Belgium’s Botanical Gardens, Kentucky Public Health, War of 1812 Pension Files, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, May 30, 2023


Brussels Times: Belgium’s botanical gardens and arboretums unveil massive online database. “The new website – a global first on this scale – makes 83,000 plants belonging to 25,000 different species and varieties from 25 botanical gardens and arboretums available at the click of a button. Visitors can view technical data sheets on each plant which detail their main characteristics, their origin and their location in the botanical garden in question.”

News-Enterprise (Kentucky): New website tracks county-by-county data on health factors. “The state Department for Public Health has launched a new resource for tracking a variety of topics that affect health in Kentucky…. topics include air quality, asthma, birth defects, cancer, childhood lead poisoning, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, carbon-monoxide poisoning, climate and weather, drinking water, heat-related illness, radon gas and reproductive and birth outcomes.”


Fold3: War of 1812 Pension Files Digitization Moves Forward!. “We have some exciting news to share. Ancestry® and the National Genealogical Society® have recently finalized a contract with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to resume digitization of the War of 1812 Pension Files. Like so many other things, this ongoing project came to a screeching halt during the closure of NARA due to COVID-19.”


Reuters: Vatican chastises bishops who stoke division on social media. “The Vatican urged bishops and high-profile lay Catholic leaders on Monday to tone down their comments on social media, saying some were causing division and stoking polemics that harmed the entire Church.”

Hold the Front Page: Editor calls for regional daily’s archive to go back online. “An editor whose newspaper’s archive disappeared from the web without explanation two months ago has called for it to go back online. Eastern Daily Press editor Richard Porritt has told readers he is ‘pushing’ for a revival of the Local Recall project, which was launched by Archant with Google funding in 2020 but went offline earlier this year.”

Slashgear: TikTok Users Are Reimagining Alternative Human Histories With Generative AI . “New AI trends just kept coming; the latest one is very thought-provoking and creative. TikTokers have created viral videos with pictures and accompanying textual descriptions of what the world would look like if human history were changed. Most of these videos try to explore different narratives by changing important details of specific historical events, for example, the victors of a pretty significant conflict in human history.”


New York Times: Here’s What Happens When Your Lawyer Uses ChatGPT. “A lawyer representing a man who sued an airline relied on artificial intelligence to help prepare a court filing. It did not go well.”

University of Arizona: UArizona researcher at the forefront of Indigenous data sovereignty. “The concept known as IDSov emphasizes Indigenous Peoples’ right to control data about their people, lands and cultures. Stephanie Russo Carroll, associate director of the University of Arizona Native Nations Institute, has focused her career on encouraging institutions to adopt policies and practices that recognize that right.”


NiemanLab: Seeing stories of kindness may counteract the negative effects of consuming bad news. “During the pandemic, multiple studies linked news consumption to poorer mental health, documenting symptoms of depression, anxiety, hopelessness and worry. In our research, we found that spending as little as 2-4 minutes on Twitter or YouTube reading about the pandemic affected people’s moods adversely. However, our latest study has found that looking at positive news stories — specifically, videos and articles featuring acts of kindness — can actually counteract the ill-effects of seeing negative news stories.”

Poynter: Pink slime from AI content farms is a poor substitute for real journalism. “It’s pink slime on steroids. I’m writing, of course, about the creators of AI content farms that quickly churn out content related to current events using generative AI language-bots, like Open AI’s Chat GPT and Google’s Bard. A May 1 investigation by NewsGuard, an online trust-rating platform for news, found more than 49 such AI-generated content sites in seven languages: English, Tagalog, Portuguese, Thai, French, Czech and Chinese.”

Notre Dame News: The metaverse can lead to better science. “One Notre Dame researcher says we should look beyond the hype to see how virtual reality can make scientists more effective. But to realize the benefits, researchers must also plan well and avoid potential pitfalls.”


The Atlantic: Life Is About to Come With Subtitles. “‘How does that feel?’ I saw the captioned words right after Alex uttered them. Because I have always watched videos with closed captions on, my initial thought was that he’d stepped out of a TV screen to talk to me.” Good morning, Internet…

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