Amazon Car Research, Ontario Music, NC Newspaper, More: Short Friday Buzz, August 26, 2016

The next couple of weeks will still be Hell, but hopefully Hell Lite. There will be more typos. There will be more explanations of where different cities and provinces are. I still love you but these last couple weeks have been a skullcrusher. Thanks for letting me vent.

NEW RESOURCES

Interesting: Amazon has a new car research site. “Amazon.com Inc. is pushing deeper into the auto industry and car-parts market with a new website featuring reviews, images and specifications on thousands of new and classic car models. Customers can research cars on the new Amazon Vehicles website, they just can’t buy one there.”

The city of Peterborough (that’s Ontario, in CANADA) has launched a new Web site with almost 13000 streamable songs by local artists. Alex Stangl is a nice listen. (He’s also got a spot at the Internet Archive.)

DigitalNC has its 200th partner institution and a new digitized newspaper collection. “[Rourk Branch Library’s] first addition to the collection helps us build the North Carolina Newspaper collection, with almost a decade of issues from The Brunswick Beacon. The Beacon is a unique community newspaper with issues dating from 1985 to 1994. The newspaper contains many creative ads (like the one below) and stories relevant to the area. The paper is an excellent resource for those interested in researching the activities of coastal areas in North Carolina or for genealogists.”

USEFUL STUFF

The New York Times has an article explaining how you can find out what Facebook thinks about your politics. Facebook thinks I’m a liberal (which is correct sometimes; depends on the topic) but the funny part was it had me labeled with “Ethnic Affinity: African American”. There is nothing wrong with being a person of color, but the color I am is pasty pink. Or you could just call me a Saltine-American. (And maybe Facebook’s algorithmic discovery isn’t as good as it thinks.)

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Looks like there are more security issues with iOS. “An international team of computer science researchers has identified serious security vulnerabilities in the iOS – the operating system used in Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. The vulnerabilities make a variety of attacks possible.” Good morning, Internet…

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VQL, Pinterest, AdSense, More: Short Wednesday Buzz, August 23, 2016

A comment a reader left yesterday is still bothering me, so I want to clarify here. He thought that my denoting Saskatchewan as part of Canada was patronizing. I didn’t mean to be patronizing. What I meant to be was clear. ResearchBuzz has readers all over the world, and I’m not making any assumptions about anyone’s knowledge of geography. Therefore I’m going to note that Saskatchewan is in Canada, just as I noted that Annapolis was a city in Maryland.

Every day that I do ResearchBuzz I learn that there’s so much I don’t know. There is truly more on heaven and Earth than is dreamt of in my philosophy. I hope getting hit on the head with that fact daily for the 18+ years I have done ResearchBuzz has knocked the patronizing right out of me. And if it hasn’t yet, I hope it will.

NEW RESOURCES

Data analysis without tears: is this a new trend, something I’m just paying attention to because I’m currently up to my elbows in MYSQL, or ? I don’t know. I do know that VQL sounds pretty cool. “VQL connects to a SQL database or Relational Database Systems, such as PostgreSQL, Amazon Redshift and Heroku. It can also upload data from a CSV or spreadsheet. In all cases, the solution imports the information, predicts column categories and automatically divides the data into a comprehensive table in a matter of minutes. Users can then make instant inquiries sans code, searching for certain text, numbers and dates throughout the dataset. If they aren’t feeling the spreadsheet layout, they can also create histograms – similar to Excel, but with a lot more information.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Pinterest has acquired Instapaper. “Instapaper, a pioneering app for saving articles to read later, has been acquired — again. The app, which was created by developer Marco Arment and sold to Betaworks in 2013, has found a new home at Pinterest.”

Google AdSense used to have a limit of three ad units per Web page. Now that appears to be gone. Ugh. “Over the past 12 hours, I received a few emails and notifications from AdSense publishers that Google seems to have dropped the ad limit per page policy. In the past, the policy was written up on this page as saying that there were ‘up to three AdSense for content units.’ Now that has been removed.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

South Korea is holding off on a decision to whether or not to provide Google with mapping data. “South Korea said on Wednesday it will extend a review of a request by Google Inc in June for permission to take government mapping data out of the country for use in servers worldwide, with a decision due by Nov. 23.”

Google is apparently going to start cracking down on mobile sites with annoying interstitial ads. How about desktop sites with annoying interstitial ads?

