Mine Waste Disasters, Multilingual Learning, Health Care Inequality, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, September 4, 2021


Engineering and Technology: Database aims to help prevent mine-waste disasters. “Researchers at the University of Waterloo have created a database as part of a study intended to help mining companies better understand the societal and environmental impacts of mine-waste disasters and hopefully avoid them in future. The study forms the first global picture of the occurrence rates, behaviours and physical impacts of mine-waste disasters known as tailings flow. Tailings flows are rapid downstream movements of mine waste, following tailing dam failures.” I read this and thought, “I could have sworn I’ve already indexed a resource about tailings flows,” but that was actually about tailings storage.

ABC 10: Multilingual Learning Toolkit: A free resource for teachers to improve language equity in classrooms. “The California Department of Education has recognized that many students bring to school a vital cultural heritage, values, and the ability to communicate in their home language. In a move to address language barriers in education, a new Multilingual Learning Toolkit is available as an additional resource for teachers who serve Pre-K through 3rd graders. It’s a free online portal featuring a vetted selection of resources and best practices, specifically for educators, administrators, and faculty members whose work supports young Multilingual Learners.” I took a quick look. California education is mentioned and referred to several times, but the resources as a whole don’t seem to be California-centered.


Arizona State University: Cronkite’s Southwest Health Reporting Initiative launches health newsletter. “The Cronkite School’s Southwest Health Reporting Initiative has launched a new monthly health newsletter that aims to start a conversation about — and spread awareness of — health disparities in underserved communities. The first issue of ‘Pathways to Equity’ was released this week with the goal of helping the Southwest Health Reporting Initiative expand its reach and access to its content.”

The Verge: Amazon’s new ‘adaptive volume’ will make Alexa speak louder when it’s noisy. “Amazon is working to solve a frustration with smart home speakers by introducing a feature called Adaptive Volume, which will make Alexa respond louder if it detects that you’re in a noisy environment.”


ZDNet: Quick, easy (and free) way to make Facebook more bearable. “One of the best things that I did to improve my Facebook experience was to install a browser extension called FB Purity. I honestly think that without this I would have dumped Facebook a long time ago.”


CanIndia: Google was the first coach of Paralympics silver medallist Praveen Kumar. “Having no knowledge about para-athletics, high jumper Praveen Kumar, who won the silver medal in Tokyo on Friday, depended on Google for basic information about the sport. ‘I would watch videos of high jump on Google and try and learn from it. There was nobody to teach me. Later, during a district-level meeting, I was told about coach Dr. Satyapal and met him and he agreed to train me,’ said Praveen Kumar, who won silver in Men’s High Jump T44 at the Paralympic Games on Friday.”

Conde Nast Traveller: What lies outside the window? A new wave of digital artists show and tell. “For artists, windows have always been the frame within a frame and an escape. During the pandemic, they became a primary medium of inspiration and expression. And a vantage point for street photography, a tool for projection and a framing device for stories. The coming together of the physical window and digital art allowed people to access the view from a window in Mumbai or New York no matter where they were. As we locked ourselves indoors, artists adapted the physical world outside into a digital avatar.”


The Register: BrakTooth vulnerabilities put Bluetooth users at risk – and some devices are going unpatched. “White-hat hackers have disclosed a bunch of security vulnerabilities, dubbed BrakTooth, affecting commercial Bluetooth devices – and are raising red flags about some vendors’ unwillingness to patch the flaws.”


New York Times: Facebook Apologizes After A.I. Puts ‘Primates’ Label on Video of Black Men. “Facebook users who recently watched a video from a British tabloid featuring Black men saw an automated prompt from the social network that asked if they would like to ‘keep seeing videos about Primates,’ causing the company to investigate and disable the artificial intelligence-powered feature that pushed the message.” I no longer believe Facebook is making a good-faith effort to combat these problems. Either that or AI-based moderation/direction is not currently possible.

Marshalls: Marshalls launches virtual sample service using augmented reality. “The launch of the new Marshalls virtual sample service is a first for the industry and is the first phase of a major paving visualiser project. The new tool uses the latest in Augmented Reality technology and allows homeowners to see Marshalls paving, walling and edging products in full 3D and ‘place’ them in their own outdoor spaces, experimenting with colours, size and materials. People can download the images to keep for inspiration and comparison, and to share with friends for help with decision making.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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