Medieval Song, Tibet Literature, Google Drive, More: Tuesday Buzz, August 22, 2017


New-to-me, found via a Google Alert, looks like it’s relatively recent, from Yale: Digital Archive of Medieval Song. “This project will develop a digital platform to publish texts, manuscript images, music, and scholarly resources relating to medieval song in late-medieval England. Approximately 3,000 lyrics in English survive in 450 manuscripts from the twelfth to the early sixteenth century, alongside many more in Latin and French. The large majority are anonymous; some are copied with music. Only a fraction of this important repertory has been studied and performed. This Archive aims to make the close and careful study of these songs in original manuscripts accessible to the scholars and public who are interested in the rich history of song in England.”

Xinhuanet: China launches Tibetan-language literature database . “China Monday launched a Tibetan-language literature database to facilitate the protection and development of Tibetan culture and provide resources for future study. Run by China Tibetology Research Center, the database was established under the approval of the United Front Work Department of Communist Party of China Central Committee.”


From Amit Agarwal, of course: How to Hide a File in your Google Drive in Plain Sight. “The files in your Google Drive are either private (only visible to you) or they can be seen by specific people with whom you have chosen to explicitly share the file. In the case of folders, any file contained inside a shared folder can be seen by all users who have access to the folder. Let’s consider a slightly different scenario where you have a shared folder in Drive any you don’t want other users to see a particular file inside that folder.”

Engadget: Engadget is testing all the major AI assistants. “With virtual assistants becoming such an integral part of our lives (or at least our tech-news diets), we felt it was time to stop and take stock of everything that’s happening here. For one week, we asked five Engadget reporters to live with one of the major assistants: Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana and Samsung’s Bixby. What you’ll see on Engadget throughout the week aren’t reviews, per se, nor did we endeavor to crown the “best” digital assistant. Not only is that a subjective question but, as it turns out, none of the assistants are as smart or reliable as we’d like.”


UK National Archives: Joint project with UAE to create new website. UAE in this case stands for United Arab Emirates. “We plan to launch a new website – the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive – with approximately 500,000 images of The National Archives’ records. These will come from a number of The National Archives’ record series and will focus on documents relevant to the UAE, mainly from Foreign Office series as well as from our Cabinet Office collections. This is the first phase of the project which will proceed with other phases as we discover more documents to be digitised and published online.”

Arab News: Should scientists be on social media? Meet the groundbreaking Saudi researcher who thinks so. “Nouf Al-Numair, a jet-setting young scientist from Riyadh, is working tirelessly to encourage Saudi youths to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). She could be the perfect role model for those who wish to make a name for themselves in the field, especially considering her call for lab-bound scientists to get out there and show off their achievements on social media.”

Japan Times: Japanese war memorabilia pile up at museums, while online auctions of artifacts remain unregulated. “More and more people whose relatives lived through World War II are donating inherited personal items to peace memorial museums throughout Japan. Such artifacts offer a lens through which visitors are afforded view of Japan’s wartime experience. While such insights are invaluable, many museums face challenges, including insufficient storage space and staff, in accepting the donations.”


The Register: Foxit PDF Reader is well and truly foxed up, but vendor won’t patch. “The Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) has gone public with a Foxit PDF Reader vulnerability without a fix, because the vendor resisted patching. The ZDI made the decision last week that the two vulns, CVE-2017-10951 and CVE-2017-10952, warranted release so at least some of Foxit’s 400 million users could protect themselves.”

Ars Technica: Supreme Court asked to nullify the Google trademark. “Is the term ‘google’ too generic and therefore unworthy of its trademark protection? That’s the question before the US Supreme Court…. What’s before the Supreme Court is a trademark lawsuit that Google already defeated in a lower court. The lawsuit claims that Google should no longer be trademarked because the word ‘google’ is synonymous to the public with the term ‘search the Internet.'”


TechCrunch: Microsoft’s speech recognition system hits a new accuracy milestone. “Microsoft announced today that its conversational speech recognition system has reached a 5.1% error rate, its lowest so far. This surpasses the 5.9% error rate reached last year by a group of researchers from Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research and puts its accuracy on par with professional human transcribers who have advantages like the ability to listen to text several times.”

Pew (PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW!): Highly ideological members of Congress have more Facebook followers than moderates do. “In both legislative chambers, members’ ideology is a strong predictor of the number of people who follow them on Facebook. The most liberal and most conservative House members had a median of 14,361 followers as of July 25, compared with 9,017 followers for those in the middle of the ideological spectrum. The median number of followers for the Senate’s most liberal and conservative lawmakers was 78,360, while moderates had 32,626. (These figures reflect each member’s total number of followers since the creation of their official Facebook page, not the number gained since the 115th Congress began.)”

Wired: Machines Taught by Photos Learn a Sexist View of Women. “LAST FALL, UNIVERSITY of Virginia computer-science professor Vicente Ordóñez noticed a pattern in some of the guesses made by image-recognition software he was building. ‘It would see a picture of a kitchen and more often than not associate it with women, not men,’ he says. That got Ordóñez wondering whether he and other researchers were unconsciously injecting biases into their software. So he teamed up with colleagues to test two large collections of labeled photos used to ‘train’ image-recognition software.” Good morning, Internet…

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