World Climate Policy, American Sign Language, Android, More: Wednesday ResearchBuzz, March 24, 2021


Cornell Daily Sun: Global Student Policy Alliance Creates Climate Policy Database. “Students from four universities — including Cornell — and two countries have worked to compile a comprehensive database of climate policy initiatives from the 193 member states of the United Nations. These students comprise the Global Student Policy Alliance, a transatlantic association of think tanks based at Cornell, the University of Chicago, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Cambridge. The group of about 30 students met over a planning period this summer to divide up the research as they explored different countries’ policies.”

Boston University: World’s Largest American Sign Language Database Makes ASL Even More Accessible. “The words ‘joke’ and ‘ruin’ might not rhyme in English. But, thanks to a new, interactive database of American Sign Language (ASL), called ASL-LEX 2.0, we can now see that these two words do in fact rhyme in ASL….Since launching in February 2021, in conjunction with a published paper highlighting the ways the database has expanded, ASL-LEX 2.0—now the largest interactive ASL database in the world—makes learning about the fundamentals of ASL easier and more accessible.”


CTV News: Google fixes issue causing Android apps to crash. “After hundreds of Android users reported sudden app crashes on Monday, Google has released an update to the operating system.”

Reuters: Google signs deals with Italian publishers for content on News Showcase. “Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday it had sealed agreements with various Italian publishers to offer access to some of their content on the U.S. tech giant’s Showcase news platform. Google News Showcase is a global vehicle to pay news publishers for their content online and a new service that would allow partnering publishers to curate content and provide limited access to paywalled stories for users.”


MakeUseOf: How to Maximize Your Instagram Exposure in 2021. “Over the past few years, Instagram has introduced various exciting new features. In the process, the platform has expanded beyond a place to solely share quick snaps taken on your phone. Thanks to these new features, users now have more options for increasing their exposure. Are you looking to grow your profile and connect with more like-minded people? Here are some tips for maximizing your Instagram visibility in 2021…”


ZDNet: Is ad-free Gravvity a ‘healthier’ social media app?. “Toronto-based social media company Gravvity is about to release an app that aims to address the flaws in the current social media platforms to give them a healthier and happier news feed. The app has moved away from ego-stroking likes and follower counts and is focusing instead on its users’ privacy and wellness to create, as it says, a ‘healthier alternative to the current platforms.'”

Christian Science Monitor: Machines that learn: The origin story of artificial intelligence. “Lee Sedol, a world champion in the Chinese strategy board game Go, faced a new kind of adversary at a 2016 match in Seoul. Developers at DeepMind, an artificial intelligence startup acquired by Google, had fed 30 million Go moves into a deep neural network. Their creation, dubbed AlphaGo, then figured out which moves worked by playing millions of games against itself, learning at a faster rate than any human ever could. The match, which AlphaGo won 4 to 1, ‘was the moment when the new movement in artificial intelligence exploded into the public consciousness,’ technology journalist Cade Metz writes in his engaging new book, ‘Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought AI to Google, Facebook, and the World.'”


Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Gov. Spencer Cox vetoes controversial social media legislation. “[Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork]’s bill was rather milquetoast in comparison to other measures under consideration around the country. His proposal required social media companies to define how they moderate content and inform Utah users when their posts ran afoul of those policies. The proposal also mandated that those companies must provide an appeals process for users, and imposed a $1,000 fine per instance if the Utah attorney general decided to take action against those companies.”

Ars Technica: “Expert” hackers used 11 0-days to infect Windows, iOS, and Android users. “A team of advanced hackers exploited no fewer than 11 zero-day vulnerabilities in a nine-month campaign that used compromised websites to infect fully patched devices running Windows, iOS, and Android, a Google researcher said.”

New York Times: What a Gambling App Knows About You. “When Gregg finally stopped gambling in late 2018, he was in a dire financial position. He had lost nearly $15,000 during a nine-month betting binge, on top of two outstanding loans totaling more than $70,000 and a mortgage of more than $150,000 on his small home in Britain. Now he is on a hunt to know whether his favorite gambling app, Sky Bet, knew about his problems and still tried to hook him.”


The Conversation: Too much social media can be harmful, but it’s not addictive like drugs. “As researchers in social media and addiction, we have spent the last 25 years understanding different kinds of addiction. Our research tells us that social media addiction is not the same as an addiction to substances, like alcohol and other drugs.”

Cal Poly Pomona: Signs of Habitability in Venus’ Clouds Found Using 1978 Probe Data. “Signs of biologically relevant chemicals, including phosphine, have been found in the clouds of Venus by a team led by Rakesh Mogul, professor of biological chemistry at Cal Poly Pomona. The data was discovered in archived data from NASA’s Pioneer Venus Multiprobe, which arrived at Venus and collected data almost 42 years ago.” We stan archived data. Good morning, Internet…

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