We need more text and fewer videos and memes in the age of Trump…
…Like TV it now increasingly entertains us, and even more so than television it amplifies our existing beliefs and habits. It makes us feel more than think, and it comforts more than challenges. The result is a deeply fragmented society, driven by emotions, and radicalized by lack of contact and challenge from outside. READ MORE: Social Media Is Killing Discourse Because It’s Too Much Like TV | MIT Tech Review
Image Source: ars technica | Gregory F. Maxwell/Wikimedia Commons
It’s bizarre but true: wire recording is the longest-lasting capture format in audio history, one that paved the way for reel-to-reel tapes and a host of others—even though most people today, and some techies included, have barely heard of it. READ MORE: Forgotten audio formats: Wire recording | Ars Technica
The past few months there was quite the vacuum of factual, non-fake news to post to infophile. Thankfully, with the U.S. election finally over, some cool, timely and hopefully accurate stories are percolating up in my news feeds. Interesting times. How about just Hire a Librarian!!!
A cadre of technologists, academics and media experts are thinking up solutions, from hiring human editors, to crowdsourcing or creating algorithms
Source: How to solve Facebook’s fake news problem: experts pitch their ideas | Technology | The Guardian
It has come to this…
The Internet Archive, a digital library nonprofit that preserves billions of webpages for the historical record, is building a backup archive in Canada after the election of Donald Trump. Today, it began collecting donations for the Internet Archive of Canada, intended to create a copy of the archive outside the United States. READ MORE: The Internet Archive is building a Canadian copy to protect itself from Trump – The Verge
TUCKED AWAY IN the forests of New Hampshire, somewhere just outside of Strafford, is a family of giant metal boxes. Each one is filled with 50 drawings and rigged with a system of gears that lets you crank through the images with the turn of a handle. As the illustrations flip past, they combine to form a simple animation. They’re like those flip books you used to play with as a kid, only much, much bigger. READ MORE: Giant Flip Books Are Hiding in the Woods of New Hampshire | WIRED
Spreadsheets are indispensable tools to us data geeks so I always keep an eye out for new ideas and tips in managing data using spreadsheets. I use many of the features and functions listed in the article and even inspired by a few I never thought of before! In the Related links below the first link is one of the most popular posts on infophile.
Spreadsheets get a raw deal. We are so dependent on tools like Excel and Google Sheets for managing budgets and P&Ls that it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing spreadsheets only as applications for managing money, or at the very least, for working with numbers.
But the structure and features of spreadsheets make them so useful for a wider range of purposes, from project planning to writing. Breaking information or text into cells helps you break your work into bite-size chunks so you can find different ways of structuring it. The ability to sort and filter cells makes it easy to find, categorize, or reorganize lists or content. And yes, it’s nice to be able to do quick calculations when you are working with numbers. READ MORE: An Ode to the Underappreciated Spreadsheet | HBR
Image Source: Google/WIRED
SOMETHING FUNNY HAPPENS when your computer or phone can’t display a font: A blank rectangular box pops up in place of the missing glyph. This little box is called .notdef, or “not defined,” in coder lingo, but everyone else just calls it tofu. Bob Jung hates tofu…His team spent six years working with designers at Monotype to banish tofu from Google’s devices with a cohesive, pan-language set of fonts called Noto (short for “no more tofu”). Noto, one of the most expansive typographic families ever made, supports 800 languages, 100 scripts in up to eight different weights, innumerable special characters, and absolutely no tofu. READ MORE: Meet Noto, Google’s Free Font for More Than 800 Languages | WIRED
Researchers from New Zealand have restored the very first recording ever made of computer generated music. The three simple melodies, laid down in 1951, were generated by a machine built by the esteemed British computer scientist Alan Turing. READ MORE: Listen to the First Music Ever Made With a Computer | Gizmodo
When the writer Rebecca Forster first heard how Google was using her work, it felt like she was trapped in a science fiction novel. “Is this any different than someone using one of my books to start a fire? I have no idea,” she says. “I have no idea what their objective is. Certainly it is not to bring me readers.”
After a 25-year writing career, during which she has published 29 novels ranging from contemporary romance to police procedurals, the first instalment of her Josie Bates series, Hostile Witness, has found a new reader: Google’s artificial intelligence.
“My imagination just didn’t go as far as it being used for something like this,” Forster says. “Perhaps that’s my failure.” Forster’s thriller is just one of 11,000 novels that researchers including Oriol Vinyals and Andrew M Dai at Google Brain have been using to improve the technology giant’s conversational style. After feeding these books into a neural network, the system was able to generate fluent, natural-sounding sentences. READ MORE: Google swallows 11,000 novels to improve AI’s conversation | Books | The Guardian