Massachusetts News, Ireland Electricity, Dallas Police, More: Saturday Buzz, April 23, 2016


The Wanderer, a weekly newspaper in southeastern Massachusetts, now has a digital archive. “From 2004 up to the present, all back issues of The Wanderer have been saved in digital format. The prior 12 years of issues, though, were only in print with no PDFs. There was some extensive water damage to The Wanderer’s hardcopy archive a few years ago, so the search began to find undamaged copy to be digitized, and even two back issues that had disappeared completely – from The Wanderer vault and the public library.” The back issues are freely available at the Internet Archive.

A new Web site traces the history of the Electricity Supply Board of Ireland. “The website … provides a stunning audio and visual history of Ireland’s first semi-State body, which utterly transformed life in Ireland with the Shannon Scheme hydroelectric project in the 1920s.”

The police department of Dallas, Texas, has published a new online database with information on resistance to force incidents. “The database includes incidents involving Tasers and physical restraint, much broader than the Officer Involved Shooting data the department had posted before.”


The Amazon Echo can now add events to your Google Calendar. Considering how she interprets some of my playlist requests, I’d hate to think what ends up on my calendar…

Are you utterly sick of Facebook Live? You’ll be getting an option to turn those notifications off. “Facebook is finally introducing an option to turn off all those live video notifications. The control is currently rolling out, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed. It was spotted by Teresa Hammerl who posted a screenshot on Twitter.”

Twitch, now with a friends list. “Friends is Twitch’s third social feature added in 2016, the company announced in a press release. You’ll be able to add up to 500 friends, and in addition to chatting, you’ll now be able to send Whispers to other users with a single click.”


To celebrate the life of Shakespeare, Wolfram|Alpha did some serious (and not so serious) text analysis. “Have you ever explored Shakespeare’s texts from the perspective of a data scientist? Wolfram technologies can provide you with new insights into the social networks of the characters of Shakespeare’s plays, semantics, and statistical analysis of his texts.”


Looks like the first round of bidding for Yahoo went well, with more than ten bidders. “Yahoo’s advisers will spend the weekend narrowing down the field of bidders after receiving more than 10 initial offers for the Internet company ranging from about $4 billion to $8 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.”


First the Philippines, and now it looks like a database containing the records of over 93 million Mexican voters has been leaked. “MacKeeper researcher Chris Vickery, who is well known in security circles for unearthing database flaws by using the Shodan search engine, found the massive trove of records on 14 April and quickly contacted the authorities – including the US State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Mexican Embassy in Washington. According to the researcher, the database was finally taken offline on 22 April.”

Another lawsuit has been filed over PACER fees. From the suit: “Despite this express statutory limitation, PACER fees have twice been increased since the Act’s passage. This prompted the Act’s sponsor to reproach the AO for continuing to charge fees ‘well higher than the cost of dissemination’—’against the requirement of the E-Government Act’—rather than doing what the Act demands: ‘create a payment system that is used only to recover the direct cost of distributing documents via PACER.’ Instead of complying with the law, the AO has used excess PACER fees to cover the costs of unrelated projects—ranging from audio systems to flat screens for jurors—at the expense of public access.”

Google and Microsoft are making nice and ending their regulatory sniping. “Google and Microsoft have agreed to end their long-running regulatory battles and stop complaining to government agencies about each other.”


Wow: Did Google Trends Predict the Flint Water Crisis? “The graph below shows Google trends from the search term ‘lead water’ within the city’s geographic region when compared to the State of Michigan, and the United States as a whole….It shows that residents started searching for ‘lead water’ almost as soon as the City of Flint switched its water source. Further, we can see that residents continued to search for lead water long before any elected official or emergency manager seemed to realize there was an issue.” Good morning, Internet…

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