Iowa Rivers, Female Experts, Web Scraping, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, February 16, 2016


Residents of Iowa have a new tool for getting information on the state’s streams and rivers. “The Iowa Water Quality Information System, or IWQIS (“eye-kwis”), is a web-based tool that offers access to real time water quality information including nutrient data, flow rates, and water temperatures for Iowa’s streams and rivers. IWQIS uses data from sensors deployed by IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa and the United States Geological Survey along most streams and rivers in the state.”

Now available: a database of female experts in various things. Actually it’s not so much a “database” as a “ruthlessly-organized WordPress site,” but there are lists of experts here. The story I’m pointing too focuses on female political scientists, but there are actually all kinds of topics here. (It does seem to be very political science focused, however. For example, there’s a “Science & Technology Policy” section, but no “Science & Technology” or “Internet” section that I can find…)


Kimono, a Web-scraping service which I have not had time to do more than love from afar (why are there not more hours in the day?) has been acquired by Palantir and will be shutting down. “Kimono will still offer users access to a free desktop version of the service for OS X and Windows, though. The company says that this pretty much offers the same functionality as the hosted version and that it will integrate the desktop app with Firebase to offer cloud-hosted API endpoints. Users of the desktop version have until March 31 to import their APIs from the service’s hosted service.” When I went to download the Windows version of Kimono Desktop it said only “coming soon”…

Has Google killed off its Web Transcoder product? “It was specifically designed for those old feature phones and not the smart phones. But last week, it seems the feature went missing.” I’m not a huge fan of Google killing off services left and right, but it was probably time for this one to go…


From BetaNews, and I hope you never need it: Five tools for recovering corrupted Word documents.

Nice roundup of free Chrome extensions. If you’re a power user you’ll know about a lot of these, but Lazarus sounds intriguing…


If you think that Facebook and YouTube are not in competition with each other, please read this article. “When OK Go releases a new video, it’s bound to cause a viral explosion online. And today, in a possible sign of the times, all that buzz was centered solely on Facebook.”


Sounds really exciting and really nerve-wracking. On having your dissertation defense live-tweeted. “…my dissertation chair, Jon Becker, asked me if I wanted to livestream my dissertation defense, since it seems to be the growing (and logical) trend among connected-open-networked scholars. At the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education, dissertation defenses are public; although I don’t think I’ve seen anyone here livestream their defense, it would not have been a policy problem I don’t think. However, I said no. Instead, I opted to leverage my geographic privilege (I work in and live near hotbeds of digital scholarship) to invite friends into the physical room to live tweet.”

From Wharton: How Facebook Lost Face in India. “Considering the outpouring of support for the TRAI ruling in the Indian media and among opinion leaders, it may appear that the decision was inevitable. But it hasn’t always been so. There were some protests from technology experts when was unveiled in 2013 as a program that would provide limited access to the Internet for free via the Facebook platform. There was more criticism when it was rebranded Free Basics in September 2015. But issues such as net neutrality were barely understood by the man on the street.” Good morning, Internet…

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