U bent hier
by Katie Dahl and Nancy Watzman
This week the Senate released its version of health care, so to mark the occasion we offer a trio of recent health care fact checks from The Washington Post‘s Fact Checker. Other fact-checking highlights include: a claim that Saudia Arabia has been spending money on Trump hotels (true, says PolitiFact) and Ivanka Trump asserts American workers have a skill gap (also true, reports Politifact).
But before we present these fact-checks, we pause for a moment to present this commentary from CNN’s Jim Acosta on the White House’s refusal to allow cameras in a growing number of press briefings: “That wouldn’t be tolerated in city council meetings, or at a governor’s press conference,” he noted. “And here we have the representative of the president of the United States saying no you can’t cover it that way….it’s like we’re not even covering a White House anymore…it’s like we’re just covering bad reality television, is what it feels like now.”
Claim: 1.8 million jobs will be lost as a result of the AHCA (two Pinocchios)
Earlier this month, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D., Calif., said, “Americans will lose their health coverage because of his proposal. And it is a job loser. Estimated to be 1.8 million jobs lost. Donald Trump is a job loser.”
Glenn Kessler reported for the Washington Post’s Fact Checker: “We often warn readers to be wary of job claims made by politicians based on think-tank studies. This is a case in point. Pelosi was careful to say ‘estimated,’ but two groups of researchers, using apparently the same economic model, came up with different estimates of jobs losses under the AHCA by 2022 – 1.8 million and 413,000.”
Claim: the reconciliation process will be used for the AHCA (upside down Pinocchio or flip-flop)
At a recent press briefing, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R., Ky., described the upcoming legislative process for the American Health Care Act, “Unfortunately, it will have to be a Republicans-only exercise. But we’re working hard to get there.”
Kessler responded that “McConnell’s position has changed, even though he will not acknowledge it. He was against the reconciliation process for health care in 2010; he has embraced it now. He was against secrecy and closed-door dealmaking before; he now oversees the most secretive health-care bill process ever. And he was against voting on a bill that was broadly unpopular — and now he is pushing for a bill even more unpopular than the ACA in 2010.”
Claim: insurers are leaving the health care exchanges because of Obamacare (three Pinocchios)
President Donald Trump talked with Republican senators about health care, saying among other claims, “Insurers are fleeing the market. Last week it was announced that one of the largest insurers is pulling out of Ohio — the great state of Ohio.”
Kessler wrote that Trump “ignores that many say they are exiting the business because of uncertainty created by the Trump administration, in particular whether it will continue to pay ‘cost-sharing reductions’ to insurance companies. These payments help reduce co-pays and deductibles for low-income patients on the exchanges. Without those subsidies, insurance companies have to foot more of the bill.”
Claim: Saudi Arabia is spending big on Trump Hotels (mostly true)
The attorney general for the District of Columbia, Karl Racine, said at a recent press conference that “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose government has important business and policy before the president of the United States, has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at the Trump International Hotel.”
Smitha Rajan reported for PolitiFact, “The Foreign Agent Registration Act report mentions at least one filing which clearly shows that the Saudi government spent $270,000 at the Trump International Hotel for lodging and boarding expenses between October 2016 and March 2017. It’s not clear whether the entire expenses were paid before or after Trump became president. Our research showed it was some of both.”
Claim: there are 6 million job openings but workers don’t have the skills needed (true)
During a recent interview on Fox & Friends, Ivanka Trump, assistant to the president and daughter of the president, said “There are 6 million available American jobs, so we’re constantly hearing from CEO’s that they have job openings, but they don’t have workers with the skill set they need to fill those jobs.”
For PolitiFact, Louis Jacobson rated her claim “true,” reporting “The number she cites is correct, and she’s right to say that the skills gap plays a role. Economists warn against overestimating the role played by the skills gap in all 6 million job openings, both because other factors play a role (such as the image gap) and because the skills barriers posed are often more modest than having to earn an academic degree or to obtain specialized training.”
Come meet Internet Archive Founder, Brewster Kahle and Director of Partnerships, Wendy Hanamura at ALA Annual 2017 in Chicago.Saturday, June 24
10:30-11:30 a.m. Making your library a digital library by 2020
- Where: McCormick Place W194b
- Who: Brewster Kahle, Founder & Digital Librarian and Wendy Hanamura, Director of Partnerships
Description: Come hear the Internet Archive team discuss OpenLibraries—a project that will enable every US library to become a more digital library. Working with library partners and organizations serving the print disabled, the Internet Archive proposes bringing 4 million books online, through purchase or digitization, starting with the century of books missing from our digital shelves. Our plan includes at-scale circulation of these e-books, enabling libraries owning the physical works to lend digital copies to their patrons. This will enable thousands of libraries to unlock their analog collections for a new generation of learners, enabling free, long-term, public access to knowledge.
Semifinalist in MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change: This Internet Archive project has been selected as one of the eight semifinalists in the 100&Change MacArthur Foundation Challenge which will provide $100 million over five years to an organization trying to solve one of the world’s toughest problems. In our case: providing free access to the best knowledge available. Brewster and Wendy will describe the current state of project planning and listen to your feedback to ensure this project has transformative impact on the communities you serve.Monday, June 26
1:30-2:15 Conversation Starter: The Library of 2020 – Building A Collaborative Digital Collection of 4 Million Books
- Where: McCormick Place W194b
- Who: Wendy Hanamura, Dir. of Partnerships & Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian
Description: Even in this digital age, millions of books are not accessible to online learners and the print disabled. We in the library community haven’t been able to keep up with this digital demand, stymied by costs, eBook restrictions, and missing infrastructure. By making millions of books digitally available, we can unlock them for communities with severely limited or no access to those books. Because of distance, cost, time-constraints, or disability, people in many communities are too often unable to access physical books. Digital content is instantly available to people at a distance, at all hours, and with widely ranging physical abilities. Together with library and accessibility partners, the Internet Archive proposes bringing 4 million books online, through purchase or digitization. Our plan includes at-scale circulation of these eBooks, enabling libraries owning the physical works to lend digital copies. As 1 of 8 semifinalists for MacArthur’s 100&Change award, we seek your feedback. The goal: bringing libraries and learners 4 million eBooks, enabling the free, long-term, public access to knowledge.
NOTE: To be live streamed via Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/internetnetarchive/
All times are in Central Daylight Time. For full schedule, visit https://www.eventscribe.com/2017/ALA-Annual/.
By Katie Dahl
Our fact-checking partners spent time on the Trumps this week, covering Ivanka Trump’s claim about women in STEM occupations and the President’s claims about James Comey and Michael Flynn, record-setting nominations delays, how long it actually took to build the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge, and his involvement in a new coal mine opening.
Claim: Trump said “let this go” referencing the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn (contradicted by Trump)
In his written testimony submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 7, former FBI director James Comey wrote that President Trump said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
In a PolitiFact article reporting on conflicting claims between Comey and the White House, Lauren Carroll wrote that when asked about this allegation in a May 18 press conference, the President said, “No. No. Next question.”
Claim: Trump nominees faced ‘record-setting long’ delays (true)
In a comment at a cabinet meeting on June 12, President Trump said, “This is our first Cabinet meeting with the entire Cabinet present. The confirmation process has been record-setting long — and I mean record-setting long — with some of the finest people in our country being delayed and delayed and delayed.”
