Human Proteins, Magdalene Laundries, EdTech, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, July 22, 2021


The Guardian: AI firm DeepMind puts database of the building blocks of life online. “Last year the artificial intelligence group DeepMind cracked a mystery that has flummoxed scientists for decades: stripping bare the structure of proteins, the building blocks of life. Now, having amassed a database of nearly all human protein structures, the company is making the resource available online free for researchers to use.”

Galway Advertiser: NUIG law postgrads create school teaching resources on Ireland’s institutional abuses. “The resources, which were created with survivors, school teachers, pupils, activists, and artists, are designed to help secondary school teachers address the human rights violations suffered in the industrial schools, Magdalene Laundries, and mother and baby institutions. The resources are published on the ICHR and Open Heart City project websites, and will be available as a free download.”

PR Newswire: Virginia Researchers Map the “EdTech Genome:” Publish 10 Variables that Affect Effectiveness of Technology in the Classroom. (PRESS RELEASE) “Even before the pandemic, the U.S. was spending between $25 and $41 billion per year on education technology—but schools and districts make these high-stakes purchasing decisions with almost no information about which tools work where or why. As a result, approximately half of all education technology is either used ineffectively, materially underused, or unused entirely. To address this challenge, the EdTech Genome Project brought together researchers, educators, industry representatives, and policymakers to define and measure the 10 variables identified as most likely to have the greatest impact on edtech selection and implementation.”

Notre Dame News: Notre Dame launches platform for online access to library, museum holdings. “The Hesburgh Libraries and the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame have launched Marble (Museum, Archives, Rare Books and Libraries Exploration) — an online teaching and research platform designed to make distinctive cultural heritage collections from across the University accessible through a single portal…. Faculty, students and the general public can browse Marble and download select digitized materials from the Snite Museum of Art, Rare Books & Special Collections and the University Archives in a single platform — including books, manuscripts, sculptures, paintings, photographs, ephemera and more. Each item displays one or more images with descriptive information and linked metadata to view related or similar items.”


9to5 Google: Google Lens coming to desktop Chrome as new integrated image search tool. “This is a significant expansion of Google Lens. It’s already available on mobile web in Image Search, but integration with desktop Chrome is much more significant. It comes after Google added Lens to Photos on the web in April for OCR text capabilities. On Android, long-pressing on any picture in Chrome gives you a similar ‘Search with Google Lens’ option that is powered by the Google app.” It doesn’t appear that the desktop version is quite as powerful as the mobile version, but it’s more than it was.


Wall Street Journal: Investigation: How TikTok’s Algorithm Figures Out Your Deepest Desires. “A Wall Street Journal investigation found that TikTok only needs one important piece of information to figure out what you want: the amount of time you linger over a piece of content. Every second you hesitate or rewatch, the app is tracking you.”


The Verge: Here’s how to check your phone for Pegasus spyware using Amnesty’s tool. “Amnesty International — part of the group that helped break the news of journalists and heads of state being targeted by NSO’s government-grade spyware, Pegasus — has released a tool to check if your phone has been affected. Alongside the tool is a great set of instructions, which should help you through the somewhat technical checking process. Using the tool involves backing up your phone to a separate computer and running a check on that backup. Read on if you’ve been side-eyeing your phone since the news broke and are looking for guidance on using Amnesty’s tool.” The process is fairly involved; folks without a lot of tech chops will need some help.

WQP: Test Your Well Water Act Introduced. “The Test Your Well Water Act was introduced July 20 by Rep. Mike Gallagher, Reps. Dan Kildee, Antonio Delgado, Elissa Slotkin, and Ron Kind. According to Congressman Mike Gallagher’s website, the bipartisan legislation would create an online tool on the U.S. EPA’s website for Americans with a private well to find resources to test their drinking water and understand the results. The tool aims to promote transparency and modernize access to EPA resources in an effort to educate Americans about their drinking water.”


GeekWire: Interactive new tool using satellites and AI creates more precise wildfire maps for public, firefighters. “The RADRFIRE tool uses infrared satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to create detailed wildfire maps to track and forecast fires. It was developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Eastern Washington, in consultation with numerous agencies responsible for battling the fires — a job that keeps getting harder with worsening droughts and climate change. The Bootleg Fire currently burning in Southern Oregon is so fierce that it’s generating its own weather.”

ZDNet: Quantum computers: Google points the way towards scalable fault-tolerant quantum devices. “Google’s researchers have demonstrated that, subject to certain conditions, error correction works on the company’s Sycamore quantum processor and can even scale exponentially, in what is yet another step towards building a fault-tolerant quantum computer.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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