Identifying Stolen Art, Google Maps, PBS, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 13, 2023


CNN: FBI launches app to help identify stolen art. “On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released an app-based version of the US National Stolen Art File (NSAF), its database of stolen artworks and culturally significant objects. The NSAF app was initially designed for law enforcement and art industry workers, but anyone in the world can use it to verify cultural property’s legal status with a few taps and swipes.”


TechCrunch: Google Maps is adding new features to make it easier to explore national parks. “Google is introducing new Maps features to make it easier for users to navigate national parks using the app. The tech giant says the new updates are designed to help users find the information they need when visiting a national park, such as discovering things to do and finding your way around the park.”

Axios: PBS stops tweeting after Musk adds “government-funded” label. “PBS has not tweeted from its main Twitter handle since April 8, following Elon Musk’s decision to label the outlet ‘government-funded news.’ Why it matters: PBS joins NPR, another major editorially independent outlet that receives some government funding, in halting its Twitter activity in light of the new label.”

The Verge: Android 14’s first beta introduces a back arrow that matches your background. “New gesture navigation and sharing features are rolling out in the first Android 14 beta build available to early public adopters.”


Boing Boing: Service for finding new music that sounds like your faves. “On Songs Like X, you can find new music that sounds similar to your favorite songs. Simply type in a name of a song you like in the search bar, and you’ll be presented with a list of songs that the site deems as similar.” I tried this using a New Orleans DJ named Big Choo. This site gave me better recommendations than Tidal.


Mother Jones: How MAGA Conspiracies Infected Autism Groups. “This world of dubious autism treatments used to be mostly limited to private social media groups and conferences. Indeed, beginning about a decade ago, the very notion of autism as a disorder began to lose currency among many autistic people and scientists who study autism: They started to view the condition not as an affliction, but rather as an innate brain difference. Autistic people experience the world differently, and that difference, they say, is something to be honored rather than treated.” I have strong feelings about this for obvious reasons, but I’ll not melt your monitor with my comments.


New York Times: New Leaked Documents Show Broad Infighting Among Russian Officials. “The new batch, which contains 27 pages, reinforces how deeply American spy agencies have penetrated nearly every aspect of the Russian intelligence apparatus and military command structure. It also shows that the breach of American intelligence agencies could contain far more material than previously understood.”

Reuters: Google to ask judge to toss U.S. antitrust lawsuit over search dominance. “Google will likely argue Thursday that the U.S. Justice Department’s allegations that it broke antitrust law to build and maintain its dominance of search are flawed and that its lawsuit should be thrown out, according to court filings.”


Ars Technica: Surprising things happen when you put 25 AI agents together in an RPG town. “A group of researchers at Stanford University and Google have created a miniature RPG-style virtual world similar to The Sims, where 25 characters, controlled by ChatGPT and custom code, live out their lives independently with a high degree of realistic behavior. They wrote about their experiment in a preprint academic paper released on Friday.”

Wall Street Journal: Is Big Tech’s R&D Spending Actually Hurting Innovation in the U.S.?. “The findings, published this past week in a paper from researchers at the University of Chicago and the U.S. Census Bureau, show that when inventors join large firms, they get a pay bump, but they also produce fewer new innovations, relative to inventors hired by young firms. The research is based on a gigantic data set, including 760,000 U.S. inventors and their patent-filing histories.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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