Reddit, Food Banks, Cancer Drugs, More: Monday Buzz, January 4, 2016

Putting this up top: Bob Patrick, director of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (the VHP), is having a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) Today, January 4, at 9am EST. “Established in 2000 via a unanimous act of Congress, VHP collects oral histories and memoirs from U.S. veterans, as well as original photos, letters, artwork, military papers and other documents. Reliant completely on volunteers to record and submit these firsthand accounts, we have amassed more than 99,000 collections, and that number grows every week….On January 4, please ask us anything about how we collect, preserve and make available our collections, the individuals in our archives and their stories, how to participate, or any other aspect of the Veterans History Project.”


Happy story of the day: a student has created a database for connecting food banks and sources giving away food. “Registered users post to [Maria Rose] Belding’s site what food they want to get rid of, and MEANS (Matching Excess and Needs for Stability) immediately notifies registered food banks and pantries, which can claim the donation. The database has already helped save an estimated 4,000 pounds of food across 26 states and has connected more than 200 large-scale food banks.”


The world’s largest database for cancer drug discovery has gone 3D. “Scientists have revolutionised the world’s largest database for cancer drug discovery by adding 3D structures of faulty proteins and maps of cancer’s communication networks, paving the way for more effective treatments.”

Amazon’s Echo can now… help you through a workout? “Amazon must want to help you fulfill your New Year’s resolutions, since it just updated the Echo speaker with a handful of features meant to get your life in shape.”


Kurzweil has a long but briefly-annotated list of artificial intelligence tools which are available today. “We expect to see a new wave of AI solutions that deliver value from smaller start-up companies as well. This is a very crowded space, with plenty of VC funding for entrepreneurs with capabilities in a wide-range of AI disciplines. Most of these firms seem to be on one of two paths: Success, which will mean being acquired by Facebook, Apple, Microsoft or IBM; or failure, which will see them acquired by the same firms for a lower price for their talent. Either way, the innovation continues.”

LinuxGizmos has yet another yearly roundup of SBCs (single-board computers). How far we’ve come in a year!


Facebook has activated its safety update for an earthquake in Manipur. “The quake occurred at 4.35 a.m. and had its epicentre in Manipur’s Tamenglong district. Initial reports indicate that one young girl was killed and 30 were injured.” A quick current news check indicates more casualties, unfortunately…

Looks like Google might be making a new push on Google Fiber. “The fact that Alphabet sees the need for a dedicated policy and communications person suggests that it’s turning Fiber from an experiment — and a way to spur internet providers to offer faster access — into a serious business.”


And in today’s “This is absolutely horrible” feature, poachers are apparently using science papers to target new species. “…earlier this year, an announcement in the Zootaxa academic journal that two new species of large gecko had been found in southern China contained a strange omission: the species’ whereabouts. ‘Due to the popularity of this genus as novelty pets, and recurring cases of scientific descriptions driving herpetofauna to near-extinction by commercial collectors, we do not disclose the collecting localities of these restricted-range species in this publication,’ the paper said.”

TorrentFreak estimates that Google was asked to remove over 550 million allegedly pirate links in 2015. If you’ve read about some of the DMCA misfires in the last year, you’ll know why I put “allegedly” in the sentence above. “Google doesn’t report yearly figures, but at TF we processed all the weekly reports and found that the number of URLs submitted by copyright holders last year surpassed the 558 million mark – 558,860,089 at the time of writing. For the first time ever the number of reported URLs has surpassed half a billion in a 12-month period. This is an increase of 60 percent compared to last year, when the search engine processed 345 million pirate links.” Good morning, Internet…

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