Peninsular India Plants, Ev Williams, YouTube Videos, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 25, 2019


Indian Institute of Science: Launch of the ‘Digital Flora of Peninsular India’. “As you may be aware, the Centre for Ecological Sciences at IISc has a herbarium with a large collection of over 16000 species of plants from Karnataka, Western and Eastern Ghats and other parts of peninsular India. Over the past twelve years, Prof. Sankara Rao, a retired professor from the Biochemistry department of IISc and an expert botanist, and his small team of volunteers, have been digitizing the entire collection and produced a Digital Flora of Karnataka that is freely available online.” It looks like the collection officially launches March 2. The page I’m linking to has a really good PDF brochure with an overview of the new project.


Engadget: Twitter co-founder Ev Williams bids the company’s board farewell . “Twitter co-founder and former CEO Ev Williams has stepped down from the social network’s board of directors. He didn’t really give an explanation other than saying that he’s doing so to be able to ‘focus on some other things.’ ”


MakeUseOf: Share YouTube Videos Quickly With These 5 Minimal Tools. “YouTube has one-third of the internet in its claws. More than 1.9 billion people enjoy YouTube every month. You can bet that translates to a lot of watched videos. But how does the world share YouTube videos? Maybe you do it from your mobile or use Facebook. It does matter because there are several ways to share YouTube videos. Some are more efficient than others. Let’s look at five quick techniques to share YouTube videos and enjoy them with our friends.”

ReviewGeek: Google Drive Has Quietly Become One of the Best Backup Options Around. “Google Drive, compared to the attention services like Dropbox and iCloud get, seems to just sit out in the wings hardly looked at. But, much to my surprise, it’s a fantastic service with flexible backup options. About six months ago I started looking for a backup service. Not just any old cloud storage service: one that could store the weekly backups from my massive desktop PC, holding a decade’s worth of photos, documents, videos, and even more exotic, larger files like virtual machines.”


Gizmodo: How an Investigation of Fake FCC Comments Snared a Prominent D.C. Media Firm . “Millions of records that the FCC’s top lawyer once fought to hold back from state law enforcement officials now serve as key evidence in a year-long probe into cases of Americans being impersonated during the agency’s latest net neutrality proceeding. Analysis of the data would lead investigators last fall to consider, as one of many potential sources of fraud, the owner of an influential Washington, D.C., newspaper, whose advocacy business may have served as a pipeline for one of the most notorious of all fake comments.”

Chronicle of Higher Education: Every Sunday, These Historians Go to the Movies — All in the Name of Digital Community. “Have you ever, while watching the movie Julie & Julia, drawn comparisons between Julia Child’s struggle to find the right publisher and the mercurial marketplace of academic publishing? You probably haven’t. But historians have.”


Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe: Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina to develop digital archive of evidence brought in war crimes cases. “The Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bruce G. Berton, the President of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) of BiH, Milan Tegeltija, and the Chief Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, Gordana Tadić, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support the development of a digital archive of all evidence pertaining to war crimes cases in the possession of the BiH Prosecutor’s Office.”

CNBC: Facebook reportedly gets deeply personal info, such as ovulation times and heart rate, from some apps. “Facebook receives highly personal information from apps that track your health and help you find a new home, testing by The Wall Street Journal found. Facebook can receive this data from certain apps even if the user does not have a Facebook account, according to the Journal.”


VentureBeat: AI extracts speech bubbles from comic strips. “Segmentation — partitioning an image or scan into multiple segments, or sets of pixels — is a task at which artificial intelligence (AI) excels. Case in point: Researchers at Google parent company Alphabet’s DeepMind recently revealed in an academic paper that they’d developed a system capable of segmenting CT scans with ‘near-human performance.’ Now, scientists at the University of Potsdam in Germany have developed an AI segmentation tool for a slightly more cartoony medium: comics.”

New York Times: Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain. “I’ve been a heavy phone user for my entire adult life. But sometime last year, I crossed the invisible line into problem territory. My symptoms were all the typical ones: I found myself incapable of reading books, watching full-length movies or having long uninterrupted conversations. Social media made me angry and anxious, and even the digital spaces I once found soothing (group texts, podcasts, YouTube k-holes) weren’t helping. I tried various tricks to curb my usage, like deleting Twitter every weekend, turning my screen grayscale and installing app-blockers. But I always relapsed.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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