Scientific Research, Project Fi, Irish Genealogy, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, March 9, 2016


Wow, the Open Data Button sounds like a really cool tool! “The Open Data Button beta helps users get access to research data that is already online or request that data be made accessible. When a user wants access to the data behind a paper, they can make a data request via the app. The app will then see if the data is already available online, and if not, it will contact the author and invite them to make their research data openly available through the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework. Once a dataset is delivered, the author will be rewarded with an Open Data Badge to recognise their efforts. The Open Science Framework identifies, preserves and shares data for all disciplines.”


Google has opened its Project Fi cell phone service to everybody. “With Fi, which runs on the networks of T-Mobile and Sprint — depending on which one offers better receptions in a given area — customers pay a base fee of $20 per month and then an addition $10 per GB of data. If you overpay for your data in a given month, the service simply refunds you the difference.”


FamilySearch is offering free Irish genealogy Webinars this month. The 17th and 18th.


This should be interesting: the head of Google’s auto auto project is going to testify before Congress. “The director of the Google self-driving car project and auto industry executives will testify before Congress next week on efforts to develop safe and effective autonomous cars. Senator John Thune, a South Dakota Republican who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, said on Tuesday that Chris Urmson, director of self-driving cars at Alphabet Inc unit Google, will testify at on March 15.”

The founder of 4chan is joining Google. I read this yesterday and to be honest I’m still wrapping my head around the idea. “Chris Poole (screen name: MOOT) started 4chan in his bedroom at age 15. In the 12 years since, he built it into a 20 million active user image-sharing community around topics ranging from cosplay and cute animals to anime porn and the notoriously uncensored anonymous channel /b/.” If you vaguely know what 4chan is but want more information, I recommend CrunchBase.

Pinterest is opening its advertising to smaller companies. “In addition to releasing the ads manager, Pinterest is releasing some new tools for advertising targeting. First, the company is expanding the number of interests that advertisers can target against — there are now 420 of them that allow Pinterest advertisers to drill down their campaigns and make them better target potential customers. They can also target keywords in addition to interests, in the hopes of catching them at different moments in time at which they are considering purchasing things.”


You hear a lot about Twitter scraping, less about Facebook scraping. Joshua Rosenberg pointed me his blog about an experiment scraping Facebook interactions for the remaining presidential candidates. “I came across this post on how to scrape data from Facebook pages for statistical analysis, and was motivated to give it a try. After thinking about which pages (including pages for educational organizations and communities) would be interesting to analyze, I looked at interactions with 2016 United States Presidential candidate’s Facebook pages. While the files referenced in the post used Python, you could certainly do the same in R, but I had been looking for a chance to try out Python.” He’s made the scraped data and resulting charts available on GitHub.

Fascinating study from the University of Michigan: On Twitter, following a leader to understand image crafting . “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter activities may have been followed a little more closely than he expected. Three UMSI researchers—assistant professor Joyojeet Pal, PhD candidate Priyank Chandra and assistant professor VG Vinod Vydiswaran—tracked the leader’s tweets from 2009 to 2015 to learn more about how he has built his brand and overcome his problematic past. They noted among other things that pop culture tweets—in particular those about cricket and celebrities—became his most popular theme on Twitter once he assumed his current role.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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