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Daily Archives: March 8, 2023

How you could build a search that the fediverse would welcome

Anil Dash: “Mastodon and the fediverse are clearly taking off, bringing in millions of new users, and also organically inspiring a wave of technical innovation that dwarfs all of the efforts that the bribes and empty promises of the Web3 crypto bubble couldn’t touch. I’m even enjoying having settled into a relatively permanent new fediverse address at @[email protected], on Medium’s new Mastodon instance, which (along with Mozilla’s similar upcoming instance) should do a lot to legitimize the nascent open system. It’s all great to see, though of course there are huge challenges that come along with this growth, and most of them (as always, with social media) are largely about people and culture, not technology. Nothing exemplifies these opportunities and challenges better than search. Search has long been the killer app of the web, since the days of Yahoo and AltaVista on to the long reign of Google’s dominance, to today’s web where SEO is dying and TikTok is (inexplicably, to text-lovers like me) increasingly on the rise. In that complex environment, the intentional absence of substantial search features in the fediverse, especially in the flagship Mastodon experience that defines the nascent fediverse for so many new users, seems inexplicable. But search is also a signifier to those who pioneered and established the current era of the fediverse, symbolizing the extractive and exploitative hypergrowth systems that often ruined the positivity and promise of the human web…”

Freedom in the World 2023

Freedom House – Marking 50 Years in the Struggle for Democracy – Key Findings Global freedom declined for the 17th consecutive year.  Moscow’s war of aggression led to devastating human rights atrocities in Ukraine. New coups and other attempts to undermine representative government destabilized Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Peru, and Brazil. Previous years’ coups and ongoing… Continue Reading

Wikipedia + AI = truth? DuckDuckGo hopes so with new answerbot

Ars Technica: “Not to be left out of the rush to integrate generative AI into search, on Wednesday DuckDuckGo announced DuckAssist, an AI-powered factual summary service powered by technology from Anthropic and OpenAI. It is available for free today as a wide beta test for users of DuckDuckGo’s browser extensions and browsing apps. Being powered… Continue Reading

Beware of Book Blurbs

The Million: “Blurb is a funny sounding word. It’s phonetically unappealing, beginning and ending with unattractive voiced bilabial stops, and its definition—an advertisement or announcement, especially a laudatory one—carries some of the same meaning as another unattractive word, blubber, which evokes excess in its dual definition as both an expostulation of unrestrained emotion as well… Continue Reading

Explore the world’s searches with the new Google Trends

Google Blog: “With spring cleaning trends on our minds, we’ve refreshed the Search Trends site, making it easier to explore what’s trending around you and across the world.. You can now explore real-time trends right on the home page. These are updated every hour and are accompanied by links to relevant news articles, so you… Continue Reading

A growing plastic smog estimated to be over 170 trillion plastic particles afloat in the world’s oceans

Eriksen M, Cowger W, Erdle LM, Coffin S, Villarrubia-Gómez P, Moore CJ, et al. (2023) A growing plastic smog, now estimated to be over 170 trillion plastic particles afloat in the world’s oceans—Urgent solutions required. PLoS ONE 18(3): e0281596. “As global awareness, science, and policy interventions for plastic escalate, institutions around the world are… Continue Reading

Inside the Suspicion Machine

Wired: “Obscure government algorithms are making life-changing decisions about millions of people around the world. Here, for the first time, we reveal how one of these systems works…Machine learning algorithms like Rotterdam’s are being used to make more and more decisions about people’s lives, including what schools their children attend, who gets interviewed for jobs,… Continue Reading

Recipes by AI

“Let’s Foodie was created to help foodies across the globe get answers to some of the most common alongside some of the most obscure questions that get asked in the kitchen. Launched in 2021, Let’s Foodie is a constantly expanding platform providing information on a range of topics including how to freeze, reheat and microwave… Continue Reading