Cambridge, Brazil, Mental Health, More: Thursday Buzz, February 18, 2016


The Queens’ College library at Cambridge University will be the focus of a digitizing project. “The college’s Old Library has received £65,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an on-going cataloging project, which will see key aspects of its Tudor-period library digitised, allowing them to be accessed online for the first time.”

A new Web site aims to “fact-check” a variety of Brazil issues and topics, including the upcoming Olympics. “Lupa will be fact-checking national political figures and upcoming local elections. However, [Cristina] Tardáguila hopes to make Lupa into a broader space for watchdog journalism.”

Crisis Text Line is making a large mental health data set available to qualified researchers (PRESS RELEASE). “Crisis Text Line is offering three levels of data to researchers – conversation, actor and message level – with each level increasing in detail. The conversation level dataset will allow researchers to explore questions such as, ‘what crisis issues occur most on holidays, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day?’ and ‘how are bullying and depression related?’ The actor level dataset will allow researchers to answer questions like ‘For a texter experiencing depression, how do issues fluctuate over time?’ The most intricate of the datasets, the message level, will allow researchers to dive deep into interactions, and uncover patterns such as how texters struggling with self-harm describe their experience. All datasets are scrubbed of personally identifiable information.”

Australia is beginning the process of capturing Australian culture on the Web. “The new amendments to the Copyright Act allow the NLA to collect everything from ebooks to blogs, websites to social media. Under the new provisions, Australia will protect the digital record in the same way as it always has for print.”


The Teesdale Mercury, a newspaper in the Teesdale area of England (and wow, what a beautiful place!) has expanded its online archive. “Until last week people could only access the first 100 years of the newspaper from 1855 to 1955 … but now more than 2,500 editions have been added. This means that anyone can access almost every copy of the Teesdale Mercury, from its very first edition on July 4, 1855, up to the end of 2005.”

Google Translate has added support for another 13 languages. “The 13 new languages — Amharic, Corsican, Frisian, Kyrgyz, Hawaiian, Kurdish (Kurmanji), Luxembourgish, Samoan, Scots Gaelic, Shona, Sindhi, Pashto and Xhosa — help bring a combined 120 million new people to the billions who can already communicate with Translate all over the world.”

And now Google is apparently getting into fresh grocery delivery. Because why? No idea. “The Mountain View, California, search giant said Wednesday it is starting a pilot program today in parts of Los Angeles and San Francisco to offer customers same-day deliveries of fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, dairy and frozen foods as part of its Google Express delivery service. The program already offers snacks, cereals, drinks and other non-perishable foods.”

Google is open-sourcing more software. “Google today announced that it has open-sourced TensorFlow Serving, a piece of software that makes it easy to deploy machine learning models that can make inferences about new data.”


The Information says it’s gotten internal documents relating to traffic drops at Yahoo and good heavens, it’s not pretty. “Daily active users going to Yahoo’s home page fell 16.5% between the first week of December 2014 and the same period in 2015, the data show, while those going to Yahoo Mail dropped by 11.5%.”


Google has confirmed that it does track student data, but insists it doesn’t do so for advertising. Um… “Google does not use K-12 students’ personal information to serve targeted advertisements, the company says in the letter, which was signed by Sue Molinari, Google’s vice president for public policy and government relations. But Google does track data from students for other reasons, including developing and improving Google products, the company wrote.”


Oh, WOW: What it looks like to process 3.5 million books in Google’s cloud. “What did it look like to process 3.5 million books? Data-mining and creating a public archive of 3.5 million books is an example of an application perfectly suited to the cloud, in which a large amount of specialized processing power is needed for only a brief period of time. Here are the five main steps that I took to make the invaluable learnings of millions of books more easily and speedily accessible in the cloud…”

TechCrunch: How Standalone Apps Can Grow Twitter’s Stagnant User Base. “Twitter’s biggest strength is its dexterity. Different people use it in different ways. Twitter’s biggest weakness is also its dexterity. An ambiguous use case confuses prospective new users who want to know exactly why they need to download a new app. That’s exactly where standalone apps, clear in their purpose, could leverage the strengths of Twitter’s platform and widen its appeal beyond those 320 million people that get the service in its current form.” Now, pay attention, because this will probably never happen again. I’m gonna quote Steve Ballmer: “DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS.” (Here’s a YouTube clip if you don’t get the reference.) Good morning, Internet…

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