MIT News: How quickly do algorithms improve?

MIT News: How quickly do algorithms improve?. “In total, the team looked at 113 ‘algorithm families,’ sets of algorithms solving the same problem that had been highlighted as most important by computer science textbooks. For each of the 113, the team reconstructed its history, tracking each time a new algorithm was proposed for the problem and making special note of those that were more efficient. Ranging in performance and separated by decades, starting from the 1940s to now, the team found an average of eight algorithms per family, of which a couple improved its efficiency. To share this assembled database of knowledge, the team also created Algorithm-Wiki.org.”

Bellingcat: Bellingcat Can Now Access Specialised Satellite Imagery. Tell Us Where We Should Look

Bellingcat: Bellingcat Can Now Access Specialised Satellite Imagery. Tell Us Where We Should Look. “Our team has purchased a subscription to Planet Labs, a private company whose satellites can capture 50cm resolution imagery of anywhere on Earth within a few days of a tasking request. Just a few years ago, satellite imagery of this quality was largely unavailable to the non-profit and independent researchers who play a key role in Bellingcat’s work. We intend to regularly collect suggestions for where this tasking should be directed, then publish the resulting image for all to access and analyse.”

WMTV: New initiative aims to welcome Afghan refugees, give support information

WMTV: New initiative aims to welcome Afghan refugees, give support information. “A new website launched Tuesday aims to help anyone wanting to welcome and support Afghan refugees who have arrived in the United States. [The site] provides information about volunteering, donations and providing legal aid or sponsoring a family. It can also connect people to groups and organizations helping with the resettlement efforts.”

California Genealogical Society: Indexing Champions Expand our California Surname Index

California Genealogical Society: Indexing Champions Expand our California Surname Index. “Are you searching for publications that may have your ancestors’ surnames and information about the family? Well, the CGS California Surname Index may help in your search. Even if you’ve used the Index in the past, we greatly expanded this database in the past year, thanks to our generous volunteers. During the Covid closures, our current group of volunteers more than doubled the number of entries in the database – we’ve added so many new entries that printing out the list would require about 2,000 pages! That’s a lot of Californians. So give it a try and see what you find.”

Study: Crowds can wise up to fake news (MIT News)

MIT News: Study: Crowds can wise up to fake news . “In the face of grave concerns about misinformation, social media networks and news organizations often employ fact-checkers to sort the real from the false. But fact-checkers can only assess a small portion of the stories floating around online. A new study by MIT researchers suggests an alternate approach: Crowdsourced accuracy judgements from groups of normal readers can be virtually as effective as the work of professional fact-checkers.”

Northern Arizona University News: Astronomer recruiting volunteers in effort to quadruple number of known active asteroids

Northern Arizona University News: Astronomer recruiting volunteers in effort to quadruple number of known active asteroids. “The study of active asteroids is a relatively new field of solar system science, focusing on objects that have asteroid-like orbits but look more like comets, with visual characteristics such as tails…. Through funding from a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award in 2018, doctoral student Colin Orion Chandler in Northern Arizona University’s Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science launched an ambitious new project, Active Asteroids, which is designed to engage volunteers in the search for more of these enigmatic objects.”

Washington Post: An army of veterans and volunteers organizes online to evacuate Afghans, from thousands of miles away

Washington Post: An army of veterans and volunteers organizes online to evacuate Afghans, from thousands of miles away. “On a quiet, tree-lined street in the Bay Area, Jon Reed’s computer screen swam with maps of Kabul, chat threads and text messages from Special Operations forces, other service members and civilian contractors inside and around Hamid Karzai International Airport. A former Green Beret, Reed is one of thousands of veterans, active-duty service members, former government officials and civil servants working online to help Afghans flee Taliban retaliation.”

Today’s Wills & Probate: Archaeologists to digitise burial records following HS2 excavation

Today’s Wills & Probate: Archaeologists to digitise burial records following HS2 excavation. “Archaeologists working on the HS2 rail link are looking for volunteers to help digitise the burial records of 57,639 Londoners who lived in the city in the 18th and 19th century. The information relates to St James’s Burial Ground near Euston station, where more than 31,000 burials were excavated as part of HS2’s archaeology work between 2018 and 2019.”

British Library: The Backstory to Digitising the Barbados Gazette

British Library: The Backstory to Digitising the Barbados Gazette. “Today is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. Today also sees the launch of the second crowdsourcing task of the Agents of Enslavement project. To coincide with these two events we are delighted to share this guest post by Dr Lissa Paul, a literary scholar at Brock University who specialises in children’s literature and Caribbean literary studies.”

Treasure quest: Researchers embark on a pre-modern manuscript mission (Monash University Lens)

Monash University Lens: Treasure quest: Researchers embark on a pre-modern manuscript mission. “Thousands of stories have been written about the impact of COVID-19. One overlooked group is historians in Australia whose research efforts have been stymied by travel restrictions. Medieval scholar Guy Geltner’s solution is to search for any ‘pre-modern’ manuscripts that may be lurking in private collections in Victoria.”

TechCrunch: Apple launches a new iOS app, ‘Siri Speech Study,’ to gather feedback for Siri improvements

TechCrunch: Apple launches a new iOS app, ‘Siri Speech Study,’ to gather feedback for Siri improvements. “Apple recently began a research study designed to collect speech data from study participants. Earlier this month, the company launched on the App Store a new iOS app called ‘Siri Speech Study’, which allows participants who have opted in to share their voice requests and other feedback with Apple. The app is available in a number of worldwide markets but does not register on the App Store’s charts, including under the ‘Utilities’ category where it’s published.”

The Conversation: Is it actually false, or do you just disagree? Why Twitter’s user-driven experiment to tackle misinformation is complicated

The Conversation: Is it actually false, or do you just disagree? Why Twitter’s user-driven experiment to tackle misinformation is complicated. “Despite the many factors that influence how individuals identify misleading information, there is still much to be learned from how large groups come to identify what seems misleading. Such data, if made available in some capacity, have great potential to benefit the science of misinformation. And combined with moderation and objective fact-checking approaches, it might even help the platform mitigate the spread of misinformation.”

Hull Live: Families share memories of airship disaster to mark 100th anniversary

Hull Live: Families share memories of airship disaster to mark 100th anniversary. “An appeal for information ahead of the 100th anniversary of an airship disaster that claimed dozens of lives has unearthed a range of ‘touching’ stories and artefacts from the families of casualties, survivors and witnesses. The R.38/ZR-2 exploded mid-flight and crashed into the Humber in front of thousands of onlookers in Hull on August 24 1921, leaving 44 of the aircraft’s 49-strong British and American crew dead.”

NPR: The FBI Keeps Using Clues From Volunteer Sleuths To Find The Jan. 6 Capitol Rioters

NPR: The FBI Keeps Using Clues From Volunteer Sleuths To Find The Jan. 6 Capitol Rioters. “As rioters made their way through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, many of them livestreamed their actions and posted photos and videos on social media. That steady stream of content created an enormous record of evidence that law enforcement needed to sift through to build cases against the accused. Now, more than 575 federal criminal complaints have been filed, and a striking pattern has emerged: Time and time again, the FBI is relying on crowdsourced tips from an ad hoc community of amateur investigators sifting through that pile of content for clues.”