1918 Pandemic Deaths, Coral Spawning, Swansea Air Raids, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 16, 2021


The Daily Universe: Database of 1918 pandemic deaths inspires answers for the future. “[Brigham Young University] researchers are using a database of 1918 influenza deaths to draw lessons from the past and make informed decisions going forward. The university’s Family History Technology Lab teamed up with FamilySearch to create this online interactive database. Researchers used machine learning (the same technology used in self-driving cars) to read death certificates.”

EurekAlert: Forty years of coral spawning captured in one place for the first time. “Led by researchers at Newcastle University, UK, and James Cook University, Australia, the Coral Spawning Database (CSD) for the first time collates vital information about the timing and geographical variation of coral spawning. This was a huge international effort that includes over 90 authors from 60 institutions in 20 countries.”

BBC: Swansea unveils digital Blitz archive for anniversary. “Digital archive footage will be seen for the first time in commemoration of 80 years since the Blitz. The three-night raid on Swansea in 1941 killed 230 people, injured almost 400 and left the city centre in ruins. Among the commemorations, an index of Swansea civilians who died in World War Two, called Civilian War Dead, will be digitised for the first time.”


New York Times: TikTok Stars and Social Media Creators Can Now Join Hollywood’s Top Union. “The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has approved an ‘influencer agreement’ that expands coverage and membership options to online content creators. (The term influencer is interchangeable with creator or content creator.) The terms will apply to individuals who are paid to advertise products on social media platforms.”

Prestige: “Borders keep us divided; stories keep us united,” says Ahsun Zafar, the man behind Instagram’s @brownhistory. “Two years and 1,381 posts later, Instagram handle Brown History has a loyal readership of over 400k, along with a podcast featuring interviews and talks with historians, authors, cultural experts, and artists. Started by Ahsun Zafar, an electrical engineer in Canada, Brown History is a digital archive exhibiting anecdotes focused on South Asians from all over the world.”

Wired: An Artist Used 99 Phones to Fake a Google Maps Traffic Jam. “ALMOST THREE YEARS ago, artist Simon Weckert noticed something unusual at a May Day demonstration in Berlin: Google Maps showed there was a massive traffic jam, even though there were zero cars on the road. Soon enough, Weckert realized that it was the mass of people, or more specifically their smartphones, that had inadvertently tricked Google into seeing gridlock on an empty street. And then he decided to do it himself.”


Politico: Poland’s ‘anti-censorship’ social media platform gets off to rough start. “A Polish attempt to create a pro-government version of Facebook — but without any of the content moderation — got off to a troubled start [in late January] as critics pointed out numerous bugs that could leak data and expose users’ identity. The platform, known as Albicla — an acronym for the Polish phrase ‘Let all be clear’ — was created by a pro-government journalist in the wake of Donald Trump’s ouster from Twitter and promises a haven from “censorship” on mainstream social media platforms.”

Library of Congress: The Lifecycle of Copyright: 1925 Works Enter the Public Domain. “The year 2021 brings a treasure trove of 1925 works into the public domain. Indeed, the BBC has asked whether 1925 might have been ‘The Greatest Year for Books Ever?’ Following are some of the highlights from 1925. There are also innumerable other works from 1925 worth discovering—such as Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and In the American Grain by William Carlos Williams.”


TechCrunch: Inspirit launches to bring Minecraft creativity to biology class. “The virtual science platform lets students and teachers create and experience STEM simulations, from DNA replication to projectile motion experiments. Similar to how Minecraft empowers users to create their own worlds, Inspirit wants to empower users to low-code their way into personalized science experiments and learning worlds. The core technology is a 3D platform built atop Unity, a game engine used for editing games and creating interactive content.”

News-Medical: New consortium aims to establish the biggest pathology data to advance artificial intelligence. “To take AI development in pathology to the next level, a European consortium combining leading European research centers, hospitals as well as major pharmaceutical industries, is going to develop a repository for the sharing of pathology data. The 6-year, €70 million projects called BIGPICTURE, will herald a new era in pathology.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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