Newswise: Museums Put Ancient DNA to Work for Wildlife

Newswise: Museums Put Ancient DNA to Work for Wildlife. “Scientists who are trying to save species at the brink of extinction are finding help in an unexpected place. Heather Farrington, curator of zoology for the Cincinnati Museum Center, is using DNA from specimens collected more than 100 years ago to help understand the evolution and stresses faced by today’s animals.”

TechCrunch: Facebook isn’t free speech, it’s algorithmic amplification optimized for outrage

TechCrunch: Facebook isn’t free speech, it’s algorithmic amplification optimized for outrage. “The problem is that Facebook doesn’t offer free speech; it offers free amplification. No one would much care about anything you posted to Facebook, no matter how false or hateful, if people had to navigate to your particular page to read your rantings, as in the very early days of the site. But what people actually read on Facebook is what’s in their News Feed … and its contents, in turn, are determined not by giving everyone an equal voice, and not by a strict chronological timeline.”

Globe and Mail: Facebook reduces transparency of information on political-ad targeting

Globe and Mail: Facebook reduces transparency of information on political-ad targeting. “The company is asking users to complete a ‘captcha’ – a visual challenge that asks people to pick out similar items in a photo or type out a sequence of letters and numbers, for example. These captchas are preventing tools designed to monitor users’ feeds from automatically collecting ad-targeting information. The impact of the captchas on the tool’s ability to collect targeting information is significant. In August, more than 86 per cent of ads collected had targeting information. Since the federal election campaign began, that number has dropped to 16 per cent.”

BoingBoing: You can purchase science fiction novels written by artificial intelligence

BoingBoing: You can purchase science fiction novels written by artificial intelligence. “Even the covers to this collection of AI-written science fiction novels were created by AI. The reviews are also written by AI. Titles include Bitches of the Points, Auro-Minds and the Hungers, The Table in 10, and Breath Chanter.”

TechCrunch: AI is helping scholars restore ancient Greek texts on stone tablets

TechCrunch: AI is helping scholars restore ancient Greek texts on stone tablets. “Machine learning and AI may be deployed on such grand tasks as finding exoplanets and creating photorealistic people, but the same techniques also have some surprising applications in academia: DeepMind has created an AI system that helps scholars understand and recreate fragmentary ancient Greek texts on broken stone tablets.”

Haaretz: Magic or a Trap? DNA Changes Study of the Past

Haaretz: Magic or a Trap? DNA Changes Study of the Past. “The ability to extract and sequence DNA from samples that are thousands and even hundreds of thousands of years old has led to significant breakthroughs in the study of evolution. By sequencing Neanderthal genomes, scientists have learned about the health, physical appearance and settlement patterns of Neanderthals. Even more important, DNA research led to the discovery of formerly unknown hominids…. These successes led researches to apply genetic tools to later periods, and according to some critics that is where the danger lies.”

The Star: U of T Indigenous-led lab creates new app for reporting pollution in Chemical Valley

The Star: U of T Indigenous-led lab creates new app for reporting pollution in Chemical Valley. “Vanessa and Beze Gray run an annual ‘Toxic Tour’ of the siblings’ childhood home — Aamjiwnaang First Nation. The 2,500 acres of ancestral land is wedged on three sides by sprawling petroleum and chemical companies that, for generations, have discharged pollutants into Canada’s Chemical Valley.”