Animal Heads, Congressional Research Service, Skype, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, March 11, 2019


Boing Boing pointed me toward this crazy search engine for animal heads. From the brief writeup: “x6udpngx’s x6ud is a single-purpose search engine that offers high-quality animal photographs for use by artists seeking reference material.” This is a wow. First you pick a species (not all species are available.) Then you pick a skull type underneath and click and drag the skull to orient it in the position you want to find. For example, I pick hawk species, and the chicken skull. I click and drag the skull so I’m looking at it in profile. I click search and the search results I will get will be for hawk heads in profile. It doesn’t work as well for weird positions like the top or bottom of the skull, but still. Go play with it.

Library of Congress: New CRS Content Now Online. “Less than half a year ago, I announced that the Library of Congress is providing Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports to the public for the first time. … Since launching, we’ve added hundreds of new reports and are working hard to include the back catalog of older CRS reports – a process that is expected to be complete later this month. Today, you can access more than 2,300 reports on topics ranging from the Small Business Administration to farm policy.”


Engadget: Skype lets you make HD video calls on the web. “Just days since rival Google Duo came to the web, Skype is overhauling its own browser-based service. The new Skype for Web boasts HD video for both private and group calls, call recording, and a notifications panel that keeps tabs on reactions to your messages, @mentions in group chats, or if someone quoted you.” But apparently it doesn’t support Opera or Firefox?


Lifehacker: Skip Straight to the Recipe With This Chrome Extension. “A very common, almost tired complaint you hear about recipe blogs is that it takes too long get to the actual recipe. Usually, doing so requires scrolling past a story involving at least one elderly matriarch, a note on a husband’s manly appetite, and six photos of the same bowl of soup. (Sometimes there is also a photo of a child ‘helping.’)” Posting this for those of you who like to skip those bits — personally I kinda like those bits?

Wired: How to Use TikTok : Tips for New Users. “You can be forgiven if you feel like you don’t understand TikTok. The app is fast-paced and chaotic, combining elements of Spotify, Snapchat, Vine, and Twitch into a single social network. Here’s what you need to know to get started, from TikTok ‘Challenges’ to Coins and Original sounds.”


Quartz India: How a 250-year-old government department is digitising Indian maps using drones. “As India’s economy grows at a rapid pace, the need for infrastructure development is also rising. And the ball is now in the agency’s court to meet this demand with accurate and easily-accessible maps. Lt Gen Girish Kumar, who heads the Survey of India, spoke with Quartz about the future of mapping and digitisation on the sidelines of GeoSmart India, an event held in New Delhi in February.”

Patheos: New Social Media Site Aims To Promote Thoughtful And Nuanced Conversations. “Letter is a new website that rewards thoughtful discussion and hosts a variety of conversations. People write ‘letters’ back and forth to each other in a long style format. So anyone can read a variety of nuanced conversations happening on a variety of topics, but you don’t have to worry about trolls getting in and ruining the discussion.” Took a brief look at the site. What I saw I really liked, but there wasn’t a lot of content available yet.

Route Fifty: Artificial Intelligence Now Helps People Find Jobs. “When people talk about artificial intelligence and the future of work, the central discussion is often how many jobs intelligent machines will eliminate. That was, in fact, the main thrust of conversation at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year. The young founders of the startup BLOC—all of whom are in college or recently entered this brave new workforce—are flipping that narrative to harness AI to help people secure jobs and tackle unemployment.”


The Next Web: The UK government is looking to criminalize unsolicited dick pics. “Although apps like Tinder set out to make dating easier by putting hundreds of options only a swipe away, they also carry a greater risk of non-consensual interactions and new opportunities for perpetrators to target and abuse victims. Whether it’s an abusive message waiting in your inbox or an unsolicited Airdrop from a complete stranger, ‘surprise’ dick pics are an all too common form of sexual harassment. But yesterday, it was announced the Home Office is taking preliminary steps towards criminalizing ‘online flashing.’ In its ‘Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)’ report, the Home Office proposed 10 commitments it believes will help protect women and girls in the UK — and it’s backed with more than £100 million in funding over the next five years.”

CNN: Ukrainian hackers used quizzes to access private Facebook data, company says . “A pair of Ukrainian hackers used seemingly innocuous online quizzes and surveys, with titles like ‘What does your eye color say about you?,’ to gain access to private Facebook user data and to target users with ‘unauthorized’ advertisements, the social media company says.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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Categories: afternoonbuzz

2 replies »

  1. Re: Letter website.
    I’m not sure that this really is a ‘Social’ website if it is just individual conversations. It reminded me of the old-fashioned email list groups (but without the email). And it came off worse by comparison. Instead of receiving letters in your email folder, users have to go to the website and browse through the content. Long letters are not unique, email groups have that as well.
    But they seem to be still under development, so they could change later.

    • Honestly, it reminded me of the BBS days where you could have a space to have a really long conversation and other people could participate or could just watch the conversation evolve. I do think it has a lot of potential as a social network once it gets more traction. I do agree with you that it doesn’t look anything like what we consider “social” media now.

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