India Zoos, California Water, Raspberry Pi, More: Wednesday Buzz, March 1, 2017


The government of India is developing a database of all the zoo animals in that country. “Disclosing this at an annual five-day conference of zoo directors of 25 states which started in Dehradun on Monday, DN Singh, member secretary, CZA said, ‘The comprehensive database will be a path-breaking initiative that will help in cross-breeding, treatment of diseases and conservation of animals at a global level.’ He added that the tagging of the animals would start in all the 166 zoos of the country from April 1 onwards.”

California has launched a new Web site providing information about the state’s water systems. (The link is to a PDF file.) “With data on more than 3,000 community, schools and day care public water systems in California, the website lets users look up their water system and see whether it complies with federal drinking water standards. The site includes an interactive map that shows the locations of 292 public water systems that are currently out of compliance with federal standards for contaminants such as nitrate and arsenic.”


Hey! There’s a new Raspberry Pi in town. “Although major Raspberry Pi announcements are very few and far between, you know that when there is one, it’s worth paying attention. Take for example the Raspberry Pi Zero — the $5 (£4) board that apparently came out of nowhere in October 2015 and offered 40 percent more computing power than the original Pi. It’s been a year since the last major unveiling, when we met the Raspberry Pi 3, but the Foundation is back today with a brand new product that nestles neatly between its credit-card sized computer and its flagship board. It’s called the Raspberry Pi Zero W.”

Google Keep is now part of G Suite, formerly known as Google Apps. “Get started by recording your notes, lists and drawings in Keep on Android, iOS, Chrome or the web. While in Docs on the web, access the Keep notepad via the Tools menu. Your Keep notes will appear in a side panel within Docs.”

SoundCloud has launched a new subscription plan (PRESS RELEASE). “The new SoundCloud Go plan marks a music industry first by offering a fully on-demand, mid-priced music streaming subscription. SoundCloud Go lets listeners discover, stream and share a constantly expanding mix of more than 120 million tracks from established and emerging artists, offline and ad-free for $4.99 per month. SoundCloud Go+, formerly known as SoundCloud Go, is SoundCloud’s premium subscription offering which gives subscribers full access to more than 150 million tracks, ad-free, offline with no previews for $9.99 per month. Additional exclusive product features for SoundCloud Go+ will be announced later this year.”

Google Blog: More ways to watch and play with AR and VR. “AR and VR aren’t just for gaming; they’re also for amazing entertainment experiences that immerse you in the stuff you love like never before. Our team is at Mobile World Congress this week, and we shared a few updates. Let’s dive in.” The Sims on Tango?


Wow, I can see how this would be really handy for sending out job applications, press releases, etc. From Amit Agarwal: How to Email Unique File Attachments using Mail Merge for Gmail. “Mail Merge, available for Gmail and Google Inbox, is a perfect tool for sending personalized emails to one or more email addresses using a simple Google Sheet. One of the most popular features of Mail Merge is its unique ability to send different file attachments to different email address. For instance, if you are applying for a job at different companies, you can attach the same PDF resume in all email messages but the cover letter could be different with each application.”

Hacker Noon: Ultimate Guide to Voice Assistants. “It will come as no surprise to those of you reading this (thanks!), that the interest and applications of ‘Voice-Assistants’ is growing rapidly. Amazon Alexa recently hit 10,000 skills and there is talk around what will drive adoption for the next 10,000. I won’t be diving into specifics and discussing issues like retention. That is not what this post is about.” This is a massive resource list!


The New York Times: A Facebook-Style Shift in How Science Is Shared. “Calvin Coffey, a professor of surgery at the University of Limerick in Ireland, has a world of gadgetry, scientific equipment and medical tests at his disposal. Recently, he added another tool: social media.”

Mediashift: The Unintended Consequences of Algorithms. “Algorithms are valuable in society: they allow us to access our money through ATMs, they control traffic lights, and they can even help determine how best to prioritize environmental remediation projects. But algorithms are increasingly being used to make important decisions – and left unchecked, can have unintended consequences, say two data science experts. That’s because, although designed with the goal of objectivity in mind, human bias can still be injected into algorithms.”

CNBC: Teens explain how they really use Snapchat and Instagram, and why Facebook still matters. “Although Snapchat and Instagram are competing bitterly for ad dollars, teens have room for both of them on their phones. That’s because they serve very different functions. CNBC talked to 24 teens and young adults between the ages of 12 and 20 about their social media and app habits. The survey was mostly conducted through the teen-preferred communication medium of text messaging, although a couple did respond via email (after being prompted by their parents).”


From the American Alliance of Museums: Trusted Sources: Why Museums and Libraries Are More Relevant Than Ever. “More and more, the trustworthiness of information is based on the perceived trustworthiness of the source. Since our founding, this nation has consistently placed that trust in its museums and libraries. Even today, libraries and museums are considered honest purveyors of information and places for conversation on issues of local and national significance. Our democracy, “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” provides a perfect foundation for carrying out the timeless mission of our great cultural institutions. Now, as much as at any time in our past, our country and world are evolving, and opportunities to explore our future and our past, the wisdom and works of our ancestors, and the extraordinary potential of tomorrow’s leaders, abound.” Good morning, Internet…

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