Nevada City Directories, Edmonton Grandmothers, North Carolina History, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 15, 2020


Nevada Today: New Library Digital Collection: City Directories. “The University Libraries has recently digitized early city directories of Reno, Sparks, and the surrounding areas, which date from 1900. These directories provide information on residents and businesses, such as names, addresses, and occupations. Some directories also include the cities’ government structure, as well as indices of clubs, churches, schools, cemeteries, and hospitals.”

New-to-me, from the CBC: The Grandma Archives: Documenting the extraordinary lives of Edmonton matriarchs. “The story of [Louise] Perkins’s grandmother is one of many chronicled in the Grandma Archives, an Edmonton-based digital archive designed to preserve the stories of local grandmothers, mothers and matriarchs. The online catalogue features dozens of articles, photographs, letters, videos and audio files, each one using an ordinary object to represent important memories and pieces of family history.”


Rhino Times: UNCG, A&T And Deeds Office Shed Light On Slave Trade History. “A few years ago, the Guilford County Register of Deeds office created a lot of excitement among historians and others interested in early Guilford County, by creating an online database of slave deeds that documented the sell of people rather than property. As an extension of that project, the Register of Deeds Office is now partnering with NC A&T State University’s History/Political Science Department and UNC-Greensboro’s People Not Property project to present a weekly community video interview series on ‘The Slave Deeds of Guilford County.'”

Fast Company: Snapchat introduces new interventions for mental health. “While Snap has fact-checked all public content on Snapchat for years, the company is adding a new tool called Here For You to the service. So if you search topics ranging from depression to thinspo (the ‘thinsperation’ content that can promote anorexia), Snap’s results will intervene with helpful content written by experts.”


Ars Technica: ’90s nostalgia: Dancing Baby does the cha-cha once more in new HD rendering. “Internet denizens of a certain age will recall with fondness the 3D animated Dancing Baby (aka “Baby Cha-Cha” and “the Oogachacka Baby”) that went viral in 1996. Sure, the rendering was crude by today’s standards and—it must be said—a little creepy, but in many ways, the Dancing Baby was a proto-meme. Now, almost 25 years after it was first created, an enterprising college student has re-rendered the original model and animation in a suitable HD format for modern displays.” When that baby first came out, my mother tried to email the video of him from her corporate network to my little lame desktop computer. Gave it — the computer, not the baby — a severe case of indigestion.

AV Club: Somebody made a bot-filled social media app where everyone is obsessed with you. “Botnet is a new social media app where you’ll never engage with another living thing. Instead, you fire off posts into a sea of zero and ones, which then manifest as bots with names like VivaJeanne and tellNorah. All of them love you. They love your stupid posts. They shower them with likes and emojis and comments. They don’t care about Russia or Captain Marvel or Donald Trump. They care about your thoughts on, let’s say, Deadpool. Or Amy Klobuchar.” Until it all goes mad, of course.


The Verge: Google will provide political campaigns free access to Titan security keys for better 2FA. “In an effort to help political campaigns tighten security, Google is partnering with nonprofit organization Defending Digital Campaigns to give qualifying political groups free access to Titan security keys. The physical keys, used as part of Google’s Advanced Protection security program, provide another level of two-factor authentication to protect Google accounts.”

Techdirt: Federal Agencies Are Still Abusing Their Favorite, Super-Vague FOIA Exemption Thousands Of Times A Year. “The Freedom of Information Act was supposed to result in, you know, the freedom of information. Obviously, not everything the government produces paperwork-wise can end up in the public’s hands, but far more should be turned over to the public than has been. Using a proprietary blend of stonewalling and excessive fee demands, countless government agencies have managed to keep public documents away from the public. It takes a lawyer to win FOIA lawsuits, which may be why corporations are getting their hands on far more documents than American citizens.”


Phys .org: Fake news makes disease outbreaks worse, research shows. “The rise of fake news could be making disease outbreaks worse—according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA). Researchers focused on influenza, monkeypox and norovirus across two studies—but they say their findings could also be useful for dealing with the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak.”

mHealth Intelligence: New Project Eyes an Open Platform for Data From mHealth Wearables. “The Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR), launched last September by Nextbridge Health, Shimmer Research and Dr. Vincent van Hees, announced that it is now ‘actively soliciting’ open-source software and datasets from wearable sensors and other connected health technologies. The group wants to create a platform from which researchers and care providers can share digital health source codes and algorithms.” I didn’t understand mHealth in this context; apparently it just means “mobile health.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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