Flickr Commons, Dr. Who, Government Sites, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, January 19, 2019


Flickr Blog, from last Wednesday: Celebrating 11 years of The Commons. “Today marks the 11th anniversary of The Commons – a project that Flickr began to provide cultural institutions, such as libraries, museums, and historical societies, with a space to share their digital collections with people around the world. The Commons was launched on January 16, 2008, when Flickr released its pilot project in partnership with The Library of Congress. The two main objectives of the program were to increase discovery and use of publicly-held photography collections and to provide a way for the general public to contribute knowledge through user-generated content (by adding tags, comments, and notes to these historical collections).”

Boing Boing: Twitch Presents is streaming classic ‘Doctor Who’ thru most of January. “I stopped watching Doctor Who after the War Doctor episode. I’ve never watched again, and I wasn’t going to — I completely lost interest. I just happened across Twitch Presents streaming some old Tom Baker and it is too good to pass up.” It has already started but runs through January 25, so you still have some time to settle down on the couch with a long scarf and some Jelly Babies.


TechCrunch: These are all the federal HTTPS websites that’ll expire soon because of the US government shutdown . “During the government shutdown, security experts noticed several federal websites were throwing back browser errors because the TLS certificate, which lights up your browser with ‘HTTPS’ or flashes a padlock, had expired on many domains. And because so many federal workers have been sent home on unpaid leave — or worse, working without pay but trying to fill in for most of their furloughed department — expired certificates aren’t getting renewed. Renewing certificates doesn’t take much time or effort — sometimes just a click of a mouse. But some do cost money, and during a government shutdown, there isn’t any. Depending on the security level, most websites will kick back browser errors. Some won’t let you in at all until the expired certificate is renewed.”

Genealogy’s Star: Step-by-Step Guide to Using Online Census Indexes: Part One: Introduction. “One of the first records that budding genealogists learn to rely on are the various census records. In the United States, the U.S. Federal Census was mandated by Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution. The first Census in the United States was taken in 1790 and every ten years thereafter. Because of privacy concerns, the Censuses are not made public until 72 years after the official Census Day. The 1950 Census records will be released in April 2022.”

Hongkiat: Top 5 Free Web Statistics Tools. “Either you own a website or a blog, it cannot be a one-way process where you just keep posting stuff and don’t pay heed to how the users are reacting to it. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on web statistics like how much traffic are you getting, what type of visitors do you have and how they behave on your posts.” Nice overview. English is a little awkward but doesn’t impede understanding.


CNET: Facebook employees appear to have left 5-star Amazon reviews for Portal. “Facebook’s Portal has a pretty high rating on Amazon, with just over 4 stars. But some Facebook employees may not have gotten the memo that they’re not allowed to help boost that rating. New York Times columnist Kevin Roose tweeted Wednesday that several 5-star reviews for Portal, a video chat device, were posted by people with the same name as Facebook employees.”

Herald-Mail Media: Wilson College gets grant to digitize nearly 100 years of student newspapers. “Digitizing issues of The Billboard will make copies of the newspaper, which dates to 1921, widely available to researchers and others from virtually anywhere, according to Amy Ensley, director of Wilson’s Hankey Center, which houses and manages Wilson’s C. Elizabeth Boyd ’33 Archives.”

Washington Post: U.S. regulators have met to discuss imposing a record-setting fine against Facebook for some of its privacy violations. “U.S. regulators have met to discuss imposing a record-setting fine against Facebook for violating a legally binding agreement with the government to protect the privacy of its users’ personal data, according to three people familiar with the deliberations but not authorized to speak on the record.” I’m afraid that even a record-setting fine will be couch cushion money to Facebook, not an actual deterrent.


Mashable: Elaborate Instagram scam bilks influencers after luring them to Jakarta. “A scam is making the rounds in the Instagram influencer and photography community, and it’s so elaborate that you can understand why people fell for it. Someone purporting to be Wendi Deng Murdoch, the former wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is fleecing thousands of dollars from hundreds of unsuspecting Instagram influencers and photographers.”

Techdirt: EU Cancels ‘Final’ Negotiations On EU Copyright Directive As It Becomes Clear There Isn’t Enough Support. “So, this is certainly unexpected. Just hours after we pointed out that even all of the lobbyists who had written/pushed for Article 13 in the EU Copyright Directive were now abandoning their support for it (basically because the EU was considering making it just slightly less awful), it appears that Monday’s negotiations have been called off entirely.”


MIT Technology Review: Giving algorithms a sense of uncertainty could make them more ethical. “Algorithms are increasingly being used to make ethical decisions. Perhaps the best example of this is a high-tech take on the ethical dilemma known as the trolley problem: if a self-driving car cannot stop itself from killing one of two pedestrians, how should the car’s control software choose who live and who dies?”

Carnegie Mellon University: Savvy Use of Data, Technology Tells the Planet’s Story. “The story of EarthTime begins on Mars. EarthTime today is a technological platform that helps people comprehend massive amounts of data about our planet and come to grips with our biggest global challenges. But 15 years ago, people just wanted to see what the Red Planet looked like.” Good morning, Internet…

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