Topological Materials, National Book Festival, Platinum Jubilee, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, May 24, 2022


MIT News: Is it topological? A new materials database has the answer. “In 2007, researchers predicted the first electronic topological insulators — materials in which electrons that behave in ways that are ‘topologically protected,’ or persistent in the face of certain disruptions. Since then, scientists have searched for more topological materials with the aim of building better, more robust electronic devices. Until recently, only a handful of such materials were identified, and were therefore assumed to be a rarity. Now researchers at MIT and elsewhere have discovered that, in fact, topological materials are everywhere, if you know how to look for them.”


Library of Congress: Live and In Person! Come to the 2022 National Book Festival on Saturday, Sept. 3. “The 2022 Library of Congress National Book Festival website is live. With the launch of this year’s site, you can explore past National Book Festivals, prep for the Festival with helpful information and more. If you can’t join us in Washington, D.C. this September, a selection of programs will be livestreamed, and video of all presentations can be viewed online after the Festival concludes.”

British Library: Picture Perfect Platinum Jubilee Puddings on Wikimedia Commons. “The UK Web Archive is looking for nominations for websites to be archived to a special Jubilee collection that will commemorate the event. You can nominate a website using this form here. Inspired by the Platinum Jubilee Pudding Competition, in Digital Scholarship we are encouraging you to upload images of your celebratory puddings and food to Wikimedia Commons.”


Washington Post: Saving The Sounds Of An Ancient City. “For the past several years, Youssef Sherif, 28, and Nehal Ezz, 26, have wandered the Egyptian capital in search of the cries of street vendors, the tap tap tap of metal workers in their shops, the cacophony of chaotic traffic. Their goal is to capture in recordings what Cairo sounds like — right here, right now — before these noises disappear. They are collecting the sounds to share on an Instagram account and eventually hope to establish a searchable database of sounds.”

The Verge: Why We Need A Public Internet And How To Get One. “For weeks, tech news has been dominated by billionaire Elon Musk’s attempts to buy (and subsequently avoid buying) Twitter. And since Musk announced his plans in April, people have debated whether it’s better for online social spaces like Twitter to remain publicly traded companies — where they’re under pressure from shareholders — or be owned by a single wealthy figure like Musk. But Ben Tarnoff, author of the upcoming book Internet for the People, believes there’s a better way.”

Deccan Herald: Online museum to archive stories about Kodavas. “The project is called Sandooka, the Living Museum of Kodava Culture. Sandooka means treasure chest in Coorgi language, and the museum strives to be a repository of stories ranging from the traditional costumes to present-day experiences of the Kodavas, native inhabitants of Kodagu in Karnataka.”


WIRED: How GDPR Is Failing. “ONE THOUSAND FOUR hundred and fifty-nine days have passed since data rights nonprofit NOYB fired off its first complaints under Europe’s flagship data regulation, GDPR. The complaints allege Google, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram forced people into giving up their data without obtaining proper consent, says Romain Robert, a program director at the nonprofit. The complaints landed on May 25, 2018, the day GDPR came into force and bolstered the privacy rights of 740 million Europeans. Four years later, NOYB is still waiting for final decisions to be made. And it’s not the only one.”

PA Media: Paramilitaries in NI ‘using social media to incite violence and issue threats’. “Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland are increasingly using social media to incite violence and issue threats, MPs have been warned. Members of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee heard how the illegal groups are using the internet to stoke community tensions and organise disorder in the region.”


New York Times: Showcasing 27 Published Experiments in AR Storytelling. “Spatial data, real-scale explainers, interactive visual stories, 3D art, and immersive environments can enhance our readers’ understanding of the world. Since 2020, R&D has experimented with dozens of these stories in collaboration with the newsroom using Instagram’s Spark AR platform.”

Ubergizmo: China To 3D-Print A 590-Foot Dam, Without Human Workers. “Regular people are barely using 3d-printers at home, and 3D-printed homes are not yet commonly printed, but China is already planning to 3d-print a massive dam in Tibet, with an AI-powered design and no human laborers. The endgame is to deliver 5 billion kWh of electricity per year.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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