Shakespeare, Car Emissions, Vikings, More: Friday Buzz, April 22, 2016

Hey, just FYI: Twitter wants to make it an all-Shakespeare weekend with quotes and a new Shakesmoji. “The emoji will be officially launched on Twitter by actor Sir Patrick Stewart along with the hashtag #ShakespeareLives, which is meant to encourage people to recite their favorite Shakespearian quotes in a tweet or on Periscope and share it.” My personal favorite, from MEASURE FOR MEASURE: “Our doubts are traitors / And make us lose the good we oft might win / By fearing to attempt.”


Emissions Analytics has created an online database of NOx emissions from cars. (NOx emissions are nitrous oxide emissions; you can learn more about them here. “The independently financed and implemented EQUA Index is designed to help end the confusion that many consumers face when trying to understand the complex subject of nitrogen oxides (NOx). It also supports the European automotive industry following high profile issues with Volkswagen diesels.”

In development: an online archive of Norse and Viking culture. “Do you happen to have any Viking-related material lying around the house? Maybe a helmet or two, or a sword or dagger? Perhaps there’s a longboat buried in your garden. If so, or even if you have something a lot less dramatic to offer, you should get in touch with the World-Tree Project, which is being launched today by UCC’s school of English with the objective of creating the world’s largest online archive for the teaching and study of Norse and Viking cultures.”

The Maryland Historical Archive has launched a digital archive of the Freddie Gray protests. “On Thursday, the society announced the launch of the website … which offers a searchable database of thousands of videos, photos, oral accounts, and written documents that provide a look at a range of perspectives from the unrest following Mr. Gray’s death in police custody last April.”

A new Web site lets you compare mass transit options across hundreds of municipalities. “AllTransit promises to assess the quality of transit in your neighborhood—or your congressional district, or your city, or your region, or your state. Plugging any of these into the tool and you get an “AllTransit Performance Score” on a ten-point scale. The score rewards places where transit connects lots of households to lots of jobs, where buses and trains come frequently, and where high shares of commuters use transit to get to work.” I plugged in my city and got a 4.3 out of 10 – public transit here is really bad.


The White House has updated its “We the People” petitions site. The big things: the site is now more mobile-optimized and there’s more guidance in creating petitions. “Some things, of course, stayed the same. The threshold for response is still 100,000 signatures. When we do respond, we are still going to be candid and honest with you. And whenever possible, we’re going to find ways to engage further: to talk with you directly, to answer your questions, and to connect you to ongoing opportunities to learn about and participate in a cause that matters to you.” Early versions of We The People caused some controversy, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this new version works.

Google is going to start showing live TV listings in its search results. “Searching for a show like ‘Game of Thrones’, for example, will show results for which channels are airing the show and at what times. This will appear alongside Google’s existing information, which indicates where you can watch the show using on-demand services, such as the Google Play Store or Apple’s iTunes.”

Oh gee, what a surprise, Facebook is tweaking its algorithm again. “The biggest adjustment that is being rolled out today is based on the realization that the amount of time people spend reading or watching content they clicked on is a strong indicator for what types of content they like.”


Alphabet, formerly known as Google, reported revenues of “only” $20 billion and change. “Alphabet’s cost-per-click — basically how much it makes off each advertising click — continued to decrease, down 9 percent year-over-year for the first quarter. That’s continuing a trend that has seen that number decline for some time now. The theory is that as usage switches over to mobile, the increased number of paid clicks will make up for that declining cost per click. Paid clicks for Google were up 29 percent year-over-year for the first quarter, and the company’s revenue continues to increase.”

Wow: a million people a month access Facebook via the “Dark Web”. “The number of people accessing Facebook via the ‘dark web’ now stands at 1 million per month, the tech giant announced today (April 22). Facebook has maintained an “Onion” site that resides on the Tor network, which forms part of the so-called dark web, for about a year and a half. This is the first time the company has revealed details about its presence in this shadowy corner of the internet.” Good morning, Internet…

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