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler reported that Trump “faced unusually sustained opposition for a new president, including cloture votes demanded for 14 of his choices,” and gave the President their “Geppetto Checkmark” for correct statements.
Claim: women make up 47% of workforce and just 23% of STEM occupations (mostly true)
In an interview this week, Ivanka Trump said, “Women… represent 47 percent of the overall work force, we only make up 23 percent of STEM-related [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] occupations.”
That is “not far off the mark,” according to PolitiFact’s Louis Jacobson. He went on to report, “Trump was correct about the percentage of the overall workforce that is female,” and “The report [2016 National Science Board and the National Science Foundation] found that in 2013, women represented 29 percent of individuals in science and engineering occupations. That’s higher than Trump’s 23 percent, although it supports her broader point — that women are underrepresented in STEM fields.”
Claim: Americans ‘built the Golden Gate Bridge in four years and the Hoover Dam in five’ (misleading)
In his weekly address on June 9, President Trump said, “we are the nation that built the Golden Gate Bridge in four years and the Hoover Dam in five. Now, it takes as much as a decade just to plan a major permit or a major infrastructure or anything even remotely major in our country, and that’s ridiculous and it’s going to change.”
Michelle Ye Hee Lee gave Trump “three Pinocchios” for this claim. She reported for the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, “Trump describes the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam as projects that were constructed over four or five years, unbound by the years of permitting and regulatory restrictions that current-day projects face. But Trump only focuses on the literal construction of the projects, and overlooks the many years of bureaucratic negotiating and regulating that took place leading up to the construction.”
Claim: Trump is putting miners back to work with the opening of a new coal mine (hard to believe)
In a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 7, President Trump said, “Next week we’re opening a big coal mine. You know about that. One in Pennsylvania. It’s actually a new mine. That hadn’t happened in a long time, folks. But we’re putting the people and we’re putting the miners back to work.”
“Trump did not name the Pennsylvania mine,” reported Robert Farley for FactCheck.org, “and the White House did not respond to us. But these kinds of events are rare enough that it is clear he is referring to the June 8 grand opening of the Corsa Coal Company’s Acosta Deep Mine more than 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
What did Trump’s presidency have to do with its opening? Nothing. Development of the Acosta mine began in September, two months before the presidential election.”
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Live Chat on YouTube Live, Thursday, June 15 from 10-11:30 a.m. PT
Brewster Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian
Wendy Hanamura, Director of Partnerships
John Gonzalez, Director of Engineering
What would it mean if you had easy online access to 4 million modern books–the equivalent of a great public or university library? What would that mean for the print disabled and those unable to reach their public libraries? How would that change innovation and scholarship? In an era of misinformation, how can we tie information to the published works of humankind?
Those are some of the questions we’ve been asking ourselves at the Internet Archive as we hone our plans for Open Libraries–our proposal to the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition to tackle one of the world’s toughest problems. We are now one of eight semifinalists vying for $100 million grant to carry out our goal: democratizing access to knowledge by providing free, long-term access to a digital library of 4 million modern books. We call our project Open Libraries because we want to help every library in the nation to provide its members with digital access to its rich collections.
The Internet Archive, working with library and accessibility partners, has a plan to bring 4 million books online, through purchase or digitization, starting with the 20th century books missing from our digital shelves. Our plan includes at-scale circulation of these e-books, enabling libraries owning the physical works to lend digital copies to their patrons. Working with our accessibility partners, we will also make this collection available to the print disabled around the world. And our team of curators will help make sure we create an inclusive, diverse collection of 20th century texts.
We now have the technology and legal frameworks to transform our library system by 2023 to provide more democratic access to knowledge–for library patrons, scholars, students and the print disabled.We want to hear what you think. Help us hone our plans, test our hypotheses, and dream big!
Ask us a question or post an idea in the comments below. We will answer them during our YouTube Live. Or tweet us using #OpenLibrariesAMA.
By Katie Dahl
In this week’s roundup of fact-checked TV news, the term “travel ban” gets a final word from the president, new coal mining jobs numbers are questioned, Gore and Pruitt give competing claims about Paris Agreement target requirements, Trump supporters are polled for their approval of the Paris Agreement, two elements of the Iran Deal are clarified, and one of Trump’s arguments for privatizing the FAA gets a context check.
Claim: executive order is a “travel ban” (the president says it is)
In a tweet on June 5, President Donald Trump wrote: “People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!”
According to Miriam Valverde at PolitiFact, this statement ran counter to what “his spokesman, administration officials, lawyers, courts and others call it.” Among many examples collected by Valverde are three instances (1, 2, 3) of Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly calling it a “travel pause” and twice saying the executive order “is not a travel ban.” The most recent interview was May 28. PolitiFact’s conclusion: “It’s a travel ban.”
Claim: we’ve added 50,000 coal mining jobs since last quarter, 7,000 since May (misleading spin)
In three TV interviews (1, 2, 3) with major networks on Sunday, June 4, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt made this claim: “We’ve had over 50,000 jobs since last quarter, coal jobs, mining jobs, created in this country. We had almost 7,000 mining and coal jobs created in the month of May alone.”
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, gave Pruitt a “four Pinocchio” rating for this claim, writing “the biggest problem with Pruitt’s statistic is that most of the gain in ‘mining’ jobs has nothing to do with coal. Most of the new jobs were in a subcategory called ‘support activities for mining,’ which accounted for more than 40,000 of the new jobs since October and more than 30,000 of the jobs since January.” For FactCheck.org, Eugene Kiely reported the same information and further that “BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] could not tell us how many of those jobs were related to coal mining, as opposed to gas, oil, metal ores and nonmetallic minerals. We do know, however, that most of those jobs support the gas and oil industries.”
Claim: US could change emissions targets under Paris Agreement without pulling out of it (Gore was right)
In dueling Sunday political talk show interviews, former Vice President Al Gore said of the Paris Agreement, “the requirements were voluntary. He [Trump] could have changed the requirements,” while EPA Administrator Pruitt, on another show, said “No, no, no. No, not under the agreement. Not under the agreement… You’re wrong” to Jake Tapper of CNN’s statement: “You can change those targets.” Pruitt went on to claim that the targets “can only be ratcheted up.”
For their SciCheck project, FactCheck.org’s Vanessa Schipani reported, “The Paris Agreement is voluntary. Countries aren’t penalized for failing to adhere to their proposed emissions cuts. So President Donald Trump could have ignored or changed the U.S. pledged emissions targets without withdrawing from the agreement.”
Claim: most Trump supporters wanted the US to stay in the Paris Agreement (mostly false)
In another interview on Sunday, Gore said, “A majority of President Trump’s supporters and voters wanted to stay in” the Paris Agreement.
For PolitiFact, John Kruzel reported that on “Gore’s central point, the poll [Yale-George Mason poll] found that among Trump voters, 47 percent wanted to participate in the Paris Agreement, compared to 28 percent who supported opting out, with a quarter expressing no opinion.
So, 47 percent support among Trump voters amounts to a plurality — not a majority, as Gore said.”
