Mississippi Death Index, Alternatives to College, Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem, More: Wednesday ResearchBuzz, December 11, 2019


Genealogy’s Star: Reclaim the Records: The Mississippi Death Index goes online, for free!. “Introducing the first-ever freely-available publication, online or otherwise, of the Mississippi Statewide Death Index! This record set covers deaths in the state of Mississippi from about November 1912 (although a few counties were slow to join in) through 1943.”

New-to-me, from Parentology: New Website Connects Students To College Alternative Courses. “Currently boasting 20,000 courses taught by 2,300 different organizations, the site provides access to training in a variety of fields. Among them: aircraft mechanics, video editing, animal training, business analytics, cardiovascular technology, computer programming and more.”


EdSurge: Making Research Books More ‘Discoverable’ Online. “…two years ago, the Association of American Universities, Association of Research Libraries and Association of University Presses designed a pilot project to more effectively disseminate humanities and social sciences research. Called TOME, short for Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem, the effort raises money from universities to support the publication and digital distribution of open-access versions of the monographs that scholars write.”

TechCrunch: Berlin-based streaming guide JustWatch acquires New York rival GoWatchIt. “Berlin-headquartered streaming guide JustWatch has grown to more than 10 million users across 38 countries in less than five years. Now, it’s expanding its U.S. presence with the acquisition of New York-based rival GoWatchIt, from Plexus Entertainment. Deal terms were not revealed but were a mixture of cash and stock for the smaller operation, which had just eight people on board.”

NPR: Internet Historians Mourn Loss Of Cultural Record As Yahoo Prepares To Delete Groups. “Yahoo Groups was once a place where people turned to find out what was happening in their communities. Then Facebook, Tumblr and other sites came along, making Yahoo Groups obsolete. So earlier this fall, Verizon, which now owns Yahoo, announced it will delete the archives of every Yahoo Group. That was supposed to happen this coming Saturday, but Verizon just announced it will extend the deadline until next month. NPR’s Neda Ulaby reports Internet historians and activists are scrambling.” I can’t find any other mentions of the deadline being extended at the moment, but I’ll keep an eye out. And why am I banging on about this? Because it’s going to happen again. And again. And again. And somebody has to care.


Gizmodo: 21 Tips To Make Google Docs, Sheets And Slides Work For You. “Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides have evolved to become very component online productivity tools, enabling you to churn out documents, spreadsheets and presentations from any computer (with other collaborators, if necessary). But are you taking full advantage of everything these web apps have to offer? These 21 tips will save you time, improve your work, and help you do more with these apps.”

Interesting GitHub project that turned up in my RSS feeds: A Telegram Mass Surveillance Bot in Python. From the page: “Informer (TGInformer) is a bot library that allows you to masquerade as multiple REAL users on telegram and spy on 500+ Telegram channels per account. Details are logged to a MySQL database, a private Google Sheet and your own private channel for analysis.”


The Verge: Bioethics experts call on GoFundMe to ban unproven medical treatments. “In the new paper, published in the peer-reviewed bioethics journal The Hastings Center Report, the authors argue that GoFundMe enables misinformation that enriches bad actors and can harm patients sick with cancer or other serious conditions. Between November 2017 and November 2018, GoFundMe campaigns raised over $5 million for unregulated neurological stem cell procedures, according to a recent study. Those campaigns were shared over 200,000 times on social media.”

New York Times: Big Tech’s Critics, Flush With Cash, Try to Build a Movement. “Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have discussed breaking up the biggest tech companies during their presidential campaigns. Federal and state regulators are investigating whether the companies have violated antitrust law. But the activists and scholars who first raised concerns about the market power of companies like Facebook and Amazon don’t plan to stop there. They want to sell their thinking to the public, and they’re amassing wealthy backers to help them do it.”


Bleeping Computer: Snatch Ransomware Reboots to Windows Safe Mode to Bypass AV Tools. “Researchers discovered a new Snatch ransomware strain that will reboot computers it infects into Safe Mode to disable any resident security solutions and immediately starts encrypting files once the system loads.”


Phys .org: By leap of faith? How to regain trust in science and expertise. “Fake news? Post-truth? Populism? In the current environment of growing scepticism about political institutions and a dismissal of journalism and scientific facts, public trust in expertise is seen as eroding. Such trends are often associated with a changing digital communication landscape where new responses and mechanisms are required to find common ground in public discourse and decision-making.”

University of Texas at Austin: Humanity and Google Sheets. “When one of Professor Julie Hardwick’s students recently got an internship at a local tech company, she was asked to compare the company’s benefits package with those of 60 competitors. Initially overwhelmed, she then thought, ‘I’m going to get my Google Sheet, get my evidence, look for patterns, get my data visualization, and then present an interpretation.’ This spreadsheet-based approach might seem like the plan of a good business student, but in fact, she was harkening to a different class. ” Good morning, Internet…

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