Global Temperatures, Peer Review, Plant Speciments, More: Thursday Buzz, October 5, 2017

NEW RESOURCES Ninety-eight scientists launch a 2,000-year global temperature database. “The culmination of three years of painstaking collaborative work, the PAGES2k 2,000 Year Multiproxy Database contains 692 records from 648 locations across the globe, including new additions from all continents and ocean basins. The records include trees, corals, glacier ice, lake and marine sediments, as well as documentary evidence. Together, they form the largest body of climate records with the highest temporal resolution available, ranging from the biweekly to the bicentennial.”

Retraction Watch: Can you spot a fake? New tool aims to help journals identify fake reviews. “Fake peer reviews are a problem in academic publishing. A big problem. Many publishers are taking proactive steps to limit the effects, but massive purges of papers tainted by problematic reviews continue to occur; to date, more than 500 papers have been retracted for this reason. In an effort to help, Clarivate Analytics is unveiling a new tool as part of the release of ScholarOne Manuscripts, its peer review and submission software in December, 2017. We spoke to Chris Heid, Head of Product for ScholarOne, about the new pilot program to detect unusual submission and peer review activity that may warrant further investigation by the journal.”

University of New Mexico: UNM is opening virtual doors to its plant collections. “Hidden among the shelves and cabinets of natural history collections lie thousands of preserved plant specimens that represent the diverse flora of our planet. Scientists and researchers physically access these collections around the world in order to address challenges that threaten humanity and our environment. These specimens are rich sources of information about our planet’s biodiversity and history. Their usefulness is limited because the number of people who can visit is limited; by providing digital access to the collections, The University of New Mexico’s Herbarium is opening its doors to the global community. The UNM Herbarium, a division of the Museum of Southwestern Biology, is bringing digital life to the thousands of plant specimens within the herbarium. The herbarium houses well over 135,000 plant specimens, representing 10,300 taxa, making it New Mexico’s largest collection of plants from the Southwest region.”

Digital Trends: Puerto Rico Website Is Keeping Track Of The Island’s Re-Emerging Infrastructure. “The site went live on September 29, and it shows the small signs of progress that are happening on the island. The number of supermarkets that are now open has risen from 49 percent to 65 percent in the past few days, and 814 of the island’s 1,100 gas stations are operating. There are fewer people and pets taking refuge in shelters. ”


Wolfram: Notebooks in Your Pocket—Wolfram Player for iOS Is Now Shipping. “Ten months ago, I announced the beginning of our open beta program for Wolfram Player for iOS. The beta is over, and we are now shipping Wolfram Player in the App Store. Wolfram Player for iOS joins Wolfram CDF Player on Windows, Mac and Linux as a free platform for sharing your notebook content with the world.”

The Register: DeepMind now has an ethics unit – which may have helped when it ate 1.6m NHS patient details. “Google’s controversial DeepMind has created an ethics unit to “explore and understand” the real-world impacts of AI. The DeepMind Ethics & Society (DMES) group will be comprised of both full-time DeepMind employees and external fellows.”

Ship Technology: Rolls-Royce teams up with Google to further develop autonomous ship solutions. “Rolls-Royce has entered a deal with Google to further develop its intelligent awareness systems, which are able to help make existing vessels safer and assist in the development of autonomous ships. The arrangement will see Rolls-Royce make use of Google’s Cloud Machine Learning Engine to provide additional training to its artificial intelligence (AI) based object classification system, which is used to detect, identify and track objects a vessel can encounter at sea.”

TechCrunch: Google’s Airpods competitor do real-time language translation. “One of the surprises we got today from Google’s hardware event were a pair of bluetooth headphones called Pixel Buds. They’re wired behind the neck but they’re every bit a competitor to Apple’s AirPods. They’re $159, they’re available in November and they’ll let you understand 40 different languages. Seriously.”


Hongkiat: 30 Tools to Crop and Resize Your Images Online Without Photoshop. “Sometimes you don’t want to launch Photoshop just for a task as simple as image resizing. For that matter you can use the free online image resizing services. Some of these sites offer only resizing feature, while others go as far as customized cropping and even batch image editing functions.”


An interesting idea from Kickstarter Corner, though unfortunately it has no backers with 19 days left, so I’m not sure it’ll get off the ground: From the project’s description: “LiLGov is a project I have been working on for a year now. I want anyone to be able to search for their local government videos and find out what their representatives are saying. With LiLGov you will also be able to share specific moments of the meetings with other people on social media allowing change to happen. It is completely free and will never have ads, my goal is to make local government accessible to everyone. With your donation I will be able to improve the website and keep the website hosted for 1 year. ”

NBC Washington: ‘Griefstagram’ Shows New Way to Mourn on Social Media . “Kate George was sitting on a plane, swiping through photos on her phone of herself and her late husband when tears began to roll down her face. Only 78 days had passed since he died at age 32. As George wept on a crowded plane this March, she did something she had never done before: She took a photo of herself crying.”

New York Times: Google’s New Gadgets Come With a Big Helping of A.I.. “Google’s unveiling of new smartphones, smart speakers and other gadgets had all the makings of a typical technology product launch: a fawning crowd of superfans, skeptical journalists, slick product videos, not-so-subtle jabs at the competition, and overly romanticized descriptions of design choices, colors and materials. But one nagging question lingered for Google, which makes nearly all of its money from selling online advertisements: Is it finally serious about making devices?” Good morning, Internet…

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