Google Maps, IMDB, Google Cloud Platform, More: Sunday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 9, 2020


Google Blog: Google Maps is turning 15! Celebrate with a new look and features. “In 2005, we set out to map the world. Since then we’ve pushed the limits of what a map can do: from helping you easily navigate from point A to B, to helping you explore and get things done in the world. With more than 1 billion people turning to Google Maps to see and explore the world, we’re celebrating our 15th birthday with a new look and product updates based on feedback from you.” I have some thoughts about this, which I will write down if I can manage not to melt the keyboard.

Deadline: PGA Inks Deal With IMDbPro To Add Producers Mark To Database. “The mark, introduced in 2012, is given to producers who have met the PGA’s standards of performing a major portion of the producing functions on a film while serving in a decision-making capacity. The certification is used by awards organizations including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and BAFTA to help determine eligibility.” PGA in this case stands for Producers Guild of America.


Towards Data Science: How to start a Data Science Project using Google Cloud Platform. “GCP (Google Cloud Platform) is a cloud computing service offered by Google. For those of you that are not familiar with cloud service, it is basically using a network to connect to a remote machine that you rent, making computations on that machine and send back the result. It’s just like car renting.” Not for beginners.


The Guardian: Viral social media moments that deserve the Hollywood treatment. “The breakout hit at this year’s Sundance festival was Zola (pictured, above), a comic thriller about a stripper who travels to Florida for a weekend of sex and violence. Zola earned rave reviews from attendees, but the most interesting thing about it is that it was based on a Twitter thread.”

Black Enterprise: Former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns Donates $1 Million to Preserve an Oral Archive of Black History. “In honor of the preservation and legacy of black excellence, Ursula Burns, the first black woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company, donated $1 million to The HistoryMakers, a video oral history archive that collects the stories of extraordinary African Americans.”


The Register: Researchers reckon 500k PCs infested with malware after dodgy downloads install even more nasties from Bitbucket. “We don’t know who needs to hear this, but don’t download cracked commercial software. Researchers claim more than 500,000 PCs have been left wriggling with malware after a cracked app went on to retrieve further nasties from Bitbucket repos.”

Brisbane Times: Google Australia gets cash injection after tax stoush. “Google Australia has quietly received a $310 million injection of funds from its California-based parent company, a month after reaching a settlement with the Australian Tax Office. Documents lodged with the corporate regulator at the end of January show Google Australia issued 310 million new shares to Google International at a nominal price of $1 per security.”


9to5 Google: Waymo Content Search can find billions of objects encountered over 20M miles in seconds. “As of early 2020, Waymo self-driving vehicles have driven 20 million miles on public roads. That makes for vast amounts of recorded sensor data to improve the autonomous system. Waymo today detailed its Content Search tool and database with billions of encountered road objects.”

UC San Diego: Protein Data Bank Archive Adds New Coronavirus Protease Structure. “The Protein Data Bank archive, which contains more than 160,000 3D structures for proteins, DNA, and RNA, this month released a new Coronavirus protease structure following the recent coronavirus outbreak, an ongoing viral epidemic primarily affecting mainland China that now threatens to spread to populations in other parts of the world.”


AI Weirdness: AI + Vintage American cooking: a combination that cannot be unseen. “I began to wonder if I would actually be able to tell the difference between the neural net recipes and the real thing. Jello was supposed to be easy-to-prepare, after all – maybe through repetition an advanced neural net like GPT-2 would learn how to make basic jello, and then anything it would decide to chuck in there would be technically reasonable. Maybe it would even coalesce on an ideal form, one that distilled human invention down to its essentials. No, as it turns out.” Creamy biscuits filled with ALLERGY ZOMBIES!

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