Health Crises, Greek Authors, Snow Plows, More: Tuesday Buzz, February 2, 2016


The National Library of Medicine has developed new resource guides for recent health crises. The new guides cover the Aliso Canyon/Porter Ranch gas leak, the water contamination in Flint, Michigan, and the Zika Virus.

Cornell has a new database of ancient Latin and Greek authors. “The database, the Classical Works Knowledge Base (CWKB), contains metadata about 5,200 works by 1,500 ancient authors, allowing users with a limited knowledge of the classics’ canonical citation system to simply link to passages of digital texts.”

The winter of 2015-2016 will stand out in my mind as The Winter of Snowplow Tracking. The state of Colorado has launched a new site for tracking snow plows. “The website features a statewide map with the locations of all of CDOT’s plows, which are outfitted with automated vehicle locator systems – or geolocators – that allow CDOT to track the plows on their routes around the state. On the map, users can click on the image of the plow and look at its current or average speeds and its direction of travel.”

Northwestern University’s Knight Lab has a writeup on a new tool called City Hall Monitor. “City Hall Monitor allows reporters to filter the mundane documents, limit their search by date, and create subscriptions to alert them when new documents matching their search term are published. It’s a first step in a work-in-progress technology that we hope proves useful.” This is just for Chicago at the moment, but wow, I can imagine this being terrifically useful in any city.

Google has announced a huge number of new resources for Black History Month. “Google Cultural Institute is excited to add records from institutions like the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Studio Museum and Amistad Research Center and many more—bringing together important archives from Black history for anyone to access not only during Black History Month, but throughout the year. From the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to the historical records of Frederick Douglass and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this collection includes 26 new institutions (50 overall) contributing 5,000+ items and more than 80 curated exhibits.”


Looks like Reddit is making some changes in 2016. “This year will see a lot of changes on Reddit. Recently we built an A/B testing system, which allows us to test changes to individual features scientifically, and we are excited to put it through its paces. Some changes will be big, others small and, inevitably, not everything will work, but all our efforts are towards making Reddit better. We are all redditors, and we are all driven to understand why Reddit works for some people, but not for others; which changes are working, and what effect they have; and to get into a rhythm of constant improvement. We appreciate your patience while we modernize Reddit.”

Google has added a ton of new holiday calendars to Google Calendar. “This week, we added 54 additional country-based holiday calendars to the Google Calendar Android and iOS apps. In total, you can now get 143 holiday calendars directly on your mobile calendar.”

Yahoo has done several search updates recently. Mobile search updates include responses for sports, politics, and the Oscars.


How-To Geek: 18 Things You Might Not Have Known Google Photos Can Do. I always enjoy How-To Geek.


Sri Lanka is buying into Project Loon. “Sri Lanka today said it would buy a 25 per cent stake in a joint venture with Google, to deliver a high-speed Internet service powered by balloons which will make the country first in the world to have universal internet access.”

I don’t know who’s negotiating these Snapchat deals, but they are making some smart moves. Snapchat will team up with Vanity Fair to reveal the magazine’s annual “Hollywood” issue. “Additionally, the channel will feature a few Snapchat-exclusive features including making-of-the-cover video, a photo/text story on how to dress for the Oscars and a sharable feature on whom Leonardo DiCaprio should take to the Oscars.”


UC-Berkeley students have sued Google, alleging their e-mails were illegally scanned. “Four students and alumni from the University of California-Berkeley have sued Google in federal court, alleging that the company — which runs the university’s email accounts — illegally intercepted and scanned emails for advertising purposes without students’ knowledge or consent.” Good morning, Internet…

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