Object Measurements, Tariffs, The Shahnamah, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, May 12, 2019


A blog post at Kottke pointed me toward Dimensions.Guide. From its front page: “Dimensions.Guide is a comprehensive reference database of dimensioned drawings documenting the standard measurements and sizes of the everyday objects and spaces that make up our world. Created as a universal resource to better communicate the basic properties, systems, and logics of our built environment, Dimensions.Guide is a free platform for increasing public and professional knowledge of life and design.” The front page when I looked at it had a bunch of furniture measurements, then I went browsing and found animals and cornhole fields and plants and TV show characters….

NBC News: Just how much is $250 billion in tariffs?. “To show the economic stake of each of the $250 billion in items already being taxed, NBC compiled a searchable database of the tariffs along with their import values for 2015-2017. The bigger the dollar amount, the more the U.S. economy spends on these goods.”

Library of Congress: Fresh Life (Online) for the epic Shahnamah. “‘The Shahnamah,’ (translated as ‘The Persian Book of Kings’) is the majestic narrative that recounts the history of pre-Islamic Persia, a staggering work of literature first published about 1,000 years ago. Written by the poet Ferdowsi, it is composed of 62 separate stories set in 50,000 rhyming couplets and divided into 990 chapters. It was 33 years in the making. ‘Epic’ doesn’t begin to cover it…. The Library has three gorgeous manuscript copies of ‘Shahnamah’ – and, as a four-year digitization process of the Rare Persian-Language Manuscript Collection is now wrapping up, you can now see them all online.”


University of Iowa Libraries: University of Iowa Libraries becomes institutional member of Open Access publisher Cogitatio. “Today hefty paywalls prevent research published in most scholarly journals from being read online by audiences that many academics often most want to reach—policy makers and elected officials, industry leaders, non-profits, educators, the general public, and even faculty from smaller teaching colleges and community colleges. The University of Iowa Libraries has signed an institutional agreement with Cogitatio Press to support Open Access publishing by faculty, students and staff in their journals. ”

TechCrunch: Cisco open sources MindMeld conversational AI platform. “Cisco announced today that it was open-sourcing the MindMeld conversation AI platform, making it available to anyone who wants to use it under the Apache 2.0 license.”

Lifehacker: Google Maps’ New AR Walking Directions Are Pretty Cool. “I didn’t expect Google to go soaring out of the gate soon soon after the company teased its augmented reality ambitions for Google Maps at yesterday’s I/O 2019 keynote, but here we go. Starting today, an unknown number of Android aficionados are getting access to an early preview of Google’s new ‘AR navigation experience,’ as the company calls it.” You do have to have a Pixel, so don’t get too excited.


MakeUseOf: 5 Free Resume Makers to Make Your CV Stand Out in a Job Hunt. “The purpose of a CV is to stand out from the crowd. A job recruiter is going through thousands of applications at a time, so it’s natural for them to only glance at your CV before shortlisting it. This is why it’s important to rely on resume tools to get your CV read.”


Motherboard: Researchers Are Liberating Thousands of Pages of Forgotten Hacking History From the Government. “In 1989, just a few months after the web became a reality, a computer worm infected thousands of computers across the world, including those of NASA. The worm showed a message on the screens of the infected computers: ‘Your System Has Been Officially WANKed.’ Late last month—30 years after the ‘WANK worm’ struck NASA—the agency released an internal report that the agency wrote at the time, thanks to a journalist and a security researcher who have embarked on a project to use the Freedom of Information Act to get documents on historical hacking incidents.”

The Next Web: ‘Nation as a service’ is the ultimate goal for digitized governments. “Kaspar Korjus, the Founding Managing Director of Estonia’s e-Residency program, shared his futuristic vision on how to get nation states to digitize with attendees of TNW2019 today. The private sector has set the pace for technological transformation, and Korjus thinks it’s time for nation states to catch up.”

Quartz Africa: Despite a low internet penetration, Malawi is worried about fake news in its election run-up. “As Malawi prepares for national elections to be held on May 21, the country has been hit by a fake news campaign which has quickly spread on social media. While the spread of misinformation is no longer surprising during elections in Africa or elsewhere, Malawi is notable because the southern Africa country has an internet penetration rate of just 14% of its 18 million population. That’s lower than the sub Saharan Africa average of around 22%, based on ITU data.”


CNET: Facebook sues South Korean social media analytics company Rankwave. “Facebook alleges in the lawsuit — filed in California Superior Court in San Mateo County — that Rankwave breached a contract with the social network and violated a California law that prohibits unfair, unlawful or fraudulent business acts.”


Sky News: Sky Views: The new Facebook is just as worrying as the old one. “The first time Ian Lucas heard the rumour, he was – appropriately enough – on social media. It was late March, the week after the People’s Vote rally, and the veteran Labour MP was posting about cross-party co-operation on his Facebook page. Suddenly, a reply popped up, accusing Mr Lucas and fellow Labour MP Chris Matheson of paying for coaches to bring Remainers to London for the march – a claim Mr Lucas calls ‘an outright lie’.”

New York Times: Save the Recordings of School Shootings. “The news media has been notoriously reticent about showing graphic images of mass shootings. But the students caught in the gun violence plaguing American schools are not. Ms. [Lillian] Duarte’s videos and texts are the latest example of students documenting what it’s like to live through a school shooting for all to see online. While it is encouraging to see the news amplify the students’ accounts, there needs to be a broad effort to collect and preserve these firsthand accounts of America’s mass shooting epidemic. Otherwise the horror, as witnessed by the victims, may be lost to the digital ether.” Good morning, Internet…

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