NiemanLab: The fact-checker’s dilemma: Humans are hardwired to dismiss facts that don’t fit their worldview. “Motivated reasoning is what social scientists call the process of deciding what evidence to accept based on the conclusion one prefers. As I explain in my book The Truth About Denial: Bias and Self-Deception in Science, Politics, and Religion, this very human tendency applies to all kinds of facts about the physical world, economic history and current events.”
Rutgers Today: Rutgers, Google Partnership Will Provide Online Access to Nearly 190,000 Books. “Candidates for digitization include publications by federal, state and city organizations ranging from the U.S. Geological Survey to the New Brunswick Free Public Library. Documents capturing Rutgers’ rich history are also represented, such as Rutgers College alumni publications and songbooks from the New Jersey College for Women, the predecessor to Douglass College. Literary classics from Jane Austen, Jorge Luis Borges, George Eliot, John Milton, Walt Whitman and several others populate the list as well.”
Talking Drugs: New Interactive Map: Drug Decriminalisation Across the World. “A new web-tool launched this month shows that 49 countries and jurisdictions across the world have adopted some form of decriminalisation for drug use and possession for personal use. Experts say the number of jurisdictions turning to this policy option is likely to increase in the coming years.”
KVAL: UO museum works to digitize collection of fragile Native American baskets. “Close up and through a camera – that’s what’s happening quietly behind the scenes at the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History….Teams from the museum are digitizing the UO’s entire collection of historic Native American baskets, a project made possible through grants from the State Heritage Commission and other sources.” There’s a video news story that goes with this — about two and a half minutes — that’s worth watching.
Smart Cities Dive: California releases interactive, public Geoportal database. “California has adopted a massive, interactive online database of location-based government data that includes over 1,200 publicly-available data sets from 25 state entities.”
Yale News: Collection of Musical Instruments to resume public hours. “Musette, Mayuri, Double Virginal. Yale students may have never heard of these instruments, but they reside only a step away at 15 Hillhouse Ave. The Romanesque building — which holds Yale’s Collection of Musical Instruments has been under renovation since May 2019 — will resume public hours starting the last week of February…. The collection is additionally expanding its online catalogue of instruments. Timothy Feil, who currently works at the collection, noted that the catalogue will provide information for visitors who want to know more about the showcased instruments.”
TechCrunch: Snapchat launches Bitmoji TV: zany 4-min cartoons of your avatar. “f you were the star of every show, would you watch more mobile television? Snapchat is betting that narcissism drives resonance for its new weekly videos that put you and your friends’ customizable Bitmoji avatars into a flurry of silly animated situations. Bitmoji TV premieres on Saturday morning, and it’s remarkably funny, exciting and addictive. Think cartoon SNL on fast-forward, with you playing a secret agent, a zombie president or a Moonlympics athlete.”
New York Times: Doctors on TikTok Try to Go Viral. “On TikTok, sex ed is being flipped on its head. Teenagers who load the app might find guidance set to the pulsing beat of ‘Sex Talk’ by Megan Thee Stallion. A doctor, sporting scrubs and grinning into her camera, instructs them on how to respond if a condom breaks during sex: The pill Plan B can be 95 percent effective, the video explains.”
9News Australia: World-first 3D map shows smoke plumes from Australian bushfires as captured from space. “In a world-first, an interactive map depicting the height of smoke plumes from bushfires during the peak of Australia’s bushfire crisis has been released. It is hoped that the new tool will improve the Bureau of Meteorology’s ability to predict where potentially dangerous smoke haze will move, as well as provide crucial ‘big picture’ information to disaster management agencies.”
Techdirt: CBS Gets Angry Joe’s YouTube Review Of ‘Picard’ Taken Down For Using 26 Seconds Of The Show’s Trailer. “Joe Vargas, who makes the fantastic The Angry Joe Show on YouTube, isn’t a complete stranger to Techdirt’s pages. You may recall that this angry reviewer of all things pop culture swore off doing reviews of Nintendo products a while back after Nintendo prevented Vargas from monetizing a review of a a game…. CBS recently got Angry Joe’s YouTube review of ‘Picard’ taken down, claiming copyright on the 2 thirteen-second videos of the show’s publicly available trailer that Vargas used in the review.”
Good News Pilipinas: University of the Philippines opens portal on Taal Volcano data, 1st in Asia to offer public access. “The Taal Volcano LiDAR datasets were derived through the use of airborne systems mounted on an airplane. The output of the LiDAR sensor is a 3D point cloud containing points that were scanned. The LiDAR technology was able to generate maps with resolution of up to 1×1 meter which can be used for planning and reconstruction of areas damaged by the Taal Volcano eruption in Batangas on January 12, 2020. The Taal Volcano mapping is free and downloadable by anyone with internet access and by most modern GIS software.”
Neowin: YouTube Music’s restrictions on kids’ content leads to quirks with many Disney tracks. “Google found itself in trouble with the law last year due to YouTube’s and its own privacy policies pertaining to minors. The search giant was slapped with a multi-million dollar fine as it was found to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The company, however, began bringing a slew of changes to the platform ahead of the ruling, followed by official announcements later. As part of those changes and feature additions, the firm brought about certain restrictions on content that creators label as being made for kids. Those very changes, however, might be resulting in some annoying issues on YouTube Music for such content, especially for those from Disney Music.”
The Register: Google says its latest chatbot is the most human-like ever – trained on our species’ best works: 341GB of social media. “AI researchers at Google have trained a giant neural network using a whopping 341GB of discussions scraped from public social media to create what they believe is the most human-like chatbot ever.” Just read this story because the quoted conversation between Meena and a human is glorious. Why? Because it was outstanding in its field!
Search Engine Watch: The perils of tricking Google’s algorithm. “Google has been regularly introducing algorithm updates to improve the quality of its search results. But it also penalizes sites that employ unethical or outdated practices to rank higher. This can adversely impact a brand’s reputation and bottom line. Ideally, these updates should be used as a guide for improving a site’s UX, ranking on SERPs is an end result that will follow. Read on to know the ill-effects of chasing Google’s algorithms. There’s also a bonus involved! You will also learn some effective tips to stay on top of these updates while boosting your business reputation.”
Android Police: Google is killing Google One Today, gives supporters only a week’s notice. “Today Google has announced that it’s killing its One Today service. This isn’t the renamed Google Drive paid storage program, but an app-based donation system you’ve probably never heard of, haven’t used, and won’t miss. Those still using it have a week before it shuts down.”