Irish Politics, Visa, Twitter, More: Friday Buzz, February 5, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Enough about US politics. There’s a new Web site for comparing 500 candidates in the Ireland elections. “Every political party and candidate was asked to complete a questionnaire which indicated where they stood on the key issues, including taxation, water, housing, employment and abortion. Voters can answer a set of questions to see which candidates they agree with in their constituency.”

A little outside the ResearchBuzz remit but I think this is going to end up impacting a lot of people: Visa has launched a developer platform. “With regards to today’s Visa Developer announcement, for the first time in the company’s nearly 60 year history software developers will have open access to payments technology, products and services by Visa. The new Visa Developer platform is designed to help financial institutions, merchants, and technology companies meet the demands of consumers and merchants, who increasingly rely on connected devices to shop, pay and get paid.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Twitter might be testing a new GIF tool for its users to easily add pre-selected images to their tweets. Looks like Twitter’s version of Facebook’s stickers. “Various Twitter users have tweeted, naturally, that a dedicated GIF tool has popped up in between the photos and polls options on their mobile app.”

Huh. Google might have launched a “Trusted Verifier” program that certifies people to verify local businesses for Google. But maybe it’s not ready for prime time? “It comes with a mobile app where the Trusted Verifier can use the app to mark the business as verified….It seems like the app was pulled…”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf has a quick tip for using symbolic links in Google Drive. oooh, this is going to come in handy…

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Amit Singhal, head of Google Search, is leaving the company. Instead of linking to a news story, I’m linking to the incredibly classy post he put on Google+. “Now, with pride, gratitude, and joy in my heart, I need to define my next fifteen years. I am eager to see what kind of impact I can make philanthropically, and of course, to spend more time with my family–especially with my wife who I miss spending time with given our incredibly busy lives, and our son who will go to college soon, leaving an empty nest behind.” Best of luck in your future endeavors, sir.

Google’s new head of search is John Giannandrea. “Giannandrea joined the company in 2010, after Google bought his startup Metaweb Technologies. His company was the basis for Google’s ‘Knowledge Graph,’ which stores information to help users answer their questions as quickly as possible. ”

PricewaterhouseCoopersIndia (PwC India) and Google are teaming up to launch a security product for India. “The product will be able to detect, analyse and stop possible cyber attacks or any other forms of threats from cyber criminals, competitors or governments. PwC already plays a role in the cyber security space and helps its clients prevent, and in some cases, take corrective actions after cyber breaches.”

Interesting: Joe Biden is apparently the first US Vice-President with a Facebook page.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

The University of Central Florida has been hacked. “Hackers gained access to the personal information of current and former student-athletes and support staff as well as current and former university employees. The stolen info includes Social Security numbers but not credit card information, financial records, medical records or grades, [John C.] Hitt said.” The information of about 63,000 people was compromised.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Erin Brown at Duke University did her honor’s thesis on Twitter. Specifically #Activism: Tracking Twitter’s Impact on Campaigns for Political Change. ” Various interest groups have thus increasingly begun to adopt social media – and Twitter in particular – as a means to achieve institutional goals. However, as social communication has moved to online networks, the scope and variety of information that citizens receive has begun to shrink. Understanding how different groups have utilized social media has become imperative to examining what messages people see, and as a result, how social media may change activism in the future. This study thus seeks to answer the following questions: How have interest groups utilized social media, and Twitter in particular, to facilitate political change? How does partisan affiliation affect and shape social media strategy?” Not a super-long thesis (35 pages) and if you’re at all interested in social media activism or the communication strategies of different political parties, worth a read.

Move over, Kevin Bacon, the people on Facebook have a lot less than six degrees of separation. “New research from the social suggests that for the 1.59 billion active users of Facebook, there are only 3.57 degrees of separation, on average, between everyone on the social network.” If you visit the Facebook Research Blog you can find out what your degree of separation is on Facebook. Mine is 3.13; so close to pi and yet so far away. The story of my life (or my desserts, anyway.) Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Substance Abuse, Medieval Manuscripts, GPO, More: Thursday Buzz, February 4, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The state of New York has launched the Bed Availability Dashboard, a new site for residents to find openings for addition treatment. At this writing there are 235 organizations with beds available. Information is returned in a table that includes name and contact information for the organization, number of adult and adolescent beds available (for male, female, and transgender patients), the next available admission appointment, and the date the entry was last updated. The state’s announcement about the new site provides a few more resources for addressing substance abuse.

Three Pennsylvania institutions are leading a project to digitize a large collection of medieval works. “Lehigh [University], the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania are leading a project, called Bibliotheca Philadelphienis, that will digitalize the largest regional collection of medieval and early modern manuscripts in the country.” The collection is expected to be almost 160,000 pages.

