YIVO Institute Archives, The Night Watch, Mapping PFAS, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, January 10, 2022


New York Times: YIVO Institute Makes Archives of Yiddish Life Available Online. “Almost 100 years ago, a group of Jewish linguists and historians decided to create a ‘scientific institute’ that would collect literary manuscripts, letters, theater posters, business records and ephemera so they could document the flourishing Yiddish culture of Eastern Europe and promote the language. Among its honorary board members: Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Within 15 years, the institute, established in what is now the Lithuanian city of Vilnius (Vilna in Yiddish), had blossomed into the world’s leading archive of Eastern European Jews and their scattered emigrant satellites.”

My Modern Met: Explore Rembrandt’s Famous Painting “The Night Watch” in New 717-Gigapixel Photo. “Rembrandt van Rijn is perhaps the most well-known of the Dutch Masters. During the Golden Age of the Netherlands, his expressive brushwork conjured realistic scenes and expressive portraits. The Night Watch is chief among his masterpieces. The iconic painting is a 12-by-14-foot canvas illustrating 34 figures of an early modern militia. Now, this monumental work can be explored in microscopic detail through a 717-gigapixel photograph of the work.”

News@Northeastern: This Map IDs Cancer-causing Chemical Sites In Your Neighborhood. “Just how toxic is your community? No, this isn’t about contentious school committee meetings or surly neighbors. Neighborhoods across the country are contaminated with long-lasting, cancer-causing toxins called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, and researchers at Northeastern recently unveiled an interactive, online map that identifies areas with high levels of the chemicals.”


CogDogBlog: Could Not Stop Making Bookmarklet Tools. “I was a bit excited to push out my recent bookmarklet tool experiment. The reception was kind. I was hasty in the naming of it in github tying to google images because as alluded to, I realized I could make a new one for searching Openverse (the updated version of Creative Commons CC Search).”

Ubergizmo: Ubergizmo’s Best of CES 2022 . “CES 2022 is ending, and it’s time to nominate what we deem to be the best, most innovative, and enthusiastic products of CES that we’ve looked at up close or experienced hands-on.”

Google Operating System: Bring Back YouTube Dislikes. “YouTube has recently hidden the number of dislikes for YouTube videos. In a blog post from November, YouTube announced that this was done to ‘help better protect our creators from harassment, and reduce dislike attacks’. The dislike button hasn’t disappeared, but the dislike counts were made private, so that only video creators could see them. If you install this Chrome extension, you can bring back the number of dislikes next to the ‘dislike’ button.” You’ll see some caveats in the article, but as they note it’s better than nothing.


CNBC: Disney is hiring TikTok creators — you need to love theme parks, food and social media. “On Monday, the company announced it’s hiring two social media content coordinators to ‘expand DPEP (Disney Parks, Experiences and Products) social media presence’ – especially on TikTok. The chosen applicants would work at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Disneyland in Anaheim, California, respectively.”


CTV News: Man seeking RCMP files goes to court after national archives takes 80-year extension. “An Ottawa researcher is asking a judge to order Canada’s national archives to speed up work on his request for old RCMP records after he was told to wait at least 80 years for a response. In a notice of application to the Federal Court, Michael Dagg says Library and Archives Canada “has failed to establish any valid basis for the extraordinary extension of time” to process his application under the Access to Information Act.”

Vice: FBI’s Backdoored Anom Phones Secretly Harvested GPS Data Around the World. “Anom, an encrypted phone company marketed to criminals which the FBI secretly took over, surreptitiously recorded every message sent by the phones’ users. But the truly global undercover operation had another secret: The phones also collected users’ precise GPS location and transferred that information to authorities, according to multiple documents reviewed by Motherboard.”


The Week: The NFT craze has stopped being funny. “As an NFT skeptic, some guy getting scammed out of his collection of objectively hideous procedurally-generated ape cartoons was amusing. But it’s all getting steadily less funny. Real non-rich people are putting a lot of money into these things, and there are good reasons to think sooner or later most of them are going to lose their shirts.”

KelloggInsight: When a Bunch of Economists Look at the Same Data, Do They All See It the Same Way?. “Data can be messy, notoriously so. And so scientists and researchers have developed reams of strategies for cleaning and analyzing and ultimately harnessing data to draw conclusions. But this unusual study—an analysis of 164 separate analyses—suggests that the decisions that go into choosing how to clean the datasets, analyze them, and come to a conclusion can in fact add just as much noise as the data themselves.”


Pinkbike: Bike Index Uncovers International Bike Theft & Sale Operation. “In early 2021, users of the bike registry Bike Index alerted the website that a seller based in Juarez, Mexico, appeared to be selling large numbers of bikes that matched many of those stolen in Colorado. The tips catalyzed a special data compilation project that took place throughout 2021, has indexed more than 1000 suspicious bikes, and has matched several victims of bike theft with their bikes.” Good morning, Internet…

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