Google Blog: An intro to AI, made for students. “To celebrate Digital Learning Day, we’re releasing a new lesson from Applied Digital Skills, Google’s free, online, video-based curriculum (and part of the larger Grow with Google initiative). ‘Discover AI in Daily Life’ was designed with middle and high school students in mind, and dives into how AI is built, and how it helps people every day.”
Harry Ransom Center: More Than 60,000 Digitized Items From LGBTQ Pioneers Launch Online. “The Ransom Center houses the papers of British author Radclyffe Hall, author of the 1928 lesbian landmark novel, ‘The Well of Loneliness,’ and partner, artist Una Vincenzo, Lady Troubridge. The archive includes notebooks, draft typescripts, correspondence, photographs and scrapbooks that document Hall’s career as a writer, Troubridge’s work as a sculptor and translator, and their personal and creative partnership.”
Open Culture: Free Coloring Books from 101 World-Class Libraries & Museums: Download and Color Hundreds of Free Images. “The free, downloadable adult coloring books that the New York Academy of Medicine solicits from museums and university and state libraries for its #ColorOurCollections celebration each February enliven our month far more than any Valentine or Presidents Day sale. They’re not just a great way to while away winter’s last gasp. They’re also a wonderful portal for discovering cultural institutions that have thus far flown beneath our radar, owing to size, geography, and/or field of study.”
TWEAKS AND UPDATES
The Verge: YouTube blocks Russian news channels RT and Sputnik. “YouTube has blocked Russian news channels RT and Sputnik across Europe in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Alphabet-owned company confirmed the news on Twitter, saying it would ‘take time for our systems to fully ramp up’ and that it would continue to ‘monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.'”
City AM: Following Google’s lead: Microsoft axes Russia Today and bans state-owned media ads. “Microsoft have stated in a blog post that it will be removing Russian state-owned media outlet RT’s mobile apps from the Windows App store, as well as cutting ads on Russian state-sponsored media…. Microsoft said it would not display any state-sponsored RT and Sputnik content, de-rank search results on Bing and not place any ads from its ad network on those sites.”
Mashable: A guide to writing accessible image captions. “Making your social media profiles accessible to the majority of people stumbling across your posts is an intentional practice. From Instagram and Twitter photo descriptions to captioning audio on your TikTok videos, you have to consciously add these accessibility considerations. It’s something you should absolutely do to ensure your accounts are navigable by people with various disabilities. Don’t fret: You have most of the tools at your disposal.”
AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
New Yorker: The Oddly Addictive Quality of Google Alerts. “If you set a Google Alert for “hot-dog cannon,” then chances are it works exactly as intended: infrequently delighting you with news about launchers designed to hurl hot dogs great distances. Broader terms, however, present a problem, especially when Boolean search isn’t an option: if ANDs, ORs, or NOTs might exclude the exact results you’re looking for, you end up suffering through the semi-relevant and not-at-all relevant in the hopes that, someday, the alert will turn up something actually relevant.” Oh dear. On the one hand, I’d love to talk to her about this. On the other hand, she’d have to listen to me rant for an hour and who wants that?
Associated Press: Tech tool tribe uses to save language. “By itself, being able to read smartphone home screens in Cherokee won’t be enough to safeguard the indigenous language, endangered after a long history of erasure. But it might be a step toward immersing younger tribal citizens in the language spoken by a dwindling number of their elders. That’s the hope of Principal Chief Richard Sneed of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who is counting on more inclusive consumer technology — and the involvement of a major tech company — to help out.”
CNN: How CNN geolocates and verifies social media footage from Ukraine. “CNN’s investigative team has been monitoring the constant stream of information from social media by using several tools to filter through the noise and select relevant videos for our coverage to geolocate and verify.”
SECURITY & LEGAL
USA Today: Rape survivors, child victims, consensual sex partners: San Francisco police have used DNA from all of them for 7 years. “It’s not only sexual assault survivors whose DNA has been stored by the San Francisco Police Department’s crime lab – and routinely searched for matches to suspects in criminal cases. For the last seven years, the department’s crime lab has also been keeping all processed DNA – including, for example, from victims of violent crimes, child victims, or individuals entirely uninvolved in the crime like roommates and consensual partners – according to the police chief and a copy of the lab’s standard operating procedures obtained by USA TODAY.”
Independent: Russian ransomware hackers pledge support to Putin and immediately have secret chats exposed by Ukrainian leaker. “The leak, shared with malware research group VX-Underground, contained 400 files of tens of thousands of chat logs in Russian dating back to January 2021; the group only formed in mid-2020. The gang provides ransomware-as-a-service, letting customers buy access to its attack facilities. Estimates suggest the group was received over $30 million in ransomware payments to date. Reportedly, the chat logs contain Bitcoin addresses and payments made to the gang.”
New York Times: Russia Intensifies Censorship Campaign, Pressuring Tech Giants. “Last week, Russian authorities warned Google, Meta, Apple, Twitter, TikTok and others that they had until the end of this month to comply with a new law that requires them to set up legal entities in the country. The so-called landing law makes the companies and their employees more vulnerable to Russia’s legal system and the demands of government censors, legal experts and civil society groups said.” Good morning, Internet…
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