Iowa Photography, Mapping Catholicism, Text-Generating AI, More: Friday Evening ResearchBuzz, November 8, 2019


Oskaloosa Herald: Family photos connect Iowans to history. “[Bettina] Fabos discovered the original Fortepan photo archive in 2013 in Hungary, where she was a Fulbright scholar. The project began when a group of friends in Budapest rescued a discarded box of old photos and decided to post them online in 2010….Fabos brought the idea home to Iowa and created the world’s first Fortepan archive outside of Hungary. Others are in the works in Minnesota, as well as Denmark, Malta, Romania and India.”

Aleteia: Digital maps provide treasure trove of information about the Catholic Church, for free. “GoodLands, whose mission is to help the Catholic Church use its land better for the benefit of people and the environment, is providing a number of free maps related to various aspects of the worldwide Catholic Church at its Catholic GeoHub site. If you have a desktop computer, a strong internet connection and maybe a lot of time on your hands, you can explore maps showing the boundaries of Catholic dioceses and parishes, the numbers of Catholics in each, the ratio of priests to parishioners, or stats on Catholic healthcare in various parts of the world.”


Nieman Journalism Lab: This text-generation algorithm is supposedly so good it’s frightening. Judge for yourself.. “…the creators of the text-generating algorithm GPT-2 played the PR game brilliantly in February when they announced that, well, it just may be too powerful to release to the general public…. In any event, now, nine months later, the folks at OpenAI have apparently decided that the infopocalypse is not right around the corner and released its secret superweapon GPT-2 into the wild.”


Social Media Examiner: How to Ensure People Watch Your YouTube Videos. “Do you want more video views on YouTube? Wondering how to keep people watching your videos to the end? To explore how to ensure people watch your YouTube videos, I interview Brian G. Johnson on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.” This is a podcast interview with an accompanying article. The article is a bit of a slog but there’s good stuff about 1/3 of the way in.


The Guardian: Vladimir Putin calls for ‘reliable’ Russian version of Wikipedia. “The government plans to allocate nearly 1.7bn rubles (£20.7m) to developing a Russian online reference resource similar to Wikipedia in the next three years, according to government documents published in September.”

New York Times: Life After Prison, on YouTube. “Ms. [Christina] Randall is one of a handful of former prisoners building an audience on YouTube. She has explained the ‘unspoken rules of prison,’ showed her viewers how to turn coffee grounds and water into makeshift jailhouse mascara, and interviewed a former correctional officer about corruption among prison guards. But most importantly, she has offered an empathic, first-person perspective on incarceration.”


The Register: Google’s joins Gang of Four to guard Play Store apps from malware, and maybe not fail so much. “The Chocolate Factory on Wednesday announced the App Defense Alliance, by which partners ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium will be able to scan Android apps submitted to Google Play prior to approval and distribution.”

Search Engine Land: Senate bill seeks to compel tech giants to offer ‘unfiltered’ versions of their content. “There’s a new bill circulating in the Senate that would require large internet companies to disclose that their results are using ‘opaque algorithms’ and offer consumers an option to see non-personalized search results or content, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) first reported. It’s called ‘The Filter Bubble Transparency Act.'”


Digital Preservation Coalition: Starting with complexity: Archiving digital-born music compositions from Mac systems of the 80s/90s. “About ten years ago, a music archive took over the private archive of a composer who had already begun composing with digital techniques in the 1980s. The result is impressive: the composer transferred his work on not less than 700 data carriers to the archive, including 660 floppy discs, 26 SyQuest carriers and a few carriers from the families of Iomega Jaz, Iomega Zip, CD-ROM and Harddisk. The composer has used Apple systems and proprietary special software (music notation and sequencing software) in his work.”


Simon Fraser University: Musical memories refreshed: Olo Radio gives Last FM users a new way to interact with their music-streaming history. “Imagine accessing an archive of all the songs you’ve ever listened to—organized by the time of day, day of the year, or time of your life that you listened to them. With Olo Radio, a device designed by School of Interactive Arts and Technology professor William Odom and collaborator Tijs Duel, you can do just that. Olo Radio links to a user’s account and uses simple metadata, including the time and date a song was played, to organize a personal music archive and make it accessible in a new way.” Good evening, Internet…

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