Showing posts from August, 2014

round WWI dog tags of Mt. Pleasant man

Here's something interesting to think about over Labor Day weekend.

We recently received a cart full of various materials related to Isabella County (Mich.) history. One of the folders documents Harrison H. Saylor. He was born in 1896 in Mount Pleasant (Mich.), the son of Catherine and Henry. Harrison served in WWI, playing in the Army band with the rank of Musician first class. He served about a year in France. Later , Harrison graduated from optometry school in Chicago . He practiced in Detroit until he retired in 1968. Harrison was a Shriner, 1918-1981. He played various horns for them. He also played the cornet in 1917 in the Republic Band in Alma and for the American Legion. He married Gladys Williams in 1932. They never had children. He died in 1981 and she was still alive in 1998 at the age of 97.

The collection includes photographs of Harrison and his family, biographical information, and his WWI dog tags.
They are round, not the elliptical shape from WWII. Dog tags evolv…

12 million images to be posted to Flickr

If you'd like access to 12 million images for historic research or other reasons, you can soon get it. Over 6 million have been loaded to Flickr and another 6 are on the way. American academic Kalev Leetaru thinks its great that text has been digitized and is available but he wants lots of searchable images available as well for the public to use and copy for free. Images are taken from digitized books. Read more about it here and look at cool examples

Tor (inside job?)

Did you know that dark space "Tor was originally designed by the US Naval Research Laboratory, and continues to receive funding from the US State Department.(?) It is [still] used by the military, activists, businesses and others to keep communications confidential and aid free speech." It is also used by others who want to conduct business or communications in privacy, including criminals and those in countries denied the ability to freely communicate.

Both NSA and GHQ (UK security agency) are looking for loopholes to undermine Tor. Tor administrators are being notified monthly via "anonymous bug reports" that Tor needs to fix certain weaknesses to avoid being infiltrated by these national security agencies. Tor leadership believes that based on the sophisticated level of technical skill required to find, understand, and report on these weaknesses, that at least some of the reports are coming from technical staff within the agencies who are still mad that many inn…

Jen and Tressa

Also, now that it is the end of summer, my intrepid, film-loving student, Tressa Graves just left for Alaska. Together, in the last year, we began an ambitious and badly needed project with the goal of preserving and properly housing and providing better access to the Clarke's historic films. Tressa has done all the labor, testing the film for damage, viewing it, describing it, rehousing it, and then we relabel and I add to the catalog records and finding aids. I have blogged about Tressa before. She has  given several presentations about historic film preservation in Michigan. A year ago she spent a summer working on films at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. She spent part of this summer working with MSU's collections. Now Tressa is off to study again at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, studying towards a M.A. in anthropology and work with more film in Alaska. I will miss her terribly. She has trained Jen Bentley to take her place working with the films. Jen …

Good job, well done!

The end of summer approaches. Some recent tour groups of students and parents got soaked in the rain outside. I'm gone for a few days so will post this for your reading enjoyment.

Inside the processing room my two faithful summer processors, Mark Prindiville, and Sandra Standish, have been busy processing the CMU. Alumni records of various events and budget files. These files require a lot of removing of duplicates, publications, and mostly financial miscellaneous that should have been kept 2-7 years at the most. Since the records go back to the 1980s, there is lot to remove. Occasionally we find a publication that is not a duplicate and add it to the collection, notably information on reunion gatherings. Mark has been able to work as a paid student. Sandra has been volunteering twice a week and is finished for the summer. They have both done a wonderful job!

