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New England Gardens, Mathematics History, Firefox, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 2, 2019


New Hampshire Union Leader: New website lists gardens open for public viewing. “More than 80 outstanding ornamental gardens in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are opening to the public this year, and all of them are described on a new nonprofit website dedicated to gardening and landscape design in northern New England.” The information is a little hard to find. Look for the Calendar link under the Landscape Lyceum menu.

The Conversation: 3 times political conflict reshaped American mathematics. “In February, my University of Richmond students and I launched … a new website on the history of American mathematics. It showcases the people who create, the institutions that support and the cultures that influence mathematics. This rich history shows that mathematics is much more than equations or multiplication facts. It’s a living, breathing discipline shaped, in part, by the political forces around it.”


Ubergizmo: Firefox Could Block Website Notification Requests By Default. “A lot of websites ask for permission to send you notifications and most of you may ignore them. You never seem to run out of websites that show similar notifications and it can be a nuisance. This is something that Mozilla has noticed as well. It’s now experimenting with blocking website notification requests by default in a Firefox Nightly browser build. The notification requests will be blocked automatically until the user takes certain actions on the website.”


The Verge: How to find great books online. “The internet and mobile devices have brought about more ways to read than ever before. While physical books still hold a healthy appeal for some readers, it’s not always a convenient way to consume a story. Now, numerous devices, apps, websites, and online stores offer up novels and other forms of fiction (and nonfiction) to readers, in formats ranging from print books to ebooks, audiobooks, and experimental platforms.” There are a couple more suggestions in the comments.


Digital Trends: YouTube Poop is punk rock for the internet age, and you probably don’t get it. “Now 15 years old, YouTube Poops are as old as their creator when he uploaded the very first one. Their weird brand of humor has become the internet’s de facto sense of humor: the concentrate from which the very dankest memes are derived. Here in 2019, memes are the source of fascination, frustration and, in many cases, derision. They are an artform that could not exist outside of online culture.” I have never considered myself punk but I LOVE YTP. If you want to check something out, Leo Koutakis has a new “Craziness” channel for his stuff – mostly clean, mostly Disney. For more edgy content, check out Nation of Oranges 696. WARNING: If you’re triggered by flashing lights, etc. I recommend against watching any YTP.

Quartzy: In Praise Of Invisibility In The Age Of Ceaseless Self-promotion. “Transcendentalist writers will tell you that a quiet walk through a forest can upend your universe. It happened recently to Akiko Busch, author of How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency, a survival manifesto for the social media age disguised as a collection of personal essays.”

New York Times: How We Hang Out at Work Together Online Now. “TikTok, which encourages users to contribute short videos to hashtags, or to join in on jokes or challenges or to sing along with clips of songs, has, in its manic and frequent demands for content from its users, become an unlikely force for labor visibility.”


All About IP: German Federal Court of Justice Confirms Copyright in Photographs of Public Domain Paintings. “On 20 December 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice confirmed that photographs of public domain paintings ‎are, in principle, protected by a copyright-related right in section 72 of the German Copyright Act (Case No. I ZR 104/17). The case involved a request to take down several pictures hosted on Wikimedia Commons—an online database of works distributed under Creative Commons licenses—as public domain images. All pictures featured art on display at the Reiss Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany.”


Ars Technica: Google’s constant product shutdowns are damaging its brand. “We are 91 days into the year, and so far, Google is racking up an unprecedented body count. If we just take the official shutdown dates that have already occurred in 2019, a Google-branded product, feature, or service has died, on average, about every nine days.”

Eyerys: ‘Q’, The First Gender-Neutral Digital Voice Assistant In Challenging Gender Stereotypes. “While some people may find a female voice to be more soothing, but in the world where technology is hardwiring sexism into the future, more and more people are demanding equality between genders. With so much female servitude in smart devices, this is where Q resides. Q, is considered the world’s first gender-neutral voice assistant.” Good evening, Internet…

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Finding Your Roots: African American Genealogy

It’s always fun finding out who you really are and the internet is one of the best tools available to do this. Although you may consider that you already know about yourself, the internet can be a very useful tool to let you find out a little bit of history about your family. You have to consider that it’s a great thing to know about your family’s past and know about relatives you didnt even know existed.

The internet has numerous genealogy websites that you can use to find out about your family, who you were related with, and what kind of person you are. Some people use these websites for many reasons. Some say to find out about themselves and some even find out about their family just for fun. Whatever your reasons are, you have to consider that finding out about where you came from can be quite a thrilling experience. Just imagine, you may be related to Martin Luther King Jr. and you and your family doesn’t even know about it. Or, it can also be quite a surprise if you find out that you are a distant cousin of a famous African American superstar athlete, such as Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods.

You have to consider that traces of your family ancestry can be lost in time. There are a lot of reasons why a family’s history die out. Some were affected by quarrels inside the family circle and others were affected by historical events that separated them from other members of the family. This is why some people retrace their ancestry in order to find out what happened to their long lost relatives.

Although the internet doesnt contain all the necessary information about your family and the essential records, you have to consider that it is a useful tool to use in order to point you to the right direction. This will save you a lot of time finding those different vital records, such as marriage, death, and birth records.

African Americans have played a vital role in the United States of America’s history. They suffered from slavery, years of war and some migrated from Africa. If you are an African American and you wish to know more about your family’s history, you should try and find it on the internet. It will point you to where you should find the essential documents and guide you in obtaining seemingly unobtainable documents.

Although it is a fact that the path to your family’s history may seem like a rough path, you have to consider that knowing about your past will give you that sense of pride on knowing about your proud family history.

As you can see, it is always fun to know about your family’s ancestry. It will not only give you detailed reports on what happened to all your lost relatives all these years but it will also tell you who they are and what they achieved in life. Who knows, maybe you are a distant relative of a world famous African American.

African American Research

If you are an African American who had ancestors living in the United States since before the Civil War, chances are your ancestors were slaves. This can make research extremely difficult, since written records are almost nonexistent. However, if you go into the project with a willingness to work hard and a positive attitude, you can uncover lots of information about your family history.

A good place to start is with your ancestors who were free. Using the same research techniques that other ethnicities use, trace your lineage back into history as far as possible. Don’t be discouraged if you hit a brick wall as early as the 1950s. Before the Civil Right movement of the 1960s, African Americans were not always given the same rights as others in the United States, and so their records are not nearly as documented. African Americans before this time also had a harder time receiving education, so many (and this number becomes larger and larger as you research back in time) could not read or write. The most common problem was that, with all the other problems African Americans had to deal with during these years, recording written family histories was not high on the priority list.

Oral family history, however, was. If you are researching your African American ancestors, you will probably have to rely more heavily on family myths and legends than someone, in contract, descending from a slave owner does. Remember that stories get exaggerated and pieces of information are forgotten over time, so look for sources to compare the facts. You can find many good sources online to help you do this. In general, if you find the same story with the same facts in three unrelated pieces, you can (cautiously) trust the facts as truth. Be open-minded to discovering mistakes in these stories in later research.

As you delve farther and farther into history, you will probably need to rely heavily on the records kept by slave owners and ship captains. It is almost impossible to find the exact tribe from which your ancestor was taken, but you may be able to find a region from African where the ship was docked. Follow bills of sale and, if you are very lucky, ship logs and journals to determine when your ancestors gained freedom, bounced from owner to owner, and arrived in America. Don’t get discouraged easily. Studying African American family history is a daunting task, but with some dedication to the project, you might surprise yourself with the results.