afternoonbuzz

Georgia Birding, Italy Energy Industry, Google Rivet, More: Sunday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, September 27, 2020

NEW RESOURCES

Savannah Business Journal: DNR launches updated Georgia Birding & Wildlife Trails website. “The Georgia Birding and Wildlife Trails website introduces each trail site with access tips, a map, a list of amenities, wildlife highlights and a link to eBird hotspots. Wildlife viewing resources include a printable species checklist with seasonality data, as well as information on birding basics, Georgia Audubon chapters, citizen science projects, bird curricula and conservation organizations. A new program logo showcases the great blue heron, a familiar species found throughout the state.”

Think GeoEnergy: ENEL opens a treasure trove of digital assets among them fantastic historical geothermal pictures. “Enel launches a website with an absolutely stunning treasure trove of assets with thousands of documents, photographs, films, technical drawings, books, magazines that tell the birth and development of the electricity industry in Italy. Absolutely stunning assets particularly for the early days of geothermal energy in Italy.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

9to5Google: Google is shutting down Area 120’s popular ‘Rivet’ kids reading app. “Google’s Area 120 incubator launched an app called Rivet in beta in 2018 as a ‘fun and supportive reading app for kids.’ It finally exited beta on Android and iOS in May of 2019, and in its time has grown to be one of the most beloved teach-your-kids-to-read apps on the Play Store. Now Google says that it’s shutting the app down.”

CNET: New Twitter prompt gets users to read news before retweeting it, says firm. “After rolling out a test in June that prompts users to consider reading an article before retweeting it, Twitter says the company has seen ‘more reading’ and ‘more informed tweeting.’ In fact, people open articles 40% more often after seeing the prompt, the social media giant says, and the amount of people opening articles before retweeting went up by 33%. ”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The Verge: Telepath is a buzzy new social network trying to fix what’s broken on Twitter. “The app, which like Clubhouse is available only in private beta and requires an invitation to use, resembles a hybrid of Twitter and Reddit. As on Twitter, the app opens to a central scrolling feed of updates from people and topics that you follow. And as on Reddit, every post must be created within a group, which Telepath calls a ‘network.’ But what stands out about Telepath is its approach to moderation — which is both more aggressive and more constructive than any I have ever seen in a venture-backed social app at this stage of development.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Wall Street Journal (unpaywalled for me): Google Will Be Hard Habit to Break. “The Justice Department has been meeting in recent days with state attorneys general to map out a course for pursuing an antitrust case against the internet-search company owned by Alphabet Inc. The outcome remains highly uncertain given the charged political environment. The Wall Street Journal reports that not everyone is on board with the speed at which U.S. Attorney General William Barr wants to move.”

Montana State University: MSU Extension, Montana Legal Services announce do-it-yourself Will-in-a-Box for tribal communities. “A new online program featured on the Montana State University Extension website aims to provide free help for Native Americans looking to write an Indian will. The program, called Will-in-a-Box, is the result of a partnership between the Montana Legal Services Association and the Indian Land Tenure Foundation. It is featured on Extension’s website on planning for the passing reservation lands to future generations, which explains major sections of the American Indian Probate Reform Act.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Slate: Under the Gaze of Big Mother. “An artificial intelligence that can truly understand our behavior will be no better than us at dealing with humanity’s challenges. It’s not God in the machine. It’s just another flawed entity, doing its best with a given set of goals and circumstances. Right now we treat A.I.s like children, teaching them right from wrong. It could be that one day they’ll leapfrog us, and the children will become the parents. Most likely, our relationship with them will be as fraught as any intergenerational one. But what happens if parents never age, never grow senile, and never make room for new life? No matter how benevolent the caretaker, won’t that create a stagnant society?”

KDKA: Mental Health Experts Warn About Dangers Of ‘Doomscrolling’. “Experts say spending too much time on social media can be damaging to your mental health, especially when consuming too much negative news.”

EurekAlert: Machine learning takes on synthetic biology: algorithms can bioengineer cells for you. “…scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new tool that adapts machine learning algorithms to the needs of synthetic biology to guide development systematically. The innovation means scientists will not have to spend years developing a meticulous understanding of each part of a cell and what it does in order to manipulate it; instead, with a limited set of training data, the algorithms are able to predict how changes in a cell’s DNA or biochemistry will affect its behavior, then make recommendations for the next engineering cycle along with probabilistic predictions for attaining the desired goal.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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