UP Michigan, Making Media, Formatting Google Sheets, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, January 9, 2022


Upper Michigan Source: NMU archives launches UP Link. “In October, the Central UP and Northern Michigan University archives sought donated photos and documents to upload on their digital archive, UP Link. While it will take some time until those donated documents are available, UP Link is officially live.”


EFF: How to Make Every Media With Free & Open-Source Software. “‘How to Make Every Media With Free & Open-Source Software’ is an ever-evolving reference guide for creating in any digital medium with free and open-source tools. We’ll start at development & podcasting and work our way through making films, games, and VR experiences, covering each medium briefly and then zooming in wherever the audience is most interested. We’ll then open up for the crowd-sourcing of more open-source tools (as we’ve surely missed some), and questions from the audience on how they can get started, moving, or published in their current focus media.” This is not an EFF event, but an Electronic Frontier Alliance-affiliated event.


MakeUseOf: The 9 Best Google Sheets Formatting Tips for Creating Professional-Looking Spreadsheets. “There are so many ways to make Google Sheets look beautiful to impress with your data visuals. The majority of spreadsheet apps focus on the computation part, leaving the data visualization and formatting to the user. Therefore, if you don’t format your spreadsheet carefully, the audience may find it boring, since plain and simple data is not interesting. The same goes for Google Sheets.”


Atlas Obscura: Welcome to the Spanish Village Saved by Art—And Nearly Destroyed by Fire. “There was the table-sized mosaic lizard scurrying across the wall near the village church; the three white skeletons lazing on a rooftop; the lamp post, whimsically canted because its base rests on an orange; and the giant pencil drawing a line down the side of a village house. Genalguacil, once a dying rural village, had been reborn in the 21st century as an enchanting open-air gallery of fantastical and surreal public art. Now, as the destructive and deadly fire loomed, so did the question: How to safeguard the art of a town’s museum when the town is the museum?”


The Verge: Sonos wins major patent infringement victory against Google. “The US International Trade Commission has ruled that Google is in violation of five Sonos patents relating to smart speakers (via The New York Times). The decision affirms a judge’s ruling in August, and it’s the kind of decision that could theoretically force Google to stop importing products using the infringing technology. However, it’s not yet clear whether any specific Google products will necessarily disappear from shelves, and for now it seems unlikely that will happen at all.”

CNET: Privacy myths busted: Protecting your mobile privacy is even harder than you think. “With increasingly invasive digital surveillance from advertisers and law enforcement over the past few years, securing your mobile phone from privacy threats in 2022 should be a key resolution. But don’t stop short. Changing a few settings in your phone and apps isn’t enough. To get the most privacy, the key ingredient to add is a suite of encrypted apps.”

Techdirt: Court Orders Twitter Reveal Anonymous Tweeter Over Sketchy Copyright Claim, Because That Tweeter Won’t Show Up In Court. “Back in November we wrote about a very bizarre attempt to abuse copyright law to uncover who was behind a Twitter account, @CallMeMoneyBags. That account tweeted out various things mocking and shaming various extremely wealthy people, including billionaire Brian Sheth, a private equity bro. Some of the tweets in the fall of 2020 lightly mocked Sheth, including suggesting potential infidelity. The images themselves appeared to be social media-type photos of young women (or possibly just one young woman).”


Sydney Morning Herald: Removalists were more focused on shifting my Google review than shifting my stuff. “This is why the reality doesn’t match the website, but the reviews are still universally glowing: they just buy off the bad ones. Having scaled their operations up, this – this putting out Google review fires – is where they have chosen to put their most focused company energy. Instead of ensuring that every subcontractor they put out on the road is up to the job, they are doggedly retro-fitting customer feedback. They are attacking the problem after it’s happened.”

Georgia Public Radio: Scientists vacuum zoo animals’ DNA out of the air. “A key part of protecting endangered species is figuring out where they’re living. Now researchers say they have found a powerful new tool that could help: vacuuming DNA out of the air. ‘This is a bit of a crazy idea,’ admits Elizabeth Clare, a molecular ecologist at York University in Toronto, Canada. ‘We are literally sucking DNA out of the sky.’ But it works. Clare’s group was one of two to publish papers in the journal Current Biology Thursday showing that dozens of animal species could be detected by simply sampling the air.”

The Conversation: How social media can crush your self-esteem. “As a PhD student in psychology, I am studying incels — men who perceive the rejection of women as the cause of their involuntary celibacy. I believe that social comparison, which plays as much a role in these marginal groups as it does in the general population, affects our general well-being in the age of social media.”

University of Texas at Austin: Citizen Science, Supercomputers and AI. “Citizen scientists have helped researchers discover new types of galaxies, design drugs to fight COVID-19, and map the bird world. The term describes a range of ways that the public can meaningfully contribute to scientific and engineering research, as well as environmental monitoring.”


The Gazette: A Colorado ‘fusioneer’ invented a painting robot and an inspiring way of life. “Don’t bother trying to understand it all. Just take it in. The stacks of notebooks with pages of scribbles and detailed takeaways from years of art classes and museum visits. The piles of outlines that, to the untrained eye, look like complicated blueprints drawn by an architect. The many, many books, ranging from a Michelangelo biography to one titled ‘Self-Organization of Biological Systems.’ The flow charts on whiteboards. The endless lines of code on a computer. The machine shop in the back and the paintings neatly hanging on the wall. And the robot holding a paintbrush.” Good morning, Internet…

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