Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for December 26, 2019

in rsslog •  2 months ago 

Free online AI training from Finland now available worldwide; A new technique for planet-finding; Chinese tech titan, Tencent, launching a blockchain research division; An argument that scientific fraud is more pervasive than realized; and a Steem essay discussing the rise of peer-to-peer boat and RV rental applications

Fresh and Informative Content Daily: Welcome to my little corner of the blockchain

* Note that due to holiday activities, posting for this series may be irregular for some time *

Straight from my RSS feed
Whatever gets my attention

Links and micro-summaries from my 1000+ daily headlines. I filter them so you don't have to.


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  1. Finland is making its online AI crash course free to the world - Last year, Finland launched a free online course for citizens of the country to be educated about new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Now, the country has opened it up as a Christmas gift to the citizens European Union (EU). The six week course has been translated into all languages of the EU, and there are no geographic restrictions, so this gift to the citizens of the EU is now available to anyone. During its first year, more than 1% of Finland's 5.5 million signed up for the course. The course is named, "Elements of AI", and it is available in English, Swedish, Estonian, Finnish, and German languages. The six week course is divided into segments that each take 5 to 10 hours, and it covers philosophical and technical subjects. h/t Communications of the ACM: Artificial Intelligence

  2. Astronomers found 6 unusual new planets, including 3 super-Earths, by watching them vaporize and bleed gas into space - Three recent papers in Nature ([1], [2], [3]) describe a new astronomical technique for planet hunting. The technique involves looking for stars that are surrounded by gas clouds. These clouds are formed by planets that are circling too close around their star, which is causing them to gradually vaporizing as a result. This process is called ablation. The research was conducted by researchers at England's The Open University, and led by Carole Haswell. Using this technique, the team was able to identify 3 stars that are surrounded by 6 planets. All six of the planets circle their stars at a distance which is closer than Mercury circles our own star. One of the planets is about 2.6 the size of Earth, and the researchers were surprised to find it in a binary star system. According to present theory, the planet could not have formed in a system like that, so they suspect that the small star's orbit has changed over the course of time. This new technique should enable researchers to get more efficient use of telescope time, as Haswell says they're finding planters more quickly and easily than previous efforts, and also that it provides "rich data about the composition of vaporizing planets".

  3. Chinese Internet Giant Tencent Plans to Create Digital Currency Research Group - Tencent is the Chinese company behind the wechat application. According to a December 23 report, the firm is now looking for a candidate to head up a new blockchain technology research group. The firm has also partnered with the Russian company, Alrosa - the world's largest diamond mining company, and also with Everledger, a blockchain platform. This partnership is establishing a blockchain-based diamond retailer inside of the wechat application. In addition, Tencent developed a blockchain invoicing application for Shenzen that is now in use by over 7,600 companies.

  4. The Many Faces of Scientific Fraud - As far back as the 1960s, there have been claims that every scientific paper is a fraud. This article brings to light some of the history and reasoning behind those claims. One observed problem is the sanitation of the scientific paper. In a lab, activity is chaotic and runs in fits and starts. Scientists make guesses and sometimes get lucky, and they pursue knowledge in pursuit of a goal. All of this dynamic activity is filtered out into the sterility of a scientific paper with its seemingly disinterested "Introduction", "Previous Work", and "Methods" sections. Beyond this sort of theoretical argument that scientific papers intentionally misrepresent the reality of life in a lab, the article moves on to the history, pointing out that intuition has played a role in some of science's successes (Grego Mendel's 3 laws of genetics) and failures (Robert A. Millikan's Nobel winning, but erroneous claim for an elementary electric charge) and suggests that the scientific paper is intentionally constructed to hide the role of intuition - or even "cooked data". h/t RealClear Science

  5. STEEM The Airbnb Of Boats - In this post, @doitvoluntarily tells us about a San Francisco based business known as GetMyBoat that offers peer to peer rental services for boat sharing. The post notes that the company operates in more than 180 countries and points out that with the expense of owning a boat, peer to peer rental is a superior option for many consumers, especially tourists. In addition to GetMyBoat, other active markets include: "BoatBound, Click&Boat, Samboat, and Boatsetter", all of whom have tens of thousands of boat listings. The post also advises that similar services are available for recreational vehicles (RVs). (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @doitvoluntarily.)

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