Myanmar Manuscripts, Imjin War, TikTok, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, June 16, 2020


University of Toronto: U of T’s Myanmar digital library shares rare manuscripts with scholars around the world . “The open-access digital archive features manuscripts and rare print editions of texts from libraries across Myanmar. It is the result of an ongoing digitizing project led by an international team of scholars and volunteers who have spent more than five years cleaning, cataloguing and curating texts that cover a range of topics connected to the Southeast Asian country, from Buddhist literature and doctrine to medicine and astrology.”

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona: First database on the Imjin War now available. “The database covers a wide range of aspects of the Imjin War, such as information on prisoners, pottery produced during that period, Christianity, international relations, economics, the environment, Europe, identities, literature, military history, migrations, social history and trade. It allows analysing the human aspect of war, given that tens of thousands of Koreans were captured and sold to Japan as slaves, and many Japanese soldiers fell into the hands of the Chinese army and never returned to their country of origin. The project examines the trajectory of these people and how they were integrated into their new societies.”


Daily Dot: TikTok bans InfoWars hosts—but these fringe figures remain. “Like the social media platforms that have come before it, as TikTok has grown in popularity, it’s faced thorny questions about free speech. Predominantly, whether they will allow white nationalist and conspiratorial content on its platform. In recent days, conspiracy theorist and InfoWars host Owen Shroyer‘s TikTok account was suspended. But an account with over 20,000 followers dedicated to posting videos of the host remains live.”

PC World: Facebook now says it won’t even try to block 2020 election disinformation. “Can you trust what you read on Facebook? No. And why not? Because Facebook has now explicitly said that it will obey an executive order from President Trump and will refuse to fact-check misinformation and disinformation as American heads into the 2020 election.”

ZDNet: GitHub to replace “master” with alternative term to avoid slavery references. “GitHub is working on replacing the term “master” on its service with a neutral term like ‘main’ to avoid any unnecessary references to slavery, its CEO said on Friday. The code-hosting portal is just the latest in a long line of tech companies and open source projects that have expressed support for removing terms that may be offensive to developers in the black community.”


Online Journalism Blog: How Wayback Machine and a sitemap file was used to factcheck Dominic Cummmings. “Here’s how it was done — and how journalists can use the same tools in their work, whether it’s to verify a claim made about the past, a claim about what was not said in the past, or to uncover details that may have been unwittingly revealed in earlier versions of webpages.”

9to5 Google: Google Play Music: 7 alternatives to try if YouTube Music doesn’t float your boat [Video]. There is a video component but there’s also solid accompanying text. “Here are seven alternatives that you might be forced to consider now that Google Play Music is set to be abandoned in the coming months. To create this list, we’ve looked at just what they offer, similarities and library size before collating them for you to check out.”


Daily Beast: Top Dem Think Tank Trashes Facebook But Still Takes Its Cash. “Officials at the Center for American Progress, the Democratic Party’s top think tank, indicated that they have no plans to stop taking money from Facebook even after an official at the think tank accused the social media giant of effectively doing the bidding of President Donald Trump.”

iFixit: How iFixit Built Its Free Medical Database. “The medical database was also a novel effort, combining crowdsourced file sharing, an all-remote coordinated team effort, and unique technical challenges. I interviewed some key iFixit staff and outside volunteers about how the project came together, in the hopes it might provide some lessons and inspiration for similar efforts.”

OPB: Portland Takes Database Of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings Offline. “Want to find out if you live in a Portland building particularly vulnerable in an earthquake? You won’t be able to do it online any longer. Portland has quietly agreed to take down its online database detailing the approximately 1,600 old brick and stone buildings in the city considered likely to collapse in the next major earthquake.”


CNN: I tried to delete myself from the internet. Here’s what I learned. “As I would learn through my brief, manic campaign in December to scrub as much of my personal data as possible and start the new year with a clean digital slate, it’s hard not to feel like you’re just scratching the surface of an impossibly large data industrial complex. By the end of my experiment, I felt even worse off about my ability to wrestle back control of my data than when I started.”

Techdirt: New Study Tries, Fails, To Claim Community Broadband Is An Inevitable Boondoggle. “For years a growing number of US towns and cities have been forced into the broadband business thanks to US telecom market failure. Frustrated by high prices, lack of competition, spotty coverage, and terrible customer service, some 750 US towns and cities have explored some kind of community broadband option. And while the telecom industry routinely likes to insist these efforts always end in disaster, that’s never actually been true. While there certainly are bad business plans and bad leaders, studies routinely show that such services not only see the kind of customer satisfaction scores that are alien to large private ISPs, they frequently offer better service at lower, more transparent pricing than many private providers.” Good morning, Internet…

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