Arizona Laws, Minnesota Health, Google, More: Monday Buzz, April 4, 2016


A group of Arizona State University students are trying to make Arizona legislation easier to understand. “It’s all too easy to fawn over what these undergrads have done, taking the near torturous process of navigating through the bulky government website and streamlining it down to five live infographics: Number of Bills Sponsored by Legislator, Votes with Party versus Votes in Election, Where Bills Are Coming From, Committee Outcomes and Committee Breakdown. … The graphs are remarkable, transforming the daunting task of navigating into a near satisfying process.”

New-to-me: A dedicated individual has created a Web site for cataloging the history of the tuberculosis sanitariums in Minnesota. I found out about the site from this store in the Minneapolis StarTribune. “More than 20,000 Minnesotans died from tuberculosis in the last dozen years of the 1800s when the state’s 1.75 million people totaled less than one-third of today’s population. TB deaths in Minnesota peaked with 2,543 in 1918. By the Depression year of 1934, when families struggled to care for ailing relatives, 1,600 beds were filled in 14 county sanatoriums.”


It looks like Google is testing a new conversation app that actually sounds pretty cool. “Spaces is supposed to be a tool for generating group conversations around specific topics. Spaces can be about anything—a photo, video, web link, social event, or just a something random you want to talk about. You can add contacts to conversations and it works like a little social network.”

Snapchat is teaming up with the WWE (PRESS RELEASE). “Snapchatters and WWE fans around the world will be able to experience WrestleMania as part of a multi-year partnership announced today by Snapchat and WWE. To kick off the partnership, Snapchat will cover WrestleMania, which takes place this Sunday, April 3 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, via a Live Story. WrestleMania will also air live around the world on WWE Network at 7 pm ET. SNICKERS®, the official presenting partner of WrestleMania, will be WWE’s first-ever Snapchat Live Story brand partner.” Snickers, WWE, and Snapchat… so not my demographic…

Google will let users vote on talent show contestants from its search engine. “From the supplied images, it appears that all you’ll have to do is look up a show and then tap on any of the current contestants who are still in the running to vote for them.”


From Hongkiat: 10 Web Scraping Tools to Extract Online Data.


Wired Takes a look at Google’s transition to Alphabet. “Google’s eclectic founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, had a pair of goals in mind when they announced plans last summer to split the search giant into a collection of companies under the Alphabet moniker. They wanted to add clarity to how the overall business runs, and they wanted to enable the company to be more ambitious—to move even more quickly to launch ideas that could have a global impact equivalent to the search box that changed everything. But so far, Google’s transition into its new form hasn’t been as simple as just changing its name.”

Why is Facebook putting so much into virtual reality? For the money, of course! “In a note to clients today, Squali, who has a Buy rating on Facebook shares, and a $140 price target, opines Facebook is putting itself at “the epicenter of a multi-year, multi-billion dollar growth opportunity in virtual reality,” with perhaps 10% of its revenue coming from that market by 2020, when the market overall may be worth $30 billion.”


Google and Oracle have pinky-sworn not to investigate potential jurors’ social media in advance of their intellectual property trial. Disclaimer: they didn’t actually pinky swear. “The social media life and Internet activity of jurors can be a valuable resource for litigators, who routinely mine the world wide web for insights into the minds of the men and women they need to persuade. But two tech giants are swearing off the practice as they prepare to face off in a major copyright trial. At a time when Silicon Valley has cast itself as vigilant guardians of our data, Google and Oracle have agreed to extend to jurors an unusual amount of privacy protection.” This is probably less because they’ve suddenly become jury privacy advocates and more because the judge wanted them to fully disclose how they were doing social media vetting.

Police in Glasgow, Scotland, forgot rule of the Internet: Do not taunt Happy Fun Twitter. “Police in Glasgow, Scotland wound up getting more community engagement than they bargained for on Friday after encouraging users on Twitter to ‘use the Internet safely.'”


Facebook did some research on whether or not you’re likely to find a job using strong or weak ties. “In a new paper appearing in the Journal of Labor Economics, using de-identified, aggregated U.S. data based on employment start dates people choose to list in their Facebook profiles, we find a seemingly contradictory set of results:
1. Most people find a job through one of their numerous weaker ties 2. An individual stronger tie is more likely to help than a individual weaker tie…”

Research: Which states have the most negative tweets about law enforcement? “Home security company Protection 1 analyzed more than 1.2 million tweets to find out where approval and disapproval of law enforcement are most prevalent. The report notes that while tempers on social media flare with each report of police involved fatalities, the overall sentiment regarding law enforcement seems positive…” Good morning, Internet…

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