Forest Symbiosis, Instagram, Space Launches, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, May 18, 2019


Purdue University: Nature paper offers global map to understand changing forests. “An international collaboration of hundreds of scientists – led in part by the Forest Advanced Computing and Artificial Intelligence (FACAI) Laboratory in Purdue’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources – has developed the world’s first global map of tree symbioses. The map is key to understanding how forests are changing and the role climate plays in these shifts.”


KnowTechie: Instagram is shutting down its dedicated Direct messaging app you probably forgot about. “If you’re one of the many people who rely on Instagram’s standalone app for direct messages, we have some bad news – the company is shutting it down in the coming month. This was first spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra who confirmed the upcoming closure on Twitter.”


The Verge: How to watch space launches as they happen. “Most of us aren’t aware of how many launches take place each year. Besides flights to and from the International Space Station (ISS), there are satellites being sent into orbit, exploratory craft, and new technologies being tested. And because current technologies allow us to view the process to a greater extent than ever before (with more actual footage and less reliance on animation), it is even more interesting to watch than it was a generation ago.”

Australian Network on Disability: How to write more accessible social media posts. “In this article, we’ll focus on how you can make your posts more accessible on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We haven’t focused on the accessibility of the platforms themselves; we know that all these platforms are actively working to make the experience more accessible for people with disability. We’ve focused on the steps you can take to ensure people experiencing ongoing, temporary or situational impairment or disability can read your posts and engage with you on their social media platform of choice.” Fairly in-depth, with lots of resources listed. Well done.


San Francisco Chronicle: Up your selfie game at Cantor Arts Center’s new Instagram-ready sculpture garden. “The life-size bronze sculpture of St. Katharina painted Stanford Cardinal red stands ready to go viral on Instagram, and that’s the point. ‘We are trying to make this a 21st century museum so that we can connect with our 21st century audiences,’ says Susan Dackerman, who was hired in 2017 as director of the Cantor Arts Center.”

CNET: How families are giving a fantastic trip to loved ones in hospice. “VR may get a bad rap as a once-hot tech trend that failed to live up to expectations, but companies haven’t given up on it. Facebook last month released the $400 Oculus Quest, which CNET editor Scott Stein called the best thing he’s tried this year. And virtual reality has made headway outside of the consumer world. For example, using VR for hospice care — as a way to bring a larger world to people who’ve found themselves limited to a room, or just a bed — is beginning to catch on with care providers. ”

The Hindu: Oncologists warn against misleading ‘miracle’ treatments on social media. “Indian oncologists are increasingly battling unscientific miracle treatments for cancer shared widely on social media. On Thursday, Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), the country’s premier cancer institute, issued a rebuttal on a strange cancer remedy attributed to them in a widely circulated WhatsApp message, which stated that hot coconut water can destroy cancer cells of all types.”


Ars Technica: Hackers abuse ASUS cloud service to install backdoor on users’ PCs. “ASUS’ update mechanism has once again been abused to install malware that backdoors PCs, researchers from Eset reported earlier this week.”

Vice: Justin Trudeau Announces Plans to Fine Social Media Companies for Fake News. “Canada is introducing a digital charter that will impose ‘meaningful financial consequences’ on tech companies if they don’t reign in misinformation on their platforms, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday.”


Microsoft: Meet the world’s first AI-created whisky. “Together with Finnish tech company Fourkind and Microsoft, Mackmyra is creating the world’s first whisky developed with artificial intelligence (AI). In an industry synonymous with deep-rooted tradition, human expertise and craftsmanship, what happens when 1,000-year-old techniques meet advanced 21st century technology?” Good afternoon, Internet…

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