Oregon Levees, Georgia Crime Victims, Game of Thrones, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, July 14, 2017


The Chronicle: Dept. of Geology releases levee flood database. “Released on June 27 by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), the database is a compilation of new and existing levee information for western Oregon — an area of the state with significant flood hazards. Almost 2,000 miles of levees were identified that may stop or divert water during flooding.”

Public Now: State Encourages Victims to Check New Online Database for Unclaimed Restitution. “The Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) is seeking individuals and businesses that have been victim(s) of a crime who may be owed restitution from an offender. CJCC encourages all victims to check a new, online database created for the Victims Unclaimed Restitution Program to see if they are owed restitution.”


Google Blog: Game of Thrones: The old Views and the new. “Ned Stark always warned, ‘winter is coming.’ The white raven confirmed that it’s finally here, and so is the season seven premiere of “Game of Thrones.” Fans have been waiting a year for the new season, but our watch hasn’t ended—the Street View team has been assembling a collection of ‘Game of Thrones’ filming locations longer than Arya Stark’s kill list. As you prepare for the episodes to come, you can go back to the iconic places and scenes with the most famous families in the Seven Kingdoms: the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens.” The blog post warns that there are spoilers – unfortunately I can’t point to where they are because I don’t watch the show.


BetaNews: Microsoft is giving away millions of free ebooks covering Windows 10, Office, Azure, and more. “Microsoft’s annual ebook giveaway sees the company offering vast amounts of guides for free. These are high-quality titles covering pretty much every Microsoft product or service you care to think of.”

Geek News Central: Spooler Turns Twitter Threads into Blog Posts. “Spooler was created by Darius Kazemi. (@tinysubversions). He makes all kinds of interesting stuff, and you can find links to it all at Tiny Subversions. Spooler turns Twitter threads into blog posts. It is currently in early beta, and, as such, Darius Kazemi says ‘expect bugs’.”


Zoutnet: Google has “stolen” Grobler Street. “The disappearance of a street in the CBD [Central Business District] is a serious matter for many residents. A number of businesses are situated in Grobler Street and these businesspeople may wonder whether people using GPS devices relying on Google Maps will be able to find their shops. In an era where technology dictates how we respond to problems, the first option was to point out the error to Google. This was done via Google Maps’ data-error reporting function. Not long after that, the friendly computer at Google sent an email, stating that ‘Your suggestion is being reviewed. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.’ A week later, after not receiving any further acknowledgement for the knowledge shared, some more options were explored.”

TechCrunch: SoundCloud sinks as leaks say layoffs buy little time. “A tense scene unfolded yesterday as user-generated, music-streaming service SoundCloud held an all-hands meeting to explain to employees why it suddenly had to lay off 40 percent of its staff last week.” If SoundCloud unexpectedly closes it’s going to mess up a lot of podcasters.


ABC News (Australia): Facebook, Google obliged to decrypt online messages to help Government fight terrorism. “Social media giants like Facebook and Google will face new laws to compel them to help Australian security agencies get access to encrypted messages from suspected terrorists and other criminals.”


University of Barcelona: Unemployment? Google it! Analyzing the usability of Google queries in order to predict unemployment . “During the last years the accessibility of big data has risen exponentially mainly due to the increase of internet usage. The biggest internet search engine Google Sites made statistics about the search queries public in real-time. In this paper these search queries are exploited in order to analyze whether this new type of data have the capability to improve the traditional econometric forecasting models. More precisely, this paper analysis the usability of Google search terms in order to forecast the unemployment rate in the Netherlands. This is done by creating a variable based on the volume of search terms submitted on Google (Google Indicator). The predictive capacity of the Google Indicator is measured by comparing the accuracy of a benchmark model versus an augmented model where the Google Indicator is added. The findings show that the Google augmented models produce up to 27.8% more accurate forecasts when considering a one-month ahead forecast horizon. During more recent sub-periods this improvement is even higher, reaching forecast performances that are 34.6% more accurate. However, the predictive power of the Google Indicator is diminishing when the forecast period is extended. This indicates that the use of Google data is mainly beneficial for short-term predictions.” This thesis is in English. The English is slightly awkward in a few places, but quite readable in the first seven or eight pages I read – and about ten thousand times better than my Spanish would be. Good afternoon, Internet…

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