Crime Alerts, Big Data, Latin American Art, More: Tuesday Buzz, October 18, 2016


LexisNexis has launched a “crime alert” app for the iPhone and Apple watch. (It’s apparently US-only.) “US firm Lexis Nexis launched a crime alert app for the Apple Watch and iphone which will notify individuals of criminal events around a designated address or geolocation. The firm said it launched the app, available in the US, because ‘people want to know about the crime in their neighborhoods, near their schools or workplaces and where they travel. And to make law enforcement more transparent.’” I installed this. The worst thing about it is you can only specify one location and whatever’s around you. I couldn’t, for example, set up to get crime alerts around my mother’s house and my Granny’s house.

The University at Buffalo has made a tool for analyzing large data sets publicly available. “The technology, called the Genomics Data Warehouse, stores and queries vast quantities of data efficiently — a challenging computational task, says project manager Adrian Levesque, MBA, a senior programmer/analyst with UB’s Center for Computational Research…. The warehouse is available for use by UB researchers without a fee, and by industry users with rates dependent on the nature of the project.” The tool was originally developed to analyze genomics data but can be used with large data sets of many types.

The Museum of Modern Art has received a gift of over 100 works by Latin American artists, and has already put them online. “The gift includes 102 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, made between the 1940s and the 1990s by 37 artists working in Brazil, Venezuela, and the Río de la Plata region of Argentina and Uruguay, including Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, Jesús Rafael Soto, Alejandro Otero, and Tomás Maldonado.”


Google Flights will start price tracking. And it’s predictive. “The Google Flights update released today will now notify users when the price of a flight is expected to go up. A card will display how much the cost is going to rise and in how many days.”

More Google: it has made some updates to its Course Builder tool. “Over the years, we’ve learned that there are as many ways to run an online course as there are instructors to run them. Today’s release of Course Builder v1.11 has a focus on improved student access controls, easier visual customization and a new course explorer. Additionally, we’ve added better support for deploying from Windows!”


I feel kind of icky mentioning the election, but you might find this useful. A new Chrome extension lets you see live fact-checking during the last (thank you Glob) election debate. “Users will see a livestream of the debate with occasional messages that will pop onto the screen showing PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter rating for statements by the candidates.”

The Electrochemical Society is making its digital library free for one week. “From October 24th through October 30th, we are taking down the paywall to the ECS Digital Library, making over 132,000 scientific articles free and accessible to anyone. Eliminating the paywall during Open Access Week is a preview of ECS’s Free the Science initiative; a business-model changing plan with the goal of making the entire ECS Digital Library open access by 2024.”

Make Tech Easier: 5 of the Best Free Web-Based Alternatives to Photoshop. Picmonkey rules, especially now that it has the Hub feature.


I just don’t know how to unpack this. The battle for Mosul, in Iraq, is being livestreamed on Facebook. “As with other Facebook Live videos, users can like or react with an emoticon – a pretty bizarre feature given this particular content. People are reacting to bullets and bombs with emojis.”

NPR: Harnessing Social Media To Reconnect Homeless People With Their Families. “Naturally, someone in San Francisco had an idea to use technology to help alleviate one of the symptoms of homelessness: falling out of touch with one’s family. That’s the mission of Miracle Messages, an organization started by Kevin Adler in 2014. Volunteers record video messages from homeless people to their loved ones, who they have often not seen for many years. The organization then uses social media to publicize the videos in hope of contacting that person’s family.”

Put this one in your skull: Weibo is now worth more than Twitter. “China’s Weibo, started in 2009 as a Twitter clone, is suddenly worth more than Twitter itself. Weibo’s market cap now stands at US$11.35 billion, while Twitter is at US$11.34 billion.”

Fast Company Design: Why Chat May Be King Of The New Mobile Landscape. “Recent studies show that Americans use their phones to message far more than anything else. Increasingly, companies eager for our attention online have to be part of these conversations. And increasingly, they’re doing it through chatbots.” What if instead of updating a Web site I taught a chatbot about new Internet resources, and then they could use AI to send you a custom newsletter? I’d be down with that! Good morning, Internet…

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