Great White Sharks, African Languages, English Dialects, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, April 29, 2022


Monterey Herald: Monterey Bay Aquarium shares a treasure trove of data about young white sharks. “The Monterey Bay Aquarium and its collaborators have released a cache of data about great white sharks they’ve been collecting for over 20 years. Earlier this month, an international team of scientists and aquarists led by John O’Sullivan, the director of collections at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Chris Lowe of CSU Long Beach published a dataset… containing decades’ worth of information about juvenile white sharks. Researchers all over the world can now use the data to help them understand where white sharks go during their seasonal migrations, what ocean conditions they prefer and how they interact with other fish.”

EurekAlert: Lanfrica: A database for African languages developed by a student of Jacobs University. “‘We want to improve the visibility and representation of African languages on the Internet,’ explained Bonaventure [Dossou]. Discoverability is limited not only because English dominates machine learning technologies, and language assistants from Google or Apple barely support African languages. But also because many African languages are not written languages. Often, only a few texts and sources exist as a data basis for NLP technologies (Natural Language Processing) such as machine translation. Lanfrica is intended to remedy this situation. It sees itself as a catalog, a research tool that provides easy and clear access to existing research, data packages or archives. And it aims to bring together existing initiatives dealing with the machine readability of African languages.”

University of Leeds: Historic dialect recordings archive digitised for the public. “During the 1950s and 60s, fieldworkers from the University travelled across the country to record the language and lifestyles of speakers across England, known as the Survey of English Dialects…. Now, the recordings can be heard by the public with the launch of the University’s Dialect and Heritage ‘In Your Words’ Project, led by the School of English and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.”


Ars Technica: Apple launches self-service repair program for iPhone users in the US. “Apple describes the program in a blog post and closely matches what was previously announced. You can now visit an online ‘Self Service Repair Store’ to read repair manuals and order tools and parts. The store is only available in the United States for now, but it’s coming to other countries later this year.”

Washington Post: Google is letting you limit ads about pregnancy and weight loss. “Google says it wants to give you more control over the ads you see. Starting today, you can tell the company to stop showing you ads about pregnancy and parenting, dating or weight loss.”

CNET: Twitter Earnings Mark User Growth as Musk Takeover Looms. “The social media site said Thursday that 229 million users, a 15.9% year-over-year increase, logged onto the site daily in the quarter that ended March 31. The growth, noted in Twitter’s earnings report, is eclipsed by Musk’s plans to acquire the social network. The mercurial CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has said he wants to loosen content moderation at Twitter and has indicated that he isn’t concerned with its business performance.”


The Canadian Press: Access-to-info system at Library and Archives Canada in ‘bleak state’: watchdog. “Library and Archives Canada is frequently failing to answer formal requests for historical records in a timely way, says a new report from the federal information watchdog that calls on the Liberal government to make fundamental changes. The special report by information commissioner Caroline Maynard, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, says almost 80 per cent of the requests processed by the national archives did not meet time-frames set out in the Access to Information Act.”

The Armenian Reporter: The National Archive and the Cinema Center will join efforts to restore old Armenian films . “Today, April 26, Grigor Arshakyan, Director of the National Archives of Armenia, and Shushanik Mirzakhanyan, Acting Director of the National Cinema Center of Armenia, signed a memorandum of cooperation establishing wide-ranging cooperation between the two organizations in preserving films owned by the Republic of Armenia, in the direction of digitalization and popularization.”

AKIpress: Creation of State Digital Archive planned in 2023 in Kyrgyzstan. “The State Digital Archive will be created in Kyrgyzstan, Minister for Digital Development Talantbek Imanov said in an interview with AKIpress.”


Keene Sentinel: Social media posts on NH landfill legislation spark concern. “A social media post late last month depicting blood dripping from the scorecard of a state Senate vote is among communications that led some lawmakers to notify the legislative security detail, Sen. Jeb Bradley said Monday.”

The Register: Study: How Amazon uses Echo smart speaker conversations to target ads. “Amazon and third-party services have been using smart speaker interaction data for ad targeting, in violation of privacy commitments, according to researchers at four US universities. Academics at the University of Washington, University of California-Davis, University of California-Irvine, and Northeastern University claim ‘Amazon processes voice data to infer user interests and uses it to serve targeted ads on-platform (Echo devices) as well as off-platform (web).'”


New York Times: Which Animal Viruses Could Infect People? Computers Are Racing to Find Out.. “Machine learning is known for its ability to spot fraudulent credit charges or recognize faces. Now researchers are siccing the technology on viruses.”

Popular Science: Open data is a blessing for science—but it comes with its own curses. “iNaturalist’s Seek is a great example of an organization doing something interesting and otherwise impossible without a large, open dataset. These kinds of datasets are both a hallmark and a driving force of scientific research in the information age, a period defined by the widespread use of powerful computers. They have become a new lens through which scientists view the world around us, and have enabled the creation of tools that also make science accessible to the public.” Good morning, Internet…

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