afternoonbuzz

Mechanical Puzzles, Military Aviation, Criterion Collection, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 10, 2019

NEW RESOURCES

New-to-me: a database of mechanical puzzles. “The collection is named after Jerry Slocum, a Chicago-area native who started donating his personal collection of puzzles to the library in 2006. The library now has over 34,000 mechanical puzzles, which, unlike jigsaw and crossword puzzles, tend to feature interconnected pieces that must be physically manipulated in order to solve the problem…. An online database of the collection lets users search by the puzzle’s date of creation, designer, maker, or classification.”

Military Times: Is military aviation getting any safer? New mishap data shows mixed results.. “Total accidents involving the nation’s manned warplanes — fighters, tankers, helicopters and bombers — decreased 12 percent last year, dropping from 903 mishaps in fiscal year 2017 to 794 in fiscal year 2018, according to data updated through fiscal year 2018 and obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests to the Army Combat Readiness Center, the Air Force Safety Center and the Naval Safety Center…. Military Times has re-published that data in a searchable database which now contains the almost 8,700 manned and unmanned mishaps from fiscal year 2011 through fiscal year 2018. The database can be searched by year, type of aircraft, service and location.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Neowin: Criterion Collection resurrected with new streaming service; access to over 1,000 films. “It was five months ago when many were crushed to learn that FilmStruck, the home for the highly revered Criterion Collection, would be closing down. Today, a new service has been erected that will host all of the classics of the Criterion Collection, making it available to stream once again.”

How-To Geek: Stringify is Shutting Down After Five Years. “Stringify, the IFTTT-like service that helped users build in-depth automated tasks, announced today that it’s shutting down. Stringify’s apps will be removed from stores today, with the service being fully deactivated at the end of June.”

WordPress 5.2 Beta 2 is now available. “WordPress 5.2 is slated for release on April 30, and we need your help to get there! Thanks to the testing and feedback from everyone who tried beta 1, nearly 100 tickets have been closed since then.”

Kent County Council: KCC’s collection of Parish Registers goes online for the first time. “Leading family history website, Findmypast, has today announced the online publication of thousands of original parish registers in partnership with Kent County Council. The new records have been created from more than 3,000 handwritten registers currently held at the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone….More than 2.6 million fully-indexed baptism, wedding banns, marriage and burial records spanning more than 400 years of Kent history are now available to search online exclusively.”

USEFUL STUFF

Lifehacker: How to Spice Up Gmail’s ‘Smart Replies’ With Random Poetry. “Not all hacks have to make you a productivity wizard. Some only need to make you happy, and add a little joy (or confusion) to those you email, too. At least, that’s the best way I can think of to describe the Chrome extension ‘Suggested poems for Gmail,’ a brilliant little service that drops a literary bomb on Google’s normal suggested autoreplies in Gmail.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The Next Web: Yes, there’s a subreddit that skewers those targeted Facebook t-shirt ads. “Facebook ads are usually weird and funny when they’re not showing off spooky knowledge of your life and hobbies. Those targeted ads for graphic t-shirts somehow manage to be all three — and a subreddit is celebrating them in all their bizarre glory.”

Washington Post: Watchdog: EPA data on sewer plant pollution is inaccurate. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general says data released to the public about municipal sewer discharges is not accurate. The agency watchdog sent a letter to the head of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention on Monday, warning that some information about hazardous substances released from publicly owned sewer systems is missing from a public database.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Physics: Explaining Bursts of Attention on Social Media. “Social media are like a giant megaphone for public opinion: they can sway elections, crush a business, or incite mass action on hot-button issues like vaccination and climate change. Researchers studying how a topic grabs ‘collective attention’ have noticed a common feature in social media data: occasional short and seemingly random bursts of high-volume activity. These poorly understood ‘spikes’ are an intrinsic aspect of attention dynamics, says Manlio De Domenico, a network theorist at the Bruno Kessler Foundation (FBK) in Trento, Italy.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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