Claim: US flew $2 billion to Iran and Obama administration said it was used for terrorism (half true)
In a debate between Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel leading up to a special election for Georgia’s sixth congressional district later this month — the election resulted from Tom Price being tapped by the Trump administration to lead the Department of Health and Human Services — Handel made this claim. “Nearly $2 billion in cash was flown over to Iran, money that the Obama administration has admitted is being used for terrorists and to support further activities there.”
According to Jon Greenberg of PolitiFact, “The Iran deal focused on reducing Iran’s stockpiles of nuclear-grade material, but a key provision unlocked Iranian assets that had been frozen for decades. How much money was there is a matter of debate.” He went on to report that John Kerry, then Secretary of State in the Obama administration, appeared on TV and said “‘I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) or of other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists,’ Kerry said. ‘To some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented.'”
Claim: the Obama administration spent over $7 billion on the aviation system and failed (two Pinocchios)
In comments announcing a plan to privatize part of the federal air traffic control apparatus, President Trump said “the previous administration spent over $7 billion trying to upgrade the system and totally failed. Honestly, they didn’t know what the hell they were doing.”
Michelle Ye Hee Lee reported for the Washington Post’s Fact Checker that “Trump characterizes this program as an Obama-era error, but the planning for the massive overhaul began in 2000. Congress authorized the FAA to tackle these changes in 2003, and the Department of Transportation launched the NextGen program in January 2004… There have been delays and changes in the project, but high-priority projects have made progress.” She gave this claim “two Pinocchios.”
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Please stand with the Internet Archive and over 50 allies in the effort to protect free speech by adding your name in support of net neutrality and writing to your Congressperson today. We have only 40 days left to stop a current FCC proposal that could upend the government’s prior commitment to net neutrality and seriously threaten free speech online. If you represent an organization, please consider participating in the movement on July 12 to inform the public on how to take action.
The end of net neutrality could be devastating to the Internet community at large in a multitude of ways. For example, relatively small organizations like the Archive don’t have the resources to negotiate special deals with ISPs, let alone pay new tolls in order to reach users who rely on our service to broadcast their voice. Many like us could be relegated to an Internet “slow lane” while bigger sites and closer partners of ISPs enjoy faster speeds.
We have fought against threats to a free and open Internet before and won. On September 10, 2014, we came together as hundreds of organizations and over 4 million people to support net neutrality and speak out against SOPA. In 2015, the FCC heard our voices and issued a landmark ruling called the “Open Internet Order” that declared the Internet a neutral public utility which couldn’t be censored or manipulated by corporate interests.
Fast forward to 2017. Only 18 months after the FCC reached a decision to protect our free speech, they have switched stances and are doing everything in their power to pass Docket 17-108, which would reverse the 2015 decision we worked so hard to achieve. The effort is led by a commissioner who was formerly a lawyer for one of the ISPs that has lobbied hardest against net neutrality and stands to directly benefit from this policy reversal. At our expense.
We need your help. Protect digital free speech and universal access to all knowledge. Please make your voice heard: send comments to the FCC, contact your Congressperson, and connect your organization with the July 12 campaign, and share these links with your friends.
Comcast Internet users found themselves unable to access archive.org starting late Thursday afternoon due to Comcast blocking access to our site. The earliest time Comcast users reported problems was around 4:30 PM PST and access was restored around 6:15 AM the next day (a span of about 13 hrs 45 min).
Comcast informed us that the block was put into place due to detection of an apparent Xfinity-branded phishing page posted to archive.org by an uploader. According to Comcast, we had taken that page down promptly, but Comcast’s block was nevertheless implemented without notice on late Thursday afternoon. Hours after our reporting the blocking to friends at Comcast they diagnosed the issue, removed the block and restored their customers’ access to archive.org.
In addition to a significant number of archive.org users, some of our employees use Comcast for access and were unable to do some of their work during the block. This was also reported on in Vice’s Motherboard.
We searched our communications for any reports from Comcast preceding the block and found only one email sent to us Thursday morning reporting a phishing page, which we took down promptly. Sent by an outside security company working for Comcast, the email did not mention any possibility of a block. The email and our removal of the item preceded the first known instance of the block by about eight hours.
This is the gist of what we know at this point. We continue to gather information and take this incident very seriously.
In other words, I believe we could reconstruct a performance by semantically modeling the noise and distortion we want to get rid of, as well as modeling the performer’s instruments.
To follow this reasoning—what if we knew we were examining a piano piece and knew what notes were being played on what kind of piano and exactly when and how hard for each note—we could take that information to make a reconstruction by playing it again and recording that version. This would be similar to what optical character recognition (OCR) does with images of pages with text—it knows the language and it figures out the words on the page and then makes a new page in a perfect font. In fact, with the OCR’ed text, you can change the font, make it bigger, and reflow the page to fit on a different device.
What if we OCR’ed the music? This might work well for the instrumental accompaniment, because then we would handle a voice, if any, differently. We could have a model of the singer’s voice based on not only this recording and other recordings of this song, but also all other recordings of that singer. With those models we could reconstruct the voice without any noise or distortion at all.
We would balance the reconstructed and the raw signals to maintain the subtle variations that make great performances. This could also be done for context as sometimes digital filmmakers add in some scratched film effects.
So, there can be a wide variety of restoration tools if we make the jump into semantics and big data analysis.
The Great 78 Project will collect over 400,000 digitized 78rpm recordings publicly available, making it a rich data set to do large scale analysis. These transfers are being done with four different styli shapes and sizes at the same time, and all recorded at 96KHz/24bit lossless samples, and in stereo (even though the records are in mono, this provides more information about the contours of the groove). This means each groove has 8 different high-resolution representations of every 11 microns. Furthermore, there are often multiple copies of the same recording that would have been stamped and used differently. So, modeling the wear on the record and using that to reconstruct what would have been on the master may be possible.
Many important records from the 20th century, such as jazz, blues, and ragtime, have only a few performers on each, so modeling those performers, instruments, and performances is quite possible. Analyzing whole corpuses is now easier with modern computers, which can provide insights beyond restoration as well as understand playing techniques that are not commonly understood.
If we build full semantic models of instruments, performers, and pieces of music, we could even create virtual performances that never existed. Imagine a jazz performer virtually playing a song that had not been written in their lifetime. We could have different musician combinations, or singers performing with different cadences. Areas for experimentation abound once we cross the threshold of full corpus analysis and semantic modeling.
We hope the technical work done on this project will have a far-reaching effect on a full media type since the Great 78 Project will digitize and hold a large percentage of all 78rpm records ever produced from 1908 to 1950. Therefore, any techniques that are built upon these recordings can be used to restore many many records.
Please dive in and have fun with a great era of music and sound.
(we get a sample every 11microns when digitizing the outer rim of a 78rpm record at 96KHz. And given we now have 8 different readings of that, with 24bit resolution, we hopefully can get a good idea of the groove. There are optical techniques that are very cool, but those have their own issues, I am told
10″ * 3.14 = 31.4″ circumference = 80cm/revolution
@ 78rpm: 60 seconds/min / 78revolutions/minute = .77 seconds / revolution
80cm/rev / (.77sec/rev) = 104cm/sec
104cm/sec / (96ksamples/sec) = 11microns )
by Katie Dahl & Nancy Watzman
With President Donald Trump’s announcement on Thursday that the U.S. would pull out of the international Paris climate agreement dominating TV news screens, we devote this round up to the issue of climate change.