The Government Publishing Office (GPO) has launched GovInfo.gov, a new portal for official government documents. It’s in beta. “As of the Feb. 3 launch, there are more than 1.5 million documents archived on the site, including the Congressional Record, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations and the federal budget.” More features are on the way; hit the link for details.

The New York Times will be publishing previously-unpublished images of African-Americans during Black History Month. The story about Jackie Robinson reminded me of that wonderful kid’s book by Betty Bao Lord, In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, which takes place around the same time as Mr. Robinson spoke to the Sociology Society at City College in New York.

Wired has a story about a new search engine for television show The Simpsons. “Frinkiac, named after Springfield’s favorite eccentric scientist, Professor Frink, landed on the Internet yesterday with all the subtlety of a Lard Lad Donuts mascot. It collects every quote from the first 15 seasons of The Simpsons, the most quotable show of the last two decades, and pairs them with screenshots from the exact moment they happened.” It sounds amazing. Unfortunately I am not very Simpsons-savvy, but even I know Mr. Burns and his trademark “Excellent” and, using that, found a ton of screenshots.

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Facebook is launching a public awareness campaign for the Zika virus. “The first video, released today in Portuguese with English subtitles, lists the steps pregnant women should take in order to avoid mosquitos. Developed in partnership with Ambrasco Divulga — Brazil’s public health wing — [Mark] Zuckerberg said that Facebook is committed to help raise awareness in the country and across the continent.”

Is Google Play going to get podcasts? “It was way back in October that we’d heard about podcast support coming to Google Play Music. Fast forward to now, and it feels like it’s been a much longer wait than it was for family plans to finally arrive.” Are we ever going to get a decent podcast search engine?

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf has an Evernote vs. OneNote smackdown. I keep trying to get into Evernote and I can’t do it. Wonder if I need to try OneNote…

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Business Insider takes a look at the state of Yahoo Labs. “The in-house research labs are a badge of honor, showcasing a company’s advances in everything from artificial intelligence to speech recognition, and signaling to the world that the company is in the big leagues. But Yahoo’s efforts to maintain an advanced research operation have been bumpy and its in-house research lab is now showing signs of a breakdown inside its ailing parent company.”

Tumblr has really dropped some value. “Yahoo, which bought Tumblr in 2013, said it had reduced its valuation of the blogging service by $230 million, or about 23%. The move was basically an acknowledgment that Yahoo overpaid in the $1.1 billion deal.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Do you use Malwarebytes? You should be aware it’s still fixing some security issues. “Malwarebytes said it could take three of four weeks to fix flaws in its consumer product that were found by a Google security researcher. The company has fixed several server-side vulnerabilities but is still testing a new version of its Anti-Malware product to fix client-side problems, CEO Marcin Kleczynski said in a blog post.” At least the company is being up front and communicative.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Researchers did some crawling around the Dark Web and discovered what they could find was mostly illegal. “…researchers Daniel Moore and Thomas Rid have carried out an in-depth scan of hidden-services websites within the Tor network….The researchers’ conclusion: dark web sites are, in fact, most commonly used for crime.” Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Criminal Justice, Google, WordPress, More: Wednesday Buzz, February 3, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The Sunlight Foundation has launched a big new data archive on criminal justice in the US. “Today, Sunlight is launching Hall of Justice, a robust, searchable data inventory of nearly 10,000 datasets and research documents from across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government. Hall of Justice is the culmination of 18 months of work gathering data and refining technology.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Google will deliberately misdirect the searches of people who look for extremist keywords. “Jihadi sympathisers who type extremism-related words into Google will be shown anti-radicalisation links instead, under a pilot scheme announced by the internet giant. The new technology means people at risk of radicalisation will be presented with internet links which are the exact opposite of what they were searching for.” Wonder how this is going to work for people doing academic-type research…

WordPress has updated to 4.4.2. This is a security release, so please patch!

BuzzFeed (BUZZFEED?) is reporting that YouTube is looking into live 360-degree video. “Multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans confirmed YouTube has been meeting with 360-degree camera manufacturers about adding support for immersive live-streamed video broadcasts to its platform. The launch timeline remains unclear.”

The Opera browser has gotten some updates. “Version 35 for computers has just been released, and with it comes the ability to mute tabs easily, so you don’t have to hunt for the one that has randomly starting playing a video. If you are playing one video and want to mute all others, you can also do that via the menu that pops up when you right click on a tab.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

18 New York museums had a big Instagram swap day. “Today 18 of New York City’s biggest museums are repping one another’s collections on their Instagram accounts. For 24 hours, each institution will be posting images taken at a partner museum, to draw parallels between the two institutions’ themes and exhibitions.” Cool idea.

Speaking of Instagram, Instagram has launched its own thriller serial — 15 seconds at a time. “It follows the story of a security driver in London who is arrested for his involvement in a diamond heist and murder and forced to go on the run to clear his name.

