Tracking Shrinkflation, Wolfram Language, Twitter, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, September 19, 2023


Boing Boing: Shrinkflation database tracks diminishing size of food products. “The Shrinkflation Tracker, by Sam Lader, is on a mission to stop manufacturers quietly putting less food inside product packaging without a corresponding fall in price to consumers. The practice is out of control, so much so that even major retailers are beginning to warn customers against lest they suspect complicity in the practice.” The listings are UK and Ireland-focused at the moment.


Wolfram Blog: Creamy or Crunchy: Visualizing Food Protein Structures in Wolfram Language. “Explore protein structures with the new Wolfram ProteinVisualization paclet and the BioMoleculePlot3D resource function. Designed for researchers, educators and all structural biology enthusiasts, the paclet offers an immersive experience for viewing the intricate structures of biomolecules, including proteins, nucleic acids and their complexes.”

TechCrunch: X launches account verification based on government ID. “X, formerly Twitter, has launched government ID-based account verification for paid users to prevent impersonation and give them benefits such as ‘prioritized support.'”


WIRED: How to Make Sure Important Emails Don’t End Up in Spam. “It’s important to regularly check the contents of your spam folder, and to set up a list of safe senders. So, for example, you might put your kid’s school on there, or your key contacts from work, or your significant other. Email sent from these addresses will never be canned, so you don’t have to worry that something has slipped past you. These lists can be configured in just about every email app, and they are easy to set up. Here’s how.”


BBC: Bovington: Tank museum videos become global social media hit. “A museum tucked away in rural Dorset has described how tank enthusiasts from around the world have made it an unlikely YouTube success. The Tank Museum in Bovington has more than 100 million views on its channel. This means it reaches a greater audience on the video sharing platform than the likes of the Louvre in Paris and the Met in New York.”

New York Times: ‘One of the Most Hated People in the World’: Sam Bankman-Fried’s 250 Pages of Justifications. “In a draft of his unsent posts, which he formatted as a series of tweets spanning roughly 70 typed pages, he criticized some of his closest colleagues, interspersing his arguments with photos from his high school years and stock images of popcorn and a garden maze. Every few pages, a key moment in the narrative is accompanied with a link to a music video by Alicia Keys, Katy Perry or Rihanna.”

Ars Technica: Funky AI-generated spiraling medieval village captivates social media. “On Sunday, a Reddit user named ‘Ugleh’ posted an AI-generated image of a spiral-shaped medieval village that rapidly gained attention on social media for its remarkable geometric qualities. Follow-up posts garnered even more praise, including a tweet with over 145,000 likes. Ugleh created the images using Stable Diffusion and a guidance technique called ControlNet.”


Harvard Gazette: So what exactly is Google accused of?. “Digital economy expert says much of antitrust case comes down to how much influence search giant wields on default setting on devices like phones, PCs.”

Bleeping Computer: TikTok flooded by ‘Elon Musk’ cryptocurrency giveaway scams. “TikTok is flooded by a surge of fake cryptocurrency giveaways posted to the video-sharing platform, with almost all of the videos pretending to be themes based on Elon Musk, Tesla, or SpaceX.”

Techdirt: A Trio Of Failed Lawsuits Trying To Sue Websites For Moderating Content. “Why do people still file these lawsuits? For years now, we see lawsuits filed against websites over their content moderation decisions, despite Section 230 barring them (and the 1st Amendment rights of the platform backing that up). These lawsuits always fail.”


The Guardian: I quit Facebook and Twitter cold turkey – and I barely know myself. “The thing that perhaps I hated most was the capacity – no, the encouragement! – the platform gave people to confect and cultivate parallel, false lives. The perfect marriages. The beautiful, oh-so thoughtfully, eclectically curated homes with ocean- or bucolic bush-outlooks. The perfectly adjusted children and their prodigious A+ results, and their expertise with anything – ball, bat, violin – they took to hand. The holidays, replete with glimpses of the pointy-end cabin and club lounge.”

Semafor: The Princeton researchers calling out ‘AI snake oil’. “In July, a new study about ChatGPT started going viral on social media, which seemed to validate growing suspicions about how the chatbot had gotten “dumber” over time. As often happens in these circumstances, Arvind Narayanan and Sayash Kapoor stepped in as the voices of reason. The Princeton computer science professor and Ph.D candidate, respectively, are the authors of the popular newsletter and soon-to-be book AI Snake Oil, which exists to ‘dispel hype, remove misconceptions, and clarify the limits of AI.'” Good morning, Internet…

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