Bigfoot, Candido Portinari, D-Day Veterans, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, June 7, 2019


CNET: The FBI looked into Bigfoot legend, and you can read the documents. “On Wednesday, the FBI Records Vault Twitter account brought our attention to an intriguing set of documents involving the agency’s role in a Bigfoot investigation in 1976 and 1977. The collection spans 22 pages of correspondence and newspaper clippings starting with a letter the FBI sent in response to Peter Byrne, director of The Bigfoot Information Center in Oregon.”

Google Blog: Meet the Brazilian “Painter of the People,” Candido Portinari. “Today, in collaboration with six Brazilian museums including Projeto Portinari and Pinacoteca, Google Arts & Culture is launching a comprehensive collection about Cândido Portinari to honor the works of one of the most important Brazilian artists. It’s the first time people will be able to enjoy his collection of over 5,000 pieces of art, thousands of letters and documents from his personal archive and curated stories about Portinari’s art, life and legacy.”


State Archives of North Carolina: D-Day Veterans Oral History Additions. “In commemoration of World War II’s D-Day 75th anniversary, the State Archives of North Carolina has digitized 25 military veterans’ oral histories and made them available through Internet Archive. Access to the oral histories is also available through North Carolina Digital Collections Veterans Oral History collection.”

BetaNews: Zorin OS 15 Linux distro is ready to replace Microsoft Windows 10 on your PC. “Zorin OS is one of my favorite Linux-based operating systems to recommend to those switching from Windows. Why? Well, it is designed to look very much like traditional Windows. With Windows 7 support ending soon, Zorin OS should feel very familiar to those moving from Microsoft’s OS. Not to mention, it is stable, fast, beautiful, and relatively easy to use.” If you have a Windows user in your life who wants to switch to Linux, I can’t recommend Zorin enough. Its learning curve is gentle and its interface is familiar to Windows users.

Canada News Wire: The Globe and Mail relaunches browser extension to monitor Facebook ads ahead of Canadian election (PRESS RELEASE). “The Globe and Mail is pleased to announce the relaunch of the Facebook Political Ad Collector (FBPAC), an online tool designed to monitor political advertising on Facebook. The collector, a web browser extension that can be downloaded by users, was built in 2017 by ProPublica as a tool to help create more transparency about the modern electoral landscape. With this relaunch, The Globe and Mail takes ownership of the tool, with an eye to bolstering its coverage of political advertising in the lead-up to the Canadian federal election in October, 2019.”


The Guardian: New tool helps travelers avoid airlines that use facial recognition technology. “Activist groups Fight for the Future, Demand Progress and Credo on Wednesday unveiled a new website… which shows users what airlines use facial recognition to verify the identity of passengers before boarding. The site also helps customers to directly book flights with airlines that don’t use facial recognition technologies.”

Internet Archive Blog: The IA Client – The Swiss Army Knife of Internet Archive. “As someone who’s uploaded hundreds of thousands of items to the Internet Archive’s stacks and who has probably done a few million transactions with the materials over the years, I just ‘know’ about the Internet Archive python client, and if you’re someone who wants to interact with the site as a power user (or were looking for an excuse to), it’ll help you to know about it too.”


Radio Canada International: Audio archive seeks to preserve Canadian stories of WWII. “If you’re a Canadian veteran of the Second World War, or a family member or someone who’s gone on pilgrimages to the battle sites and cemeteries of WWII, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) wants hear and record your story.”

Ars Technica: EverQuest’s long, strange 20-year trip still has no end in sight. “Twenty years ago, a company in Southern California launched an online game that would go on to serve as the model for many more titles to come in the massively multiplayer online RPG (MMORPG) space. And unlike many games that sought to replace it over the years, this one is still going today. No, this isn’t about World of Warcraft—that game only turns 15 in 2019. Before there was WoW, there was the MMO pioneer EverQuest. This sword-and-sorcery-based game was developed by a small company, 989 Studios, but it eventually reached its pinnacle under Sony Online Entertainment after SOE acquired that studio roughly a year after the game’s launch. Today, EQ marches on with a dedicated player base and another developer, Daybreak Games, at the helm.” An astounding deep dive.


Engadget: Microsoft discreetly wiped its massive facial recognition database. “Microsoft has been vocal about its desire to properly regulate facial recognition technology. The company’s president, Brad Smith, appealed directly to Congress last year to take steps to manage the tech, which he says has ‘broad societal ramifications and potential for abuse.’ Such are the company’s concerns that it even blocked the sales of the tech to California police forces. Now, Microsoft is continuing its crusade by quietly deleting its MS Celeb database, which contains more than 10 million images of some 100,000 people.”


Nature: Can tracking people through phone-call data improve lives?. “After an earthquake tore through Haiti in 2010, killing more than 100,000 people, aid agencies spread across the country to work out where the survivors had fled. But Linus Bengtsson, a graduate student studying global health at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, thought he could answer the question from afar. Many Haitians would be using their mobile phones, he reasoned, and those calls would pass through phone towers, which could allow researchers to approximate people’s locations.”

EurekAlert: Fussy, hungry, or even in pain? Scientists create an AI tool to tell babies’ cries apart. “A group of researchers in USA has devised a new artificial intelligence method that can identify and distinguish between normal cry signals and abnormal ones, such as those resulting from an underlying illness. The method, based on a cry language recognition algorithm, promises to be useful to parents at home as well as in healthcare settings, as doctors may use it to discern cries among sick children.” Good morning, Internet…

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