Rumors are swirling that the Google VR headset release is pretty close. “The company is relying on apps, shorts and games to promote Daydream, a hybrid store and software service that Google hopes will be the dominant way people engage in virtual reality, much like Android is for smartphones. An update to Android software that will support Daydream began rolling out Monday. The idea is to encourage the growth of the technology and ensure Google maintains a central role in helping people find things to watch.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

A consumer watchdog group is going after the Kardashians. “The consumer watchdog group Truth in Advertising says the clan is illegally advertising stuff on social media. It’s documented over 100 Instagram posts that it says should have been marked sponsored or paid for.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Two new books: Social media in industrial China and social media in rural China. “From the ways in which social media is a form of education for factory workers, to the increase of privacy, Social Media in Industrial China and Social Media in Rural China together offer detailed and thoroughly researched insights into how social media is being used in China, and the impact it’s having on peoples’ lives.” The books are being released on September 13th; while the paper copies have a price there are open access versions available for free. Good morning, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Maryland Newspaper, Pennsylvania Transparency, Saskatchewan Lobbyists, More: Tuesday Buzz, August 22, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The Capital Newspaper (Annapolis, Maryland) has launched a digital archive. It’s going to be a fee service but it’s free through the end of August. Issues date back to 1887.

The state of Pennsylvania has kicked off its open data initiative. “Pennsylvania launched a new online repository of state government data Monday as part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s push for greater transparency. OpenDataPA, which was created via executive order, currently houses 12 data sets about aging bridges scheduled to be replaced and completed workforce training. Additional spreadsheets will be added over time.”

The providence of Saskatchewan in Canada has launched an online lobbyist registry. “Anyone is able to visit the online registry and search to see what issues or subjects have been lobbied. Lobbyists will have 30 days to register on the site.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

USEFUL STUFF

A quick list but a useful one: 7 resources for open education materials

Just in case, from LifeHacker: the beginner’s guide to setting up LastPass.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Interesting, from New York Times Magazine: Turning Instagram Into a Radically Unfiltered Travel Guide. “The rise of the social web promised a new era of personalization for globe-trotting. But like many things born online, as popularity of the new tools increased, efficiency and usefulness began to decrease. Brands and businesses quickly set to figuring out how to manipulate and game the services, and they soon succeeded. Yelp, for example, lost credibility after it was revealed that the company solicited people to write fake reviews. Foursquare’s recommendations were initially a wealth of insider tips, but advertisers often bought their way into the recommendations, giving chains priority over local businesses. TripAdvisor has a slightly different problem: Its ambit is so broad that its recommendations have come to represent a safe median, a poll of polls. It’s great for making sure a restaurant you want to eat in won’t give you dysentery, but less so for identifying adventures or local secrets.”

WIRED: Want More Accurate Polls? Maybe Ask Twitter. “Traditional polling methods aren’t working the way they used to. Upstart analytics firms like Civis and conventional pollsters like PPP, Ipsos, and Pew Research Institute have all been hunting for new, more data-centric ways to uncover the will of the whole public, rather than just the tiny slice willing to answer a random call on their landline. The trending solution is to incorporate data mined from the Internet, especially from social media. It’s a crucial, overdue shift. Even though the Internet is a cesspool of trolls, it’s also where millions of Americans go to express opinions that pollsters might not even think to ask about.”

The Federal Reserve got on Facebook, and the Internet turned it up to 11. (Don’t read the comments. Don’t. Read. The. Comments.) American Banker has a more measured article.

Looks like Facebook had a pretty good Olympics. “Facebook saw more than 1.5 billion interactions — likes, posts, comments and shares — related to the Olympics throughout the games. From Aug. 5 to 21, 277 million people participated in the conversation around the world, meaning Facebook users, on average, interacted with Olympics-related stories 5 times.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Here’s a good use for Google Maps: getting out of a speeding ticket “[Danial] Mercer was accused of going 49 kilometres per hour in a 30 km/h zone. The school zone signs aren’t visible in the photo he got with his ticket.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Interesting question: Should government clean up its Twitter feeds? With regards to Twitter’s new filter feature: “From the perspective of Lindsay Crudele, director of DotGov and dean of training at Media Cause, the new feature goes a long way to combat negative interactions with harsh critics, but isn’t a tool government officials or organizations should just jump into. It comes with potential ramifications.”

