Indian Railways, Indigenous Athletes, Russian Synths, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, September 28, 2018


Google Blog: Next Junction: Explore Indian Railways with Google Arts & Culture. “Over 151,000 kilometres of track, 7,000 stations, 1.3 million employees and 160 years of history. Indian Railways is one of the most celebrated railway networks in the world. A few months ago, we celebrated the 400th Indian train station connecting to the internet with Google Station, our public Wi-Fi program. Today, we’re bringing Indian Railways’ heritage and sights to the entire world. The most gorgeous architecture, iconic trains and charismatic personalities of Indian Railways can now be found on Google Arts & Culture.”

CBC News: UWindsor professor compiles Indigenous athlete database to celebrate achievements. “Recalling the names of Canadian athletes may be easy for some, but what about Canadian Indigenous athletes? A Kinesiology professor at the University Windsor has compiled a database of 173 elite Indigenous athletes and will be presenting the work at a symposium this weekend.”

New-to-me, from Electronic Beats: Explore This Online Museum Of Obscure Russian Synthesizers. “Over the course of the 20th century, Soviet Russia developed a huge collection of synths, drum machines, keyboards, organs and toy music boxes that were incredibly different from the synths that proliferated in Western markets. Many of these instruments, like the Ekvodin and the Polivoks, had strange, inventive designs and sounded downright weird to Western ears.”


PRWeb: The Arch Mission Foundation Announces Digital Data Stored in DNA Added to Lunar Library™, Creating Groundbreaking Archive of Knowledge on the Moon (PRESS RELEASE). “The Arch Mission Foundation today announced the creation of an archive of knowledge encoded into synthetic DNA by Microsoft, Twist Bioscience Corporation, and the University of Washington to be included in the Lunar Library™. The DNA Archive will feature 10,000 crowdsourced images and the full text of 20 important books, among other items. The data is encoded into billions of synthetic DNA molecules and encapsulated for long-term preservation. Collectively this data will represent the first Special Collection of the Lunar Library, which the Arch Mission Foundation announced last spring.”

Neowin: Canonical releases Ubuntu 18.10 ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ beta ISOs. “Canonical has announced the availability of the Ubuntu 18.10 ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ beta ISOs. The firm has announced the availability of the beta for Ubuntu Desktop, Server, and Cloud as well as Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, and Xubuntu.”


Fast. ai: AI Ethics Resources. “My newest Ask-A-Data-Scientist post was inspired by a computer science student who wrote in asking for advice on how to pursue a career in policy making related to the societal impacts of AI. I realized that there are many great resources out there, and I wanted to compile a list of links all in one place.”


San Francisco State University: New grant aims to flip stereotypes about scientists, one story at a time. “Reading through her middle schooler’s science homework one day, Kimberly Tanner noticed a glaring absence: examples of women and people of color doing science. Two years later, Tanner is part of a collaborative project to diversify the scientists featured in middle and high school science lessons, funded by a $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health….Over the next two years, students at San Francisco State and Foothill College will create hundreds of ‘Scientist Spotlights’ — short science assignments that highlight currently practicing scientists from a variety of backgrounds. Since the spotlights also teach important course concepts, teachers can use them in their own curricula as homework assignments or replacements for textbook readings.”

The Verge: Android At 10: The World’s Most Dominant Technology. “Android has taken the place in smartphones that Windows once held with desktops: dominant market share. Worldwide, IDC pegs Android’s share at about 85 percent. We can argue about regions and whether enough of those customers are willing to spend money on apps and many other things, but that number is almost too big for nuance. Android is the dominant computing platform on the planet. Not only has Android prevented some version of Windows from taking over mobile, but it has actually eclipsed Windows as the most popular operating system, period.”


TechCrunch: Russian hackers ‘Fancy Bear’ now targeting governments with rootkit malware. “Security researchers say that they have found evidence that for the first time Russia-backed hackers are now using a more sophisticated type of malware to target government entities. ESET presented its case Thursday that the hacker group, known as Fancy Bear (or APT28), is using rootkit malware to target its victims. That marks an escalation in tactics, which the researchers say the group’s hacking capabilities ‘may be even more dangerous than previously thought.'” ESET sounds like it should be an explained acronym but it’s the name of a security company.

Gizmodo Australia: Supreme Court Restricts India’s Colossal Biometric Database. “India’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the country’s sweeping biometric database does not violate privacy rights. But the panel of five judges did decide to place restrictions on the program, according to The Times of India. Under the Aadhaar system, all citizens, residents and visiting workers of India — an estimated 1.2 billion people — are virtually required to provide iris scans and fingerprints to the government so they can receive a unique 12-digit identity code.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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