Fashion company David Jones has livestreamed its entire fashion show. “Fashion brand David Jones doesn’t just want people in the audience to ooh and ahh at its latest fashion collection, it wants everyone to be able to see everything as it comes out. Which is why David Jones has partner with live streaming app Periscope to film the entire runway and all the new clothing.”

Yahoo announced its earnings today, and while they met estimates, the company is planning job cuts. “Chief executive officer Marissa Mayer announced that Yahoo will cut 15 percent of its workforce by the end of 2016 — about 1,600 jobs — and entertain ‘strategic proposals’ for its future, an indication that the company is open to selling itself to a suitor.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Google is warning about a browser extension from Comodo. “As explained in this advisory today, users who install Comodo Internet Security may not realize that their Chrome installation is replaced with Comodo’s own browser, Chromodo. That little bit of crapware isn’t secure at all: it’s set as the default browser, and ‘all shortcuts are replaced with Chromodo links and all settings, cookies, etc are imported from Chrome….'”

The Google European tax kerfuffle continues apace: France will not negotiate. “French Finance Minister Michel Sapin on Tuesday ruled out striking a deal with Google over back taxes as the British government recently did with the U.S. internet giant.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Bob O’Donnell on Tech.pinions: What if Twitter Died? “Arguably, this is the biggest problem with Twitter—it can’t seem to stretch beyond its celebrity, celebrity follower, and tech roots. If you aren’t into celebrities or the tech industry, Twitter just isn’t that appealing, especially given all the other options for online social interactions.” I disagree a little. Twitter is terrific for local interactions, especially around a local event. Snow events, for example. Great way for local school systems, etc to communicate with people. (I suspect Wake County is the sassiest school system on Twitter.) Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Health Crises, Greek Authors, Snow Plows, More: Tuesday Buzz, February 2, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The National Library of Medicine has developed new resource guides for recent health crises. The new guides cover the Aliso Canyon/Porter Ranch gas leak, the water contamination in Flint, Michigan, and the Zika Virus.

Cornell has a new database of ancient Latin and Greek authors. “The database, the Classical Works Knowledge Base (CWKB), contains metadata about 5,200 works by 1,500 ancient authors, allowing users with a limited knowledge of the classics’ canonical citation system to simply link to passages of digital texts.”

The winter of 2015-2016 will stand out in my mind as The Winter of Snowplow Tracking. The state of Colorado has launched a new site for tracking snow plows. “The website features a statewide map with the locations of all of CDOT’s plows, which are outfitted with automated vehicle locator systems – or geolocators – that allow CDOT to track the plows on their routes around the state. On the map, users can click on the image of the plow and look at its current or average speeds and its direction of travel.”

Northwestern University’s Knight Lab has a writeup on a new tool called City Hall Monitor. “City Hall Monitor allows reporters to filter the mundane documents, limit their search by date, and create subscriptions to alert them when new documents matching their search term are published. It’s a first step in a work-in-progress technology that we hope proves useful.” This is just for Chicago at the moment, but wow, I can imagine this being terrifically useful in any city.

Google has announced a huge number of new resources for Black History Month. “Google Cultural Institute is excited to add records from institutions like the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Studio Museum and Amistad Research Center and many more—bringing together important archives from Black history for anyone to access not only during Black History Month, but throughout the year. From the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to the historical records of Frederick Douglass and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this collection includes 26 new institutions (50 overall) contributing 5,000+ items and more than 80 curated exhibits.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Looks like Reddit is making some changes in 2016. “This year will see a lot of changes on Reddit. Recently we built an A/B testing system, which allows us to test changes to individual features scientifically, and we are excited to put it through its paces. Some changes will be big, others small and, inevitably, not everything will work, but all our efforts are towards making Reddit better. We are all redditors, and we are all driven to understand why Reddit works for some people, but not for others; which changes are working, and what effect they have; and to get into a rhythm of constant improvement. We appreciate your patience while we modernize Reddit.”

Google has added a ton of new holiday calendars to Google Calendar. “This week, we added 54 additional country-based holiday calendars to the Google Calendar Android and iOS apps. In total, you can now get 143 holiday calendars directly on your mobile calendar.”

Yahoo has done several search updates recently. Mobile search updates include responses for sports, politics, and the Oscars.

USEFUL STUFF

How-To Geek: 18 Things You Might Not Have Known Google Photos Can Do. I always enjoy How-To Geek.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Sri Lanka is buying into Project Loon. “Sri Lanka today said it would buy a 25 per cent stake in a joint venture with Google, to deliver a high-speed Internet service powered by balloons which will make the country first in the world to have universal internet access.”

