardian: Millions of porn videos will not be blocked by UK online age checks. “Millions of sexually explicit videos will still be available online to children in the UK after new age verification rules come into force, due to a ‘commercial basis’ clause that exempts social media and image-sharing websites.”

The Verge: How to use Instagram like an appropriation artist. “Is it legal to take someone else’s photograph, post it on Instagram, print out the Instagram post, and sell it as art? This is the question that appropriation art pioneer Richard Prince has been fighting in court for years. In 2014, Prince premiered New Portraits, an art series composed of blown-up, printed-out Instagram screenshots. One contained a shot of a Rastafarian lighting a joint, posted by a user called ‘Rastajay92.’ Another featured a portrait of Sonic Youth bassist, guitarist, and vocalist Kim Gordon, uploaded on Prince’s own account. Neither photographer had gotten paid or credited, and both of them sued.”


Business Insider: A Google intern helped build an AI tool inspired by ‘Guitar Hero’ to let rookies play piano. “Self-playing pianos have existed for a while now, but now a team at Google have effectively built a self-improvising piano. A team of three at Google’s Magenta research project were inspired by ‘Guitar Hero’ to build a tool to let non-musicians make music using a simplified set of buttons. The team was made up of two Google AI researchers and one from Deepmind, Google’s British AI firm.”

MIT Technology Review: Digital immortality: How your life’s data means a version of you could live forever. “Hossein Rahnama knows a CEO of a major financial company who wants to live on after he’s dead, and Rahnama thinks he can help him do it. Rahnama is creating a digital avatar for the CEO that they both hope could serve as a virtual ‘consultant’ when the actual CEO is gone.” Good evening, Internet…

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