Global climate agreement news trending
As of Friday morning, reports on Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement was trending across TV news channels, driving out reports on investigations of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections and possible Trump campaign involvement. The one exception was MSNBC, where “Russia” was a top trending topic, while “Paris” was at the top of the list for other cable stations, according to the Television Explorer tool created by Kalev Leetaru, which draws on closed captioning from the TV News Archive to allow users to search news coverage. (The tool now incorporates recent TV news broadcasts, so general trends can be seen as the data rolls in, although for definitive results it is best to wait 24 hours to search.)
Claim: Paris Agreement would cause $3 trillion drop in US GDP (flawed study)
Fact-checkers quickly analyzed Trump’s Rose Garden speech (full video available here) where he laid out his reasons for withdrawing from the agreement. Among them: he said the “cost to the economy at this time would be close to $3 trillion in lost GDP.”
A team of reporters at FactCheck.org provided context. “That figure is for the year 2040 and for one scenario in a report that found a smaller impact under a different scenario. Another analysis estimated the potential economic impact of meeting the Paris Agreement emissions targets would be ‘modest’ and the cost of delaying action would be ‘high.'”
Similarly, PolitiFact’s Jon Greenberg wrote: “Take these statistics with a grain of salt… Yale professor Kenneth Gillingham said the NERA model tends to result in higher costs than other economic models. The study assumes certain hypothetical regulations, but ‘one could easily model other actions with much lower costs.'”
The Washington Post’s Fact Checkers, Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, reported his statistics are from a “study that was funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council for Capital Formation, foes of the Paris Accord. So the figures must be viewed with a jaundiced eye.”
Of course Trump and his surrogates have made many claims in the past on TV news shows, which were fact-checked. Also worth a look: this compilation Mother Jones created last December of Trump’s statements over the years on different media (including TV news) about global warming.
Claim: the Paris Agreement is one-sided (needs context)
In April 2017, President Donald Trump decried the Paris agreement on climate as “one-sided… where the United States pays billions of dollars while China, Russia and India have contributed and will contribute nothing.”
Reporter Vanessa Schipan from FactCheck.org wrote that the “U.S. has promised to contribute $3 billion to this fund [Green Climate Fund]” and “China and India haven’t contributed to the Green Climate Fund… Russia hasn’t contributed any funds either, but it also hasn’t ratified the Paris Agreement or submitted an outline of what actions it will take…” She also reported “that, per capita, the U.S. emitted more greenhouse gases than China and India combined in 2015.”
Claim: China and India have no obligations under agreement until 2030 (four Pinocchios)
In a related statement on April 13, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said “China and India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030.”
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, reported “China, in its submission, said that, compared to 2005 levels, it would seek to cut its carbon emissions by 60 to 65 percent per unit of GDP by 2030. India said it would reduce its emissions per unit of economic output by 33 to 35 percent below 2005 by 2030… Note that both countries pledge to reach these goals by 2030, meaning they are taking steps now to meet their commitments.”
Claim: human activity, or carbon dioxide emissions, is not the primary contributor to global warming (science says, wrong)
In an interview on CNBC in March, EPA administrator Pruitt said “I would not agree that it’s [human activity or CO2] a primary contributor to the, to the global warming that we see.”
For FactCheck.org, Vanessa Schipani reported that “[S]cience says he’s wrong.” She wrote that “[a]ccording to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report, it is ‘extremely likely’ (at least 95 percent probable) that more than half of the observed temperature increase since the mid-2oth century is due to human, or anthropogenic, activities.”
Claim: scientists cannot precisely measure climate change (they can with different levels of certainty)
In a lengthy article for their SciCheck project, FactCheck.org’s Vanessa Schipani reviewed statements by several Trump administration officials on this question of whether we can measure climate change with precision and whether we can measure the human impact. Among those who have made this claim are EPA’s Scott Pruitt, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Schipani reported “scientists can measure that impact with varying levels of certainty and precision” by going through the science for the greenhouse effect, global warming to climate change, and measuring and predicting extreme weather.
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For more than eighty years, MIT Press has been publishing acclaimed titles in science, technology, art and architecture. Now, thanks to a new partnership between the Internet Archive and MIT Press, readers will be able to borrow these classics online for the first time. With generous support from Arcadia, this partnership represents an important advance in providing free, long-term public access to knowledge.
“These books represent some of the finest scholarship ever produced, but right now they are very hard to find,” said Brewster Kahle, founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. “Together with MIT Press, we will enable the patrons of every library that owns one of these books to borrow it online–one copy at a time.”
This joint initiative is a crucial early step in Internet Archive’s ambitious plans to digitize, preserve and provide public access to four million books, by partnering widely with university presses and other publishers, authors, and libraries. The Internet Archive is one of eight groups named semi-finalists in 100&Change, a global competition for a single $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The competition seeks bold solutions to critical problems of our time.
MIT Press Director, Amy Brand said, “One of my top ambitions for the MIT Press has been to ensure that our entire legacy of publications is digitized, accessible, searchable, discoverable now and in perpetuity. Partnering with Internet Archive to achieve this objective is a dream come true not only for me and my colleagues at the Press, but also for many of our authors whose earlier works are completely unavailable or not easily accessible.”
“Lending online permits libraries to fulfill their mission in the digital age, allowing anyone to borrow through the ether copies of works they own,” said Professor Peter Baldwin, co-founder of Arcadia. “The IA-MIT collaboration is a big step in the direction of realizing a universal library, accessible to anyone, anywhere.”
We will be scanning an initial group of 1,500 MIT Press titles at Internet Archive’s Boston Public Library facility, including Cyril Stanley Smith’s 1980 book, From Art to Science: Seventy-Two Objects Illustrating the Nature of Discovery, and Frederick Law Olmsted and Theodora Kimball’s Forty Years of Landscape Architecture: Central Park, which was published in 1973. The oldest title in the group is Arthur C. Hardy’s 1936 Handbook of Colorimetry.
John Palfrey, Head of School at Phillips Academy Andover and well-known public access advocate, described the partnership as “a truly ground-breaking development in open scholarship that I hope will inspire other university presses to follow suit, since so many excellent and important books are effectively out of circulation by virtue of being analog-only in a digital world.”
The Internet Archive has already begun digitizing MIT Press’ backlist and they will be available at archive.org soon. The entire MIT Press backlist should be available by the end of 2017.
By Nancy Watzman and Katie Dahl
In this week’s round-up from the TV News Archive, our fact-checking partners declare that Greg Gianforte, now Montana’s U.S. House representative-elect, was the aggressor in a conflict with a reporter; Newt Gingrich spread a conspiracy theory; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stretched claims about how veterans could be hurt under the House GOP health care bill; and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney double-counted money.
Claim: Guardian reporter’s aggression, not Gianforte’s, caused altercation (flip that)
On May 24 a campaign spokesperson for Greg Gianforte, who has since won the Montana U.S. House race, said, “Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian‘s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”
As reported by John Kruzel and Smitha Rajan for PolitiFact, a Fox News reporter was in the room at the time and gave this account. “…Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter.” Gianforte has since apologized.
Claim: DNC staffer assassinated after giving emails to WikiLeaks (unsupported)
Newt Gingrich, a former Republican House Speaker, said in a TV interview, “we have this very strange story now of this young man who worked for the Democratic National Committee, who apparently was assassinated at 4 in the morning, having given WikiLeaks something like 23,000. I’m sorry, 53,000 emails and 17,000 attachments.”
