Arkansas Missing Persons, Anti-Litter Campaigns, Music Genres, More: Thursday Buzz, July 7, 2016


The state of Arkansas has launched a new site providing information on missing citizens. “A new website with information on more than 500 missing Arkansans launched Wednesday, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said. The website … significantly expands the publicly accessible data on missing people, which was previously limited to about 50 cases on the Arkansas Criminal Information Center website, Rutledge said.”

A new Web site hopes to aggregate anti-litter campaigns from around the world. “A new website aiming to showcase the best anti-litter campaigns from around the world has been launched today (6 July) to provide councils and businesses with ‘a source of inspiration to fight litter’. The Neat Streets website was designed by Hubbub, an environmental charity that experiments with ways to interest the public in sustainability issues, and sponsored by the Industry Council for research on Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN).” There are currently over 20 projects on the site and organizations are invited to submit more.

Want to explore music genres? This newish site sounds like just the ticket. “The result of seven years of work by a polymath Belgian architect named Kwinten Crauwels, Musicmap is almost overwhelming in its comprehensiveness. Genres are color-coded (blue for blues, gospel, and jazz; yellow for rock; red for electronic). Six different kinds of dotted lines show different relationships among 234 sub-genres. Click one, and a description pops up next to a YouTube playlist (with Spotify coming soon).”

A digital archive has been created for the Oso mudslide of 2014. “The Darrington Historical Society, with help from graduate students at the University of Washington, has spent two years gathering images, articles and documents that tell the story of the Oso mudslide, a tragedy that still is shaping lives in the Stillaguamish Valley…. On March 22, 2014, a wall of mud and debris ripped across the valley. It buried the Steelhead Haven neighborhood and blocked Highway 530, the main route to and from Darrington. The slide killed 43 people.”


Snapchat has launched a new “Memories” feature. “Snapchat was originally touted as a social network that let your messages disappear, but its fast growth and popularity has encouraged the network to add more of the trappings of a traditional network, including advertising and sponsored content. Now, in addition to being able to save a Snap to your phone’s camera roll or gallery you’ll also be able to back them up to Snapchat’s servers in the Memories gallery.” Twitter? Be scared.

Google has made some improvements to Now on Tap. “With Now on Tap, Android Marshmallow users can get quick help from Google without having to stop what they’re doing. Today, we’re introducing new Now on Tap features that surface useful content and create a more engaging experience. With these updates, users can translate text on any page, discover more about the things that interest them, and learn more about products by using QR codes and bar codes in Search by Image.”

The UK government has done a Web site cleanup. Good for them. “During the audit, [Evans] Bissessar closed down 947 domains, of which 393 belonged to the central government, and 471 belonged to local governments. Almost 200 websites were corrected with updated or relevant information. All in all, more than 1000 breaches of GDS guidance were found, including inaccessible domains with error pages, pages redirecting to a non-government domain, and domain owners not now eligible to retain a domain.”

IFTTT continues to get more IoT: it has added EZVIZ to its platform. “EZVIZ’s mini-HD wireless cameras help you stay connected and secure. We’re excited to announce that as part of their commitment to accessible home automation, they’ve launched the EZVIZ Channel on IFTTT.”

Facebook has open-sourced a platform for Internet access in remote/developing areas. “Facebook is clearly very serious about its mission to connect the world and in the process, it has launched solar-powered drones that use lasers to connect to each other and the ground, and more prosaic efforts like new antennas for covering both urban and rural areas. Today, Facebook is expanding this work with the launch of OpenCellular, a new open source hardware and software project that aims to bring a more affordable wireless access platform to remote areas.”


Google has acquired Moodstocks. “Moodstocks is a French start-up that develops new algorithms for visual recognition, machine learning, and image recognition technology. It enables mobile devices recognise objects and images. Google will now have the benefit of this technology.”


The government of Bulgaria is going open source. “Less than two years after my presentation titled ‘Open source for the government’, and almost exactly one year after I became advisor to the deputy prime minister of Bulgaria, with the efforts of my colleagues and the deputy prime minister, the amendments to the Electronic Governance Act were voted in parliament and are now in effect. The amendments require all software written for the government to be open-source and to be developed as such in a public repository.”

Salt, meet wound: after its protracted court battle, Google is asking for sanctions against one of Oracle’s attorneys. “Google will be filing a motion for sanctions against Oracle and its law firm, Orrick, Sutcliffe & Herrington. The motion relates to statements by Oracle attorney Annette Hurst, who revealed financial arrangements between Google and Apple that were confidential—until she discussed them in open court at a January 14 discovery proceeding.” Good morning, Internet…


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