Renewable Energy Planning, NASA, OpenAI, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, August 16, 2021


UC Santa Barbara: Expanding Renewable Energy Planning. “The tool uses geographic and meteorological models, calibrated with real-world data, that simulate wind speed and solar radiation across the Earth’s surface. REZoning uses the Global Wind Atlas and Global Solar Atlas, two World Bank-funded projects that are free and publicly available. Other constraints include protected areas, forest cover, cropland, nature reserves and more. By combining all these factors, the software can determine the most suitable sites for wind and solar development in a given region”

NASA: Launch Back to School With NASA: Student and Educator Resources for the 2021-2022 School Year. “As students across the country are saying goodbye to the summer and the new school year is kicking off, NASA is gearing up to engage students in exciting activities and thought-provoking challenges throughout the year ahead…. Below, NASA has prepared a long list of mission-related resources and opportunities for students, educators, and families to utilize during the 2021-2022 school year. Follow NASA STEM on Twitter and Facebook social media channels using the hashtags #BacktoSchool and #NASASTEM for additional content and updates.”


TechCrunch: OpenAI upgrades its natural language AI coder Codex and kicks off private beta. “OpenAI has already made some big changes to Codex, the AI-powered coding assistant the company announced last month. The system now accepts commands in plain English and outputs live, working code, letting someone build a game or web app without so much as naming a variable. A few lucky coders (and, one assumes, non-coders) will be able to kick the tires on this new Codex API in a free private beta.”

Search Engine Land: Google adds author URL property to uniquely identify authors of articles. “Google updated the article structured data help document to add new author properties to the list of recommended properties you can use in Google Search. The company said it added a new recommended author.url property to the article structured data documentation.”


Mashable: How to edit iPhone photos using TikTok’s favorite formula. “The viral TikTok iPhone photo editing formula makes life look like a sunkissed wonderland. TikTok users are finally taking advantage of iOS photo editing features with this ‘hack,’ which is less of a hack and more of an editing formula that plays with shadows, saturation, and color.”

Make Tech Easier: Minecraft vs. Roblox: Which Is Best for You or Your Child?. “Minecraft vs. Roblox is a big battle between two of the leading sandbox games. They both let players build and explore worlds, go on adventures alongside others, and create something akin to using digital Lego bricks. Even so, there are differences you’ll want to know about before choosing one. This post will look at Minecraft vs. Roblox in a number of areas, and which one’s best for you (or your child).”


Liam O’Dell: I asked Twitter your questions about verification – here’s what they said. Twitter recently suspended its verification program, but there’s interesting info here. “With the #VerifyDisabledTwitter campaign raising more questions than answers about Twitter’s elusive verification process, campaign founder and Deaf journalist Liam O’Dell secured an exclusive chat with Twitter to learn more about the blue tick.”

WRAL: New research could help preserve Gullah Geechee lands. “Organized by the town’s Gullah Geechee Culture and Land Preservation Task Force, the Heritage Library of Hilton Head Island and the University of South Carolina Beaufort, the project aims to help Black Americans known as Gullah or Geechee. These slave descendants retained much of their African heritage passed down from ancestors who grew up isolated on coastal islands off North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Some of the Gullah Geechee land is particularly vulnerable, project organizers said in a statement, because of the way it was passed down without a formal will.”


Motherboard: T-Mobile Investigating Claims of Massive Customer Data Breach. “T-Mobile says it is investigating a forum post claiming to be selling a mountain of personal data. The forum post itself doesn’t mention T-Mobile, but the seller told Motherboard they have obtained data related to over 100 million people, and that the data came from T-Mobile servers. The data includes social security numbers, phone numbers, names, physical addresses, unique IMEI numbers, and driver licenses information, the seller said.”

Engadget: Homeland Security may use companies to find extremism on social media. “The Department of Homeland Security might not rely solely on in-house systems to spot extremist threats on social media. Intelligence officer and initiative leader John Cohen told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that Homeland Security is looking at hiring companies to analyze social networks for signs of impending terrorism and other extremist violence. The department had been studying social media before, but the outside partners would help “dramatically” expand these efforts, Cohen said.”


The Next Web: This AI turns your photos into paintings while you watch. “I sometimes fantasize about hanging an enormous painted portrait of yours truly on my bedroom wall. Visitors would be forced to genuflect before the picture and leave a gift beneath it as a token of respect. Unfortunately, I have neither the money to buy artworks nor the skills to paint one myself. But those barriers will no longer stop me from fulfilling my dream. A team of researchers has developed a tool that will paint your portrait for you.” This is fun to play with, but I had a hard time determining that my test picture uploaded properly and that Things Were Happening. Look for the “breathing” orange logo on the right side of the screen.

CNET: I use subtitles for every TV show I watch and so should you. “Here it is, the galaxy brain take of galaxy brain takes: Subtitles are good. Subtitles are very good. Possibly even always good. No matter what language is being spoken, even if you speak that language, subtitles should be on and visible. At all times.” Good morning, Internet…

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