Smithsonian Images, The Book Collector Journal, Brave Browser, More: Wednesday Mid-Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 26, 2020


Smithsonian: Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Free Images for Broader Public Use. “The Smithsonian announced today the launch of Smithsonian Open Access, an initiative that removes Smithsonian copyright restrictions from about 2.8 million of its digital collection images and nearly two centuries of data. This means that people everywhere can now download, transform and share this open access content for any purpose, for free, without further permission from the Smithsonian.”

Exact Editions: Ian Fleming’s Literary Journal The Book Collector Launches Complete Digital Archive. “Commenting on all aspects of the book, the quarterly issues of The Book Collector feature fascinating articles written by international experts together with book reviews, auction results indexed by title and author, details of book dealers’ catalogues and of exhibitions held worldwide. Ian Fleming, who was most famously known for his creation of the character of James Bond but who also had a lesser-known passion for book collecting, founded The Book Collector the same year that he wrote Casino Royale, the first Bond novel.”


Oooh, me likey. From BetaNews: Whoa! Brave browser can now show you web pages that no longer exist. “When browsing the web, it can be frustrating to encounter a 404 error. You know the page isn’t there, but you don’t always know why. Has it been removed on purpose, by accident, or was it never there in the first place? Well, Brave — the browser from Brendan Eich, a former CEO of Mozilla — is about to make 404 frustration a thing of the past, by giving you the chance to view the actual web page after it’s been removed.”


Wolfram Blog: 15 Ways Wolfram|Alpha Can Help with Your Classes. “Thinking back on those late-night study sessions, I would have saved a lot of time if I had properly used Wolfram|Alpha as a study tool. Because I was a biology major, many of the areas in which I most frequently sought information were related to scientific fields such as chemistry, but Wolfram|Alpha can be a valuable resource in so many more areas. Here are 15 applications of Wolfram|Alpha in topics beyond mathematics. I hope you will find these to be useful both inside and outside the classroom!”

Drooling? ME? Perhaps slightly. CNET: New app to help fix your broken electronics is ready to scan over 450,000 devices. “Zolve, from startup Centriq, is a free app that allows you to take a photo of the product label of more than 450,000 devices, appliances, electronics, power tools and outdoor equipment. It’ll let you immediately see manuals, quick-start guides, how-to videos, warranty and manufacturer contact information, and information on replacement parts and accessories.”


The Verge: The makers of Jif peanut butter team up with Giphy to try to settle the GIF/Jif debate once and for all. “The J.M. Smucker Company, which makes Jif, has teamed up with Giphy to release a special jar of Jif peanut butter that replaces the classic Jif branding on the label with ‘Gif.’ The idea seems to be that the special edition jar should be placed next to a normal jar of Jif, like it is in the picture at the top of this post, to prove that there’s an obvious difference in how each word should be said.” I am on team soft-g-for-both.

WMUR: This app helps people with special needs make friends. “In its first stage, the web app is a website that operates like an app. As she works to build the database and gain users, the focus is on chatting. In the next six months or so, [Juliana] Fetherman hopes to have the iPhone and Android app developed. MAF asks users their name, age, location and diagnosis. Eventually, the algorithm will match people based off diagnoses. Currently, it shows everybody’s location (based off of zip code only) and allows people to connect with one another.”


I don’t want to mention every challenge or trend that people on social media will try, but this one looks dangerous and the victims do not consent — it’s a prank. Lifehacker: Warn Your Kids About This Dangerous TikTok Challenge. “I yearn for the innocent days of the Ice Bucket Challenge, circa 2014, when the worst we did was pour icy water over our own heads to raise awareness for ALS. Now, in the latest viral social media challenge, two people trick a third person into thinking they’re simply standing in a line and jumping up and down together. But when the person in the middle jumps, the people on either side of them trip them in mid-air, sending them crashing backwards to the ground.”


Northeastern University: Understanding when smart speakers mistakenly record conversations. “Voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, OK Google, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana are becoming increasingly pervasive in our homes, offices, and public spaces. While convenient, these systems also raise important privacy concerns—namely, what exactly are these systems recording from their surroundings, and does that include sensitive and personal conversations that were never meant to be shared with companies or their contractors? These aren’t just hypothetical concerns from paranoid users: there have been a slew of recent reports about devices constantly recording audio and cloud providers outsourcing to contractors transcription of audio recordings of private and intimate interactions.”

Phys .org: Big data could yield big discoveries in archaeology, scholar says. “In a recently released edition of the Journal of Field Archaeology, Brown Assistant Professor of Anthropology Parker VanValkenburgh and several colleagues detailed new research they conducted in the former Inca Empire in South America using drones, satellite imagery and proprietary online databases. Their results demonstrate that big data can provide archaeologists with a sweeping, big-picture view of the subjects they study on the ground—prompting new insights and new historical questions.” Good mid-afternoon, Internet…

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