Texas Earthquakes, China Business, WordPress, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, October 19, 2017


University of Texas at Austin: Track Tremors Across Texas With New Website. “The University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Economic Geology has finished installing the state’s earthquake monitoring network, TexNet, and thanks to a new interactive website, the public can follow and sort seismic activity in Texas in real time. TexNet, the most advanced state-run seismic monitoring system in the country, was authorized by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Legislature in June 2015 with $4.47 million in state funding. Like many areas in the south-central United States, Texas has experienced an increase in the number of earthquakes during the past decade, especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Permian Basin region and south-central Texas.”

China General Chamber of Commerce: CGCC Launches New Website and “China-US Investment Cooperation” Database. “The ‘China-US Investment Cooperation’ Database is the first investment information database serving Chinese companies and their partners in the US, aiming at enhancing business information sharing and commutation. The database provides basic company information, products and services, key people introduction, and business contacts for subscribers. The database is also open to members to generate their own contents.” Unfortunately when I went to look at the database page it read, “coming soon,” so despite the fact that it was announced yesterday you may have to check back.


WordPress 4.9 Beta 3 is now available. Still not a security update!

From a new company, Coda: It’s a new day for docs.. “Why are we still clinging to metaphors long-forgotten: the accountant’s grid, the typist’s paper, the professor’s slides? Why do these tools insist on creating boundaries where we don’t need them — forcing us to choose between a document or a spreadsheet? How do we empower the growing class of people who stretch docs and turn them into ingenious tools? Finally, what would we build if we started from scratch?… Coda is a new type of doc that blends the flexibility of documents, the power of spreadsheets, and the utility of applications into a single new canvas. That’s Coda. It lets you make a doc as powerful as an app.” I signed up to be considered for the beta in about one tenth of a second.

The Next Web: Facebook’s Explore feed is a missed opportunity for expanding your horizons. “Facebook is now rolling out its Explore feed to desktops; the new feature looks just like your existing feed, but surfaces content from pages you don’t yet follow, but might be interested in.”

BetaNews: Facebook is testing a temporary profile status feature. “Facebook has confirmed that it is currently testing a feature that enables its users to setup a self-destructing status. It’s something that’s in a similar vein to the temporary profile image option that’s already available.”

TechCrunch: Atlas Informatics calls it quits after less than a year. “Atlas Informatics, whose Atlas Recall promised an intuitive and powerful way to index all your information across many services, is shutting down less than a year after launch. There will be no long sunset period: all user data will be deleted next Friday, the 27th.” The company had raised $20.7 million last November. I guess that’s a regular burn rate in high techsville, but wow.


Science Magazine: German researchers resign from Elsevier journals in push for nationwide open access. “Five leading German scientists have resigned from their editorial positions at journals published by Elsevier, the latest step in a battle over open-access and subscription policies between the Dutch publishing giant and a consortium of German libraries, universities, and research institutes. The researchers want Elsevier to accept a new payment model that would make all papers authored by Germany-based researchers open access. The five are only the first of many ready to step down, warn leaders of the consortium, called Projekt DEAL.”


BBC: Social media data shared by spy agencies. “UK spy agencies are collecting citizens’ social media and medical data, a court has heard. The details emerged in a case brought by Privacy International, looking at the legality of mass data collection. It said it was concerned that the information could have been shared with foreign governments and corporate partners. The body which oversees UK surveillance did not know that highly sensitive data was being shared, it emerged.”


Nature: Top Chinese university to consider social-media posts in researcher evaluations. “One of China’s most prestigious universities plans to give some articles in newspapers and posts on major social-media outlets the same weight as peer-reviewed publications when it evaluates researchers. The policy has sparked a vigorous debate among Chinese academics. Proponents say it will encourage researchers to engage with the public, but many are concerned that it will promote those who toe the party line established by China’s strictly censored media and social media, at the expense of more highly qualified researchers.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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