Early Buddhism, Tying Knots, Discogs, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, August 5, 2019


Library of Congress Blog: Now Online! The Gandhara Scroll, a Rare 2,000-Year-Old Text of Early Buddhism. “The Library’s Gandhara Scroll, one of the world’s oldest Buddhist manuscripts, has been painstakingly preserved and digitized, making it available to readers online after years of delicate work. The document, written on a birch bark scroll about 2,000 years ago, offers rare insight into the eary history of Buddhism.”

Not new but new-to-me, from Lifehacker: Learn How to Tie Knots With ‘Animated Knots’. “Animated Knots is a perfect site for learning everything about knots: how to tie them, what they’re for, and how to choose the best knot for a specific job. The site lists 196 knots for ropes, straps, strings, wires, laces, and neckties. You can browse by type (e.g. bends, end loops, and slide & grip) or by activity (e.g. boating, climbing, and decoration). Or browse all the knots alphabetically.”


Discogs Blog: What Do A Music Database & 1692 Books Have In Common?. “I don’t know what happens when they walk into a bar, so don’t ask me. We’re talking about our music book submission drive, Bibliophonic. As Discogs integrates more music data, extending to including music books on artist pages (e.g. David Bowie), Bibliophonic was an opportunity to focus on getting more music books submissions into the Bookogs Database.”

Woodward News: Oklahoma Historical Society unveils new grant program. “The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) is proud to announce the creation of the Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program. This new grants-in-aid program will set aside $500,000 to award grants ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 to municipal, county or tribal governments or nonprofit historical organizations registered with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. The grants will be specific to three categories: collections, exhibits and programs.”

New York Times: 8chan Is a Megaphone for Gunmen. ‘Shut the Site Down,’ Says Its Creator.. “Mr. [Fredrick] Brennan started the online message board 8chan in 2013, as a spinoff of 4chan, the better-known message board. In its early years, the site was known as an unmoderated free-for-all site populated by anonymous posters, where shocking and offensive humor reigned. Now, 8chan is known as something else: a megaphone for mass shooters, and a recruiting platform for violent white nationalists.”


VentureBeat: E3 organization leaks data for over 2,000 journalists and analysts. “This failure to adequately secure sensitive data doesn’t just expose games journalists. I’ve confirmed with someone who has access to the list (with the ESA’s permission) that it contains info for YouTube creators, Wall Street financial analysts at firms like Wedbush and Goldman Sachs, and Tencent employees.”

Bloomberg Government: Facebook, Google, Twitter Detail How to Address Deepfake Videos. “Facebook, Twitter and Google are considering policy changes on handling realistic but fake videos and images following a widely circulated doctored video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the companies told a key lawmaker. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) asked the three companies in July 15 letters to detail how they planned to address doctored videos and images, including ‘deepfakes,’ which are manipulated content created with artificial intelligence.”

Boing Boing: Elsevier sends copyright threat to site for linking to Sci-Hub. “In a field of giant, corrupt monopolists, Elsevier is still notable for its rapacious conduct, so it’s not surprising to learn that the company has sent a copyright threat to a to Citationsy, a service that helps scholars and others create citations to scientific and scholarly literature, alleging that merely linking to Sci-Hub is a copyright infringement.” I thought we’d gotten over the “link is a copyright infringement” hangup about fifteen years ago.


University of California, Irvine: Beware: Fake Twitter accounts exploit emergencies to spread misinformation. “When earthquakes, firestorms or hurricanes strike, people often turn to Twitter for instant updates from government agencies, news outlets and neighbors. But user beware: networks of automated fake Twitter accounts, or ‘bots,’ exploit exactly these emergency situations to spread propaganda or misinformation, says University of California, Irvine sociology graduate student Richard Gardner.”

Binary District: VR Beyond Entertainment: How Avatar Embodiment Increases Our Cognitive Performance. “The high immersive capacity of virtual reality is often acknowledged as its main virtue when compared to other media and communication technologies. It is indeed a defining virtue. However, when it comes to the virtue that could really position VR as a powerful positive technology in the market, we have to look at another key feature: avatar embodiment.”

MIT Technology Review: Instead of practicing, this AI mastered chess by reading about it. “Chess fans love nothing more than discussing a masterful sacrifice by Bobby Fischer or an ingenious line of attack from current world champion Magnus Carlsen. It turns out that this chatter could help AI programs learn to play the game in a new way. One day, the same technique could allow machines to use the emotional content of our language to master various practical tasks.”


Slashgear: You can now play the original Diablo game on web browsers. “The gaming industry is pretty terrible at preserving its rich history. The hard and thankless work of making sure classic games are still available to future generations is done by third-parties, some of whom even risk lawsuits from companies that are not at all interested in doing that but continue to close off these games to protect their IPs decades after their day in the market. Fortunately, through odd twists in history, the code for the original Diablo has more or less become available to the public, leading to one of the oddest ports of the game: Diablo on the Web.” I tried this briefly on my Chromebook. It looked a little weird (the colors were off) but played fine. Good morning, Internet…

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