To date, working since June 16th they have processed about 6 cubic feet, which will be retained, and withdrawn (WD) 71 cub…

Foley's death begins a discussion of what to share or not and why via social media

Last night I was one of many who got a shared notice on social media about James Foley, the American journalist whose recent beheading by IS is documented on video. The notice from his family was that we should not view  the graphic images or video of his beheading. Other voices opine that we should witness the story he was trying to share of the suffering of people living in the hell of dictators and terror. It is an interesting discussion. I can see both points, but I have chosen not to view the graphic images. It is awful enough for me to think of his suffering and that of his family and others suffering under IS and similar groups.  I think good thoughts for his family and friends and the other journalists and hostages. What will their fate be? Apparently, special ops tried in vain to rescue Foley and others. Foley's beheading has ramped up other discussions in the US about IS being our biggest challenge since Sept. 11th. The reality is that until IS and other Islamic extremis…

US patients' info hacked

Personal info of 4.5 million people held in computer systems of over 200 hospitals in 29 states administered by the Community Health Systems (2nd largest profitable health care system in the US)  was hacked. Hackers exploited what is called the Heartbeat flaw. The info taken can be used to apply for false ids and credit cards. Hackers hit in April and June. April was when the flaw was publicly announced, so they were organized, professional, and moved immediately. The FBI is involved. It is believed that China is the hacker. Read more about it here

Just following this story UPS has been hacked as well. Personal info in 29 states has been taken. Read more about it here

IS left Twitter for US-based Diaspora

A "clampdown" on Islamic State (IS) communications on Twitter sent IS to its new communication option, Diaspora, which is based in the US. IS also has accounts on Friendica and Quitter. The three new systems are more private than Twitter.  Diaspora is decentralized and users set up their own "communities" on pods. IS stategically chose a very active pod in the US. Also IS has thousands of Twitter supporters who can send their own messages. They aren't stupid. I hope the international units working to stop IS anticipated this and are already planning to control their communication. Read more about it here

In another interesting post this morning Diaspora team members admitted they cannot stop the IS communications on Diaspora because it does not have centralized control. Diaspora probably wants to stop IS using it site, and has likely been encouraged to do so by authorities. In an attempt to control IS, Diaspora…

China moves to control instant messaging

As of last Thursday, if you are Chinese and want to use instant messaging you must register your real name with the government and receive approval before publishing political news. You must also sign an agreement to "uphold "the socialist system, ... national interests, and information authenticity". Access to foreign IM apps has also been blocked. This is similar to a block imposed two years ago by the Chinese government. Even though the Chinese maintain a tight control on Chinese users of social media, hundreds of millions of Chinese use them. Those who break the rules will have their posts restricted or accounts closed and be reported to authorities. The government is doing this to "resist the spread of harmful information" and to control terrorism to prevent "seriously undermining public interests." Clearly they are controlling information. Oh China, how much longer? Read more about it here

UK/Welsh police stats for inappropriate use of social media

Some UK police are inappropriately using social media. Since 2009 there have been 828 cases in England and Wales that have been investigated, 9% of which ended with resignation, dismissal or retirement. There are rules they are supposed to follow and they are told the rules. I'm surprised more aren't fired.  For more info see

rare Andy Warhol films to be digitized

About 500 film on the New York art and culture scenes Andy Warhol created between 1963 and 1972 will be digitized over the next few years so they can be made available to the public. Cost is not specified. I'm sure it will be enormous. "almost 1,000 rolls of 16mm film converted to the high-definition 2K format after being scanned frame by frame." The films are considered "revolutionary" in style ranging from portraits to minimalist movies. Sometimes he filmed one person or thing (building) for hours. "The digitisation project was announced on Thursday by MoMA, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and visual effects firm MPC, which will convert the films to digital files." Prior to this, his archaic computer files were rebuilt. (see my blog post on it, April 25th)  Is there anything he did that is not worth keeping? I'm sure there is, but what is it? Read more about it at

Cave full of bones found

To archaeologists' delight, a cave site continues to yield thousands of dead animal bones from past periods. The site, Natural Trap Cave at the base of Bighorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming, was found in the 1970s and then yielded a variety of bones of mammoths, short-faced bears, collared lemmings, and camels. Today, archaeologists are finding bones of animals that were bigger than humans, megafauna, including the North American lion and the American cheetah There is a good video of the lead archaeologist from Australia talking about how a rat fell into the cave one night-splat- and is still alive and looking rather unhappy. The video has  interesting questions and answers that the non-archaeologist can understand  about modern archaeology. Archaeologists have to rappel 85 feet down from the mouth of the cave to the area where the bones lie. It is like a refrigerator in there, which has helped preserve the bones and DNA.  It is also interesting to hear about the issues arc…

