1947 Partition, Muslims in Brooklyn, Civil War Facial Recognition, More: Wednesday ResearchBuzz, November 21, 2018


New-to-me, from Pacific Standard: Saving The Library Before It Burns. “In July of 1947, Surjan Singh Sood sensed a coming danger. The British government had announced a plan to divide colonial India into two separate states and Surjan, having already received threats on his own life, wanted to move his family to safety. He loaded his wife and children into a friend’s car and sent them away, across the Punjab province of British India, from Lahore to the city of Ludhiana. At the time, there was no border to cross between Pakistan and India, and the family made the trip with only one or two boxes, leaving most of their possessions at home. To Surjan’s middle son, Kulbhushan, it seemed inconceivable that they would not return. But a month later, Lahore became part of Pakistan. His father’s decision to move the family quickly to Ludhiana may have saved their lives.” This story is about a digital archive for the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan.

Brooklyn Eagle: Faith In Brooklyn for November 19: Brooklyn Historical Society chronicles lives of ‘Muslims In Brooklyn’. “Fifty oral histories will be made available to the public on an online listening portal which shares the long, varied history of the highest concentration of Muslims in any geographic area in the United States. The project will launch at a ceremony on Thurs., Dec. 6.”

I mentioned this on RB briefly back in July, but now it’s launched! Slate: Who’s Behind That Beard?. “Together with Ron Coddington (editor of the magazine Military Images), Paul Quigley (director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies), and a group of student researchers at Virginia Tech, [Kurt] Luther crafted a free and easy-to-use website that applies facial recognition to the multitude of anonymous portraits that survive from the conflict, in the hopes of identifying the sitter.”


Kathleen Morris: How To Evaluate Websites: A Guide For Teachers And Students . “I don’t know about you, but I’ve found helping students to evaluate websites to be particularly tricky. There are lots of guidelines out there but I wanted to create a resource that reflects an effective and natural process, no matter what you’re researching or how old you are. Scroll down to find a printable flowchart for your classroom.”


New York Times: Too Much Information About Disinformation?. “What started as a one-off opinion video about Cold War-era Russian disinformation soon became two videos and then three as news of 2016 election meddling flooded in.”

Quartz: Google’s search predictions for work-related queries are a tragedy. “The Google search box is a sort of confessional for the digital age, a place to put the questions and admissions we can’t bring anywhere else in the hopes of absolution—or, better yet, an autocomplete prediction that immediately tells us we’re not the only one wondering whatever it is that compelled us to turn to the internet for answers.”

TechCrunch: Read the mud-slinging pitches Facebook’s PR firm sent us . “Facebook’s latest PR crisis has cast a lurid spotlight on a GOP-led publicity firm called Definers Public Affairs, after a New York Times investigation revealed last week the firm had sought to discredit Facebook critics by, in one instance, linking them to the liberal financier George Soros — a long-time target of anti-semitic conspiracy theories. The sight of any company paying a firm to leverage anti-semitic and antisocial sentiment on its behalf is, to put it very politely, not a good look.”

Wired: Inside the Pricey War to Influence Your Instagram Feed. “When Sahara Lotti started her lash extensions company, Lashify, in 2017, she didn’t know what she was getting herself into. It wasn’t making and selling fake lashes that stumped her—she was more than prepared for that—but rather the bizarre and shadowy industry that seemed to envelop her.” holy mackerel.


Slashgear: Hospitals, insurance companies leak more health data than hackers. “Hospitals, insurance firms, physician offices, and similar companies leak more personal health data than hackers, a new study has revealed. According to researchers with two major US universities, more than half of personal health data breaches resulted from problems with the medical providers themselves rather than an external force, such as hackers.”

ZDNet: Popular Dark Web hosting provider got hacked, 6,500 sites down. “Daniel’s Hosting, one of the largest providers of Dark Web hosting services, was hacked this week and taken offline, ZDNet has learned from one of our readers.”


Data for Progress: Identifying and Estimating the Ideologies of Twitter Pundits. “…while it may generally be the case that, for most intents and purposes, nobody is on Twitter, in a narrower sense everybody is on Twitter. Specifically, everyone who is traffics in political news or opinion for a living is more or less professionally obligated to engage with their fellow politicos on the microblogging platform. If we think that what happens among this chattering class is important for politics, and there is some academic research arguing that it is, then it is useful for us to try and get a handle on two things. First, who comprises the population of politically influential Twitter users — referred to here as ‘pundits’ in a less derogatory sense than the word is generally used? Second, how are these pundits distributed ideologically?”

Washington Post: Embattled and in over his head, Mark Zuckerberg should — at least — step down as Facebook chairman. “Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg once set out a bit of digital-world wisdom that became his company’s informal motto: ‘Move fast and break things.’ After the past week’s developments, the 34-year-old should declare mission accomplished — and find something else to do for the next few decades.” Good morning, Internet…

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