1926 U.S. Census of Religious Bodies, Google Competition, Virtual New Year’s, More: Monday Evening ResearchBuzz, December 28, 2020


Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media: 40,000+ Documents from Religious Bodies Census Digitized Nearly a Century Later. “Today the American Religious Ecologies project is releasing the initial version of a website that makes available tens of thousands of documents from the 1926 U.S. Census of Religious Bodies. These schedules, or forms, describe religious congregations from the early twentieth century from a wide range of religious traditions. These documents are freely available to scholars, students, and local historians, who can browse or search for them by location or by religious identification.”


FT: Search engine start-ups try to take on Google. “A new batch of search engine start-ups positioning themselves as potential rivals to Google is hoping that growing regulatory pressure will finally reverse two decades of the search giant’s dominance. The latest challengers include Neeva, launched by two former Google executives, and, founded by’s former chief scientist, as well as Mojeek, a UK-based start-up with growing ambitions to build its own index of billions of web pages.” Not paywalled, at least for me. The comments were all over the map.


Mashable: How to host a virtual New Year’s Eve party. “Yeah, we know, we know. This year is unlike any other; unprecedented; blah blah blah. By now, we’ve more than resigned ourselves to the fact that New Year’s Eve won’t be rung in with a night in Times Square and a giant ball drop. (Did anyone ever really enjoy that anyway?) Like everything else, we’re moving our New Year’s Eve celebrations online. If that sounds impossible to you, we’ve got all the tips on how to pull it off below.”


Hungary Today: “I Hunt for Photos Where the Photographer Captured Their Own World” – Interview with Fortepan Founder Miklós Tamási. “Since its 2010 launch, Fortepan has slowly become Hungary’s most popular photo archive. The creator of the project, Miklós Tamási, launched the photo collection to document what everyday life was like in Hungary from the end of the 19th century until the democratic political transition in 1990. Today, there are not many people in Hungary who have never stumbled upon content from the online archive as dozens of articles and photo galleries are illustrated with pictures from here each and every day. – Today Fortepan is the most widely-known and used photo archive in Hungary. There is almost no newspaper reader or internet user who has not come across photos from here. What is the key to its success, and how is this archive different from any other?”

Associated Press: In 2020, AP photographers captured a world in distress. “A 64-year-old woman weeps, hugging her husband as he lay dying in the COVID-19 unit of a California hospital. A crowded refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece, engulfed in flames, disgorges a string of migrants fleeing this hell on Earth. Rain-swept protesters, enraged by the death of George Floyd in police custody, rail against the system and the heavens. This is the world that Associated Press photographers captured in 2020, a world beset by every sort of catastrophe — natural and unnatural disaster, violent and non-violent conflict.” These images are often violent and in at least one case show death.

ABC News Australia: National Library finds 120-year-old chocolates commissioned by Queen Victoria and owned by Banjo Paterson. “Conservators at the National Library of Australia have unearthed one of the world’s oldest boxes of chocolates, dating back 120 years to the time of the Boer War. The souvenir chocolate tin was discovered at the bottom of a box of personal papers from the estate of Australian bush poet Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson. Remarkably, the chocolates were not only unmolested after more than a century, but still looked — almost — good enough to eat.”


The Guardian: Iranian teenager who posted distorted pictures of herself is jailed for 10 years. “Sahar Tabar, 19, whose real name is Fatemeh Khishvand, came to prominence after posting images of herself with a gaunt, zombie-like face. At one point she had 486,000 followers on Instagram. She was charged with corruption of young people and disrespect for the Islamic Republic. In spring she pleaded for release from detention, saying she had contracted Covid-19.”

BBC: Japan ‘Twitter killer’ Takahiro Shiraishi sentenced to death. “Takahiro Shiraishi, dubbed the ‘Twitter killer’, was arrested in 2017 after body parts were found in his flat. The 30-year-old had admitted to murdering and dismembering his victims – almost all of whom were young women he met on the social media platform.”


Shepparton News: New Australian farm database to show drought and basin plan impacts. “A new secure database of Australian farms is hoping to open the door to new analysis, exploring fine scale trends in crop production, the effects of seasonal climate and drought on farm outcomes, and measuring trends in water productivity in the Murray-Darling Basin. A multi-year collaboration between the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the database integrates several existing datasets to unlock new insights and applications for Australian farms.”

Arab News: Grand Mosque library uses ozone tech to preserve manuscripts. “The library of the Makkah’s Grand Mosque is using ozone technology and ozone-based devices to disinfect historical manuscripts and books as part of its measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.” Good evening, Internet…

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