OTHER STUFF I THINK IS COOL

I’m into my second Hell Week of the month and this is about the most I can handle: a Twitter bot that tweets different color gradients every half hour. “… it’s incumbent on Twitter users to curate a space for themselves on the platform that is a little less **picture of a dumpster on fire** and a little more chill. Since human beings have had approximately zero chill since Eve ate that apple in that garden that one time, everyone’s best bet for having a nice time on Twitter is likely removing all the flesh-and-blood users from their feed and replacing them with bots.” Good morning, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Mini Page, Interior Design, Embry-Riddle, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, August 22, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

I swear I feel like I’ve written about this, but I can’t find any evidence that I have, so – do you remember The Mini Page? There’s a BIG Mini Page archive online. It covers 1969 – 2007 and it’s keyword-searchable.

Cornell has created an app that will help you track down furnishings you find in pictures. “Given a photo of a chair, lamp or some other item, a new service will tell you who makes it and where to buy it, and show you pictures of how it might look in various rooms.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has updated its university archives. “Embry-Riddle’s University Archives has a new and improved look. In tribute to the university’s 90th anniversary this year, the Archives redesigned its database and upgraded its software to a new version that allows public access to historical records via mobile devices. Users of the archival database can search for such materials as alumni memorabilia, audio recordings, corporate records, newspaper clippings, photographs, video media, and many artifacts, including awards and aviation paraphernalia.”

Google is open-sourcing its Science Journal app. “Today we are happy to announce that we are releasing Science Journal 1.1 on the Google Play Store and also publishing the core source for the app. Open source software and hardware has been hugely beneficial to the science education ecosystem. By open sourcing, we’ll be able to improve the app faster and also to provide the community with an example of a modern Android app built with Material Design principles.”

Is Facebook Live adding a feature for two-person broadcasts? “According to a reliable source we spoke to this morning, Facebook is set to begin a phased rollout of a new feature that allows for two-person broadcasts on Live. Originally announced at VidCon back in June, we’re now told the feature should make its way to users on Monday.”

USEFUL STUFF

From Search Engine Journal: Everything You Need to Know About Snapchat Geofilters. (This article includes how to make your own.)

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Hey, Bing can’t let Google Maps make all the goofy errors. In fact, Bing’s one-upped it by putting an entire city in the wrong hemisphere. “A search on Bing Maps for ‘Melbourne, Victoria, Australia’ says the city is at 37.813610, 144.963100 which we’ve screen-captured above (or here for those reading our mobile site). The co-ordinates are right save for one important detail: Melbourne is at 37.8136° South. Bing’s therefore put it in the wrong hemisphere.”

Looks like Oracle has pretty much declared war on Google. “Groups with words like ‘transparency’ in their name are typically very open about how they operate. That’s why the ‘Campaign for Accountability,’ a non-profit hatched in Washington this spring, is such a mystery: the group refuses to say who pays for its activities.” Except they confirmed that Oracle is one of the payers.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Authorities in Egypt have started cracking down (harder?) on social media satire pages. “After the Egyptian officials clamped down on satirical programs in Egypt, notably ‘Al-Bernameg,’ which had been hosted by media presenter Bassem Youssef, Egyptian satirists have resorted to social media as a supposedly safe haven where they can pursue their favorite hobby — taunting heads of state, especially President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Interesting: Google Translate bot, what are your politics? “Last school year, my incredible colleague at Brooklyn College, Laura Ascenzi-Moreno and I followed a 6th grade newcomer student from China and his teachers, paying attention to how they integrated Google Translate (as a translanguaging practice) into their practices to communicate with each other and learn. In multilingual classrooms, Google Translate has become such a ubiquitous tool — used not just to make sure homework assignments and notes are read by parents but in ways that, as we found, actually contribute to the relationships between teachers, students, and knowledge.” Good afternoon, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Yucca Mountain Documents, Open Data Policies, Komodo Island, More: Monday Buzz, August 22, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: a digital library of documents related to the Yucca Mountain Depository. “The [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] is flipping the switch today on its new LSN Library — making nearly 3.7 million documents related to the adjudicatory hearing on the proposed Yucca Mountain repository available to the public. The library makes the discovery documents by various parties to the hearing public for the first time in five years, and with enhanced search capabilities.”