“Gingrich Spreads Conspiracy Theory,” read a headline from FactCheck.org. Eugene Kiely reported “there’s no evidence for his claim.” PunditFact, a project of PolitiFact, gave Gingrich its worst fact-check rating, Pants on Fire. Lauren Carroll reported, “Hours after Fox published its report, (Rod) Wheeler recanted. He told CNN that he hadn’t seen the evidence himself, and his knowledge of Rich’s alleged email contact with WikiLeaks came from the national Fox News reporter, not his own investigative work.”
(Note: Kiely also made use of the Wayback Machine in his piece, linking to a now-deleted Fox News story now saved at the Internet Archive. Washington Post reporters Kristine Phillips and Peter Holley published similar links in their story on how Fox News retracted its story on Seth Rich.)
Claim: seven million veterans will lose tax credit for their families in health care bill (three Pinocchios)
During a speech at a conference hosted by the Center for American Progress, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D., Calif., said of the House-passed GOP health care reform bill, “Seven million veterans will lose their tax credit for their families in this bill.”
Michelle Ye Hee Lee reported for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker that “veterans ‘could’ — not ‘will,’ as Pelosi says — lose tax credits if the current protections don’t carry over under a new health law… Would it affect 7 million veterans and their families? Not necessarily.”
Claim: economic growth will pay for both eliminating the deficit and tax cuts (wait a minute)
In a press conference about President Trump’s proposed 2018 fiscal budget, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said “we get to an actual balance on this budget within the 10-year window,” because “we will bring back 3% economic growth to this country and those numbers are assumed in this budget. By the way if we don’t the budget will never balance. You will never see a balanced budget again. We refuse to accept that the new normal in this country. Three percent was the old normal. Three percent will be the new normal again under the Trump administration and that is part and parcel with the foundation of this budget.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also claimed economic growth would pay for the proposed revenue-neutral tax plan, “This will pay for itself with growth and with reduced — reduction of different deductions and closing loopholes.”
“Wait a minute, say tax and budget experts, that’s double-counting the same money,” reported Robert Farley of FactCheck.org. Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center told FactCheck.org that you can’t assume growth will balance the budget and offset tax cuts, “Both of those are not plausible,” he said
Claim: Manafort and others visited Moscow during the campaign (mostly false)
In a TV interview, Rep. Maxine Waters, D., Calif., said “I really do believe that much of what you saw coming out of Trump’s mouth was a play from Putin’s playbook… I think you can see visits, you know, to Moscow made during the campaign by (Paul) Manafort and others.”
“From what’s on the public record, Manafort didn’t go at all, and (Carter) Page went once… Waters made it sound like this was a regular occurrence. We rate this claim Mostly False.” Jon Greenberg reported for PolitiFact.
Claim: Wisconsin high-risk pool had 8 or 9 plans, people could go to any doctor, and premiums and copays were cheaper than Obamacare (half true)
In response to criticism from Democrats for the House-passed health care proposal, Rep. Paul Ryan, R., Wis., said “In Wisconsin, we had a really successful high-risk pool. Ten percent of the people in the individual market in Wisconsin were in the state high-risk pool. They had eight or nine plans to choose from. They could go to any doctor or any hospital they wanted. And their premiums and copays were cheaper than they are under Obamacare today.”
For PolitiFact, Tom Kertscher reported “He’s essentially on target on the first two parts, but not on the third… it can’t be flatly stated that the high-risk pool plans were cheaper than Obamacare plans for comparable coverage.”
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Join us for an evening of fun, nostalgia and learning with a screening of the rarest, corniest and weirdest films from the Internet Archive’s collection of Educational Media. This curated screening of digitized and 16mm films will also include favorites as voted by IA users and staff.
RSVP at eventbrite.com
Browse the collection at archive.org/details/educationalfilms.
Nominate your favorite films at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WZFS2MD
The FBI helpfully told us that they found a copy of the Archive’s user database, dated prior to 2012, during one of their investigations. This database did not have much information that is not on the website, but it had lightly encrypted passwords of the users at the time. We have since upped the encryption level.
We have not noticed any uptick in compromised account activity at the Archive, so we’d bet against past malicious use. We will be emailing all Archive patrons who held accounts prior to 2012, containing much of the same information you see here.
We are sorry for this inconvenience.
It was a yet another extraordinary week in U.S. politics, with a series of explosive news reports centering on President Donald Trump. The TV News Archive is saving history as it happens, as well as linking relevant fact-checks by FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, and The Washington Post‘s Fact Checker to statements by public officials.
On Sunday shows, Schumer demands release of tapes–if they exist
Senate Majority Leader Charles “Chuck” Schumer, D., N.Y., made the rounds of Sunday news talk shows, appearing on “Meet the Press” and “State of the Union,” calling for a special prosecutor to investigate possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia among other matters. In this clip, Schumer says Trump should turn over tapes–the possibility of which were raised by Trump in a tweet on May 12–if they exist, of the president’s conversations with now former FBI director James Comey.
In this piece titled “Trump vs. Comey,” FactCheck.org reporters Eugene Kiely and Robert Farley trace the history of statements by the president and Comey about their discussions. They note, “White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has repeatedly refused to answer whether Trump has such recordings. In his interview with Jeanine Pirro, Trump said, “Well, that I can’t talk about. I won’t talk about that.”
McMaster reacts to report that Trump shared intelligence with Russians
After The Washington Post reported, on May 15, that Trump had revealed “highly classified information” to Russian envoys visiting the White House last week, national security adviser H.R. McMaster defended the president that day and at a press conference the following day. Among his assertions: “The story that came out tonight as reported is false.”
“The key phrase is “as reported,” wrote Glenn Kessler, for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, in a piece that dissects McMaster’s statements before the press. “With this language, McMaster in theory could dispute any element, no matter how small, as false. He notably did not say the story was false.” John Kruzel, writing for PolitiFact, traced the “shifting” explanations from the White House on what happened at the meeting with the Russians, including McMaster’s statements.
Former FBI director Robert Mueller appointed special counsel
Wednesday, May 17 brought the news that the U.S. Department of Justice appointed Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate possible connections between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia. Here PolitiFact reporter Lauren Carroll gives the basics on Mueller’s background and experience.
The TV News Archive contains numerous historical clips of Mueller, who served as FBI director under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, including this brief farewell interview he gave to ABC in 2013, where he talks about terrorism.
Mueller and Comey have an earlier association at a high-drama moment in U.S. history. In 2014, Comey told “60 Minutes” about the day that he and Mueller visited a bedridden John Ashcroft, then attorney general, to tell him they would resign rather than reauthorize a controversial domestic surveillance program under pressure from the White House. Ashcroft deferred to Comey, and, as recounted by The Los Angeles Times, “It was only when President George W. Bush agreed to listen to Comey and Mueller and restructure the program did resignation plans go away.”
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“The Internet Archive…is building a home for Universal Access to All Knowledge, open to everyone, everywhere, to use as they like. Open to all societies of the future that care to build on our triumphs and learn from our mistakes.”– Lawrence Lessig
Last night in New York City, we put on our best duds and donned our fanciest archivist hats for a once in a lifetime event. The Internet Archive was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 21st annual Webbys, hailed by the New York Times as “one of the Internet’s highest honors.” The Webby Awards lauded the Internet Archive for being “the web’s most knowledgeable historian.”
