Tanzania, Blue Cross, SEC, More: Monday Buzz, October 5th, 2015


The country of Tanzania has a new oil and gas database. “The Tanzania Oil and Gas Almanac, a database prepared by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Tanzania, will act as a single gateway for oil and gas information and data. The chief editor of the almanac, Mr Abdallah Katunzi, said having the database is crucial for policymakers, researchers, media and the public to obtain data on the extractive industry.” The database will be available in both English and Kiswahili.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield are aggregating health care cost and quality data in one big database. “Consumers eager to review cost and healthcare quality data before making a care decision are in luck. If they are covered under the Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) umbrella, that is. All 36 BCBS companies pledged to pool their cost and healthcare quality data to the BCBS Axis, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association announced. The BCBS Axis is a database of healthcare information containing data from 96% of U.S. hospitals, covering 2.3 billion yearly procedures. BCBS companies can distribute this data, which is derived from every U.S. zip code, to its affiliated physicians and patients.”

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched a rulemaking database. “Our rules provide important standards against which we assess compliance in our examinations and hold wrongdoers accountable in our enforcement actions. I am therefore pleased to announce the launch of a new database on our website that will provide enhanced transparency into this vital activity, available at This online resource, which will be updated regularly, will bring together information about our rules in a single site where the public can more easily follow specific rules or rulemaking programs. The objective is to give the public ‘one-stop shopping’ for better understanding the development of new rules.”

Valparaiso University has created a digital archive of its student newspaper, The Torch. The archive covers 1914-1992.


Yahoo has launched two new digital magazines. “On Yahoo Real Estate, you will have access to exclusive real estate listings coupled with the original editorial content Yahoo is known for. Led by Editor Jennifer Karmon, Yahoo Real Estate is a highly visual resource that helps you to personalize your home search….We’re also adding to our collection of entertainment magazines with the launch of Yahoo Celebrity led by Josh Wolk, Executive Editor of Yahoo Entertainment and Rebecca Detken, managing editor of Yahoo Celebrity.”

Facebook’s Graph search now lets users view all the photos you have ever liked. I tried this and it does work, though it can take a while to load if you’re looking at a lot of photos. I tried it with my husband (who is rarely on Facebook) and because he has only liked a couple of photos it popped right up. I tried it with my friend Kathy, and it’s still loading at this writing.

Google is bringing broadband to Ghana. “Since we first announced Project Link in Uganda, our work with partners like RENU has shown us what’s possible, and we want to see more. That’s why today, we are expanding Project Link to Ghana, our first country in West Africa, so that we can work with local Internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile network operators (MNOs) to bring fast, reliable broadband to more people across the continent.”


Facebook is experimenting with video profile pictures. I’ll have to animate my South Park avatar. “Profile videos will only loop when someone visit’s the user’s profile page — they won’t appear when that person’s status update shows up in your news feed. Instead, you’ll see a frame for the video the user selects. Meanwhile, audio only plays in full-view mode when someone taps into the video; it won’t play when someone is viewing your profile.”

One of my favorite tools, Nuzzel, has gotten more funding. “[Jonathan] Abrams didn’t say how much additional cash he’s raised, but he described the new funding as ‘relatively small in size compared to some of our tech-industry investors’ — this was less about the size of the investment and more about getting backers from the news and media industry. Nuzzel previously raised $3.4 million in funding.”

Is Snapchat going to let brands sponsor your selfie? “Ephemeral messaging app Snapchat is reportedly working on a new advertising unit that will let brands insert marketing messages into your selfies. Sources tell The Financial Times that the company is working with advertisers on its ‘sponsored lenses,’ which could be out this Halloween.”

Evernote is refocusing on its core and trimming some staff. “Evernote’s strength is in its core: notes, sync, and search. That’s where we’re going to focus. Achieving that focus means making some difficult decisions. Today we let go of 47 people from the Evernote team and announced the closure of three of our global offices. We are grateful for the immense contributions of each and every affected person.”


This is an interesting angle of research: Selling blood and gametes during tough economic times: insights from Google search. “To use Google Insights search volume and publicly available economic indicators to test the hypothesis that sperm, egg, and blood donations increase during economic downturns and to demonstrate the feasibility of using Google search volume data to predict national trends in actual sperm, egg, and blood donations rates….Cross-correlation statistical analysis comparing Google search data for terms relating to blood, egg, and sperm donations with various economic indicators including the S&P 500 closing values, gross domestic product (GDP), the U.S. Index of Leading Indicators (U.S. Leading Index), gross savings rate, mortgage interest rates, unemployment rate, and consumer price index (CPI) from 2004-2011.” Good morning, Internet…

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