Mongolian-Language Search Engine, Public Domain Works, Audio Files to Text, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, January 1, 2019


Ecns: China’s first Mongolian language search engine begins operation. “Northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region launched China’s first Mongolian language search engine Friday, according to the region’s ethnic affairs committee.”

Slate: Art From 1923 Is About to Enter the Public Domain. According to Critics From 1923, Here’s the Worst of It. “The vast majority of art created in 1923 was terrible, just like any other year, and some of it should probably be left right where it is. To find out which newly-public-domain works from 1923 will benefit the public the least, we consulted with the people who know the art of 1923 best: Critics from 1923.”


MakeTechEasier: Five Ways to Easily Convert Audio Files to Text. “There are so many uses out there for text-to-speech software as well as speech-to-text software. Whether you want to narrate stories, give dictation or use voice search, these apps help you do a good job. However, there are times when you need to convert an audio file to text. For example, it could be about documenting text notes of an interview or transcribing a video for uploading on YouTube. Here are a few options to help you achieve audio-to-text conversion in quick and easy steps.”

Mashable: 4 free sites for creating your own comics. “In the days of cold, hard newsprint, only people who could draw were successful comic strip authors. In some cases, this resulted in comic strips that had very nice pictures, but weren’t all that funny (cough, Blondie). Thankfully, the internet has taught us not to accept an inferior form of comic artistry, but a more flexible one.”


Washington Post: 2018 was the year of online hate. Meet the people whose lives it changed.. “It cost a school-shooting victim the safety of home. It cost an athlete the joy of a victory. It cost the family of a gay teen a battle with their community. In 2018, online hate spiraled into an unavoidable force in American life. A staggering wave of threats, bigotry and rage came out of the dark and onto the apps and websites we use every day. It transformed the Internet’s great power to connect into a weapon.”

Engadget: Bangladesh shuts off mobile internet ahead of election. “The Bangladeshi government isn’t just counting on Facebook and Twitter crackdowns to protect its December 30th parliamentary election. The country’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has shut down 3G and 4G mobile data to ‘prevent rumors and propaganda’ from skewing the vote. The measure took effect immediately and was poised to last through the end of election day.”

New York Times: Facebook Data Scandals Stoke Criticism That a Privacy Watchdog Too Rarely Bites. “Last spring, soon after Facebook acknowledged that the data of tens of millions of its users had improperly been obtained by the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, a top enforcement official at the Federal Trade Commission drafted a memo about the prospect of disciplining the social network. Lawmakers, consumer advocates and even former commission officials were clamoring for tough action against Facebook, arguing that it had violated an earlier F.T.C. consent decree barring it from misleading users about how their information was shared. But the enforcement official, James A. Kohm, took a different view.”

Ars Technica: Book tells the inside story of how Reddit came to be the Internet’s “id”. “Entrepreneurs Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman famously founded Reddit as college roommates in 2005. Tech journalist Christine Lagorio-Chafkin’s recent book, We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet’s Culture Laboratory, follows their sometimes rocky relationship as Reddit grew from a simple, user-directed front page for the Internet, to a scandal-rocked dominating force in online culture.”


Phys .org: Austria to press ahead with digital tax: chancellor . “Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz vowed Saturday to press ahead with a tax on large internet and technology companies, following France’s example, as the European Union struggles to finalise a new EU-wide levy.”

BetaNews: Major US newspapers hit by cyberattack, disrupting printing and distribution. “A number of major US newspapers — including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal and New York Times — have been hit by a cyberattack that is said to originate from another country.”


Quartz: Facebook has been thinking about moderation all wrong. “With 2.3 billion monthly users, Facebook constitutes the world’s biggest single entity—larger than the population of China and the total number of Christians. But China and Christianity are different from Facebookbecause their members have a sense of shared identity. And Facebook’s deficiencies on this point are directly linked to its failure to ethically moderate content on its platform.”

Wired: Going Dumb: My Year With a Flip Phone. “We are the first generation of cyborgs, and our soft, slack bodies are rejecting the foreign technology. You can feel the invasion, a monstrous new lifeforce-leeching limb—the glass plus silicon multiplied by cloudmagic that equals the thousand-dollar device sitting pretty in your pocket. Everything else, even the internet, is subservient; the smartphone is the augmentation, the transformation. At this point, so integrated into our consciousness, can it even be hacked off? We can numb ourselves and self-medicate, ‘go offline’ for a time, but can we, like a trapped adventurer, self-amputate? I woke up one clear Saturday morning in January and thought: Well, can’t hurt to try.” Good morning, Internet…

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