New Privacy-Focused Search Engine is From Colombia

There’s a new privacy-focused search engine in town — and it’s from Colombia (PRESS RELEASE). “Colombia’s young search engine Gyffu is moving from strength to strength. Now available in English as well as Spanish, the privacy focused search engine recently crossed the important mark of being one of the world’s top one million websites, along with breaking into Colombia’s top 10,000. This trend is expected to continue as interest in online privacy continues to build.”

How Minecraft Could Help Teach Chemistry

Oh Minecraft, is there nothing you can’t do? how Minecraft could help teach chemistry. “Thanks to the work of my chemistry students and the support of the Royal Society of Chemistry, that is now possible. MolCraft is a world where the majestic helices of myoglobin rise above you. Where you can explore this massive molecule and its iron centre that carries oxygen around your muscles. Or, if you prefer you can fly down a pore through which water molecules normally flow across cell membranes.”

How Does Facebook Manage Photo Access?

Staggering to think about: How does Facebook manage access so many photos? “Since it launched in February 2004, Facebook has grown into an online community where 890 million people log on each day. People share thoughts, photos, links and videos and like, share and comment on each other’s status updates. Users have uploaded a staggering 250 billion photos, with 350 million new photos each day. This online activity also produces some firsts for data management and distributed systems. With so many photos, and so many people constantly accessing them, what is the best way to store them? Questions like these interest Wyatt Lloyd, assistant professor in the USC Viterbi Computer Science Department.”

Tor Releases Instant Messaging Tool

Tor has released an instant messaging tool and Forbes has an overview and user guide. “Though not perfect, it’s ideal for anyone looking for an IM tool designed with privacy in mind, as it not only encrypts communications, but routes users through the Tor network, made up of different ‘hops’ or relays, to hide their original IP addresses. Logging is disabled by default too, so there should be no record of conversations.”

Easily Convert Plain Text to HTML Lists

Web Design Ledger has a quick writeup on Listify, which lets you enter plain text and get HTML-formatted lists. “You simply input a raw text list of items and choose an ordered/unordered list format. You’ll also be able to specify if each list item should have an ID or various classes. You can choose spacing counts for indentations along with many other similar settings.” Handy tool.

Facebook Testing “Local Market” Feature

Facebook is testing a “local market” feature. Any legitimate competition with Craigslist is all right with me. “A number of Facebook users recently reported seeing a new feature called ‘Local Market’ appearing briefly in their Facebook iPhone app, sometimes in place of the “Messenger” button at the bottom center of the screen. The feature, which is only in testing but not broadly distributed, is a more structured marketplace aimed at buyers and sellers, allowing Facebook users to browse through or post items to sell across a variety of product categories like autos, appliances, furniture, clothing, household, kids, books, and much more.”

Gorgeous Online Museum of Vietnamese Sculpture

Now available: an online museum of 3D Vietnamese sculpture. Oh, this is wonderful. Well done Quang Tri Nguyen.

“Now in his 20s, Nguyen has further developed his 3D scanning empire, and has launched an advanced Virtual 3D Museum of the ancient scultpures of Vietnam for visitors around the world to experience Vietnamese history firsthand. Modeled after a professional exhibition space, the digital 3D museum allows users to move freely around as though they were there in real life just by clicking and dragging their mouse, and actually interact with the 3D scanned models of Vietnamese relics in ways simply not possible in regular museums. He has also optimized the website on the HTML5 platform so users can access it and interact from nearly any device, from smartphones to smartTVs, without the need for installing additional apps, plugins or software.”

The annotations appear to be entirely in Vietnamese, but this is so beautifully designed and executed you don’t need to read the annotations to enjoy the sculpture.

000Webhost Hacked

The low-cost Web hosting service 000Webhost has been hacked, and it appears it had some revolting security practices. “[Troy] Hunt uncovered a variety of weaknesses, including the use of unencrypted HTTP communications on the login page and a code routine that placed a user’s plaintext password in the resulting URL. That means the unobfuscated passwords were likely written to all kinds of administer logs. It’s also possible that the site didn’t follow standard industry practices and cryptographically hash the passwords when storing them.”

Facebook is Tweaking its Real Name Policy

But maybe he will get a reprieve: Facebook is “tweaking” its real name policy. “Facebook isn’t doing away with the real name policy, but a letter issued by the social network’s vice president of growth Alex Schultz today reveals some changes the company is making. According to the letter, Facebook is looking to reduce how many people are required to verify their name ‘when they are already using the name people know them by.'”

Database of New Guinea Languages Under Development

Under development: a database of New Guinea languages. “The island of New Guinea has the world’s highest linguistic diversity, with more than 900 languages divided into at least 23 distinct language families. This diversity includes the world’s third largest language family: Trans-New Guinea. However, the region is one of the world’s least well studied, and primary data is scattered across a wide range of publications and more often then not hidden in unpublished ‘gray’ literature. The lack of primary research data on the New Guinea languages has been a major impediment to our understanding of these languages, and the history of the peoples in New Guinea. aims to collect data about these languages and place them online in a consistent format.”

There’s already plenty worth looking at: “ is still growing rapidly, but currently contains data from a total of 588 languages and 266 dialects from 29 different New Guinea language families…. The majority of languages are from the Trans-New Guinea language family with 412 languages and 200 dialects. “

Neural Networks, Judging Your Selfies

A neural network has been taught how to judge your selfie. “Creator Andrej Karpathy, who previously worked with Google Research on its learning algorithm program DeepMind, fed the program with more than five million photos tagged #selfie before purging it down to around two million self-portraits worth using. The network was then programmed to determine whether or not a selfie was a good one by analyzing social signals such as likes and shares for the photo.” I think I’ve taken one selfie in my life and that was when I was a teenager. It was not called a selfie, then, however, it was called Tara being stupid with a camera.

Cemetery Databases Free Through November 7

To celebrate Halloween and pumpkins and everything, the NEHGS is making its cemetery databases free through Saturday, November 7th. “Just in time for the Halloween celebrations and to add some fun to ancestral research this holiday, and New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) have made their complete collection of American cemetery databases accessible for FREE to guest users on their data-rich website.” You do have to have a guest account on the site (which is also free.)