Global Rainfall, Japanese Literature, WWI, More: Tuesday Buzz, September 20, 2016


A kind reader clued me to this new-to-me data set on global rainfall measurements. “The data set, called CHIRPS (short for ‘Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation With Station data’) blends data from weather stations and weather satellites with extraordinary accuracy, providing a detailed record of global rainfall stretching back more than 30 years. By making it possible to compare current rainfall patterns with historical averages at the neighborhood scale for virtually the entire world, CHIRPS provides an early warning system for drought, making it possible for development agencies, insurance companies and others to more effectively activate adaptive strategies such as food aid and insurance.”

Now available: a database of Japanese literature which has been translated into English. “My site contains a database of Japanese literature that has been translated and published in English (just as the name suggests). This was something that I myself wanted–a resource that was very user-friendly–and so I decided to create it. It’s a bit of a challenge to keep it up to date–I’m afraid I’m behind on adding some important titles–but I welcome suggestions from anyone.”

The National Archives has launched a beta program for its Remembering WWI app. “Today we’re launching the public beta program for the Remembering WWI iPhone app, which puts newly digitized primary source materials into the hands of teachers and museum professionals nationwide. The app is a product of a two-year collaboration among the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the National WWI Museum, and others, all working toward the goal of connecting teachers, students and history enthusiasts to primary sources in interesting new ways.” According to a comment left on the blog post, the app is still waiting on approval to be added to the Apple store.

A new Web site provides information on recipients of the US Medal of Honor. “The new website has dedicated sections on the Medal of Honor and its Recipients including a searchable Living Histories page featuring the video stories of more than 120 Recipients. The Foundation’s Character Development Program also has its own section, where the entire curriculum, which the Foundation has introduced in 40 states, is downloadable free of charge.” Looks like this was a site redesign but it’s not clear if the biographies are new.

Google has launched Google Trips. “Google Trips is a personalized tour guide in your pocket. Each trip contains key categories of information, including day plans, reservations, things to do, food & drink, and more, so you have everything you need at your fingertips. The entire app is available offline — simply tap the ‘Download’ button under each trip to save it to your phone.”


Google Play Books has a new tab. “Discover is essentially a personalized recommendation system built directly into the Google Books app. It takes a look at what you’re reading, what you’ve read, and suggests books for you to read.”

Chatter abounds that Google will release Allo this week. “Text messaging alternative Google Allo finds contacts via their phone numbers and its features include: Smart Reply (machine-learning powered canned responses to texts that are based on your previous texts; Ink for doodling on photos; Whisper Shout for emphasizing points by text size not by ALL CAPS; Google Assistant for getting answers to questions; and Incognito mode for private, end-to-end encrypted chats.”

Facebook has acquired Nascent Objects. “Facebook has acquired Nascent Objects, a small California startup founded in 2014 that focus on creating a modular electronics system that consumers could use to build their gadgets, using reconfigurable components including batteries, camera, sensors and more. The startup worked with design firm Ammunition (also responsible for the design of Beats products pre-Apple acquisition) to create its original products prior to being picked up by Facebook.”


Sherry Bonelli offers an overview of how to use Google Data Studio. “Google Data Studio is part of the Google Analytics 360 Suite — the high-end (i.e., pricey) Google Analytics Enterprise package. Since most of us can’t afford to spend that much money for an analytics tracking tool, we typically opt for the free version of Google Analytics. But Google has decided to give those of us using the free version of Google Analytics a taste of what’s possible.”


Search Engine Journal: Will Facebook be the Next Review Platform? Because all the others have worked so well before? “24 hours after checking into a location, Facebook is feeding you with a new notification. A notification asking you to review and share your experience about the place you visited. I checked in two places on Friday and by Saturday, I had two notifications for reviews. One was for the University of Southern California. The other was for Break Room 86. These are two local businesses in completely different fields around me.


Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all agreed to block ads for gender determination of babies in India. “Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have agreed to block ads for Indian services that help determine a baby’s sex before birth, adhering to laws intended to address one of the world’s worst gender imbalances. All three companies pledged to honor bans on the promotion of sexual-determination tests and related products, the health ministry told India’s Supreme Court on Monday. The court was hearing a case that sought the abolition of all content on search engines that promote such services.”


Whee! A new Twitter bot will take a picture you send it and replace the faces with emoji. “If you’ve been dying to swap your face out for emoji but Snapchat isn’t your thing, there’s now a Twitter bot that will do it for you – and it’s sort of fun.” It also works on animals, too, as you know if you saw this post on Firehose. Good morning, Internet…

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