I don’t know who’s negotiating these Snapchat deals, but they are making some smart moves. Snapchat will team up with Vanity Fair to reveal the magazine’s annual “Hollywood” issue. “Additionally, the channel will feature a few Snapchat-exclusive features including making-of-the-cover video, a photo/text story on how to dress for the Oscars and a sharable feature on whom Leonardo DiCaprio should take to the Oscars.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

UC-Berkeley students have sued Google, alleging their e-mails were illegally scanned. “Four students and alumni from the University of California-Berkeley have sued Google in federal court, alleging that the company — which runs the university’s email accounts — illegally intercepted and scanned emails for advertising purposes without students’ knowledge or consent.” Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Dubai, Indonesia, Rhode Island, More: Monday Buzz, February 1, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The first phase of the Dubai Digital Library has been launched. “During the first phase, the Dubai Digital Library will have over 1,600 books covering all aspects of documented knowledge, including language, medicine, pharmacy, geography, history, religion, sociology, biographies and others.”

The government of Indonesia is developing a database of legal cases. “The government is building an integrated database of legal cases to solve administrative problems connected to the millions of legal cases. The database will combine the files of the National Police, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Supreme Court (MA).”

The government of Rhode Island has launched a site for consumers to compare electricity rates. “Empower RI, http://www.ri.gov/empowerri, allows business and residential customers to compare electricity prices and contract terms from competitive suppliers to the current ‘Standard Offer’ from National Grid. The site is designed to make the process of selecting a competitive electricity supplier easier and more transparent in Rhode Island, which has some of the highest energy costs in the country.”

The Alabama Media Group is expanding initiatives to put more of its photo archives online. “This response to unseen historical photographs from the state’s largest newspapers led us to launch a wider initiative for 2016, exploring Alabama Media Group’s vast archive for the benefit of an audience that has long demonstrated a huge appetite for it.” Groups that will be working with the Alabama Media Group include The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute,
the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, and Rickwood Field (the oldest continually-operated baseball park in the US.)

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Twitter has launched election emoji. “As Twitter emojis become ubiquitous, it was only a matter of time before the service treated us to an official election tie-in emoticon. As luck would have it, Twitter just revealed its first such symbol, days before the beginning of the presidential race 2016, which officially kicks off on February 1 with the Iowa caucuses.”

USEFUL STUFF

From 7labs: extensions to improve your YouTube experience. These are good, but the #1 thing I did to improve my YouTube experience was subscribe to YouTube Red. This is not a paid endorsement; nobody’s paying me a dime and I pay full ticket for my subscription. I’m watching YouTube four or five times as much as I used to because of YouTube Red.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Luke McKernan put up his talk about audiovisual archives and the Web. “Good afternoon. My name is Luke McKernan, and I am Lead Curator for News & Moving Image at the British Library. I’m going to talk about something that has interested me for some while, which is the changing scale of audiovisual archiving. I’m going to do so by looking at two things: YouTube, and web archiving. I’ll conclude by considering how historical enquiry and archival care may combine to understand the audiovisual archives we are building for ourselves now.” Interesting thoughts about YouTube as an archive – or rather, YouTube as not an archive.

Harry McCracken takes a look at the history of open letters to Twitter. Going back to 2009!

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Thoughtful piece from Julie Taylor in South Africa publication Business Day: The appeal of online exhibitions. “Art and museum curators’ fears about online exhibitions being a ‘competitive replica’ of the real thing — and thus dissuading in-person visits — have proved to be unsubstantiated. THIS is a critical point for curators: that real and virtual exhibits very often have different audiences. Virtual exhibits were originally seen as complementary to real exhibits, but it may be better to understand them as independent entities.”

Found, in a roundabout way, on Academia.edu: Tweet, Tweet!: Using Live Twitter Chats in Social Work Education. The abstract: “This article focuses on the use of Twitter and how it can be used to help students develop professional social work skills through live chats. An overview of the literature on Twitter in education is provided along with a discussion on New Media Literacies. A description of a live Twitter chat assignment with social work students is provided along with results from a survey assessing learning outcomes from the experience. Implications for social work education and suggestions for future research are also provided.”

More Twitter: apparently e-cigarette ads on Twitter go far and wide. “While the Food and Drug Administration has proposed a ban on the sales of e-cigarettes to people under 18, as we are beginning to understand the health effects of the substitute to smoking, a recent study by researchers at Drexel University and the University of Southern California suggests that e-cigarette marketing on social media is about as containable as second-hand smoke.”

From Columbia University (man, ResearchBuzz is very research-y today, isn’t it?): Using Google Street View to Understand Pedestrian Injury Risk. “We just published an article in the American Journal of Public Health in which we use Google Street View to identify characteristics of streets and intersections associated with pedestrian injuries and fatalities. … Higher counts of pedestrian injuries at intersections were associated with the presence of nearby billboards and bus-stops. Injury incidence per pedestrian was lower at intersections with higher estimated pedestrian volumes.” Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!