Google Play Music now has a free, ad-supported version. “At any moment in your day, Google Play Music has whatever you need music for—from working, to working out, to working it on the dance floor—and gives you curated radio stations to make whatever you’re doing better. Our team of music experts, including the folks who created Songza, crafts each station song by song so you don’t have to. If you’re looking for something specific, you can browse our curated stations by genre, mood, decade or activity, or you can search for your favorite artist, album or song to instantly create a station of similar music.”
The Smithsonian Science Education Center has launched a new animated Web series for science teachers. “‘Good Thinking!’ features short, animated videos that explore subjects like energy, cells and gravity, as well as cognitive research findings on topics such as student motivation or the myth of left- and right-brained people. Led by teacher Isabella Reyes, each episode centers on interactions with her students in class. But Reyes also encounters a cast of recurring characters who spring to life from classroom objects and guide her through fine points of teaching. These characters include a talking orchid (who is an expert on life sciences), a talking Bunsen burner (a physical sciences guide) and Gummerson, a gruff but wise wad of gum who’s ‘stuck around’ the school for a long time.” The first three episodes of the series are available on YouTube. Gummerson?
The US Department of Health and Human Services has launched a new tool that maps out community residents who are dependent on electricity for assistance or lifesaving devices – ventilators, wheelchairs, etc. The maps can be overlaid with radar/alert information to quickly identify citizens at risk from severe weather. “The HHS emPOWER Map shows the monthly total number of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries’ claims for electricity-dependent equipment at the national, state, territory, county, and zip code levels. The tool incorporates these data with real-time severe weather tracking services from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a Geographic Information System (GIS).” When I first read about this I was worried that it might be a privacy issue, but the information does not descend to residence-level (that information is extant, of course, but not available to the general public.) The closest zoom it does is zip code level.
The National Trust in the UK is asking the British public to send them the sounds of the seaside for a crowdsourced map and eventual music piece. “The National Trust is asking the public to record the sounds of the seaside for a digital archive. Bosses at the organisation want thousands of recordings to be uploaded onto a digital map, which will be curated by the British Library.” I actually heard about this on BBC World News yesterday and Dan Damon made me laugh; he was very indignant about the repeated mentions of seagulls. “They steal your chips!”
The Canadian Patent Office has put patent prosecution histories online. “In patent parlance, the term ‘prosecution’ refers to the process of guiding a patent application through the patent office to issuance as a patent. Patent prosecution primarily consists of written correspondence between the patent office and a patent applicant (e.g. an inventor or company, typically represented by a patent agent or patent lawyer).”
Findmypast has added new records from the Napoleonic Wars. “Comprising over 71,000 entries from the ADM 103 series, these records form part of the wider ‘Prisoners of War 1715-1945′ collection. They contain not only the details of members of the armed forces, but also of captured civilians and merchant seamen of various nationalities. The new Napoleonic additions record the details of Danish, French, Prussian and American prisoners captured by British Forces during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. They list the prisoner’s name, nationality, rank, service number and the conflict in which they were captured.”
Google is launching a News Lab. “Our mission is to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs to help build the future of media. And we’re tackling this in three ways: though ensuring our tools are made available to journalists around the world (and that newsrooms know how to use them); by getting helpful Google data sets in the hands of journalists everywhere; and through programs designed to build on some of the biggest opportunities that exist in the media industry today.”
NUI Galway has launched a digital archive of the Irish Famine. “The Digital Irish Famine Archive, which was launched by the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, contains three sets of annals from the Grey Nuns: ‘Ancien Journal (Old Journal), Volume I’ and ‘Le Typhus d’1847, Ancien Journal (The Typhus of 1847, Old Journal), Volume II’, both translated from French to English, and the nuns’ first-hand experiences of the Irish migration in ‘Récit de l’épidemie’ (Tale of the epidemic), which is transcribed in French from the original.”
New to me: did you know there’s a database of dreams? Over 22,000 of ’em. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you know I have extremely weird dreams. This is fascinating to me. “The archive is organized in 73 dream sets. Most of those sets are dreams collected from an individual, but some are from groups who were assigned to keep diaries, such as blind dreamers and Swiss schoolchildren. Over the years, people have heard about The DreamBank and submitted their privately kept journals to be preserved and made available to readers. Domhoff believes in granting anonymity to dreamers, and many of the pseudonyms in The DreamBank are both colorful and descriptive such as ‘Pegasus: the factory worker’ and ‘Toby: a friendly party animal’.” One of my dreams: I dreamed I suffered a bereavement and was summoned by the British government. I got there and met with three government […]