Three of our veteran staff members,Tracey Jacquith, TV Archive Architect, Internet Archive founder and Digital Librarian, Brewster Kahle, and Alexis Rossi, Director of Media and Access, accepted the award. Kahle delivered the five-word acceptance speech with panache: “Universal Access to All Knowledge.”
Perhaps the greatest honor of the evening came in the form of a video narrated by Open Knowledge champion, Lawrence Lessig. He said, “Creativity and innovation built on the past. The Internet Archive is the foundation preserving that past, so that perhaps, one can at least hope that our children and their children can shape a future that knows our joys and learns from our many mistakes.”
The award was presented by Nancy Lublin, CEO of the Crisis Text Line and DoSomething.org, who pointed out that in this chaotic political year, the Internet Archive has saved “200 terabytes of government data that could have otherwise been lost in the transition from blue light saber to red light saber.”
The award reads:
Webby Lifetime Achievement: Archive.org for its commitment to making the world’s knowledge available online and preserving the history of the Internet itself. With a vast collection of digitized materials and tools like the Wayback Machine, Archive.org has become a vital resource not only to catalogue an ever-changing medium, but to safeguard a free and open Internet for everyone.
The complete list of Webby Award winners is available here.
We devote this week’s edition of the TV News Archive roundup to the controversy that’s erupted surrounding President Donald Trump’s sudden announcement on Tuesday, May 9, that he was firing FBI director James Comey. The TV News Archive provides a wealth of material for exploring media coverage of this major moment in U.S. history.
Comey fame tied to Clinton and Trump
Comey may still not quite be a household name, but mention of “Comey” spiked higher than ever on TV newscasts this week after he was fired. Comey has enjoyed notoriety in the past, his biggest moments tied closely to the fates of 2016 presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Trump.
The most recent spike before this week was on March 20, when he testified before Congress, confirming that the FBI was investigating possible ties between his campaign and Russia. Another major spike occurred in November 2016, days before the election, when Comey announced the FBI was reopening an investigation into then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for official business while serving as secretary of state. Comey also garnered attention in July 2016, when he announced that the FBI would not be pursuing charges against Clinton.
The visual below, showing mentions of “Comey,” was created with Television Explorer, an online tool fueled by TV News Archive data and created by Kalev Leetaru. This tool can be used to find patterns in words and phrases captured by closed captioning and contained in the TV News Archive.
Trump’s letter to Comey fact-checked
In the hours following the firing, one major point of focus for fact-checkers and other media was the portion of the letter to Comey where Trump stated, “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”
Below is a CNN broadcast, as captured in the TV News Archive, where the CNN newscaster Dave Briggs reads the letter on the air.
PolitiFact, The Washington Post‘s Fact Checker, and FactCheck.org have all weighed in on the president’s assertion, noting that too much remains unknown to confirm it. “With Comey out, it’s unclear whether the public will ever learn if the FBI was investigating Trump personally, rather than just his associates — or anything else about the investigation, for that matter,” wrote PolitiFact’s Lauren Carroll on May 11. (See fact-checks connected to televised statements by public officials here.)
Meanwhile, the story continues to unfold. On May 11, Sarah Huckabee, deputy White House press secretary, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that the president had confirmed this assertion with her directly. And Trump himself told NBC News’ Lester Holt that the assurances came during a private dinner and twice over the phone. And on Friday morning, Trump tweeted that Comey “better hope there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
Some Watergate history, please
Many commentators this week have noted parallels between Trump’s firing of Comey and the Saturday Night Massacre of 1973, when President Richard Nixon ordered independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox fired, during the Watergate investigation; his boss, Attorney General Elliot Richardson, and Deputy General William Ruckelshaus, both of whom refused to fire Cox, resigned in protest. Acting head of the Department of Justice, Robert Bork, carried out the order to fire Cox. (Note: the Richard Nixon Library playfully, but accurately, fired off a tweet noting that Nixon had never fired an FBI director, and then later was criticized for doing so by the National Archives and Records Administration, the federal agency that administers presidential libraries.)
While the TV News Archive’s collection of 1.3 million TV news shows dates back to 2009, long after the Nixon era, some footage from that time is available from later airings. Here, for example, is footage of Cox’s press conference right before he was dismissed.
And here is a quick explainer of the Saturday Night Massacre, as broadcast by MSNBC in 2013.
Searching Trump Archive for past Trump statements about Comey
The largely hand-curated Trump Archive, a collection of Trump statements and appearances on TV news broadcasts, makes it easier to find past instances of Trump talking about Comey. The TV News Archive is working on ways to make the creation of such collections less labor intensive, by using machine learning tools to identify instances of public officials speaking within the collection of 1.3 million tv news shows.
A search of closed captions on the terms “Trump” and “Comey” would yield both instances when Trump is speaking about Comey and newscasters who are reporting on the two men. But searching within the Trump Archive quickly yields Trump statements about Comey.
Here is some of what we found:
April 28, 2016: Trump says “I think if [Comey’s] straight up she’s not going to be able to run.”
June 13, 2016: Trump talking about FBI investigation of Orlando nightclub shooting, “I’m a big fan of the FBI, there’s no bigger fan than me, but look they’ve seen better days. Let’s face it.”
October 13, 2016: Trump speaking about Comey, “The great men and women who work for the FBI are embarrassed and ashamed of what he has done to one of our truly great institutions, the FBI itself.”
October 20, 2016: Trump at Al Smith Dinner, joking at an annual fundraiser for Catholic charities: “I’d like to address an important religious matter, the issue of going to confession. Or, as Hillary calls it, the Fourth of July weekend with FBI director Comey.”
October 29, 2016: Following Director Comey’s letter to congressional leaders about newly discovered Clinton emails, Trump says, “I have to tell you, I respect the fact that Director Comey was able to come back after what he did. I respect that very much.”
November 14, 2016: Trump won’t say if he will ask Comey to resign. “I think that I would rather not comment on that yet. I don’t– I haven’t made up my mind. I respect him a lot. I respect the FBI a lot.”
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A few times a year, I join B. George in the Internet Archives’ warehouses to help sort and pack 78rpm discs to ship to George Blood L.P. for digitization. As a music fan and a professional mastering and restoration engineer, I get a thrill from handling the heavy, grooved discs, admiring the fonts and graphic designs on the labels, and chuckling at amusing song titles. Now digitized, these recordings offer a wealth of musicological, discographic and technical information, documenting and contextualizing music and recording history in the first half of the 20th century.
The sheer scale of this digitization project is unprecedented. At over 15,000 recordings and counting, the value strictly in terms of preservation is clear, especially given the Internet Archive’s focus on digitizing music less commonly available to researchers. Music fans can take a deep dive into early blues, Hawaiian, hillbilly, comedy and bluegrass. I even found several early Novachord synthesizer recordings from 1941.
As a researcher and audio restoration engineer, the real goldmine is in the aggregation of discographic and technical metadata accompanying these recordings. Historians can search for and cross reference recordings based on label, artist, song title, year of release, personnel, genre, and, importantly, collection. (The Internet Archive documents the provenance of the 78rpm discs so that donated collections remain digitally intact and maintain their contextual significance). General users can submit reviews with notes to amend or add to metadata, and the content of those reviews is searchable, so metadata collection is active. No doubt it will continue to improve as dedicated and educated users fill in the blanks.
