Friday, July 31, 2015

New megacomputer for US

Recently the Saudis built a supercomputer and by this action became one of the top ten nations with a mega high performance computer. The nation with the #1 high performance computer is China.  On Weds., July 29th, Pres. Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). The NSCI will use "strengths" from various government units to develop an American supercomputer to "advance core technologies ... solve ...computational problems." The goal is that this will happen in the next 10 years and that the new American supercomputer will outrank [and therefore outmaneuver] the others mega computers of the world. If we don't develop it, we will fall behind the other nations. That would really blow to American pride, ingenuity, and we would remain prey to hackers. We may still remain prey, but we will likely feel more superior regardless. It is hoped the new computer will help with "complex simulations and scientific research," such as the development of personalized medicines, analyzing DNA and artificial intelligence, dealing with climate change issues, predicting weather, and other issues such as improving national security. Does this mean it will be harder to hack? Being able to outwit the hackers of the world isn't discussed, but it should be one of the issues this new, ultra amazing and ultra expensive computer should be able to handle. This will cost mega money in development and ongoing costs, just for the electricity alone. Who knows how much.  It would be shame to have China hack it from day one.  Let's hope there are some private contractors working on it who really know their stuff.  Here's the news article Here's the press release from the White House

Thursday, July 30, 2015

half of the world's online users are on FB

At least monthly, if not more often, half (1.49 billion) of the world's  online users (3 billion) check into Facebook. In the US people spend 1 out of every five minutes on their smartphones on FB. Over 65% use it daily. As the number of users soar, so too does FB stock value and the impact FB makes on many people and the world. These stats are fascinating. I'm sure FB could give us stats about which age group (I'm guessing teen girls) are the most avid users, what are the trendy topics, how many hours/day people are actively engaged, how many selfies are shared, etc. I wish that every time you checked into FB you actually learned something positive that was helpful to you. I don't really think anyone is on FB to learn, just to connect and share idle info and look cool. Every time there is an option to share info or change  the way your image looks people do it. Nobody cares what your vacation was like, but we all share info about it regardless. Where is FB going in the future? What are its plans? I wish I was a fly on their planning room wall. Read more about the FB here

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jamestown skeletons found and tested

Skeletons of four of the earliest leaders of Jamestown were found in 2011 when the site of the original 1608 church was found and excavated. The skeletons were found buried in the church's chancel, a high status burial area. In 2013 the archaeologists returned to find the graves and see if they could determine their identity. Tests and research in records to identify them took two years. Now archaeologists know that two of the skeletons are of men from the first expedition to arrive in Jamestown in 1607 including: the first Anglican minister in America, Rev. Robert Hunt, who arrived in 1607 and died within a year of arriving, and Capt. Gabriel Archer who hated Capt. John Smith. The other two skeletons are of men who arrived in the [fourth] 1610 expedition including: Sir Ferdinando Wainman who died shortly are arrival, becoming the first knight buried in the new world, and his relative, Capt. William West, who was later killed by Indians. Both West and Wainman were buried in coffins that shaped like they have heads (very odd). The minister was buried in a shroud.

Tests on the skeletons showed they were all English, had diets high in protein, meaning they had money, and had elevated levels of lead. The richer you were, the more pewter you had, the more lead exposure you suffered. Wainman and West had very high levels of lead in their bones. Very interesting.

Also, even more intriguing, a sealed silver box with an "M" on it was found in Capt. Archer's grave. Scientists could not open it. Scientists used a CT scan to determine that there were bone shards and a broken vial inside that may once have held holy water or oil. Are these the bones of a deceased loved one or a "saint"? Fascinating.

Excavations are happening now with new urgency due to rising sea levels which scientists believed will eventually cover the site entirely.

Read more about it here in the news
or  from the Historic Jametowne website


While we all know of Stone Henge, there are also many other henges in the world. Two of them, Marden and Wilsford henges, near Wiltshire, England, are being excavated as part of a 3-year cooperative effort between several historical and academic institutions. These two henges do not have huge stones anymore like their neighbor, Stone Henge, rather they consists now solely of large earth formations which are clearly man made in the middle of what has become farm country. A number of artifacts have already been found. Recent excavation at Wilsford henge found a 4,000 year old Bronze Age skeleton with a necklace of amber, probably a child's skeleton. Everyone is excited and hope tests will show the child lived nearby. Read more about it here

Monday, July 27, 2015

FB loses another court battle to protect personal data

FB just lost what may prove to be an important case in NY state court of appeals. FB wished to not honor broad search warrants in order to protect users digital information. The search warrants were issued in a large social security fraud investigation case. Privacy rights advocates are concerned that all the data collected will be kept for an unspecified amount of time, and that for some of the people whose data is being collected there is no plan to charge them with a criminal offense, so why collect their data? The case is against 100+ NY city retired cops and firefighters who authorities believed lied about their physical and mental conditions, which can be disproved by their social media accounts, in order to get benefits they don't deserve totaling nearly $25 million. The feds requested access to the social media accounts of 381 people, but only 62 were charged in the case. 108 have so far pled guilty. The feds demanded that FB turn over all the data, without informing the people whose social media accounts were investigated. FB remains concerned about and against these huge collections of data. Read more about it here

Friday, July 24, 2015

what do you have that is hackable?

Here are info systems on your stuff that can be controlled by forces other than yourself. Car breaks in a Jeep Cherokee can be hacked by digital radio broadcasts hacking car entertainment systems. Read more about it here  Smartwatchs also may have security problems with passwords and data encryption. Read more about it here  The latest update is 1.5 million vehicles are being recalled due to the Jeep hacking incident. Read more about it here

Chrysler is now recalling hackable cars. There are 1.4 million of them including models of Vipers, Rams, jeeps, Durango, Chargers and Challenger. Read more about it here

blog entry from my student intern Andrea Meyers

Hello All,
My name is Andrea Meyers and I am a student at Central Michigan University. I am currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in History with a Museum Studies minor. As my Archives internship at the Clarke Historical Library winds to a close, it is time to reflect on all that I have learned under the guidance of my professor, Marian Matyn. Going in to this internship, I already had basic processing skills due to Marian’s Archival Administration class and felt very confident about my archival abilities. Looking back to the beginning, I now realize that those skills were nothing compared to what I have learned over the course of these past weeks. The first valuable thing that I have learned is that archivists must be adaptable. This skill comes in handy especially when dealing with multiple collections at the same time. I have learned that each collection that is donated must be assessed differently based on their historical significance. No one collection is the same and has the same type of information within it. An archivist must be able to adapt to each collection differently in order to retain the best and most relevant information to researchers. The second thing that I have learned while completing my internship is that archivists must think quick on their feet and possess boundless problem solving skills. When I first started my internship, the Clarke received a large donation from the Luedtke Construction Company. Looking at a truck full of boxes, I was quickly overwhelmed with how to approach a collection of this magnitude. As I turned to my professor, Marian already had a plan on how to separate the collection into a series and how I was to process these boxes into a clear and concise box and folder listing. The last valuable thing that I have learned while at my internship is to respect and adhere to archival processing theories! The theory that I have come to respect the most is original order. There are too many ways in which an archivist can process information, such as by date, by type, or by historical significance. In keeping their original order of collections, such as with the Luedtke Construction Company donation, not only does the information stay the same way in which the creator used it, but it naturally provides the most effective way for researchers to use the information as well. As my internship is comes to an end, I now see that I have learned many things, both general and specific that I will now be able to take with me in my career.
Thanks Marian 

Thank you Andrea. Great job this summer.