afternoonbuzz

Boston Public Library, Teaching Current Events, January 6th, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, January 19, 2021

NEW RESOURCES

The Art Newspaper: From mummies to mosques—new Google Arts & Culture initiative brings Egypt’s archaeological treasures to the masses. “‘From Pharaonic tombs, to Mamluk mosques, and from Coptic monasteries to Roman villas,’ you can now take online tours of Egypt’s most important archaeological sites. The Google Arts & Culture organisation has teamed up to create the digital platform Preserving Egypt’s Layered History with archaeologists at the American Research Centre in Cairo, revealing ‘stories of the restoration of diverse locations around Egypt’.”

Universe Today: Here’s the Extremely New Website for the Extremely Large Telescope. “In the vein of ‘go big or go home,’ the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has launched a stunning new website to showcase information about — and match the scale of — its Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), the highly anticipated observatory scheduled to have first light in 2025. The new website is well-designed and contains a plethora of details and images about the new telescope, its instruments, and how it will further our knowledge of the cosmos.”

The Daily Sentinel: New site detailing Colorado state history launched. “The website… features an interactive timeline full of milestones, which users can click for more information about whichever subject is being presented. Milestones range from 1771 to 2019, covering everything from the lives of Native Americans to significant cultural and political events.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

ZDNet: DuckDuckGo surpasses 100 million daily search queries for the first time. “The achievement comes after a period of sustained growth the company has been seeing for the past two years, and especially since August 2020, when the search engine began seeing more than 2 billion search queries a month on a regular basis. The numbers are small in comparison to Google’s 5 billion daily search queries but it’s a positive sign that users are looking for alternatives.”

Reuters: U.S. Census Bureau director resigns ahead of schedule. “The U.S. Census Bureau’s embattled director on Monday announced he is resigning nearly a year ahead of schedule and will retire on Wednesday, the day Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, according to a letter on the bureau’s website.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

CNN: Facebook posts promoting violence still circulated even after insurrection. “Facebook posts promoting violence during inauguration week have circulated on the platform over the past week despite a crackdown by the social media giant since the January 6 insurrection, a tech watchdog group found.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Law Street Media: Ancestry .com Moves to Dismiss Yearbook Photo Misappropriation Suit. “On [January 4] in the Northern District of California, Ancestry.com and related entities and individuals filed a motion to dismiss the putative class action lawsuit against it claiming the company misappropriated their personal information and photographs for advertising and other promotional purposes. Ancestry claimed that this lawsuit is ‘misguided’ and should be dismissed with prejudice.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

TechCrunch: Google AI concocts ‘breakie’ and ‘cakie’ hybrid baked goods. “If, as I suspect many of you have, you have worked your way through baking every type of cookie, bread and cake under the sun over the last year, Google has a surprise for you: a pair of AI-generated hybrid treats, the ‘breakie’ and the ‘cakie.’ The origin of these new items seems to have been in a demonstration of the company’s AutoML Tables tool, a codeless model generation system that’s more spreadsheet automation than what you’d really call ‘artificial intelligence.’ But let’s not split hairs, or else we’ll never get to the recipe.”

MIT Technology Review: The year deepfakes went mainstream. “The vast majority of them are still used for fake pornography. A female investigative journalist was severely harassed and temporarily silenced by such activity, and more recently, a female poet and novelist was frightened and shamed. There’s also the risk that political deepfakes will generate convincing fake news that could wreak havoc in unstable political environments. But as the algorithms for manipulating and synthesizing media have grown more powerful, they’ve also given rise to positive applications—as well as some that are humorous or mundane. Here is a roundup of some of our favorites in a rough chronological order, and why we think they’re a sign of what’s to come.”

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

Mashable: This clever bot turns Reddit arguments into video game scenes. “On Sunday, 24-year-old software engineer Micah Price from Cape Town, South Africa, unveiled what can only be described as a niche-but-genius creation: a bot that takes everyday arguments on Reddit and has them play out in the style of scenes from Ace Attorney, Capcom’s animated courtroom-based video game series. The end result is a gloriously dramatic affair that shines a whole new spotlight on Reddit’s comment section.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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