emails automatically deleted on holidays, weekends, in evenings

What a concept. If nobody is there, call back some other time, if it is important. This is my mom's concept concerning a rotary phone on the wall. Apparently it is now Daimler Chrysler's as well. Why? Because if you answer everything constantly you never get away, can never relax, can not achieve a balance of work and non-work that is important for mental health and physical well being.  I hope this trend continues. The company politely notifies you that your email is being deleted because you contacted them after hours or during a holiday or weekend. Nobody is complaining. Perhaps this will begin a larger conversation about a better balance between work and non-work. Read more about it here

WWI records found

WWI Straffordshire, UK,War Tribunal records document 20,000 men who were conscripted but requested they be left at home because they were needed for the harvest, sowing, and to support their neighborhood businesses after two years of war and high casualty rates. Whoever was in charge of the records did not follow the government's destruction order. Now, this rare bit of history is being further researched as researchers review each man and his case. The article does not tell us what percentage were allowed out of the draft or why. Read about it here

what can and can't be put on headstones

There is a debate in the UK now about what can and can't go on headstones. The vicars apparently can decide pretty much on their own, for their immediate church's graveyard, what is acceptable or not. One vicar objected to Xs on a stone representing kisses. Seriously, he objected to kisses. I think there are a lot more questionable things he could be concerned about. Is this infringing on someone right to express themselves? I hope the family had not already paid for the stone. But, it is a religious cemetery under the control of the vicar, so he's the boss.  Some graveyards have some rules mostly covering objects, not so much about inscriptions. I think they should be glad the question is only about the inscription. Where I grew up everyone was buried in one cemetery regardless of their beliefs or lack thereof. There they lie, protestant, catholics, and agnostics all in the ground together. The clergy pray over the coffin and into the ground you go. No biggie. None of the…

UK Museum loses national accreditation over statue sale

Here is something you don't read about every day. A museum in the UK lost its accreditation and can't apply for grants because it sold a valuable ancient Egyptian statue at auction in order to raise the money to add on to the museum building. The museum auctioned the statue against local protests and official protests from the  Egyptian ambassador. This violated national standards for UK museums, especially the section on "disposal of cultural objects." Christie's sold the statue of Sekhemka, a court official and priest. National and international standards exist for a reason. Isn't this a lesson in proper professional behavior? Read more about it here

And for those of you who care to know, yes, the floors of the Clarke are finished and the exhibit space back to how it normally looks.

Exhibit floor cleaning

When the big floor in the exhibit area is refinished today, it must first be emptied of stuff. Here is the result. Hopefully, the process will be complete by tomorrow.

Microfost ordered to hand over info

Microsoft lost a federal NY court battle to not hand over info on a Dublin server which was requested in a drugs trafficking trial. Microsoft is going to appeal. Twitter released a report showing the government had made 1,257 requests for access to info in the first six month of 2014. At least some info was turned over to the government in 72% of the cases. Other tech companies support Microsoft's position. I'm thinking, yes, protect our rights, but in a drugs trafficking case? Don't we want to prosecute the criminals and put them in prison? Read more about it here

Wondering what the impact of this case's final decision will be on the rest of us and info in genera. I leave for a few days. This blog will continue on the 6th.

Have fitbit? You can be traced and id'd....

Here's an interesting bit of news. Turns out for $70 purchase of software, someone, anyone could track you if you wear any kind of wearable gadget like a fitbit. Not only that, they can pick you out and identify you in crowd, say amidst a lot of people in a park. That's a little scary. Scenarios: a bunch of guys jogging, and someone could identify the big guy at the Pentagon, or a rich person's relative at a party, or an ex-you wish to get revenge upon walking a dog. Hopefully the fitbit people will come up with new and improved less easy to identify wearable bits. Read more about it here

Irish Troubles collection free to a good home

Here's the type of collection archivists love, an interesting topic, extensive coverage on both sides of the issue, it will teach people in the future about peace, and it is free. One archives is interested in part of it, but the collector wants to keep it together. Read more about it here