Access to the technical metadata offers a valuable teaching tool to those of us who practice audio preservation. For audio professionals new to 78s and curious about how much difference a few tenths of a millimeter of stylus can make, the Internet Archive offers 15,000+ examples of this. Play through the different styli options, and it quickly becomes apparent that particular labels, years and even discs do respond better to specific styli sizes and shapes. This is something audio preservationists are taught, but rarely are we presented with comprehensive audio examples. To be able to listen to and analyze the sonic and technical differences in these versions marries the hard science with the aesthetic.
Playback speeds were not standardized until the late 1920s or early 1930s, and most discs were originally cut at speeds ranging from 76-80rpm (and some well beyond). The discs in the /georgeblood/ collection were all digitized at a playback speed of 78rpm. Preservationists and collectors debate extensively about the “correct” speed at which discs ought to be played back, and whether one ought to pitch discs individually. However, performance, recording and manufacturing practices varied so widely that even if a base speed could generally be agreed upon, there will always be exceptions. (For more on this, please check out George Blood’s forthcoming paper Stylus Size And Speed Selection In Pre-1923 Acoustic Recordings in Sustainable audiovisual collections through collaboration: Proceedings of the 2016 Joint Technical Symposium. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press).
Every step of making a recording involves so many aesthetic decisions – choices of instrumentation, methods of sound amplification, microphone placement, the materials used in the disc itself, deliberate pitching of the instruments and slowing or speeding of the recording – that playback speed simply become one of many aesthetic choices in the chain. As preservationists, we are preserving the disc as an historic record, not attempting to restore or recreate a performance. (Furthermore, speed correction is possible in the digital realm, should anyone want to modify these digital files for their own personal enjoyment).
How do they sound? Each 78rpm disc has an inherent noise fingerprint based on the frequency and dynamic range the format can replicate (limited, compared to contemporary digital playback formats) and the addition of surface noise from dust, dirt and stylus wear in the grooves. As expected, the sound quality in this collection varies. Some of these discs were professionally recorded, minimally played, stored well, and play back with a tolerable, even ignorable level of surface noise relative to the musical content. Others were recorded under less professional circumstances, and/or were much loved, frequently played, stored without sleeves in basements and attics, and therefore suffer from significant surface noise that can interfere with enjoyment (and study) of the music.
Yet, a compelling recording can cut through noise. Take this 1944 recording of Josh White performing St. James Infirmary, Asch 358-2A. This side has been released commercially several times, so if you look it up on a streaming service like Spotify, you can listen to different versions sourced from the same recording (though almost certainly not from the same 78rpm disc). They play at different speeds, some barely perceptibly faster or slower but at least one nearly a half-step faster than the preservation copy digitized by George Blood L.P. They also have a range of noise reduction and remastering aesthetics, some subtle and some downright ugly and riddled with digital artifacts. The version on the Internet Archive offers a benchmark. This is what the recording sounded like on the original 78rpm disc. Listen to the bend in the opening guitar notes. That technique cuts through the surface noise and should be preserved and highlighted in any restored version (which is another way of saying that any noise reduction should absolutely not interfere with the attack and decay of those luscious guitar notes).
McGill University professor of Culture and Technology Jonathan Sterne wrote a book – The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction – that is worth reading for anyone interested in a cultural history of early recording formats, including 78s. As Sterne says, sound fidelity is “ultimately about deciding the values of competing and contending sounds.” So, in listening to digital versions of 78s on the Internet Archive, music fans, researchers, and audio professionals alike engage in a process of renegotiating concepts of acceptable thresholds of noise and what that noise communicates about the circumstances of the recording and its life on a physical disc.
Fortunately, our brains are very good at calibrating to accept different ratios of signal to noise, and, I found, the more I listened to 78rpm recordings on the Internet Archive, the less I was bothered by the inherent noise. Those of us who grew up on CDs or digitally recorded and distributed music are not used to the intrusions of surface noise. However, when listening to historic recordings, we are able to adjust our expectations and process a level of noise that would be ridiculous in contemporary music formats. (Imagine this week’s Billboard Top 100 chart topper, Bruno Mars’s “That’s What I Like,” with the high and low end rolled off, covered in a sheen of crackles and pops). The fact that these 78rpm recordings sound, to us, like they were made in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s lets them get away with a different scale of fidelity. The very nature of their historicity gets them off the hook.
In analog form, crackles and pops can be mesmerizing, almost like the sound of a crackling fire. However, once digitized, those previously random pops become fixed in time. What may have been enjoyable in analog form becomes a permanent annoyance in digital form. The threshold of acceptable noise levels moves again.
This means that noise associated with recording carriers such as 78rpm discs is almost always preferably to noises introduced in the digital realm through the process of attempted noise reduction. Sound restorationists understand that their job is to follow a sonic Hippocratic oath: do no harm. Though noise reduction tools are widely available, they range in quality (and accordingly in cost), and are merely tools to be used with a light or heavy touch, by experienced or amateur restorationists.
The question of whether noise reduction of the Internet Archive’s 78rpm recordings could be partially automated makes my heart palpitate. Though I know from experience that, for example, auto-declickers exist that could theoretically remove a layer of noise from these recordings with minimal interference with the musical signal, I don’t believe the results would be uniformly satisfactory. It is so easy to destroy the aura of a recording with overzealous, heavy-handed, cheap, or simply unnecessary noise reduction. Even a gentle touch of an auto-declicker or de-crackler will have widely varying results on different recordings.
I tried this with a sampling of selections from the /georgeblood/ collection. I chose eleven songs from different genres and years and ran two different, high quality auto-declickers (the iZotope RX6 Advanced multiband declicker and CEDAR Audio’s declick) on the 24bit FLAC files. The results were uneven. Some of the objectively noisier songs, such as Blind Blake’s Tampa Bound, Paramount 12442-B, benefited from having the most egregious surface noises gently scrubbed.
However, a song with a strong musical presence and mild surface noise such as Trio Schmeed’s Yodel Cha Cha, ABC-Paramount 9660, actually suffered more from light auto-declicking because the content of the horns and percussive elements registered to the auto-delicker as aberrations from the meat of the signal and were dulled. A pop presents as an aberration across all frequencies. Mapped visually across frequency, time and intensity, it looks like a spike cutting through the waveform. A snare hit looks similar and is therefore likely to be misinterpreted by an auto-declicker unless the threshold at which the declicker deploys is set very carefully. This difference is why good restorationists earn their pay.
I am approaching this collection as a listener and music fan, as a researcher, and as an audio professional, three very different modes of listening and interacting with music. In all cases, the Internet Archive 78rpm collection offers massive amounts of music and data to be explored, discovered, enjoyed, studied and utilized. Whether you want to listen to early Bill Monroe tunes, crackles, pops and all, or explore hundreds of recordings of pre-war polkas, or analyze the effects of stylus size on 1930s Victor discs, the Internet Archive provides the raw materials in digital form and, not to be underestimated, preserves the original discs too.
