New Mexico Health Care Costs, China Bathrooms, Brevard News, More: Sunday Buzz, January 7, 2018


Albuquerque Journal: New website lists NM health care prices. “The state has launched a new website intended to shed light on health care prices. The website allows New Mexicans to compare average prices and quality statistics, such as readmission rates, for common, non-emergency procedures at each of the state’s 44 hospitals.”

ECNS: New GPS tool helps tourists find public toilets across China. “Chinese tourism authorities have partnered with a tech company to launch a new tool to help tourists locate over 500,000 public toilets across the country, reports Xinhua. The new tool is the result of a partnership between the China National Tourism Administration and AutoNavi, a Chinese web mapping, navigation, and location-based services provider. The tool is built into the company’s AutoNavi Maps app.”


DigitalNC: All of Brevard News Now Digitized and Online. “Eight more years and over 4300 new pages of the Brevard News have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Transylvania County Library. Previously, issues of the Brevard News only covered from 1917 to 1923, but DigitalNC now includes January 1924 through December 1932. This means that DigitalNC now contains digitized versions of the entire run of Brevard News, from its beginning to when it folded in 1932.”

Twitter Blog: World Leaders on Twitter. “Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation. Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society. Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.” I’m reading this as “we’re holding world leaders to LOWER standards of behavior because they are world leaders” which seems bizarre to me.

Economic Times: A speaker per second! Over six million Google Home smart devices sold since October . “Google sold more than one Home smart speaker every second since it started shipping in mid-October, taking the sales numbers to over six million, the company has announced. ‘We sold more than one Google Home device every second since Google Home Mini started shipping in October,’ Rishi Chandra, VP, Product Management, Google Home, said in a blog post on Friday.”


Learning in Hand: Google Classroom Tips . “As I teach classes with Google Classroom, I’m discovering tricks and inventing workarounds to make it work better for my students and me. I’m sharing several tips below. I’ll continue to add more as I create visuals for things that are handy to know about Google Classroom.”


This is completely fascinating. Someone has managed to turn the idea of curating the Library of Congress’ photo collection into a successful Kickstarter project. From the project page: “From the seemingly endless archives of the Library of Congress, I will find a photo you’ve never seen before but that you would absolutely want to have hanging on your wall. I will pick a photo specifically for you and 99 other backers, according to your personal wishes.” Thierry Blancpain has blown past his $1500 goal and at this writing has raised $2799 – and the Kickstarter doesn’t end until January 31.

JSTOR: The Rise And Fall Of The Blog. “New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof was one of the first to start blogging for one of the most well-known media companies in the world. Yet on December 8th, he declared his blog was being shut down, writing, ‘we’ve decided that the world has moved on from blogs—so this is the last post here.’ The death knell of blogs might seem surprising to anyone who was around during their heyday.” Speaking as someone with a blog… I’m not going anywhere.


The Hill: Florida officials: Hack exposed 30K Medicaid patients’ files. “Hackers might have accessed the medical records and other personal information of tens of thousands of Medicaid recipients in November, Florida official announced late Friday.”

Talk Android: Project eelo is an attempt at a non-Google smartphone OS for privacy’s sake. “Another year, another stab at taking on Google with an alternative operating system. Project eelo is a new open-source OS that will have its own web services and shun Google for the sake of privacy. Why is it named eelo? ‘Because eels are small fishes that can hide into the sea,’ says Gaël Duval, French founder of Project eelo. His Kickstarter page has already surpassed its $30,000 goal with almost $50,000 and there’s over two weeks left. Can Duval succeed where well established companies like Firefox have failed?”

ZDNet: Amazon turns over record amount of customer data to US law enforcement. “Amazon has turned over a record amount of customer data to the US government in the first-half of last year in response to demands by law enforcement. The retail and cloud giant quietly posted its latest transparency report on Dec. 29 without notice — as it has with previous reports — detailing the latest figures for the first six months of 2017.”


Chronicle of Higher Education: Some Real Data on Fake News. “Here’s the truth: Political scientists are only beginning to understand the mechanics of fake news and the havoc it has (or hasn’t) wrought on the American political system. Wounds are fresh, and research is scant. Andrew M. Guess, an assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University, is part of a team — which also includes Brendan Nyhan, of Dartmouth College, and Jason Reifler, of the University of Exeter — that has brought new research to bear on the question of how fake news spreads and whom it infects.”


UVA Today: Into The Darkness: UVA Robot Maps Historic Tunnel. “Nicola Bezzo is using robots to map the past. Bezzo, a University of Virginia assistant professor in the departments of Systems and Information Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering, and two of his graduate students, Esen Yel and Tony Lin, have had a hand in mapping the Blue Ridge Tunnel, a railroad passage cut through Afton Mountain. Claudius Crozet engineered the tunnel, which was completed in 1856.” Good morning, Internet…

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