Flint, Vermont, YouTube, More: Wednesday Buzz, March 2, 2016


Michigan State University has developed a smartphone app to help Flint, Michigan residents deal with the Flint water crisis. “Among the app’s features is a ‘find’ operation that allows the user to search for the closest water stations, free water filters and sources of nutritious food, and then pull up a map for directions.”

Citizens of Vermont have a new tool to find wood-related products and services in their state. “The Vermont Forest and Wood Products Online Directory is an interactive map of many of the wood and forest related businesses and resources in the state. The tool can be utilized for a variety of purposes, including to find a nearby forester or a kiln that dries a particular type of wood. The map is linked to the Working Lands website as well as that of the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation.” The map includes links to educational programs, firewood dealers, and schools using wood chips.

Business Insider has a story about a tool that lets you search YouTube by geolocation. “‘Geo Search Tool’ is a nifty website that lets you see what your neighbors are uploading to YouTube. The site allows you to search YouTube videos using location. You simply choose a radius and an intersection or address, and the site returns videos that fit those parameters.”

Why didn’t I see this before? Open-source search engine Gigablast now has a German version of its site. ” It indexes the top 500 million German-centric web pages and is running on a single Gigablast Web Search Appliance. It is also available to be queried through the XML or JSON search feed product.”


For years I used Speedtest when I wanted to check Internet speeds at work. Eventually I had to stop using it because we uninstalled Flash on all our computers and Flash was necessary to use Speedtest. But great news! Speedtest will start using HTML5. Yay!

Facebook’s “Moments” app now supports video. “Facebook’s Moments, the social network’s private photo-sharing application — and replacement for photo syncing — will now support video sharing, the company announced today. The new feature is live in the updated version of the Moments mobile application for iOS and Android devices. In a few weeks, Facebook says that Moments will also allow users to include videos in their Moments slideshows.”


From MakeUseOf: The top ten browser tools for translating Web pages.


A McDonald’s in Sweden is testing what may be the first Happy Goggles that don’t involve alcohol consumption. “McDonald’s Sweden is launching a promotion that invites kids to turn Happy Meal boxes into virtual-reality viewers. Dubbed Happy Goggles, some 3,500 of them will be made available at 14 restaurants over the weekends of March 5 and March 12. The price is about $4.10.” They’re very Google Cardboard-y.

Wow: Yahoo may have to write down the goodwill value of Tumblr. “That would come after Yahoo took a $230 million goodwill-impairment charge for Tumblr for the fourth quarter of 2015. On the company’s balance sheet, Tumblr represented $519 million of its remaining $808 million goodwill balance as of Dec. 31, 2015.”


Oh my, a new Web security vulnerability. That never happens. This time it’s about https. “The attack works against TLS-protected communications that rely on the RSA cryptosystem when the key is exposed even indirectly through SSLv2, a TLS precursor that was retired almost two decades ago because of crippling weaknesses. The vulnerability allows an attacker to decrypt an intercepted TLS connection by repeatedly using SSLv2 to make connections to a server. In the process, the attacker learns a few bits of information about the encryption key each time.”


Wow: using Instagram to compare food deserts and non food deserts. “In a recent study, [Munmun] De Choudhury and her colleagues propose another method: mining Instagram. All those artfully arranged plates, all that latte art, just waiting for someone to analyze it! So they did, looking at 3 million public food-related Instagrams that were tagged with food words (‘chocolate,’ ‘tofu,’) and geotagged by location. Using United States Census data, they divided areas into food deserts and non-food deserts, and compared each desert to a non-desert with similar demographics and socioeconomic status in the same region. That way, differences in what people were eating based on culture would hopefully be minimized.”

The amount of traffic on the Web that’s encrypted is not quite 50%. “About 49 percent of Internet traffic is encrypted, according to a new study released Monday. That is a 36 percentage point jump from April 2014, when only about 13 percent of traffic was being encrypted. The results Monday confirm other studies that have seen a large uptick in encryption, with the increase predicted to continue.” Good morning, Internet…

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