Opera Browser, Twitter, Book Recommendations, More: Sunday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 12, 2023


The Verge: Opera’s building ChatGPT into its sidebar. “Opera’s adding a ChatGPT-powered tool to its sidebar that generates brief summaries of webpages and articles. The feature, called ‘shorten,’ is part of the company’s broader plans to integrate AI tools into its browser, similar to what Microsoft’s doing with Edge.” Hey, look, a common-sense use case!

TechCrunch: Twitter Blue introduces 4,000-character tweets, says half ads coming soon. “Twitter announced the ability to post longer tweets for paid users Wednesday. So instead of being limited to 280 characters, Blue subscribers can post tweets that are up to 4,000 characters long. The same limit applies to quote tweets and replies. Twitter said that along with long tweets people can post media like images or videos.”


MakeUseOf: The 11 Best Sites for Finding What Books to Read Next . “There are plenty of sites you can use to look up books based on your personal taste, favorite authors and titles, or even based on a specific plot summary or character. Whether user-generated, based on recommendations, or using a book recommendation search engine, there are a variety of ways that these sites are going to answer the question: what should I read next?”

WIRED: How to Make Sure You’re Not Accidentally Sharing Your Location. “Here we’ll cover everything you need to consider when it comes to location tracking, and hopefully simplify it along the way. Whether you want to give out access to your current location or not, you should be in control of these settings, and not be caught unawares by additional options that you missed.”


Northern Illinois University: NIU library digitizing Northern Star issues from 1899 to 1997. “Through the NIU Library, the Northern Star’s older issues, dating back to 1899 (the first year the Northern Star began printing), are being digitized and will be available for the public to read online later this year.”

Mashable: Snowflake helped Tor users thwart Russian censorship. Now the VPN is branching out as Snowstorm.. “For years, Tor has been a thorn in the side of censorious rulers looking to stop its citizens from freely accessing the internet, but the Russian and Iranian governments have learned its weaknesses and succeeded in blocking direct access to the Tor network at certain times. But unlike other services blocked by these governments, Tor has been deployed alongside the traffic-channeling tool Snowflake, enabling its network to function amid efforts at censorship.”


Dutch News: Expats, foreign students – your photos are in a massive police database. “Passport photos which foreigners from outside the EU have to supply to the immigration service are automatically included in a massive police database without their knowledge, RTL Nieuws reported at the weekend. Hundreds of thousands of photographs of expats, students and family members from non-EU countries have been stored in the facial recognition data base, despite questions about its legality, RTL said.”


Washington Post: Opinion: Why this Google antitrust lawsuit has promise. “Yet unlike another DOJ case brought under the previous administration, the latest lawsuit doesn’t focus on the power the company holds over what we look for on the internet. Instead, it focuses on what we don’t go looking for and see anyway: advertisements. The argument is relatively straightforward: Google dominates this market by playing a key role in the technology at every point along the ‘ad stack.'”

PC World: Microsoft’s new AI Bing taught my son ethnic slurs, and I’m horrified. “Yes, it prefaced the response by noting that some ethnic nicknames were neutral or positive, and others were racist and harmful. But I expected one of two outcomes: Either Bing would provide socially acceptable characterizations of ethnic groups (Black, Latino) or simply decline to respond. Instead, it started listing pretty much every ethnic description it knew, both good and very, very bad.”


Unseen Japan: Japan’s “Mermaid Mummy” Finally Identified via New Research. “The mummy is 30 centimeters long and has human features on its face. However, it also has scales running down its back…. Last year, a team of researchers began a mission to discover the mummy’s true identity. Scientists at Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts (倉敷芸術科学大) carefully subjected the artifact to X-rays and other examinations at the University’s animal research college.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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