Difference between revisions of "Remix the Smithsonian"

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Latest revision as of 22:41, 23 March 2020

Remix the Smithsonian
Number 3727
Broadcast Date FEBRUARY 27, 2020
Episode Length 29:34
Hosts Tom Merritt, Sarah Lane, Roger Chang

Northrup-Grumman rescue satellite successfully linked up with the ailing Intelsat 901, Urban rolls-out its in-app language translation tool, and the Smithsonian published 2.8 million images, data and 3D models under the Open Access program.

Quick Hits

Facebook canceled the in person part of its F8 developer conference set to take place May 5-6. Facebook says instead it will conduct “locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content.”
Microsoft announced it will miss its quarterly revenue guidance for its More Personal Computing Unit as a result of the COVID-19 virus. This unit includes Windows licenses and Surface sales. Microsoft also announced it's Game Stack team will not attend the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco due to COVID-19 concerns. Several of its planned sessions will take place online at Microsoft's website March 16-18.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports Apple has lost one key supply chain executive and is about to lose another, Vice President of manufacturing design Nick Forlenza retired. He led a team of "supply chain and operations executives." And Duco Pasmooij who led production operations for the iPhones and moved into Augmented Reality efforts more than a year ago, is discussing an exit in the near future.
German news outlet Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that Google officially petitioned the U.S. government to allow it to supply its Play Store and apps on Huawei Android devices. Back in November, Microsoft won a similar license to supply Huawei with Windows 10 for use on the Chinese firm’s computers.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company will open its first India store next year. During the company's annual shareholder meeting Cook also said Apple would open an online store in India this year.
At RSA Conference, security researchers from Eset published details about a vulnerability in Wi-Fi chips made by Broadcom and Cypress Semiconductor called Kr00k that effects chips in iPhones, iPads, Macs, Amazon Echos and Kindles, Android devices, Raspberry Pi 3, and routers from Asus and Huawei. The exploit causes devices to put unsent data frames into a transmit buffer and then send them over the air, using an encryption key of all zeros. Apple and Amazon both said the vulnerability have been patched on affected devices.

Top Stories

Wednesday, Northrop-Grumman's Mission Extension Vehicle, or MEV-1 satellite successfully linked with the Intelsat 901 satellite that only had a few months of fuel left. The Intelsat satellite was raised to an orbit 36,000 km above earth in preparation for the linkup, to avoid impacting other satellites if something went wrong. The linked satellites will now move back down into 901's operational orbit. The two satellites will remain linked for the next five years, after which MEV-1 will move to another satellite in need. A second rescue satellite from Northrop-Grumman is planned for launch later this year.
Facebook has paused its election reminder function in the European Union while it addresses concerns from the Irish Data Protection Commission. The Election Day Reminder displays a notification to users on the day of a local election to remind them to vote. Facebook does not explain the criteria it uses to determine if a user sees the reminder. The concerns from Ireland's DPC revolve around transparency over what personal data is collected when users engage with the feature.
9to5Mac says it found evidence in the latest iOS beta release of an Internet Recovery feature. Right now, if you need to restore an iOS device's firmware from scratch you need to connect it to a computer. For devices like an Apple Watch or HomePod that means most people take it to a service provider, since the devices have no easy way to connect to a computer. The feature 9to5Mac found is called OS recovery and seems to work the way the macOS recovery feature does, downloading the firmware image over the internet and then installing it. The feature isn't working in the beta but it looks to 9to5Mac as if it could also work by connecting an iPhone to another iPhone by USB as well.
During a round table discussion at an investors conference called Social 2030, Reddit CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman was asked if Silicon Valley startups had something to learn from TikTok. Huffman responded, “Maybe I’m going to regret this, but I can’t even get to that level of thinking with them. Because I look at that app as so fundamentally parasitic, that it’s always listening, the fingerprinting technology they use is truly terrifying, and I could not bring myself to install an app like that on my phone.” Fingerprinting combines things like installed fonts, hardware types and more to identify a user for tracking purposes. TikTok's parent company Bytedance claims it collects the data to identify malicious behavior. TikTok told TechCrunch, “These are baseless accusations made without a shred of evidence."
Uber began rolling out an in-app translation tool for messages between riders and drivers. This uses Google Translate integration and comes as part of a larger app redesign that further clarifies a ride's arrival status. Speaking of Google Translate, the feature itself added support for five new languages Kinyarwanda (Rwanda), Odia (Indian state of Odisha), Tatar (Tatarstan in Russia), Turkmen (Turkmenistan), and Uyghur (Xinjiang, China), bringing total languages supported up to 108. The languages will start rolling out to users today and come to iOS and Android users in the coming days. Part of the reason these languages took so long was finding enough text to train the machine learning algorithm on and enough human speakers to refine the models.
The Smithsonian published 2.8 million images and 3D models in its collection under its new Open Access program. All images are licensed under a Creative Commons Zero license, with the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Lonnie G. Bunch III saying, "We are empowering our audiences, empowering them to remix, to repurpose, to reimagine all the richness we offer. We’re inviting our viewers to become collaborators.” The collection is also accessible by a public API with collection data hosted on GitHub. The Smithsonian plans to add more to the collection over time, but it does not own the copyrights on all 155 million items in its collection.

Mailbag

Tom has cited "Study whether the dis-information affected the results" many times over the years.

I am reminded of the advertising problem: "I know I'm wasting half my advertising budget, I just can't figure out which half!"

No study can identify what would have happened in the absence of the meddling, just as no economic forecast can identify what "would have happened" if conditions were different. Those who claim otherwise are, at best, only giving statistical inference and that cannot apply in elections where each event is unique with different issues, candidates, and surrounding culture.

My personal assessment is that the goal of election interference is not to hurt the prospects of either Democrats or Republicans, but to further any divisive forces. The responses could be rank-preference voting (Australia) or non-partisan primaries (California). To undercut our current political system simply requires manipulating the electorate to make compromise unpopular. Based on current events, it seems to be successful.
Sent by Charlie

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Preceded by:
"All Melodies Belong To Us!"
Remix the Smithsonian
Followed by:
"League of Later"