Iowa Banned Books, Global Plastics Laws, AI, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, October 19, 2023


Des Moines Register: Which banned books have been removed from Iowa schools? Our updated database lists them. “Senate File 496, signed into law by Reynolds in May, bans books with descriptions or depictions of sex acts from school libraries and prohibits instruction on gender and sexual identity until seventh grade, among other effects…. The Register sent open records requests to every school district in Iowa — 326 in all — asking for a list of the books they have removed from their libraries to comply with SF496. Two-dozen have responded so far.”

Waste Advantage Magazine: The Global Plastic Laws Database: A Resource to Track Policies Around the World. “The Global Plastic Laws Database is the most comprehensive tool to date to research, track, and visualize plastic legislation that has been passed around the world. The Database tracks legislation across the full life cycle of plastics and organizes these policies according to life cycle categories and key topics.”

WKRN: Vanderbilt scholars analyze role of AI in hate speech. “As artificial intelligence (AI) expands its impact on the world and online, scholars at Vanderbilt University are discussing ways to use the system to combat hate speech. Scholars within the Vanderbilt community along with researchers, free speech, and human rights activists and lawyers are taking part in a two-day symposium on AI and its role in hate speech.”


Ars Technica: Google, DOJ still blocking public access to monopoly trial docs, NYT says. “Dozens of exhibits from the Google antitrust trial are still being hidden from the public, The New York Times Company alleged in a court filing today. According to The Times, there are several issues with access to public trial exhibits on both sides. The Department of Justice has failed to post at least 68 exhibits on its website that were shared in the trial, The Times alleged, and states have not provided access to 18 records despite reporters’ requests.”

Engadget: Twitch adds stories to keep followers tuned in. “Twitch announced today that stories are now available in the platform’s mobile app. Similar to the feature of the same name on Snapchat, Instagram and other social platforms, Twitch’s stories let streamers post photos, text or clips that expire after 48 hours.”


Asahi Shimbun: Railway firms turn to AI to shake up lost property search. “Gone are the days when a laborious search by hand is required to locate a missing item at the lost and found office. In May, Tokyo-based private railroad operator Keio Corp. introduced a service that relies on artificial intelligence (AI) to sort things out quickly. Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu), based in Fukuoka, followed suit by starting to provide a similar service in August. Claimants simply need a smartphone to make an inquiry.”

Romania Insider: European Commission in Romania launches anti-disinformation platform. “The platform, named ‘trUE – The Naked Truth’ (trUE – Adevărul gol-goluț), aims to support the general public with useful tools for identifying fake news and information distributed online with the intent to misinform. It brings together articles, case studies, and video materials produced in collaboration with influencers, as well as educational materials that can be used in classroom settings.”

The Markup: Twitter Is Throttling Patreon Links, Creators Say It Undermines Their Livelihood. “Twitter is now slowing down traffic on links to the crowdfunding site Patreon, WhatsApp, and at times, Meta’s Messenger app, a Markup analysis confirms. Using a tool launched by The Markup last month, readers discovered that links to these sites were delayed by an average of 2.5 seconds—findings we confirmed.”


Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency: CISA, U.S. and International Partners Announce Updated Secure by Design Principles Joint Guide. “The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with 17 U.S. and international partners, published an update to ‘Shifting the Balance of Cybersecurity Risk: Principles and Approaches for Secure by Design Software’ that includes further detail on key principles, guidance, and is co-sealed by eight additional international cybersecurity agencies…. Initially published in April 2023, this joint guidance urges software manufacturers to take urgent steps necessary to design, develop, and deliver products that are secure by design.”

New York Times: Across U.S., Chinese Bitcoin Mines Draw National Security Scrutiny. “When a company with Chinese origins broke ground last year on a crypto-mining operation in Cheyenne, Wyo., a team at Microsoft that assesses national security threats sounded the alarm. Not only was the site next door to a Microsoft data center that supported the Pentagon — it was about a mile away from an Air Force base that controlled nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.”

Bloomberg: Colorado Court OKs Use of Google Search Data in Murder Case. “The Colorado Supreme Court ruled on Monday that evidence gleaned from a warrant for Google’s search data could be used in a murder case, sparking concerns the decision may encourage more police to embrace the controversial technique.”


Indian Express: Scientists working on Polymathic AI, a new tool that will help make scientific discoveries. “A group of scientists are working on a new tool called Polymathic AI that will use the same technology that powers ChatGPT. Unlike the OpenAI’s chatbot, which mostly deals with words and sentences, the new model will work with numerical data and physics simulations.” Good morning, Internet…

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