Obscene Writings, DuckDuckGo, Facebook, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 5, 2019


The Guardian: British Library’s collection of obscene writing goes online. “Together with an 18th-century directory of sex workers in the Covent Garden area of London, and the violent erotic works of the Marquis de Sade, the Merryland books are among the 2,500 volumes in the British Library’s Private Case collection. The volumes have now been digitised, and are being made available online by the publisher Gale as part of its Archives of Sexuality and Gender academic research resource.”


Search Engine Journal: DuckDuckGo Hits a Record 1 Billion Monthly Searches in January 2019. “That represents a 78% year-over-year increase from the 654 million searches served in January 2018.”

TechCrunch: Facebook bans four armed groups in Myanmar. “Facebook is taking action in Myanmar, the Southeast Asian country where the social network has been used to incite racial tension and violence, after it banned four armed groups from its service. The U.S. company said in a blog post that it has booted the groups — the Arakan Army (AA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Kachin Independence Army (KIO) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) — and that ‘all related praise, support and representation’ will be removed.”


CNET: Grammys 2019: Start time, livestream, nominees, performances and more. “The Grammys are returning to Los Angeles. Last year’s show took place in New York City, but the 61st annual Grammy Awards will find music’s biggest stars back in the City of Angels this Sunday, Feb. 10.”

Make Tech Easier: How to Visualize Your Google Location History. “Personal data is a big deal in the modern world: companies collect it, cybercriminals steal it, governments demand it, and the general public probably underestimates it. Tools like Location History Visualizer help with that last bit, though, taking your raw personal location data from Google and converting it into a beautiful, creepy heatmap of everywhere Google knows you’ve been.”

Lifehacker: Get Free Ambient Work Music With Flow State . “Every morning Flow State emails subscribers a set of background music, mostly wordless, to soundtrack your work day. And they’re pretty good at digging up non-obvious music, some of which isn’t even available on major streaming services (though almost all of it is on YouTube). Past artists include Max Richter, Olivier Messiaen, Debussy, Johann Johannsson, Tangerine Dream, Kaoru Inoue, Brian Eno, and William Basinski. (Yep, almost all men, sorry.) Occasionally there’s a DJ mix that incorporates several artists.” Flow State used to cost money but now it is free.


The Intercept: Google Hired Gig Economy Workers To Improve Artificial Intelligence In Controversial Drone-targeting Project. “MILLIONS OF GIG ECONOMY workers around the world now earn a living on so-called crowd worker websites — work that falls under the umbrella of crowdsourcing, or dividing up tasks into minuscule portions to spread over a large number of people. The sites pay as little as $1 an hour for individuals to perform short, repetitive tasks, such as identifying images seen in pictures and churning out product reviews. Some of these crowd workers were unknowingly helping to build out the Pentagon’s battlefield drone capability.”

University of New Mexico: Visiting scholar awarded Digital Collections Fellowship. “Daniel Webb, a visiting scholar at The University of New Mexico’s Center for Regional Studies (CRS), has been awarded a Digital Collections Fellowship by the Omohundro Institute of Early American Culture and History for the digitization of archival documents and materials relating to Apache (Ndé) history. The project will receive funding in the amount of $5,000.”

Techworld: Meet the charity scanning and archiving thousands of historic watercolours. “A charity is undertaking efforts to build a historical database of watercolour paintings, saving their fate from being hidden away within the corridors of private homes or the archives of public institutions. In the pre-photography era, governments would train soldiers on military expeditions in watercolour painting to document the war efforts. In fact, this practice continues today. But before war photography was even possible, sketching battlefields or other operations was one of the few ways to record history in real-time.” I mentioned this initiative in 2017 and now it’s available.

New York Times: The Rise of the Robot Reporter. “As reporters and editors find themselves the victims of layoffs at digital publishers and traditional newspaper chains alike, journalism generated by machine is on the rise. Roughly a third of the content published by Bloomberg News uses some form of automated technology. The system used by the company, Cyborg, is able to assist reporters in churning out thousands of articles on company earnings reports each quarter.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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