Cook Island Biodiversity, Terry Skibby, India Politics, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, May 19, 2019


New-to-me and apparently being revamped. Cook Islands News: UK team works on CI database. “Zoologist McCormack has been the lead researcher contributing to the Cook Islands Biodiversity and Ethnobiology Database (CIBED) since his arrival in the Cook Islands in 1980. He is set to travel to England for three months to work with Michael D. Fischer, who is a professor of Anthropological Sciences at the University of Kent, to work on an updated version of the online database as part of the Cook Islands Natural Heritage Project.”

Mail Tribune: Celebrating Terry Skibby: A Life with Camera. “Skibby has taken thousands and thousands of photographs of Ashland over the course of 73 years. Now, his photographs are being preserved in the Southern Oregon Digital Archives at Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library. The Terry Skibby Photograph Collection will be formally launched during an event from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, in the Meese Room of the library.”


Quartz India: Follow Indian politics with Quartz’s Twitter bot. “The India Political Watch Bot… built by Quartz’s Bot Studio, provides a feed of the tweets liked by key Indian political figures, and updates on whom they’re following. The tracked accounts include prime minister Narendra Modi, opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, the official accounts of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Congress, and more. See all the tracked figures by looking at the list of accounts the bot is following.”

Mashable: Facebook wants to know who your best friends are . “Facebook wants to keep News Feed relevant. The social network is tweaking its News Feed algorithm to try and show more posts from your closest friends. In order to do that, though, the company is taking a somewhat new approach: asking users to straight-up tell them who their best friends are.”

Search Engine Journal: Twitter Updates TweetDeck With Support for GIFs, Threads, and More . “Twitter is rolling out several updates to TweetDeck that include support for features it has been lacking. TweetDeck is finally catching up to the desktop version of Twitter with support for GIFs, polls, emojis, threads, and image tagging.”

CNET: Microsoft unveils Minecraft Earth, an AR game for the Pokemon Go generation. “Microsoft on Friday announced a new take on Minecraft as the game marks 10 years since its initial release. The free title, called Minecraft Earth, uses ideas similar to those in 2016’s hit mobile game Pokemon Go. And just like that game, it’ll be available on Apple and Android-powered devices when it launches later this year.”


Genealogy’s Star: Getting the Rest of the Gold out of the Google Goldmine for Genealogists Part One. “My most popular video has always been ‘Using the Google Goldmine for Genealogy.’ In that video, I talked about several of the Google apps that are helpful to genealogists. But that video was published back in 2016 and I have continued to develop and use more Google apps and added in quite a few from Google’s Chrome browser. So it is time to update both the list of beneficial and free apps, but also add another video with the additional golden benefits from Google”

How-To Geek: How to Add Accessibility Features to Google Chrome. “If you have trouble reading text on websites, seeing specific colors, or have dyslexia, Google Chrome has accessibility features that can help. You manage them individually through various Chrome extensions available in the Web Store.”

Larry Ferlazzo: Flexclip Looks Like A Great Video-editing Tool For Ells, English-proficient Students & Everybody Else . “FlexClip is a free video-editing tool that is super-simple to use. You can use content they already have on their site and add text and your own audio narration, along with music.”


The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy: What Do You Do with 11,000 Blogs? Preserving, Archiving, and Maintaining UMW Blogs—A Case Study. “After three years in which Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies (DTLT) staff and a few UMW faculty experimented with blogs in and out of the classroom (Campbell 2009, 20), UMW Blogs launched in 2007. It provided the campus with a WordPress installation that allowed any student, faculty, or staff member to get their own subdomain (e.g. and WordPress site, administered by DTLT. Since then, the 600 blogs of 2007 has grown to over 11,000 blogs and 13,000 users as of 2018! Each site has any number of themes, plugins, and widgets installed and running, creating a database that is exponentially larger and more cumbersome than the user numbers suggest at first glance.”

New York Times: Facebook’s A.I. Whiz Now Faces the Task of Cleaning It Up. Sometimes That Brings Him to Tears.. “Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, was tearing up. For half an hour, we had been sitting in a conference room at Facebook’s headquarters, surrounded by whiteboards covered in blue and red marker, discussing the technical difficulties of removing toxic content from the social network. Then we brought up an episode where the challenges had proved insurmountable: the shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand.”


Harvard Business Review: Machines that Speak and Write Will Make Misinformation Worse. “Technologists have long dreamed of building machines that converse as nimbly as humans. Early practitioners famously underestimated the magnitude of the challenge. Yet in 2019, we appear to be mere steps from the goal. The world’s dominant technology players are rushing to create software — whether intelligent or not — that can both converse and write as effectively as humans. So, what’s the problem? We are not adequately prepared to address the hazards that could come with our successful launch of conversational machines. To anticipate the challenges ahead, it helps to take a quick look at the underlying technologies.” Good morning, Internet…

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