GMOs, Words, Gulags, More: Friday Buzz, December 4th, 2015

Clawing my way out of Hell. I love you.


Now available: a database of DNA sequences in GMOs. “The JRC has published a new database, JRC GMO-Amplicons, which contains more than 240,000 DNA sequences appearing in genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It will help to verify the presence of GMOs in food, feed and environment.”

TheNextWeb has a writeup on an interest app called WordsEye. Basically you describe the scene you want to create and it’s created. “The technology behind it works by speech tagging and analyzing the context of the words used. Statistical parsing is used to bring the sentences into a format the computer understands and uses to create the 3D image.” I wanted to play around with it a bit but it’s in closed beta; I’m waiting on an invite. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you know I post my weird dreams occasionally; now I have an illustration tool!

In development: an online museum documenting Gulags. It’ll open next spring. “The system of concentration and labour camps was developed in the Soviet Union from 1919 and it was the most extensive under the rule of Joseph Stalin. The word Gulag began to be used in 1930. It is abbreviation of the Russian name of the Central Camp Administration, which was a special section of the Soviet secret police and the interior ministry. A big part of the prisoners were innocent people punished for political reasons. According to estimates, 15 to 18 million people became Gulag prisoners and at least 1.5 million of them did not survive their stay in the camps.”


VentureBeat: Five open-source alternatives to Slack.

From my pal Esther Schindler: The Best Online Survey Tools of 2015. I know it starts with a table; scroll down for article goodness.


Google has received a patent for removing biological tissue with a laser for the purposes of good, one assumes. Don’t be evil, or at least put the laser down first. “The patent was published yesterday. Google first applied for it in May 2014, long before establishing the umbrella company Alphabet, which includes the standalone life sciences company that was spun out of the Google X laboratory.”


From the South China Morning Post: China must unblock Google Scholar and keep the internet open for its researchers . “It is no secret that Beijing and Google are not the best of friends, which is why it has a diminished presence in China. Of course, it is not the only victim of the Great Firewall. Wikipedia, YouTube and a host of other Western media sites are also blocked. However, Google Scholar is a benign site. The vast majority of links it generates are to scientific articles, such as medical studies. It appears to generate little if any revenue, so blocking it does not hurt Google’s bottom line. The most it appears to do for Google is create goodwill towards its brand.” Thanks to Aaron Tay for the heads-up. Good morning, Internet…

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