Open Data Policies, West Philadelphia, Psychology Research, More: Sunday Buzz, December 11, 2016


The Sunlight Foundation has launched a new Web site to aggregate open data policies from municipalities across the country. “The website — called Open Data Policies Decoded — presents visitors with a map identifying which jurisdictions have adopted open data policies along with reproductions of each policy. Upon launch, 47 open data policies were included.” The site is in beta.

A new Web site has been created to show the history of west Philadelphia. “‘We wanted to document the area’s rich history and encourage people to share stories, old photographs, or a personal memory they have about West Philadelphia,’ said Kevin Musselman of the CDC [Community Development Corp. – TJC] …. The map pinpoints sites of historic significance and includes numerous details about West Philly, ranging ‘from the Lenape Indians in the 1600s to Malcom X and MLK in the 1960s – up to the present day.'”

PsyArXiv has been launched. “Like other scholarly archives such as Cornell’s original, PsyArXiv allows researchers to upload working papers, unpublished work, and articles currently under review (preprints), making them accessible to researchers and the public at no cost. PsyArXiv also permits researchers to share their work months or years earlier than usual, while also making it openly available to the public. PsyArXiv promises to create free, open access to psychological science, even for papers that are ultimately published in journals that are only accessible to subscribers.”


I’m not sure how useful this will beyond “stupid pet trick” level, but you can now search Google by tweeting emojis at it. “For example, go to Twitter and type 🍔 @google or 🌸 @google and it should respond with a link to get local results for hamburger places or a place to buy flowers.”

GrrrrrWHY? Google Translate apparently now has a character limit. “Note that this limitation does not seem to apply to websites that might contain more than 5,000 characters, but at the same time Google Translate’s API does have the same limits, so there is some discrepancy going on here. Also the translation card from Google Search is also limited to 2,800 characters.”

NBC News is shutting down its “Breaking News” Twitter account. That account has over nine million followers and yet was apparently not considered viable, which just makes my head hurt.

If you’ve been seeing some weirdness in your Facebook timeline, you are not alone. “Did you notice old photos appearing on your Facebook timeline and News Feed this morning? Rest assured, you’re not going nuts; a Facebook glitch appears to have resurfaced images that are months old.”

Cuba and Google are rumored to have struck a deal to give Cubans faster Internet. “Google and the Cuban government have struck a deal giving Cubans faster access to the internet giant’s content, two people familiar with the agreement said Friday. Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google’s parent company, will formally sign the deal Monday morning in Havana, the two people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not yet been publicly announced.”


Bloomberg: Google Makes So Much Money, It Never Had to Worry About Financial Discipline—Until Now. “[Ruth] Porat, who was born in England but grew up in Palo Alto, led Morgan Stanley’s technology banking division during the first dot-com boom, served as an adviser to the Treasury Department during the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and became Morgan Stanley’s CFO in 2010. She joined Google in May 2015 with a mandate to bring discipline and focus to a company so awash in cash that it never needed much of either. She instituted rigorous budgeting and, according to people familiar with Alphabet’s operations, forced the Other Bets to begin paying for the shared Google services they used. Projects hatched with ambiguous timelines of 10 or more years in some cases had to show a path to profit in half the time.”

Oh man… a kid was livestreaming while she was driving, and was killed during the livestream. “An 18-year-old girl was live-streaming herself as she drove along a Pennsylvania highway in the moments before the crash that killed her and a passenger. State police say Brooke Miranda Hughes was broadcasting live video on Facebook while driving slowly in the right lane of Interstate 380 near Tobyhanna.”


It should go without saying, but selling things on Facebook Marketplace carries the same risks as selling them on Craigslist. “A high school student was robbed and stabbed in Manhattan after using the new Facebook Marketplace feature to try and sell sweatshirts, police say. The 17-year-old Stuyvesant High School student took three hooded sweatshirts down to Pier 26 after school on Friday to complete a sale he started on Facebook, his friend Nazum Uddin told NBC 4 New York.”

YNetnews: Open University wants Google to remove terrorist as notable alumnus. “Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, who obtained a degree there while in an Israeli prison, shows up in Google’s Knowledge Graph when one searches for the institution—to the consternation of the university and current students.” Note that the individual in question did obtain a degree from Open University, so it is not a question of a factual error. Good morning, Internet…

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