Attorneys General, NYC Data, Navy Libraries, More: Monday Buzz, March 13, 2017


From Columbia Law School: Sabin Center and Launch Database of Environmental Actions Undertaken by State Attorneys General. “The database includes major and innovative actions in the environmental law realm. These include lawsuits against the federal government for failing to implement pollution control laws, lawsuits where state attorneys general have joined with the federal government to defend environmental standards, lawsuits against private actors for environmental harms, and other types of actions such as amicus briefs, administrative petitions, and legislative inputs. It does not encompass all of the routine enforcement actions undertaken by state attorneys general. Users can search the database by topic (e.g., air/water pollution or climate change mitigation), type of action, and jurisdiction. Each entry contains a summary of the action as well as links to relevant documents and related resources.”

New York City: De Blasio Administration Unveils New Open Data Homepage As New York City Celebrates 5 Years Of Open Data. “The de Blasio Administration today celebrated the 5-year anniversary of the Open Data Law by launching a new homepage for the NYC Open Data web portal. To date, the City has published more than 1,600 free municipal datasets, ranging from 311 complaints to crime incidents by neighborhood to the location of every street tree in the city. The new home for the Open Data Portal provides more support to data novices on how to get started with City data, empowering more New Yorkers to understand how their city works through the information it produces.”

This was announced late February, but I just found out about it. From the US Naval War College: Navy higher education libraries announce digital archives and preservation collaborative. “U.S. Naval War College (NWC) Library has announced initial implementation of TRIREME digital repository and preservation system. The name TRIREME comes from the ancient Mediterranean maritime vessels with three banks of oars. It stands as a metaphor for the three institutions of higher education involved in the initial pilot project: the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; and NWC. TRIREME is the result of a two-year collaboration between Navy higher education libraries and a leading software developer in digital preservation technology and was launched worldwide today. It is open to the public.” Didn’t seem like a lot was here yet and it’s really tough to browse.


Yahoo has launched similarity searching for Flickr. “With billions of photos on Flickr, finding the ones you want – by searching based on tags and descriptions – only gets you so far. Today, we’re introducing similarity search, which uses advanced technology to allow you to discover visually similar photos without much work on your end. Here’s how it works: after your initial search, whether you’re looking for your favorite succulent or the perfect image of a ‘67 Mustang (not the horse), just click the ‘…’ in the upper right of the photo you’re excited about. We’ll surface similar images for you.”

The Refugee Restrooms Web site now has an app. “In 2014, REFUGE Restrooms was created ‘to provide restroom access for transgender, intersex and gender nonconforming individuals,’ … The service began as a website originally, but has recently become an application that can be downloaded for free on both Android and Apple devices.”

Sports Illustrated: World Surf League to stream 2017 season on Facebook Live. “…after experimenting with Facebook Live over the past year, the [World Surf League] and Facebook announced this week that the surfing property would live stream its 2017 Championship Tour men’s and women’s events and Big Wave Tour events via its Facebook account, which has more than six million fans.”

TechCrunch: At least Facebook’s unfair Instant Articles now let sites show more ads . “Facebook’s Instant Articles were always a bad deal for news outlets. While quick to load so they drove more readers, the hosted-on-Facebook mobile web format sterilized the design of publishers and severely limited how many ads and other business-critical units they could display. Publishers need paying subscribers, event attendees and loyal daily readers, but they traded those for preferred status and referral traffic from Facebook because if they didn’t, their competitors would. Now Facebook is cutting publishers a slightly better arrangement, allowing them to put a few more ads in each Instant Article. Ads can now appear every 250 words, instead of every 350.”

VentureBeat: Google will launch 3 more cloud data center regions before 2019. “At its Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco today, Google announced that it will open three more regions of data centers around the world by the end of 2018. They’ll be coming to the Netherlands, Canada, and California, said Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure.”


BetaNews: Microsoft admits mistake, pulls problematic Windows 10 driver. “Microsoft pushed out a mysterious driver to Windows users on Wednesday that caused big problems for some. The driver, listed as “Microsoft — WPD — 2/22/2016 12:00:00 AM — 5.2.5326.4762,” wasn’t accompanied by any details, although we knew from the name that it related to Windows Portable Devices and affected users who had phones and tablets connected to the OS.”

The News & Observer: NC Senate leader Phil Berger changes news headlines on Facebook posts – violating the site’s policy. “Visitors to Senate leader Phil Berger’s official Facebook page might have thought this headline appeared in The News & Observer: ‘Has Roy Cooper flip-flopped on HB 2? Gov. Cooper now refusing to support men in women’s bathrooms.’ But that headline never appeared in the newspaper or on its website. The real headline on the news story: ‘In HB2 repeal effort, Gov. Cooper is silent on proposed nondiscrimination law.'”


MIT News: Cutting down the clutter in online conversations. “From Reddit to Quora, discussion forums can be equal parts informative and daunting. We’ve all fallen down rabbit holes of lengthy threads that are impossible to sift through. Comments can be redundant, off-topic or even inaccurate, but all that content is ultimately still there for us to try and untangle. Sick of the clutter, a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed ‘Wikum,’ a system that helps users construct concise, expandable summaries that make it easier to navigate unruly discussions.”

Arizona State University: Posting Yelp reviews to Facebook changes their nature, ASU study shows. “There has been a lot of research on online reviews, but an Arizona State University professor’s paper is breaking new ground by looking at the actual words that people use in their reviews. He and his colleagues found that when the online-review platform Yelp started allowing users to post simultaneously on Facebook, it changed their nature. The result was a double-edged sword for the sites — more reviews, which Yelp wants, but more “emotional” language, which users say is less helpful, according to previous research. In other words, more quantity but less quality.” Good morning, Internet…

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