In our December post, “Preserving U.S. Government Websites and Data as the Obama Term Ends,” we described our participation in the End of Term Web Archive project to preserve federal government websites and data at times of administration changes. We wanted to give a quick update on the project — we have archived a heck of a lot of data!
Between Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, the Internet Archive archived over 200 terabytes of government websites and data. This includes over 100TB of public websites and over 100TB of public data from federal FTP file servers totaling, together, over 350 million URLs/files. This includes over 70 million html pages, over 40 million PDFs and, towards the other end of the spectrum and for semantic web aficionados, 8 files of the text/turtle mime type. Other End of Term partners have also been vigorously preserving websites and data from the .gov/.mil web domains.
Every web page we have archived is accessible through the Wayback Machine and we are working to add the 2016 harvest to the main End of Term portal soon. While we continue to analyze this collection, we posted some preliminary statistics using the new Wayback Machine’s summary interface for this specific collection, which can be found on the End of Term (EOT 2016) summary stats page; those and additional stats are served via a public EOT 2016 stats API and the full collection is also available.
Through the EOT project’s public nomination form and through our collaboration with the DataRefuge, Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI), and other efforts, over 100,000 webpages or government datasets were nominated by citizens and preservationists for archiving. The EOT and community efforts have also garnered notable press (see our End of Term 2016 Press collection). We are working with partners to provide access to the full dataset for use in data mining and computational analysis and hosted a hackathon earlier this year to support use of the Obama White House Social Media datasets.
While the specific End of Term collection has closed, we continue our large-scale, dedicated efforts to preserve the government web. Working with the University of North Texas, we launched the Government Web & Data Archive nomination form so the public can continue to nominate public government websites and data to be archived.
Lastly, archiving government data remains a critical activity of the preservation community. You can help our role in these efforts by continuing to nominate websites, promoting the EOT project via press and outreach (contact the EOT project team for any inquiries), and by donating to the Internet Archive to support our ongoing mission to provide “Universal Access to All Knowledge.”
To mark his 100th day in office, President Donald Trump made several public appearances and released a campaign-style political ad. Here are some fact-checked claims from those televised interviews, speeches, as well as the ad, all viewable and shareable on the TV News Archive.
Fact-checking Trump’s first 100 days campaign ad
President Donald Trump put his stamp of approval on this ad, which includes several factual claims. Among them: “Fact: 500,000-plus jobs created,” and “America becoming more energy independent,” while the words “Keystone Pipeline” are shown on screen.
“Using just the two months on his watch–February and March–the U.S. economy created 317,000 jobs, not 500,000,” reported Louis Jacobson for PolitiFact.
“Samantha Gross, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Energy Security and Climate Initiative… notes that she doesn’t think approving the pipeline was a bad decision… ‘We’ve made it easier and efficient to ship that crude down to the states,’ though [sic.] the pipeline, ‘but as far as changing energy independence, I don’t think so,’ she said,” Lori Robertson reported for FactCheck.org.
Claim: first time in modern era a Supreme Court justice confirmed in first 100 days (mostly true)
At the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Georgia on April 28, Trump said, “For the first time in the modern political era, we have confirmed a new justice in the first 100 days. The last time that happened was 136 years ago, in 1881. Now, we won’t get any credit for this, but don’t worry about it.”
This statement was rated “mostly true” by PolitiFact’s Lauren Carroll. “Trump has his history right. He is indeed the first modern president to fill an open Supreme Court seat within the first 100 days.” She went on to report “The reality is that very few presidents are presented with the opportunity to appoint and confirm a new Supreme Court justice within their first 100 days… Trump is the only one of the group who entered office with a vacant Supreme Court seat from the start—meaning he had a full 100 days to nominate and confirm his pick.”
Claim: U.S. has a $17 billion trade deficit with Canada (no, it’s a surplus)
President Trump sat down with FOX’s Martha MacCallum for their “The First 100 Days” interview. In it, Trump said “The trade deficit with Mexico is close to $70 billion, even with Canada it’s $17 billion trade deficit with Canada.”
The reporters at FactCheck.org, though, found that “For the second year in a row, the U.S. had a trade surplus with Canada. In 2016, the U.S. had an $8.1 billion trade surplus in goods and services with Canada, up nearly 33 percent from the $6.1 billion surplus in 2015.”
Claim: Trump has negative media coverage because reporters donated to Clinton (misleading)
The president spoke to a large crowd in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he cited a study by the conservative Media Research Center talking about negative coverage of his administration. He then suggested the reason was “perhaps that’s because, according to the Center for Public Integrity, 96 percent of journalists who made donations in the last election gave them to our opponent.”
FactCheck.org reported that the Center for Public Integrity study showed “that about 430 people ‘who work in journalism’ contributed about $382,000 to the Clinton campaign through August, compared with about 50 journalists who contributed $14,000 to Trump. Notably, however, the study did not find that any journalists responsible for covering the White House, Congress or national politics made political contributions of any kind.”
Claim: people with pre-existing conditions are covered in the House GOP health care bill (unclear)
In an interview for CBS’s Face the Nation, President Trump said, “Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I just watched another network than yours, and they were saying, ‘Pre-existing is not covered.’ Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, ‘Has to be.'”
PolitiFact’s Amy Sherman reviewed and rated this claim “mostly false,” reporting “Overall, the latest proposal seems to weaken existing protections for people with pre-existing conditions, not strengthen them.”
An amendment was proposed since then, and Glenn Kessler summarized the new proposal for the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, writing, “if the bill ever became law, much would depend on unknown policy decisions by individual states–and then how those decisions are implemented.” This proposal had a House vote yesterday, Thursday, and passed.
How to find Trump’s 100th-day TV news appearances
To review the 100 days interviews and speeches yourself and grab the clips you want, check out this Fox interview in two parts, the Harrisburg, PA speech, the NRA address, the Face the Nation interview in two parts, the “CBS This Morning” interview in two parts, and Trump’s weekly address.
To peruse all the fact-checking work our partners have done on statements made on TV and archived in the TV News Archive, take a look at this table of more than 800 fact-checks of Donald Trump, his administration, and some congressional leaders. This collection will continue to grow as we develop the congressional collections, add more administration official statements, and integrate new statements and reporting.
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Europeana Radio marks the beginning of easy and interactive access to Europe’s sound treasures, where listeners are free to browse, listen and tag. The player contains over 200.000 historic music tracks collected from sound archives across twelve European countries, including content from the Internet Archive. Europeana Radio is launched by Europeana Sounds and Europeana Foundation.
Users can browse a wide range of sound recordings (Classical Music, Folk and Traditional Music and Popular Music), play them on random mode, and tag the tracks with musical genres. The tagging feature of Europeana Radio means that all users, from casual listeners to historians and academics, can become archivists by tagging the musical genres of the recordings whilst listening to them. This ultimately improves the discoverability of these tracks within the Europeana Music Collection and provides a better experience of the recordings.
Europeana Radio builds on three years of work aggregating audio content from cultural institutions across Europe, improving their access by enriching descriptions and developing themed sound channels, led by the Europeana Sounds project. As a result more than one million recordings, previously sitting hidden in individual institutions and only available to their respective audiences, are now available on Europeana. The musical archives and Europeana Radio are gathered under a special thematic portal Europeana Music.
Curious? Listen to Europeana Radio and discover Europe’s musical heritage yourself! Will you be able to identify the genres?