Facebook, Virginia, iOS, More: Thursday Evening Buzz, June 18th, 2015


Facebook has launched a new app for sharing photos with friends outside Facebook. “The app syncs with the photos on your device — users can choose which images to sync with the service — and organizes them into album-like groups based on which friends are in the photos and where they were taken. Since the app uses the same facial recognition features as photos shared on the main Facebook app, Moments should be fairly adept at identifying the people you know in your photos.”

Genealogists, a big heap of Virginia vital records are now online. “More than 16 million Virginia vital records have been digitized and indexed as a result of collaboration between Ancestry and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). These records were officially released to the public on June 2, 2015.”


Weird and simple messaging app Yo is getting a 1st birthday update. “The latest version of the app, which is available now on iOS, adds photo sharing, group messaging and the ability to send a yo to those who haven’t yet downloaded the app.”

IFTTT now has a Trello channel.

Skype’s real-time translator is getting French and German.

Bing has updated its mobile news app. If you don’t use Bing News I urge you to give it a go – it’s a constant source of amazement to me how much different stuff it surfaces from Google News.


More security issues for Macs and iPhones. “The team allegedly reported the security flaws to Apple back in October last year, where the company said they understood the seriousness of the holes. Apple asked the researchers to give them six months to fix the exploit before they made it public, yet 8 months later the flaws are still there in the latest versions of both Mac OS X and iOS.” That’s why the researchers have gone public.

More transparency: the California Department of Motor Vehicles will now release information about self-driving car accidents. “California state officials released reports Thursday detailing six accidents that involved self-driving car prototypes, reversing a policy that had shielded details of how the next-generation technology is performing during testing on public roads. The disclosure came after The Associated Press successfully argued to the Department of Motor Vehicles that the agency was improperly withholding the information.” Hopefully other states which are allowing self-driving vehicle tests (like Virginia) will do the same thing.


Research: comparing how information spreads on Twitter to how information spreads in the brain. “An international team of researchers from Indiana University and Switzerland is using data mapping methods created to track the spread of information on social networks to trace its dissemination across a surprisingly different system: the human brain. The research team from the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing found that applying social network models to the brain reveals specific connections and nodes that may be responsible for higher forms of cognition.”

Academic publishers are seriously raking in the beans. “What he and his collaborators found was that the five largest, for-profit academic publishers now publish 53 per cent of scientific papers in the natural and medical sciences – up from 20 per cent in 1973. In the social sciences, the top five publishers publish 70 per cent of papers. Essentially, they’ve become an oligarchy, [Vincent] Larivière and co-authors Stefanie Haustein and Philippe Mongeon say in a paper published last week in the open access, non-profit journal PLOS ONE.” Good evening, Internet…

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