Indiana History, African-American Health, Jelly, More: Monday Buzz, May 2, 2016


Vincennes University has digitized three large regional history collections. (VU is in Indiana.) “The digitized collections include the papers of John Badollet and his family, one of the earliest French families in the area, which span from 1780 to 1878; the early years of the VU Board of Trustees minutes, starting in 1806; and Knox County Commissioner records from 1814 through 1823.”

In development: a cardiovascular disease registry for African-Americans. “The database will import data directly from electronic health records, enabling researchers to analyze trends and develop more effective, targeted treatments for African-American patients.”

Biz Stone has pivoted Jelly again, and this is a big enough pivot that I’m going to file it under “New Resources”. Introducing Jelly. “Jelly is the only search engine in the world with an attitude, an opinion, and the experience of people to back it all up. Only Jelly can say you asked the wrong question. Only Jelly can give you answers you wanted but didn’t think to ask. Only Jelly will deliver a thoughtful answer to your anonymous question. This is all because Jelly is humanity plus technology.” Actually I find that Quora is great at delivering thoughtful answers, anonymous or otherwise.


Google has a new hardware division. Considering all the Nest ridiculousness, not a bad move at all. “Rick Osterloh is coming back to Google. The former president of Motorola, who left the Lenovo-led handset maker last month, has been hired by Google to run a new division to unify the company’s disparate hardware projects, Re/code has learned.”


ZDNet has a writeup on a free VPN extension for Google Chrome. “Hotspot Shield have an extension for Google Chrome that’s not only free to use, but is ad-free and totally unlimited. I’ve been using it here for some time now and it does what is says it does, and has been totally reliable.” Sounds great. I wonder what the catch is.


Interesting: using Instagram, in conjunction with investigative reporting, for audience engagement. “In early 2015, Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, a freelance investigative journalist, published a story in The Chicago Reporter about a reverse mortgage scheme that targeted elderly African-Americans on Chicago’s south and west sides. …Then Lowenstein and his brother, the photographer Jon Lowenstein, did something else: They posted a photo taken by Jon of Lillie Williams, one of the homeowners snared in the scam, on Jon’s Instagram feed, with a caption that distilled Williams’ plight and the broader story.”

From Wired: Why Facebook Is Killing It — Even When Nobody Else Is. “…throughout Facebook’s evolution, one constant has remained, and he wears a hoodie. Along with Facebook’s earnings yesterday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed a plan to restructure the company’s stock offering. In short, Zuckerberg wants to be able to give away his Facebook shares without giving up control of the company. That may sound like a power grab, and it is. But if you’re a Facebook shareholder, your only response should be: more power to him.”

Twitter has decided it isn’t “social networking”. It’s “news”. “Everyone’s favourite 140-character micro-blogging platform is quietly setting off on a new course on the vast oceans of the Internet, changing classification in the app store from ‘Social Networking’ to ‘News.'” Yeah, and you can change your classification to “astronomy,” too, but that doesn’t make you a telescope.

All kinds of tech sites are stumbling on their growth, as the latest search results from Chinese search engine Baidu indicate. “Chinese search leader Baidu Inc’s first-quarter net income fell to its lowest level since 2012 and revenue grew at its slowest pace in more than seven years, as its long decline from previously heady growth continued.”


This makes me really, really uncomfortable: Google has access to a huge amount of data on UK NHS patients. “It’s no secret that Google has broad ambitions in healthcare. But a document obtained by New Scientist reveals that the tech giant’s collaboration with the UK’s National Health Service goes far beyond what has been publicly announced….The agreement gives DeepMind access to a wide range of healthcare data on the 1.6 million patients who pass through three London hospitals run by the Royal Free NHS Trust – Barnet, Chase Farm and the Royal Free – each year.” I am actually not that worried that Google will do something nefarious with this data – I’m more concerned that this should be an opt-in privacy issue for the patients: not opt-out.


Matt Dusenbury on Medium: How Facebook Live Is Changing Broadcast Journalism “After [Houston was] hit by major flooding, [Justin] Stapleton, the weekend meteorologist for local news station KPRC2, fired up Facebook Live, the social network’s streaming video service, and would stay online for the next 90 minutes. Behind the scenes of his channel’s studio, perched in front of a bank of monitors showing colour radar images of the cloudy skies, he and a colleague took people through the weather patterns coming through the city and how they would be affected.”

Can you imagine smart lenses — that you inject into your eyes? That was me over there yelling “NOPE!” “Google Glass may have been too clunky to succeed in its original version, but the search giant will find its way into your eyeballs one way or another. According to a new patent filing, the company has devised a method to inject a device directly into your eyeballs. Per the patent filing, the device is meant to replace your eye’s natural lens and is injected in a solution that congeals and attaches to your lens capsule.” Good morning, Internet…

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