Prison Writing, Library of Congress, Google, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, April 19, 2020


Hamilton College: The Zo, Based on the American Prison Writing Archive, Debuts. “In 2008 when Professor of Literature and Creative Writing Doran Larson launched a seminar on American prison writing at Hamilton, he found there existed no collection that offered a broad sampling of writing by inmates. Thus began his solicitation of essays from the incarcerated that led to the publishing of Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America, edited by Larson, and to the subsequent creation of the American Prison Writing Archive (APWA). The archive, now numbering more than 2,300 essays from 950 authors, has been used by colleges in 33 states and many countries around the world from Australia to England. Never before, however, has the archive received such well-deserved attention as that generated by Welcome to ‘The Zo’, a new series of videos from The Marshall Project that takes a look at life inside prison through sentiments expressed in the APWA letters.”


Library of Congress: No Depression Features Zora Neale Hurston. “We’re happy to announce a new venture in getting our stories out there! We’re working with No Depression, The Journal of Roots Music, which is published by the nonprofit Freshgrass Foundation. They’ll be publishing a column called Roots in the Archive, featuring content from the American Folklife Center and Folklife Today, over at their website.”

BetaNews: Fintech: Leak shows Google is working on a debit card to rival Apple Card. “Leaked pictures suggest that Google is preparing to launch its own physical and virtual debit cards. TechCrunch cites multiple reliable sources in a report that gives a glimpse into Google’s future fintech plans.”

CNET: Reddit is publicly tracking all political ads on its site ahead of 2020 election. “Reddit is updating its political ad policies in an attempt to increase transparency ahead of the 2020 election. All political ad campaigns running on Reddit will now be publicly tracked in a subreddit, r/RedditPoliticalAds, and include information like spending and impressions, the company said Monday.”


Towards Data Science: How to Scrape Google Shopping Prices with Web Data Extraction. “Google Shopping is a good start to market your online business and convert more sales. However, if you’re a newcomer, it is essential to watch and learn how your competitors brand and market their products from Google Shopping by using a web data extraction tool (web scraping tool).”

Analytics India: A Beginner’s Guide To Using Google Colab. “We are all familiar with the pop-up alerts of ‘memory-error’ while trying to work with a large dataset of machine learning (ML) or deep learning algorithms on Jupyter notebooks. On top of that, owning a decent GPU from an existing cloud provider has remained out of bounds due to the financial investment it entails. The machines at our disposal, unfortunately, do not have the unlimited computational ability. But the wait is finally over as we can now build large ML models without selling our properties. The credit goes to Google for launching the Colab – an online platform that allows anyone to train models with large datasets, absolutely free.”


National Catholic Reporter: Mexican American religious life will be preserved in UCLA archive collection. “The collections highlight churches and faith-based organizations such as Church of the Epiphany, an Episcopal congregation where activists planned the Chicano Moratorium to protest the Vietnam War draft; Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention and rehabilitation organization founded by Jesuit priest Gregory Boyle; and Católicos por La Raza, a Catholic lay group that criticized the church’s neglect of the poor and the lack of Mexican American representation within the institution.”

University of Southern Mississippi: USM Professor Wins $350,000 Grant to Digitize Governors’ Papers, Employ Dozens of Students. “A digital history project based at The University of Southern Mississippi recently won a three-year grant totaling $349,987 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant, which was awarded to the Civil War & Reconstruction Governors of Mississippi (CWRGM) project led by Dr. Susannah J. Ural will also help to employee dozens of graduate students to work on the project.”

BBC: How Drake harnessed TikTok to slide to number one. “The Chinese-owned social media app, in which users create 15-second clips, usually set to music, was second only to WhatsApp in global downloads last year. With a billion users of its international version, it’s increasingly established itself as a way for unknown artists to score a breakout hit – from Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road, to Doja Cat’s Say So and Arizona Zervas’s Roxanne – in the same way that featuring in a television advert could supercharge an artist’s sales in the pre-internet era.”


BetaNews: Microsoft fixes multiple actively exploited zero-day vulnerabilities as part of Patch Tuesday. “Microsoft’s monthly Patch Tuesday security updates are always important, but the ones released this week are particularly important. Not only do the fixes address numerous zero-day vulnerabilities, but the security flaws they fix were being actively exploited. In all, Microsoft has plugged 113 CVE-numbered vulnerabilities this month. 17 of these are marked as being critical, and 96 as important.”

Reuters: Washington AG sues Facebook over political ads. “Washington state’s attorney general filed a second lawsuit against Facebook Inc FB.O over political ads on Tuesday, saying the social media giant once again failed to make disclosures required under the state’s campaign finance laws. Facebook already paid $238,000 in 2018 to resolve a previous dispute over political advertising in Washington state.”


EurekAlert: ‘I saw you were online’: How online status indicators shape our behavior. “Some apps highlight when a person is online — and then share that information with their followers. When a user logs in to a website or app that uses online status indicators, a little green (or orange or blue) dot pops up to alert their followers that they’re currently online. Researchers at the University of Washington wanted to know if people recognize that they are sharing this information and whether these indicators change how people behave online.” Good morning, Internet…

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