Ireland Genealogy, Covid Postcards, EU Fishing Authorisations, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, May 10, 2023


Cork Beo (Ireland): Cork genealogy database holds 57,000 burial records to help search for ancestors. “Volunteers in Cork have put together an impressive genealogy database to help people look into their own history and fill out the family tree. It’s all part of the Cork Graveyard Project run by Skibbereen Heritage Centre which has compiled an online database of Cork County Council burial registers and graveyard surveys.”

Washington Post: You definitely don’t wish you were here: Postcards in the age of covid. “Clarissa’s covid collection began as these things tend to, with a single item: a pandemic-related card she acquired as part of her interest in current events. There have to be more, she thought — the collector’s mantra…. She learned that an English collector named Mark Routh also had an interest in the topic. They joined forces to acquire cards and enter them into an online database… The database has around 1,900 cards, from more than 60 countries. The styles are all over the map: some funny, some sad, some heroic.”

European Commission: EU Fishing Authorisations website launched. “Today, the European Commission has launched a new website on EU Fishing Authorisations. Users can now search for data on fishing authorisations that have been granted during the last 10 years for EU vessels fishing outside EU waters and for non-EU vessels fishing in EU waters.”


Wall Street Journal: Wendy’s, Google Train Next-Generation Order Taker: an AI Chatbot. “Wendy’s is automating its drive-through service using an artificial-intelligence chatbot powered by natural-language software developed by Google and trained to understand the myriad ways customers order off the menu.”

WIRED: Death of an Author Prophesies the Future of AI Novels. “Death of an Author, by Stephen Marche, is the best example yet of the great writing that can be done with an LLM like ChatGPT. Not only is it an exciting read, it’s clearly the product of an astute author and a machine with the equivalent of a million PhDs in genre fiction. ChatGPT read basically the entire internet and all of literature, finding billions of parameters that go into ‘good’ writing.”


Indy Week: Local Boards of Elections Face Harassment, Influx of Public Records Requests, Spread of Disinformation. “For the past few years, local boards of elections have also been under heightened scrutiny. Some election workers have received threats, while others have been assaulted by so-called poll watchers. Gary Sims, who has served as the director of the Wake County Board of Elections for eight years and is set to retire at the end of this month, can attest to the phenomenon personally.”

Reuters: EU draft rules propose tougher cybersecurity labelling rules for Amazon, Google, Microsoft. “Amazon, Alphabet’s Google, Microsoft and other non-European Union cloud service providers looking to secure an EU cybersecurity label to handle sensitive data can only do so via a joint venture with an EU-based company, according to an EU draft document seen by Reuters.”


EdScoop: Gallaudet experiments with using holograms to teach ASL . “While online video conferencing tools are helpful to reach remote learners, the technology has limitations for ASL users, Laurene Simms, Gallaudet’s chief bilingual officer, said in an interview. She said ASL is a spatial language and facial expression and body positioning convey meaning alongside hand gestures. On a small computer screen, she said, it can be difficult for people to communicate in ASL since full body movement isn’t easily captured. To address this, researchers at Gallaudet are exploring the potential use of hologram technology in ASL instruction to beam life-size ASL instructors into classrooms from anywhere in the world.”

Ars Technica: AI gains “values” with Anthropic’s new Constitutional AI chatbot approach. “On Tuesday, AI startup Anthropic detailed the specific principles of its ‘Constitutional AI’ training approach that provides its Claude chatbot with explicit ‘values.’ It aims to address concerns about transparency, safety, and decision-making in AI systems without relying on human feedback to rate responses. Claude is an AI chatbot similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT that Anthropic released in March.”

Psychology Today: Social Media and Empathy Around the Globe. “To investigate the relationship between empathy and social media use, alongside colleagues at the University of Indiana, we asked more than 1,250 Americans to estimate how frequently they checked Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and to complete questionnaires where they self-described various qualities that researchers call empathy, such as trying to take other people’s perspectives, feeling concerned for other people in distress, and feeling bad when others feel bad.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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