Wooden San Francisco, Scratch 3.0, Microsoft, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, January 4, 2019


David Rumsey Map Collection: 1940 WPA San Francisco Model 42×38 ft Now Online. “For the first time since 1942, the entire immense 42 by 38 foot WPA built San Francisco Model can be seen assembled virtually. Digitally knitting together all 158 separate pieces with over 6,000 blocks gives the viewer a sense of the extraordinary accomplishment the model represents. Recently recovered after decades of dusty storage, the model has been cleaned and photographed by a dedicated team of individuals as part of the SFMOMA and San Francisco Public Library project called Public Knowledge: Take Part. ” The pictures just in this blog post are outstanding.


TechCrunch: Scratch 3.0 is now available . “The only kids programming language worth using, Scratch, just celebrated the launch of Scratch 3.0, an update that adds some interesting new functionality to the powerful open source tool. Scratch, for those without school aged children, is a block-based programming language that lets you make little games and ‘cartoons’ with sprites and animated figures. The system is surprisingly complex and kids have created things like Minecraft platformers, fun arcade games, and whatever this is.”

ZDNet: Microsoft is privately testing ‘Bali,’ a way to give users control of data collected about them. “Microsoft is working on a project codenamed ‘Bali,’ which is designed to give users control of data collected about them. The project is a Microsoft Research incubation effort and seems to be in private testing at this stage.”

Tubefilter: YouTube To Stream Coachella For Ninth Year, Will Vend Tickets To YouTube Music Subscribers. “For the ninth year running, YouTube will serve as the exclusive livestreaming partner for Coachella — the California music festival set to be headlined this April by Ariana Grande.”


Boing Boing: Create and print your own perfectly-gridded paper. “Rostislav Blaha created gridzzly, a simple single-page website where you pick the type of grid you want (lines, square, triangle, hex, dotted), set the size of the grid units and the weight of the line, then hit print.”

The Verge: Track the colors of your 2018 Instagram photos with this new web app. “If sharing your top nine most popular photos wasn’t enough, now you can look back on the colors of your year with a new web app that creates a mosaic out of the colors in your Instagram photos. The app, Year of Colour, takes your snapshots of events and moments and distills them into an abstract time capsule of colored dots.”


Naked Security: Warn your friends they can’t bypass Facebook with this hoax. “Sorry to say, but 2019 has not ushered in new ‘tips to bypass FB’ as it supposedly limits posts on your news feed. Nor has Facebook ushered in a new algorithm that ‘chooses the same few people – about 25 – who will read your posts’, at least not that we’ve heard.”

The Guardian: Memes, technology and sci-fi: what to expect from art in the US in 2019. “With our dependency on smartphones, our Netflix addictions and with almost half the country on dating apps, our devices are becoming dangerously inseparable from our everyday lives. From surveillance to selfie vanity and memes, a series of technology-themed exhibits are coming to the US next year, which trace the evolution of photography, show the roots of social media and share how technology can actually be a force for good.”


Techdirt: EU’s First Attempt At Building A List Of Evil Pirate Sites… Lists Non-Infringing Sites. “In mid-January, the EU is hoping to finalize the EU Copyright Directive, including Article 13, which will effectively create mandatory copyright filters for many internet websites (while, laughably, insisting it creates no such burden — but leaving no other option for most sites). One of the key arguments being made by supporters of Article 13 is that it’s crazy to think that this law will be used to block legitimate content. This is pretty silly, considering how frequently we write about bogus DMCA takedowns. As if trying to prove just how bad they are at properly classifying infringing content, the EU recently released its ‘Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List’, which is a sort of EU version of the USTR’s ‘notorious markets’ list.”


Dartmouth Digital Commons: Tarsier Goggles: a virtual reality tool for experiencing the optics of a dark-adapted primate visual system . “Tarsier Goggles is a virtual reality (VR) project that allows everyone to experience how a tarsier might see. It serves as a tool to engage in hands-on scientific concepts in optics, perceptual science, and evolutionary biology, and also challenges our own thinking about our environment. The experience is self-guided and allows users to toggle between human and tarsier in order to explore different realistic environments with both sets of eyes. Built in Unity3D with SteamVR for the HTC Vive Pro. For various functionalities like teleportation, splash screens, and tooltips for our tutorial, we use Virtual Reality Toolkit (VRTK), an open source library.” Tarsiers are those primates with enormous eyes. MNN has a good overview.

Arizona State University: Inspiring sustainability action through virtual field trips. “Arizona State University sustainability scientists Rimjhim Aggarwal and Ariel Anbar were recently awarded a Grand Challenges Explorations grant, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This grant enables the professors to pilot a project that will train students to create virtual field trips as a way to narrate their own place-based stories regarding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and share with peers globally to motivate youth action.”

Caltech: Q&A: Creating a “Virtual Seismologist” . “A promising new collaboration between Caltech seismologists and computer scientists using artificial intelligence (AI)—computer systems capable of learning and performing tasks that previously required humans—aims to improve the automated processes that identify earthquake waves and assess the strength, speed, and direction of shaking in real time. The collaboration includes researchers from the divisions of Geological and Planetary Sciences and Engineering and Applied Science, and is part of Caltech’s AI4Science Initiative to apply AI to the big-data problems faced by scientists throughout the Institute.” Good morning, Internet…

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