Learning Search

Setting Up a GitHub Full of Search Gizmos

When I applied for the Bellingcat Tech Fellowship, it served to make me very aware of what I don’t know. I mean, I realize I know exactly nothing at least three times a day doing ResearchBuzz, but the lack of real programming ability felt more like an internal missing Lego block than a mere fact of ignorance.

So at the beginning of May I resolved to start learning JavaScript. So I got a good shot of JavaScript under my belt, took a brief detour to SQL so I could understand a couple of concepts, and am now playing around with JavaScript and Python. I’m learning enough that I’m getting ideas that I want to implement.

(Though I’m still terrible. If you feel compelled to email me and tell me I’m not a good programmer, I assure you I already know and don’t need a reminder.)

Consequently I’m making a bunch of experimental Google filters with JavaScript and HTML, and I’m keeping them on GitHub. I’m also hosting them on GitHub Pages so you can try them. My GitHub’s at https://github.com/ResearchBuzz , and my GitHub Page site’s at https://researchbuzz.github.io/ .

Here are the applications you can try at https://researchbuzz.github.io/ . None of them require API keys or any kind of registration, and you’re always welcome to grab the files from GitHub and make your own copies. I find they work fine when I host them locally on my machine.

Stay tuned, I suspect the more I learn the more I’ll make.

Twitter Receipts: https://researchbuzz.github.io/Twitter-Receipts/index.html

Twitter Receipts has you enter a Twitter handle and a date, then queries The Wayback Machine for the closest snapshot of the Twitter handle to that date. The Wayback Machine page opens in a new URL. Sometimes the API is a little slow so give it a few seconds.

Back That Ask Up: — https://researchbuzz.github.io/Back-That-Ask-Up-/

Enter a Google News query and the number of days/months/years’ worth of the most recent news items you want to eliminate. BTAU will construct a date-restricted search query in Google News and open it in a new window.

The Anti-Bullseye Name Search: — https://researchbuzz.github.io/The-Anti-Bullseye-Name-Search/

TABNS takes a name and generates a Google search that searches for the name in reverse order (Lastname Firstname) and specifically excludes the most common expression of firstname lastname. It changes the tenor of the search results completely, surfacing many more legal- and data- based results. It also removes a lot of commercial clutter from your search (Amazon, eBay, Pinterest, etc) and gives you the option of adding focusing keywords to the name search.

Sinker Search: — https://researchbuzz.github.io/sinker-search/index.html

Sinker Search takes full advantage of Google’s 32-word query limit by letting you choose an emphasized word in your search which will be repeated until Google’s query limit is reached.

Blogspace Time Machine: — https://researchbuzz.github.io/blogspace-time-machine/index.html

A Google filter for exploring recently-created (current month) content in blogspace, with the option of seeing the same search in blogspace from one, three, five, ten, or fifteen years ago.

Blog Shovel: — https://researchbuzz.github.io/Blog-Shovel/index.html

A Google filter unearthing blog content, from the early days of the Web until now. For much older content than the Blogspace Time Machine (goes back to 1995.)

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