Mapping May 4, Grimes’ Voice, Gmail, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, May 6, 2023


Kent Stater: Mapping May 4 project connects history to its location. “The Mapping of May 4 is a website, and it takes short audio clips of stories from oral histories in the Kent State archives and puts them on a map. It covers the historical events between May 1 and May 5, 1970.”

Complete Music Update: Grimes launches website to replicate her voice using AI. “Grimes has launched a new website making it easier to replicate her voice using AI, should you want to. It was only last month that the musician gave her blessing for people to do so. The website allows users to upload audio of themselves singing or to record directly into the software via their computer microphone. Once processed, the same audio will be returned but with a computer-generated Grimes voice.”


The Verge: Gmail ads are getting more annoying. “Gmail is getting more persistent advertisements that have started popping up in the middle of some users’ inboxes, as first reported by 9to5Google. Several screenshots posted to Twitter show promotional messages mixed in with actual emails on Gmail’s desktop site, and users aren’t very happy about it.” Giving me strong AltaVista vibes.


Tricycle: A Nontoxic Social Media Experience. “The app departs from other social media apps in that there’s no feed, no photos or videos, and no texting element. Rather, Landed connects users one-on-one via audio messages. Each week, on Sunday, users are prompted to share three things they were grateful for in the last week, and, if they want, to share a challenging experience. A few days later, they’ll receive an audio message from their randomly assigned match for the week, and then the matched pair can exchange audio for the rest of the week.”

NPR: Digital news sites fight to survive as online ad dollars dry up. “Online news sites are fighting to survive as online ad dollars dry up. And at the same time, large social media companies, the backbone of the modern internet, are slumping. NPR’s Bobby Allyn reports on what the future of digital news looks like in this uncertain era.”

Yahoo News: People with disabilities have built a community on TikTok. They fear its loss if the app is banned.. “[Katriel] Nopoulos, who uses they/them pronouns, soon discovered that TikTok could be a life-changing tool. Nopolous was born without a lower jaw, so they communicate by using American Sign Language. TikTok allows creators to easily deploy a computer-generated voice to read text out loud. This is both an accessibility issue — so that the blind and visually impaired can absorb their content — and a liberating innovation for Nopoulos. For the first time in their life, Nopoulos could be heard — literally.”


Europol: International art trafficking sting leads to 60 arrests and over 11 000 objects recovered. “Law enforcement has arrested 60 people, and recovered 11 049 stolen artefacts as part of a major international art trafficking crackdown across 14 European countries.”

Associated Press: Colorado politicians seek power to block social media users. “Colorado lawmakers pushed a bill to the governor’s desk that would allow politicians to block social media users from their private accounts, just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would consider to what extent that’s legal.”

Courthouse News Service: Fired Twitter employees ordered to arbitrate wrongful termination claims. “Billionaire and new Twitter owner Elon Musk won a first round in federal court Friday when a judge granted Twitter’s motions to dismiss wrongful termination claims from employees fired last fall, ordering them to arbitration instead.”


Kyiv Post: OPINION: Russia Getting Beaten by Hackers. “Russia has long prided itself as having the world’s “second greatest army” and the world’s ‘best’ hackers with a large number of hacks against the United States, Europe, and in Ukraine. However, in the past few weeks, it appears that Russia’s reputation was judged too highly, as it has faced one disastrous hack after another by anti-Putin or pro-Ukraine hacking groups.”

Fast Company: New research: Twitter bot detection tools aren’t very good. “A new paper suggests that the field of bot detection is based on a flawed premise due to poor-quality original data. The research, presented this week at the Web Conference (where it was awarded best paper), found that bot detection tools can rely on funky, flawed data sets that replicate mistakes made within one another, rather than trying to actually accurately identify bots.”

WIRED: Twitter Really Is Worse Than Ever. “A YEAR AGO, Elon Musk announced that he wanted to buy Twitter to clear it of bots and turn ‘the de facto public town square’ into a place for unfettered free speech. Social media experts worried that would mean the platform would stop moderating what users post, and warned that the consequence of Musk’s stated absolutism would be that the platform would be overrun with violent and hateful content. It turns out they were right.” Good morning, Internet…

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