Voicebot: Amazon Launches Alexa Accessibility Hub

Voicebot: Amazon Launches Alexa Accessibility Hub. “Amazon has brought together all of the accessibility features and initiatives for the Alexa voice assistant into a central website. The new Alexa Accessibility Hub demonstrates the ways people with different kinds of disabilities can use Alexa as a helpful tool and the accommodations in place to make using Echo smart speakers and smart displays easier for people with disabilities.”

Rochester First: George Eastman Museum has 23 digitized films available for free; including a film on Kodak

Rochester First: George Eastman Museum has 23 digitized films available for free; including a film on Kodak. “The George Eastman Museum has now released 23 digitized movies, all of them originally on film. All of them are free to view on their website, and most of them feature an introduction as well. Some of the pieces include documentaries, over a dozen test — including some from the iconic movie ‘Gone With the Wind’ — and even a film about Eastman Kodak Company that was made in Rochester.”

CNN: Belarus President dismissed Covid-19 as ‘psychosis.’ Now he says he caught it

CNN: Belarus President dismissed Covid-19 as ‘psychosis.’ Now he says he caught it. “The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has said he contracted coronavirus but recovered without suffering any symptoms, state-run news agency Belta reported Tuesday. Lukashenko has repeatedly dismissed the threat posed by Covid-19, touted home remedies and refused to shut down his country, making Belarus an outlier in Europe.”

Politico: U.S. suffered worst quarterly contraction on record as virus ravages economy

Politico: U.S. suffered worst quarterly contraction on record as virus ravages economy. “The U.S. economy crashed in historic fashion this year — shrinking at a nearly 33 percent annualized pace in the second quarter — as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged businesses and sent joblessness soaring. The question now for President Donald Trump, trailing in the polls and facing a daunting reelection effort, is just how much conditions can snap back in the months leading up to Election Day.”

New York Times: Will the Penny Survive Coronavirus? Some Hope Not

New York Times: Will the Penny Survive Coronavirus? Some Hope Not. “A nationwide coin shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic has revived a debate: Is now the time to eliminate the penny? During lockdowns, consumers have stayed home and avoided emptying their piggy banks of coins in exchange for paper money. Shoppers have also opted to rely on credit and debit cards instead of touching cash.”

Beaver County Times: State launches database to track, reduce firearm deaths

Beaver County Times: State launches database to track, reduce firearm deaths. “A new state database sheds light on the more than 1,600 Pennsylvanians who died by firearm in 2018 to help local policymakers reduce gun violence. Pennsylvania’s Department of Health on Monday launched a violence data dashboard to collect information on populations affected by gun violence following Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive order last year. The portal examines the number of gun violence victims by both homicide and suicide, rates at which violence occurs in locations, frequency and factors such as gender, race and age.”

Bleeping Computer: Newsletter plugin bugs let hackers inject backdoors on 300K sites

Bleeping Computer: Newsletter plugin bugs let hackers inject backdoors on 300K sites. “The vulnerability was found in the Newsletter WordPress plugin that provides the tools needed to create responsive newsletter and email mail marketing campaigns on WordPress blogs using a visual composer. Newsletter has already been downloaded over 12 million times since it was added to the official WordPress plugin repository and is now installed on more than 300,000 sites.”

CNET: Tablets spike in popularity during pandemic lockdown, report finds

CNET: Tablets spike in popularity during pandemic lockdown, report finds. “Tablet shipments for the top five brands rose notably in the second quarter of this year, according to analysts at Canalys, a market research firm. The upswing came just when people around the world were asked to work remotely and keep their kids home from school to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.”

Slator: Thai Mistranslation Shows Risk of Auto-Translating Social Media Content

Slator: Thai Mistranslation Shows Risk of Auto-Translating Social Media Content. “After a machine translation of a post from English into Thai about the King’s birthday proved offensive to the Thai monarchy, Facebook Thailand said it was deactivating auto-translate on Facebook and Instagram, revamping machine translation (MT) quality, and offering the Thai people its ‘profound apology.'”

ABS-CBN News: New military chief eyes ‘regulating’ social media to combat radicalization

ABS-CBN News: New military chief eyes ‘regulating’ social media to combat radicalization. “The new head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said he was eyeing to ‘regulate’ social media, which he claims had become a platform used by terrorists in radicalizing and recruiting future members.”

HCIL: Development of Early VR

HCIL: Development of Early VR. “In 2018, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) decided to make its video archives available online…. Between class project obligations, trying to wrangle hundreds of copyright permissions, and digitizing all of the VHS tapes, we’re happy to announce that these pieces of history will soon be accessible to view through the ACM Digital Library. This is a massive treasure trove of 300+ demos which were originally presented at the annual ACM CHI conferences from 1983–2002, and they will soon be viewable online alongside their original papers.”

NPR: Tidal Wave’ Of Power Shut-Offs Looms As Nation Grapples With Heat

NPR: ‘Tidal Wave’ Of Power Shut-Offs Looms As Nation Grapples With Heat. “Wykeisha Howe is trying to be thrifty. When her kids are uncomfortable in the sweltering Atlanta heat, she gives them freeze pops. Instead of cranking up the air conditioner, she uses a fan. Lunch and dinner are cooked at the same time, so the electric stove doesn’t have to be turned on twice. ‘I try my best to manage and ration out things as best as possible,’ she says. Still, Howe, who has five kids living at home, is about a month and a half behind on her electric bill. ”

A lesson in automated journalism: Bring back the humans (NiemanLab)

NiemanLab: A lesson in automated journalism: Bring back the humans. “It’s an important discovery not just for automation in fact-checking, but for similar efforts in other journalistic genres. We’ve found that artificial Intelligence is smart, but it’s not yet smart enough to make final decisions or avoid the robotic repetition that is an unfortunate trait of, um, robots. In the case of Squash, we need humans to make final decisions about which fact-checks to display on the screen. Our voice-to-text and matching algorithms are good — and getting better — but they’re not great. And sometimes they make some really bad matches. Like, comically bad.”

Washington Post: Young people are infecting older family members in shared homes

Washington Post: Young people are infecting older family members in shared homes. “As the death toll escalates in coronavirus hot spots, evidence is growing that young people who work outside the home, or who surged into bars and restaurants when states relaxed shutdowns, are infecting their more vulnerable elders, especially family members. Front-line caregivers, elected officials and experts in Houston, South Florida and elsewhere say they are seeing patterns of hospitalization and death that confirm fears this would happen, which were first raised in May and June. That was when Florida, Texas, Arizona, California and other states reopened in efforts to revive their flagging economies.”