Now available: a database of open data policies from municipalities across the United States. “A pair of open government groups are teaming up to post dozens of open data policies from cities around the country in a searchable, machine-readable format, giving local leaders a new resource for understanding how other localities are making their information more accessible. The Sunlight Foundation and OpenGov Foundation announced their new collaboration on ‘Open Data Policies Decoded’ last week, unveiling a beta version of the new database with policies from 48 cities posted and ready for analysis.”

Put up on Google Street View over a week ago and I missed it: imagery from the Komodo Islands, Indonesia. “Beyond taking a virtual walk with dragons, you can also explore the rich marine life surrounding Komodo Island, with the launch of 11 new underwater sites from Indonesia, thanks to XL Catlin Seaview Survey and The Ocean Agency.”

This actually happened at the beginning of the month, but I couldn’t get to the NREL press release. Now it works. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has launched an energy profile for each US city. “The City Energy Profile tool, which is available on the State and Local Energy Data website, uses innovative, robust data science methodologies to derive city-specific data for 23,400 cities across the United States. In addition to providing cities with estimates of their electricity and natural gas use and costs by sector, the tool generates energy market profiles that provide data on the fuel types, including alternative fuels, and the fuel economy of vehicles registered in each city.” Use the “tabs” on the side of the information pages to get details for each section of energy use.

From the Library of Congress’ “New on the Web” feed: The New York Journal, 1896-1899. Yes, a very short archive, but I just spent 30 minutes wandering around in it. You’ve been warned.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The Annapolis Maritime Museum has gotten a grant to make its archives more accessible. “The Annapolis Maritime Museum has received a strategic impact grant from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County to build a virtual database of archives. This grant is making a big impact for the museum’s online collections, and the museum’s database has already encouraged local historians to submit their private collections for public use.” I tried the link in the article and it led to a simple site. I tried to leave a comment and I couldn’t do that either. I hope you have better luck with this story than I did.

FEMA has updated its mobile app to include crowdsourced images. “After you snap a pic, you’re prompted to choose from a selection of categories including ‘flood,’ ‘thunderstorms,’ and ‘wildfire.’ Then, after you’ve assigned a date and location, the app uploads your material to FEMA’s cloud storage. ‘When you take a photo of a disaster that’s happening in your area, first responders have access to that database,’ [Sheridan] Marfil said. ‘It gives first responders a clear picture of what it looks like out there.'”

Indian Railways is teaming up with Google. “Railways will collaborate with Google for digitizing and showcasing its heritage on digital platforms. Google has agreed to partner with Railways to digitise its heritage assets and help create a digital repository for universal online access free of cost, said a senior Railway Ministry official. Indian Railway has a huge list of heritage assets including bridges, steam locos, buildings, artefacts and museums which can be showcased for global audience.”

USEFUL STUFF

From Six Revisions: 13 Free Data Visualization Tools.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

This is just flat-out scary. From Urban Milwaukee: Journal Sentinel Archive Disappears. “…on Tuesday, August 16, the Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel listings vanished from the Google News Archive home page. This change came without any advance warning and still has no official explanation.” The only explanation the article writer could get was that Newsbank now owned the copyright to these newspapers. But if the archives really did have “more than a century’s worth of local newspapers,” why has no one called out Newsbank on trying to assert copyright over pre-1923 materials?

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

The latest retailer to be hit by malware is Eddie Bauer. “All the retailer’s stores in the U.S. and Canada, numbering about 350, were affected, a company spokesman disclosed Thursday. He added that the retailer is not disclosing the number of customers affected. The card information harvested included cardholder name, payment card number, security code and expiration date.” The breach apparently happened between January and July 2016 ….

RESEARCH AND OPINION

New York Magazine: Save the Trash! Why the Gawker Archive Is Important. “The early content of Gawker, in particular, is of real significance in the history of journalism. Elizabeth Spiers, in the site’s first days, and Choire Sicha, soon thereafter, all but invented the bloggy, voice-y approach to online writing that now dominates the web. Many of us try to do that sort of work in a more generous or kinder way; many of us do not have the appetite for blood that Gawker did. But whether you like it or not, or mimic it or not, what they did changed the way things are done. For that alone, it is (and will be) worth study, and is thus worth preserving.”

From MIT Technology Review: How an Algorithm Learned to Identify Depressed Individuals by Studying Their Instagram Photos “…Andrew Reece at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chris Danforth at the University of Vermont in Burlington, … have found significant correlations between the colors in photos posted to Instagram and an individual’s mental health. The link is so strong that the pair suggest that it could be used for early detection of mental illness.” Good morning, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!