The Verge: Meta reportedly breaks up the 300-person team that was building a hybrid VR / AR OS

The Verge: Meta reportedly breaks up the 300-person team that was building a hybrid VR / AR OS. “Meta has reportedly broken up the around 300-person team tasked with working on an OS for AR and VR headsets, moving some of the engineers to teams working on AR glasses and Oculus (er, Quest) headsets, according to a report by The Information. This comes after recent reports — which Meta denied at the time — that the company had halted work on the team’s project creating a unified custom operating system for its VR and AR headsets.”

Pandemic fears are fading along with omicron: AP-NORC poll (Associated Press)

Associated Press; Pandemic fears are fading along with omicron: AP-NORC poll. “Just 24% say they are ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ worried about themselves or a family member contracting COVID-19, down from 36% in both December and January, when omicron caused a massive spike in infections and taxed public health systems. Another 34% say they are somewhat worried. More than 140,000 deaths in the U.S. have been attributed to COVID-19 since omicron became the dominant strain of the coronavirus in mid-December.”

The Verge: Siri gets a new voice in iOS 15.4 beta

The Verge: Siri gets a new voice in iOS 15.4 beta. “The latest beta of iOS 15.4 adds a fifth American voice for its Siri voice assistant. Apple’s user-facing interface simply calls it ‘Voice 5,’ but iOS developer Steve Moser reports that its filename refers to the new voice as ‘Quinn.’ The voice has arrived a little under a year after Apple added its last two American Siri voices, and stopped defaulting to using a female-sounding voice.”

CBC: Canadian researchers discover 1st possible case of deer spreading COVID-19 virus to a human

CBC: Canadian researchers discover 1st possible case of deer spreading COVID-19 virus to a human. “In a world first, preliminary research suggests deer may be able to transmit the COVID-19 virus to humans, following analysis by a team of Canadian scientists monitoring the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in animals. Up until now, researchers have only found evidence of humans spreading the virus to deer, and deer spreading it to other deer.”

TorrentFreak: Google Punishes Pre-Release Piracy Sites Harder in Search Results

TorrentFreak: Google Punishes Pre-Release Piracy Sites Harder in Search Results. “Google’s voluntary anti-piracy measures have gradually expanded over the years, resulting in some unique responses. When Google removes an allegedly copyright-infringing URL from its search engine, it will disable ads on this URL as well. In addition, the search engine has added a ‘still-in-theaters/prerelease’ tag for DMCA notices, so reported sites can be punished more severely.”

University of South Florida: New web portal documents and catalogues the Black experience in Tampa Bay

University of South Florida: New web portal documents and catalogues the Black experience in Tampa Bay. “The USF Institute on Black Life (IBL) has created a new web portal to better document Tampa Bay’s historic and contemporary African American communities. The African American Neighborhood Project portal offers a multitude of resources accessible to the community, including oral histories, heritage sites, archival photographs and research addressing anti-Black racism.”

NBC News: Facebook, Twitter remove disinformation accounts targeting Ukrainians

NBC News: Facebook, Twitter remove disinformation accounts targeting Ukrainians. “Facebook and Twitter removed two anti-Ukrainian ‘covert influence operations’ over the weekend, one tied to Russia and another with connections to Belarus, the companies said. One of the operations, a propaganda campaign featuring a website pushing anti-Ukraine talking points, was an offshoot of a known Russian disinformation operation.”

Reuters: Google temporarily disables Google Maps live traffic data in Ukraine

Reuters: Google temporarily disables Google Maps live traffic data in Ukraine. “Alphabet Inc’s Google confirmed on Sunday it has temporarily disabled for Ukraine some Google Maps tools which provide live information about traffic conditions and how busy different places are. The company said it had taken the action of globally disabling the Google Maps traffic layer and live information on how busy places like stores and restaurants are in Ukraine for the safety of local communities in the country, after consulting with sources including regional authorities.”

Mashable: A bot named Ashley is ruining playlists on Spotify

Mashable: A bot named Ashley is ruining playlists on Spotify. “The latest internet villain just reared its head and it isn’t a corporate mega-billionaire, wayward politician, or Twitter troll, but rather an unassuming Spotify bot named Ashley. Multiple users have complained that their public, collaborative playlists — designed to allow Spotify users and their friends to curate songs in real time together — have been commandeered by bots masquerading as normal users, primarily one account simply named ‘Ashley.’”

Washington Post: To expunge his daughter’s murder from the Internet, a father created an NFT of the grisly video

Washington Post: To expunge his daughter’s murder from the Internet, a father created an NFT of the grisly video. “Families of shooting victims have frequently relied on copyright law to get results. Lenny Pozner, whose son Noah Pozner was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, has filed hundreds of copyright claims to get pictures of his son taken down from websites spreading conspiracy theories about the deadly Sandy Hook shooting. Copyright, Pozner has said, is a more effective tool than relying on the platform’s policies against hoaxes, for instance, which can often be opaque and unevenly enforced.”

The Guardian: Five ways AI is saving wildlife – from counting chimps to locating whales

The Guardian: Five ways AI is saving wildlife – from counting chimps to locating whales. “AI is helping to protect species as diverse as humpback whales, koalas and snow leopards, supporting the work of scientists, researchers and rangers in vital tasks, from anti-poaching patrols to monitoring species. With machine learning (ML) computer systems that use algorithms and models to learn, understand and adapt, AI is often able to do the job of hundreds of people, getting faster, cheaper and more effective results. Here are five AI projects contributing to our understanding of biodiversity and species.”