Search Engine Baidu’s Growth is Slowing

All kinds of tech sites are stumbling on their growth, as the latest search results from Chinese search engine Baidu indicate. “Chinese search leader Baidu Inc’s first-quarter net income fell to its lowest level since 2012 and revenue grew at its slowest pace in more than seven years, as its long decline from previously heady growth continued.”

Twitter Decides It’s not Social Networking. It’s News

Twitter has decided it isn’t “social networking”. It’s “news”. “Everyone’s favourite 140-character micro-blogging platform is quietly setting off on a new course on the vast oceans of the Internet, changing classification in the app store from ‘Social Networking’ to ‘News.'” Yeah, and you can change your classification to “astronomy,” too, but that doesn’t make you a telescope.

Spreadsheet of MLB Baseball Contracts, 1996-2015

Wow! A very dedicated guy has made a Google Sheet of MLB baseball contracts from 1996-2015. The sheet is huge, as you might imagine, with 2 tabs for each team: batters and pitchers. Another tab holds an inflation calculator. I found out about this via Reddit, thanks to the new method I’m using for monitoring it. Gotta write that up. (Hint, it’s NOT Google Alerts, which was doing a terrible job.)

Library of Congress Launches New Blog To Spotlight International Collections

The Library of Congress has launched a new blog: 4 Corners of the World. “Dedicated to showcasing the international collections and studies at the Library of Congress, the blog will highlight important research resources and rare treasures from the Library’s four area studies divisions — African and Middle Eastern, Asian, European and Hispanic.”

Google Fiber Headed to Nashville, TN

Google Fiber is headed to Nashville. “The company has confirmed that Google Fiber will be initially available to residents of four apartment and condominium buildings in Nashville, Tennessee. Google does say that it hopes to expand the gigabit service to ‘the lion’s share’ of the city eventually.” You still can’t get Google Fiber where I live. But the promise of it — oh, hasn’t that made the existing Internet providers all friendly and customer-focused!

University of Iowa Creates Campus Tree App

I’m kind of a nerd about tree apps. The University of Iowa has launched an app that maps all the trees on its campus. “The UI Tree Inventory app delivers information about the number and location of trees and their condition, size, and species, with additional links to photos and descriptions. Users can also see if the tree was dedicated or planted as a memorial and view other designations, like state-champion status.” There are over 8000 trees in the apps!

Inside the ROM’s Efforts To Put Its Holdings Online

The Toronto Star has an overview of the massive efforts of the Royal Ontario Museum to put its holdings online. “At any given time, the ROM has on display across its 40 gallery spaces some 35,000 objects — around one-half per cent of its total holdings. And that’s after the 2007 Crystal expansion, which increased gallery space by 100,000 square feet…. The museum won’t say what it expects the initiative to cost, but it will not be small. Within a year, the ROM will establish five full-time photography studios — it currently has one — and hire full-time staff to man them. And that’s just the raw material of the project, which will then be catalogued, processed and enhanced with value-added extras like video interviews with curators to make it more user-friendly than a massive database.” This is terrific, of course, but when I compare this initiative to the cuts currently happening to Australia’s cultural institutions, I can’t help but get a little sad.

France Launches Search Engine To Provide Information on Tourist Tax

France has launched a search engine for tourist taxes. “France’s tourist tax, known as taxe de séjour, is charged at municipal level and is collected by the owner of the accomodation where the tourist stays. The amount varies depending on the standard of the accommodation, and ranges from EUR0.20 (USD0.23) per person per night for stays in marinas, camping and caravan sites, and low-cost accommodation, to up to EUR4 for luxury hotel stays.”

This news article does not include the URL for the actual site. The announcement for the new site is here; it’s a PDF document in French. The actual site is at, which is in English.

Asthma: Predicting Increased Hospital Visits By Monitoring Twitter Activity

Predicting increased hospital visits by monitoring Twitter. “For the study, ‘The Twitter Asthma Pulse: Using Real-Time Twitter Data to Prospectively Predict Asthma Emergency Department Visits or Hospital Admissions in a Population,’ researchers collected tweets posted between October 2013 and June 2014 and narrowed them down to the 3,810 that mentioned asthma attacks and that originated in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. During the same time period, incidences of asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations across the region area were recorded.” Announces a Read/Write API has a new read/write API. “The dataset for our catalog API contains all archival descriptions, authority records, digitized records (the images, videos, and so on) and their file metadata, all NARA web pages, and public contributions (tags, transcriptions, and comments). The API will allow developers to retrieve all of this metadata in specified formats (JSON or XML) for any given record or search results set.” A read API is pretty great, but wow, a read-write API?