Berkeley News: New website amplifies refugee voices amid immigration crackdowns. “To humanize the growing refugee crisis, researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Davis have launched an interactive website that maps the perilous ordeals of thousands of displaced people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia through their own personal stories and social media posts.”
Berkeley: New online course will make blockchain so clear ‘you can explain it to your grandma’. “A popular UC Berkeley course on blockchain — the complex, bewildering technology that underpins things like bitcoin — will soon be a public online course accessible to anyone across the world eager to learn about the decentralized bookkeeping method that many believe could be the future of the digital economy.” The course will be free.
Medium: UC Berkeley Open-Sources 100k Driving Video Database. “UC Berkeley’s Artificial Intelligence Research Lab (BAIR) has open-sourced their newest driving database, BDD100K, which contains over 100k videos of driving experience, each running 40 seconds at 30 frames per second. BDD100K’s total image count is 800 times larger than Baidu ApolloScape (released this March), 4,800 times larger than Mapillary and 8,000 times larger than KITTI.”
Berkeley: UC libraries launch tool to help achieve open access. “For far too long, a gold mine of knowledge has been locked away behind journal paywalls, or has been otherwise inaccessible to countless people who could benefit from it. To help address this problem, the scholarly community has been working toward achieving open access, helping to unlock this wealth of information by making it free to everyone, everywhere. But after nearly 20 years of work, much of the world’s scholarly information is still not as available as it could be — only 15 percent of journal articles, for example, are openly accessible at the time of publication. Today, to accelerate toward free readership for all, the University of California Libraries published Pathways to Open Access, a toolkit for campuses and research institutions to help make more knowledge openly available.”
Berkeley: Fed up, two UC Berkeley students launch tool to spot Twitter bots. “Two UC Berkeley undergraduate computer science students are doing what they say Twitter won’t: sorting out and tagging the angry propaganda bots designed to undermine, destabilize and inflame American political discourse. This week, the two 20-year-olds, Ash Bhat and Rohan Phadte, launched a Google Chrome browser extension that puts a button onto every Twitter profile and tweet. With a click on the Botcheck.me button, users can see if the account is run by a person or automated program, based on the pair’s own machine-learning model.”
Berkeley News: Scholars debate: Does social media help or hurt free speech?. “Social media and digital communication haven’t made it easier to talk about difficult, politically contentious ideas, or given under-represented voices equal footing with politicians and media elites, UC Berkeley Professor Robert Reich said Thursday. Reich, a professor of public policy, spoke at the start of a day-long campus event about free speech in the digital age. Ten years ago, he told the eager crowd in Banatao Auditorium, he thought platforms like Facebook and Twitter would open a great world of digital debate about policy, politics and the future of America.” There’s supposed to be video of this event but I can’t find it. I’ll update this post on Firehose when I can.
UC Berkeley: Inside Rainbow Sign, a vibrant hub for black cultural arts. “From the outside, Rainbow Sign didn’t look like much. Housed in a modest building — previously a mortuary — it sat on the corner of Grove (now MLK Jr. Way) and Derby in Berkeley, a quiet, beige house with a tasteful, arched doorway. But on the inside was a vibrant black cultural arts center — a 1970s Bay Area hub for black art, music, cinema, literature, education and civic gathering — that drew cultural icons from across the country, from Maya Angelou and James Baldwin to Huey Newton and Nina Simone.”
Berkeley: Megamovie app makes photographing total eclipse a snap. “When downloaded and installed, the app walks users through a simple process to point your smart phone at the sun using an appropriate filter to protect the camera’s sensors. Once protected and pointed properly, the camera determines where you are and automatically starts taking photos of the sun 15 seconds before totality at your location, snaps periodic shots throughout the total eclipse – which will last a maximum of 2 minutes, 40 seconds, depending on where you are – and takes a series of photos during the 15 seconds after the total eclipse has ended to capture the ‘diamond ring’ effect.”
UC Berkeley has launched a new online archive of Berkeley (the city) in the 1960s and 1970s. From the About page: “On this website we tell this story: of the rare city in the United States where the transformations of the 1960s continued to gain momentum in the 1970s. It’s not a simple tale. An openness to cultural and political experimentation; a hunger for personal authenticity, for a life lived fully, with oppressive social masks stripped off; and a commitment to redress longstanding inequities in American life: these three impulses pulled Berkeley in a number of directions in this period, producing dramatic results and often equally dramatic conflicts. The ideals of the 1960s were tested on the streets of Berkeley in the 1970s.”