Mathematical Puzzles, Social Media, Chrome, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, October 15, 2023


Dartmouth College: Math Puzzles for the Public. “The revised edition of the critically acclaimed 2000 book, Mathematical Puzzles—heralded as ‘the best collection of mind-stretching teasers ever assembled’ by celebrated computer scientist Donald Knuth—is now available free online on the mathematics department’s website. The classic collection, which features puzzles from every continent, is designed for amateur mathematicians of any age, no calculus skills required.”


Reuters: SPAC to return remaining $533 million raise for Trump social media deal. “Digital World Acquisition Corp, the SPAC that plans to merge with former U.S. President Donald Trump’s media and technology company, said this week it would return to investors $533 million raised for the deal, after some have already backtracked on $467 million of commitments.”

Mashable: Google Chrome now lets you wipe the last 15 minutes of your cringey activities — here’s how. “Google has added some new, super-useful functionality for folks who want to quickly wipe 15 minutes worth of their Chrome history. The new tool, however, is only for Android users. All you need to do is click the three dots in the upper-right corner of Chrome before selecting ‘Clear Browsing Data.’ By default, this will delete the last 15 minutes of your browsing activity.”

Gizmodo: These Brands Are Still Going Down With NFT’s Sinking Ship. “Despite this downturn, there are still major companies that jumped on the NFT hype train last year and have yet to jump off. It’s a trolley problem for major brands. Either the company keeps on making NFTs in the vain hope it hasn’t wasted any money on a speculative tech bubble, or it bows its head and calls it quits.”


WIRED: A New Tool Helps Artists Thwart AI—With a Middle Finger. “Over the past year, as image-generating AI tools have grown in popularity, illustrators, photographers, and other visual artists have struggled to determine what they can do to have a say in how their work is used. Some are attempting lawsuits, others are asking regulators to step in. There’s nothing they can do to change how generators have been trained in the past. Starting today, though, the startup Spawning is launching a new tool to help artists who want to block new attempts to train AI on their work.”

Washington Post: Why we can’t stop watching terrible TikTok cooking videos. “With each second I spend watching these videos, the questions pile up in my head — mostly ‘Why?’ Why is he making French onion soup in a bathroom sink? Why did she stick a chicken drumstick in a jar of peanut butter? Why is this person putting dried pasta in a blender only to make ‘fresh’ pasta? Will they actually eat that? Is this a joke? Why are they making these kinds of videos? And why are they so popular?”

Semafor: OpenAI has quietly changed its ‘core values’. “ChatGPT creator OpenAI quietly revised all of the ‘Core values’ listed on its website in recent weeks, putting a greater emphasis on the development of AGI — artificial general intelligence. CEO Sam Altman has described AGI as ‘the equivalent of a median human that you could hire as a co-worker.'”


AFP: EU to investigate Musk’s X for potential Hamas-Israel conflict disinfo. “The European Commission said Thursday it is opening an investigation into Elon Musk’s social media platform X, formerly Twitter, to determine if it has allowed the spread of disinformation about the conflict in the Middle East.”

Ars Technica: Thousands of WordPress sites have been hacked through tagDiv plugin vulnerability. “Thousands of sites running the WordPress content management system have been hacked by a prolific threat actor that exploited a recently patched vulnerability in a widely used plugin. The vulnerable plugin, known as tagDiv Composer, is a mandatory requirement for using two WordPress themes: Newspaper and Newsmag. The themes are available through the Theme Forest and Envato marketplaces and have more than 155,000 downloads.”


Northwestern Now: AI just got 100-fold more energy efficient. “Northwestern University engineers have developed a new nanoelectronic device that can perform accurate machine-learning classification tasks in the most energy-efficient manner yet. Using 100-fold less energy than current technologies, the device can crunch large amounts of data and perform artificial intelligence (AI) tasks in real time without beaming data to the cloud for analysis.”

University of Central Florida: UCF Collaborates with the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum to Annotate Seminole Tribe Archives. “The community-based research project challenges colonial stereotypes in mid-20th century Florida newspapers to provide historical accuracy and context for anyone engaging with the museum’s database.”


Engadget: Coin flips don’t appear to have 50/50 odds after all. “Conventional wisdom about coin flips may have been turned on its head. A global team of researchers investigating the statistical and physical nuances of coin tosses worldwide concluded (via that a coin is 50.8% likely to land on the same side it started on, altering one of society’s most traditional assumptions about random decision-making that dates back at least to the Roman Empire.” Good morning, Internet…

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