Schizophrenia, Indigenous Peoples, USGS, More: Tuesday Buzz, November 10th, 2015


Now available: a database of clinical research data on schizophrenia. The data have been translated into one “language” and aggregated so it can be viewed in toto. “Despite hundreds of studies, schizophrenia remains poorly understood. In part, that’s because the findings of traditionally small individual schizophrenia studies are variable and difficult to replicate. The larger database of SchizConnect allows scientists to see broader results across 1,000 subjects instead of 100.”

A new online map contains information on lands around the world held by indigenous peoples. “LandMark is the first online, interactive global platform to provide maps and other critical information on lands that are collectively held and used by Indigenous Peoples and local communities. … LandMark currently provides information at two scales–community level and national level—allowing users to compare the land tenure situation across countries and within countries.”

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has released a new photo catalog. “The U.S. Geological Survey announced today that it has made part of a huge national repository of geographically referenced USGS field photographs publicly available. USGS geographers developed a simple, easy-to-use mapping portal called the Land Cover Trends Field Photo Map. The entire collection contains over 33,000 geo-referenced field photos with associated keywords describing the land-use and land-cover change processes taking place. Initially, nearly 13,000 photos from across the continental US will be available to the public, yet the online collection will grow as more processed photos become available.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is awarding funds to establish Big Data Hubs. “As a part of the Administration’s Big Data Research and Development Initiative and to accelerate the emerging field of data science, NSF announced four awards this week, totaling more than $5 million, to establish four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs (BD Hubs) across the nation. Covering all 50 states and including commitments from more than 250 organizations—from universities and cities to foundations and Fortune 500 corporations—the BD Hubs constitute a ‘big data brain trust’ that will conceive, plan, and support big data partnerships and activities to address regional and national challenges.”


Google Maps is getting easier to use offline. “Now you can download an area of the world to your phone, and the next time you find there’s no connectivity—whether it’s a country road or an underground parking garage—Google Maps will continue to work seamlessly. Whereas before you could simply view an area of the map offline, now you can get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places, like hours of operation, contact information or ratings.”

Do you want to check out the New York Times’ foray into VR? Here ya go.

Twitter has launched a public policy transparency page, whatever that is. “Because Twitter stands for open communication, we’re pleased to unveil, our new site covering the most critical policy issues facing our users, as well as providing an unprecedented level of transparency into how and with whom we engage politically in the U.S. ” I’m going to assume this is meaningless until Politiwhoops comes back

Facebook has launched a new feature called “Music Stories”. “On the Facebook iPhone app, songs and albums shared from the leading music services will become ‘Music Stories,’ a new post format which allows people to listen to a 30-second preview of the shared song (or album) while on Facebook. The preview is streamed from either Apple Music or Spotify (depending on the source of the link shared), and can be purchased from or saved to the respective music streaming service.”


It’s two years old, but this paper from Ian Milligan addresses issues that are coming more and more into prominence. Check out Mining the ‘Internet Graveyard’: Rethinking the Historians’ Toolkit. “‘Mining the Internet Graveyard’ argues that the advent of massive quantity of born-digital historical sources necessitates a rethinking of the historians’ toolkit. The contours of a third wave of computational history are outlined, a trend marked by ever-increasing amounts of digitized information (especially web based), falling digital storage costs, a move to the cloud, and a corresponding increase in computational power to process these sources. Following this, the article uses a case study of an early born-digital archive at Library and Archives Canada – Canada’s Digital Collections project (CDC) – to bring some of these problems into view.”


Wow! Apparently WordPress now powers 25% of the Web (including this here Web site.) “The latest data comes from W3Techs, which measures both usage and market share: ‘WordPress is used by 58.7% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 25.0% of all websites.’ While these numbers naturally fluctuate over the course of the month, the general trend for WordPress has been slow but steady growth.”

Collins has declared “binge-watch” the word of the year. “Meaning ‘to watch a large number of television programmes (especially all the shows from one series) in succession’, it reflects a marked change in viewing habits, due to subscription services like Netflix. Lexicographers noticed that its usage was up 200% on 2014.”


Comcast is having 200,000 customers reset their passwords but says it wasn’t hacked. “[A] package of personal data, including the e-mail addresses and passwords of Comcast customers, was listed for sale for $1,000 on a Dark Web site that was also marketing a number of other questionable goods. The Dark Web is a collection of sites that are publicly accessible but cannot found by search engines.” Good morning, Internet…

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