Vietnamese Business, Hebrew Manuscripts, Coal Ash, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, September 19, 2016


Now available: a directory of Vietnamese -owned and -operated businesses (PRESS RELEASE). “Soon after he arrived in San Jose, the capital of Silicon Valley he found it hard to find Vietnamese businesses and services unless he bought a local Vietnamese newspaper. So Mike [Huynh] decided to do something about it and within a few days he developed a clever Vietnamese Local Business Directory app called GanToi.” I didn’t get all the info I wanted to I e-mailed Mike and he answered some questions for me. He said the directory has about 100,000 businesses in it, and when I asked him if the directory was nationwide or just California, he replied, “…for example Vietnamese Phở category you will find the app should able to find all Phở around United States while other categories mainly focus in CA for now.”

The British Library has officially launched Greek Manuscripts. “Greek Manuscripts … is intended to complement and promote the hundreds of Greek manuscripts digitised by the British Library in recent years. The website contains articles on a wide variety of subjects relating to Greek papyri and manuscripts, written by experts from the UK, continental Europe, and North America. Additionally, several videos provide short visual introductions to key topics. Collection items discussed in the articles are given separate item pages, with links to the online catalogue entry and full digital coverage on Digitised Manuscripts.” A hat tip to Esther S. for the heads-up.

A new map shows where coal ash is stored in the southeastern United States. “The site is populated with data the utilities now are required to provide under the coal-ash rule, along with other publicly available information. Coal ash is the byproduct of burning coal and contains poisonous chemicals such as arsenic, lead and mercury, which are known to cause cancer and neurological disorders.” This one hit home for me, as Duke Energy was fined over $100 million for coal ash spills in North Carolina.


Google Destinations is now on your desktop. “Search for a continent, a country or state you’d like to visit and the Knowledge Graph card has a ‘plan a trip’ section which includes a travel guide, information about hotels and upcoming events.” Good screenshots on this article.

The British Library has completed phase I of its Hebrew manuscript digitization project. “This phase has taken 3 years, 435,307 image captures and 37TB of storage space, an incredible achievement by a dedicated team of conservators (including a specialist textile conservator), photographers, cataloguers and quality control officers, with expert support from Lead Curator Ilana Tahan, and enriching digital scholarship including the creation of our website and 3D models.”

Is Fandango going to sell movie tickets on Facebook? “Facebook has partnered with Fandango to begin selling movie tickets right on a film’s Facebook page. It’s starting this weekend in the US with just a few titles, including The Magnificent Seven, Storks, and Kevin Hart: What Now?, according to The New York Times. It’ll presumably roll out wider if the integration turns out to be something people actually use.”


Mint has an excellent article on Sahapedia and the particular challenges faced by museums and cultural institutions in India. “Museums have been low priority for both the government and private sectors, even though few countries have India’s history, culture and heritage. This is partly because India is a developing country focusing on poverty, medicine and basic needs and museums are thought of as more elitist, says Niraj Bajaj, director, Bajaj Group. The challenge is that “we are caught in a rules-bureaucracy-government ownership net”, he adds. A lot of the country’s historical riches are either not made accessible to people or are made available inconveniently, as [Sudha] Gopalakrishnan points out.”

It looks like Facebook is winning the ad-blocking wars. For the moment. “…it’s been a month since Facebook broke ABP’s last workaround, and the social network’s marketing messages are still getting through. Despite the fact that ABP’s browser extension gets the final say on what appears on your screen, it can’t build filters fast enough when Facebook has total control over the code it serves.”


Wow! Google could be facing a very high tax bill from Indonesia. “Indonesia plans to pursue Alphabet Inc’s GOOGL.O Google for five years of back taxes, and the search giant could face a bill of more than $400 million for 2015 alone if it is found to have avoided tax payments, a senior tax official told Reuters.”


Not for me, maybe for you: taking selfies might make you happier. “Regularly snapping selfies with your smartphone and sharing photos with your friends can help make you a happier person, according to computer scientists at the University of California, Irvine. In a first-of-its-kind study published just before back-to-school season, the authors found that students can combat the blues with some simple, deliberate actions on their mobile devices.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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