Ghana Plants, EU Whistleblowers, Deadly Force, More: Wednesday Buzz, September 28, 2016

Apologies: short issue, weird day.

NEW RESOURCES

The country of Ghana has created an online database of forest foods and medicinal plants. “This is not only meant to help to prevent the appropriation of local knowledge for private gain but serve as the ‘first port of call’ for any research activity in that area. It was developed by the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) under a research project to identify, capture, document and digitize indigenous knowledge on forest foods and medicinal plants in the country.” Unfortunately I could not find a link to the database in the article; you can find it at http://csir-forig.org.gh/tikfom/ .

A new “leaks” site is designed for whistleblowers in the EU. “The Greens-European Free Alliance announced the launch of a new website that will allow people working in the EU to anonymously and publicly post evidence of wrongdoing. The EU political party said that this is a move against a ‘the EU tendency toward secrecy.’ ‘Transparency is of the utmost importance,’ said Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts, a Greens/EFA Parliamentarian and one of the founders of EULeaks, at a press conference announcing the launch.”

The FBI is creating a new database to track the use of deadly force by law enforcement. “The database is intended to capture how often police officers kill citizens and to correct a record-keeping gap that [FBI Director James] Comey said has resulted in uninformed conversations, based on anecdotes and not facts, about use of force. Demands for more complete records have grown in the past two years amid a series of high-profile deaths at the hands of police officers.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The Google app for iOS has gotten some updates. “Earlier this year, we announced that your Google app for iOS got faster. Now buckle up, because today, we’re adding three new features that will make your app more private, video-friendly and stable.”

Chatter is growing that Facebook at Work will launch next month. “Like the consumer version of Facebook, the enterprise offering will have your News Feed, Groups, Events, and a dedicated Messenger app — though it will be company specific. There are said to be audio and video calling to compete with Slack and Skype.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

You know how lots of different social media platforms have been encouraging users to register to vote? It appears to be working. “Top social media platforms steered hundreds of thousands of users to voter registration websites over the weekend in an effort several states said set new records for registration activity. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media networks began reminding users over the age of 18 to register to vote on Friday, ahead of Tuesday’s National Voter Registration Day. Users on Facebook were directed to a federal website that would then direct them to sites in their home states.”

Washington Post: What it was like to get examined by a doctor wearing Google Glass. “When I arrived for my annual physical at the office of doctor Darren Phelan this summer, he had a pair of titanium, WiFi-connected glasses pushed up on his forehead. He was about to examine me while streaming video of our encounter to a scribe some 8,000 miles away in India, one of more than 500 doctors nationwide to have turned Google Glass into a health technology.”

MIT Technology Review: I Saw Alphabet’s Health Watch. “Alphabet’s health spin-off Verily is a little like Santa’s factory a month before Christmas. Its labs are full of promising ideas not quite ready for delivery. These include a glucose-sensing contact lens, a cancer-detecting wrist band, and a big study of what it means to be healthy. However, during a visit to Mountain View-based Verily last week, I became the first journalist (that I know of) to see a prototype of the company’s health-tracking watch.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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