Politics, UK, Paris, More: Sunday Buzz, December 20th, 2015


A new Web site uses campaign finance information to determine how liberal or conservative your city is. My hometown is almost smack in the middle. “Crowdpac puts campaign donation figures through a proprietary formula and gives each city or town a score ranging from 10L on the most liberal side to 10C on the most conservative side.”

The UK has a new online archive of interviews with former government ministers. “The project, Ministers Reflect, publishes interviews of ministers describing what their work is like – what the challenges are, how they make themselves most effective, and what more is needed to help them work productively towards their policy objectives.”

The city of Paris, is going to make a digital archive of mementos left after the Paris terrorist attacks. “Every day, new messages are left by passers-by, including lots of children drawings. Hundreds of them are now drying out in the rooms of the Archives of Paris. They will be treated against mold and scanned in order to be available to scientists as well as the public on a future website.”

The tallest artificial structure in the world, Burj Khalifa, now has its own Web site.”The website features all facts and figures about the Burj Khalifa, its design aspects, the milestones during the construction stage over four years, photographs from and of the tower and other interesting titbits.”


The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s archive is now available in English (before it was available only in Dutch.) “For many years, a team of orchestra employees and collaborators have researched the orchestra archives, unearthing and listing nearly all concerts given by the orchestra since it was founded in 1888. While the orchestra celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2013, this culminated in the publication of the RCO online archive. A public orchestra archive of this size is unique in the world.” You have to be careful with searching, however, because composer and performer names are still in Dutch.

At the beginning of December I mentioned Spencer Greenhalgh and his adventures with Twitter, scraping, and R. Now Spencer’s back with some updates. “I’ve since updated the code to scrape not only locations, but names, descriptions, locations, personal websites, join dates, number of tweets, number of users following, number of followers, and number of favorited/liked tweets.”

Twitter search engine / analytics thing Topsy has dropped dead. Looks like I did a writeup back in 2009, but it’s been off my radar since about 2013.


The Library of Congress has announced its 2015 additions to the National Film Registry. Titles I’m sure you will recognize include Top Gun and Ghostbusters.

Fascinating article from the South China Morning Post: The Periscope stars: Hong Kong’s unofficial tourism ambassadors “A small community of Hongkongers armed with mobile phones is giving the world unique perspectives on the city. The dedicated users of Periscope, Twitter’s popular live-streaming app, have inadvertently become unofficial tourism ambassadors for Hong Kong – at a time when the Hong Kong Tourism Board is seeking to reverse a drop in visitor numbers.”

I’ve sure you’ve seen the hoaxes on Facebook: “Share this post and get $1,000.” Here’s one that’s real: This Canadian family will give you $1000 if your Facebook share is the one which sells their house.

Google is turning its self-driving cars division into a separate Alphabet company. “In June, the company began testing tiny, bubble-shaped self-driving prototype vehicles of its own design on public roads around Mountain View. The company has also started testing self-driving prototypes in Austin.”


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. So naturally you need, instead of Google Cardboard, Google Gingerbread. “Gingerbread VR is exactly what it sounds like; the Google Cardboard concept applied to a gingerbread base. In the video below the company can be seen cutting out its basic shapes to form the HMD, including space for lenses.” Good morning, Internet…

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1 reply »

  1. Just want to thank you for allof your efforts! In the past i would read the newspaper with my coffee. Now i read your blog. It keeps me updated on the things I need to teach my adult ed Internet classes. Thank you!

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