Word of the Year, Gmail, Google BERT, More: Rescheduled Wednesday Evening ResearchBuzz, December 11, 2019

This was supposed to be Wednesday Evening ResearchBuzz before the Internet was out most of the day.


Merriam-Webster: Merriam-Webster’s Words of the Year 2019. “Our Word of the Year for 2019 is they. It reflects a surprising fact: even a basic term—a personal pronoun—can rise to the top of our data. Although our lookups are often driven by events in the news, the dictionary is also a primary resource for information about language itself, and the shifting use of they has been the subject of increasing study and commentary in recent years. Lookups for they increased by 313% in 2019 over the previous year.”

Digital Trends: Gmail now lets you easily attach emails to emails. “Google is simplifying email attachments on Gmail. The company is rolling out an update for its email service that will allow you to easily attach emails … to emails. The feature, Google hopes, will eliminate the need for you to constantly forward messages which often leads to messy email chains that are hard to keep track of.”

Search Engine Journal: Google’s BERT Rolls Out Worldwide. “Google announced via Twitter that their BERT algorithm is now rolling out worldwide. BERT will enable Google to better understand search queries.”


USA Today: Your data has been sold to websites like MyLife and WhitePages. Here’s how to remove it . “Here’s the deal: States sell their data to brokers, who in turn feed court and criminal records, housing information, automobile details and more to these websites for a fee. You never asked for your real estate prices to be posted online, your address, age or other personal details, but they are there. The good news: Most of the sites will let you remove the data through an opt-out click, although it’s not easy.”

How-To Geek: How to Use the AND and OR Functions in Google Sheets. “If you’ve ever wanted to check whether data from your Google Sheets spreadsheet meets certain criteria, you can use AND and OR. These logical functions give you TRUE and FALSE responses, which you can use to sort through your data.” Decent overview for beginners, not too deep.

Lifehacker: Auto-Delete Your Firefox Browsing History With History Cleaner. “Strangely, for all its privacy-minded features, Firefox can’t auto-delete your just your browsing history by default. Instead, users will have to turn to third-party browser add-ons in order to set automatic deletion timers on their browsing history, such as History Cleaner.”


Wired: A Remote Tanzanian Village Logs Onto the Internet. “Over a week, engineers from Copenhagen-based company Bluetown erected an 80-foot Wi-Fi tower topped with shiny solar panels and a microwave link antenna. It connected to a fiber backhaul 15 miles away, creating a half-mile-wide hot spot with download speeds up to 10 Mbps—fast enough for Netflix. Villagers rented smartphones from the company and paid 50 cents per gigabyte for the data they used, just over 1 percent of the average monthly income. And just like that, life began to change.”

OpenSource: LibreCorps mentors humanitarian startups on how to run the open source way. “Free and open source software are no longer workplace taboos, at least not in the same way they were fifteen years ago. Today, distributed collaboration platforms and tools empower people around the world to contribute code, documentation, design, leadership, and other skills to open source projects. But do newcomers actually have a deep understanding of free and open source software?”


Reuters: CORRECTED-Australia to develop code of conduct for likes of Facebook and Google. “Australia said on Thursday its competition regulator will develop a voluntary code of conduct governing bargaining power concerns between digital platforms and media businesses.”


Western Carolina University: Graduate student working to translate Cherokee language from native newspaper. “Constance Owl’s master’s degree thesis is more than a means to a graduate degree in American history. It’s a portal to understanding, and perhaps saving, a disappearing language. Owl, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians who grew up in Cherokee County, is a second-year graduate student at Western Carolina University. She is working with local Cherokee language speakers, Tom Belt and Wiggins Blackfox, to translate portions of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper, published from about 1828 to 1834 by Elias Boudinot, a formally educated Cherokee.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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