Rainfall Reports, Global Storm Database, Sean Wall, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, June 25, 2021


Wired: Citizen Scientists Digitized Centuries of Handwritten Rain Data. “IN MARCH 2020, as the United Kingdom went into pandemic lockdown, climate scientist Ed Hawkins put out a call to people with time on their hands: He needed help turning nearly 350 years’ worth of archival rainfall reports into digital documents that modern researchers could easily use. To his surprise, 16,000 people volunteered…. Now, just over a year later, his group has released their work, a massive data set of upwards of 5 million observations extracted from the UK Meteorological Office’s paper records—the oldest dating to 1677.”

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Building a Global Storm Database. “A new global database built by researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) captures characteristics and rainfall data of strong thunderstorms from the past 20 years. Including storms in both midlatitude and tropical zones is key to capturing how contrasting storm behavior and corresponding precipitation could affect populated regions of the globe.”

RTE: Archive of Limerick East Brigade leader Sean Wall online. “The Sean Wall Family Archive is a valuable collection of material relating to the Limerick East Brigade leader and his extended family, in particular the roles played by his brothers Fr Tom Wall and Bill Wall, who were also very active in republican circles during those years.”

British Library Endangered Archives Blog: New online – April/May 2021. “We have another four completed digitisation projects that have recently gone online. These four projects represent both the global breadth of EAP projects and the wide variety of content types.”


Colorado Virtual Library: Next Draft: A Monthly Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion digest from EDIT. “This month we launched a monthly Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion digest from EDIT, the Colorado Virtual Library EDI Team. In it you’ll find recent EDI-related posts and events. This digest is sent to Libnet subscribers, but we will also be sharing here on the Colorado Virtual Library.”

Gizmodo: A Google Drive Update Might Break All Your Links. “Now that Google has opened up its business-focused Workspace suite to everyone, there are some new Google Drive features. But as with every move, sometimes things get busted along the way.”


Digital Library of Georgia: How I Built A Funeral Program Collection for African Americans in Atlanta. “What started as a friendly competitive thought has now become another resource for researchers as well as scholars (I am one of the latter) who are interested in the individuals and local communities represented in the individual documents. The Atlanta funeral programs collection could possibly provide the information needed by a family historian (like myself) working to piece together their family’s story. This collection will always mean a lot to me, not only because I helped to start it but also because members of my own family are featured in the collection.”

TechCrunch: Kayak co-founder Paul English just launched Moonbeam, a podcast discovery app. “Today, [Paul] English launched Moonbeam, a podcast discovery app that blends machine learning and human curation to present personalized recommendations. This might sound like what Podz is doing, creating a newsfeed-style stream of content that users might like. But Moonbeam ups the ante by creating a creator-friendly platform, allowing podcast hosts to select clips of their show to feature on the app, too. The app also lets fans send a tip to the creator if they like their show enough (Moonbeam won’t take a cut, but there’s still that pesky in-app purchase fee for podcasters to consider).”

Digital Camera World: Shutterstock nabs LIFE magazine photo archive from Getty. “It was only last February that Getty Images announced it had added 75,000 images from The LIFE Picture Collection to, and planned to add a further 400,000 Images between 2020 and 2025. Well, we’re not sure what happened there, but that’s clearly no longer the case. Because its rival Shutterstock has just announced an editorial partnership with media company Meredith Corporation to exclusively represent The LIFE Picture Collection.”


Wall Street Journal: App Taps Unwitting Users Abroad to Gather Open-Source Intelligence. “A consumer app has assembled a workforce of hundreds of thousands of smartphone users world-wide, some of whom are being unwittingly tasked with basic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for the U.S. military.”


Indiana University: New center for AI, machine-learning research dedicated at IU Bloomington. “The initial focus of the Luddy Center for AI, which will open in August, will include robotics, complex networks, health and social media. The center will draw upon the strength of researchers at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, as well as collaborators from IU’s extensive range of health and life science schools, departments and programs.”

New York Times: The Internet Eats Up Less Energy Than You Might Think. “From 2010 to 2018, the data workloads hosted by the cloud data centers increased 2,600 percent and energy consumption increased 500 percent. But energy consumption for all data centers rose less than 10 percent. What happened, the authors explain, was mainly a huge shift of workloads to the bigger, more efficient cloud data centers — and away from traditional computer centers, largely owned and run by non-tech companies.” Good morning, Internet…

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