Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for March 22, 2020

in STEMGeekslast year

IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos; A new technique is able to decipher ancient languages by comparing to modern languages along with existing translations; An archaeologist is saving a digital archive of historic sites in the Yukon and using it to create an online virtual exhibit; George R. R. Martin says he's spending coronavirus down-time writing about Westeros; and a Steem essay describes an algorithm to find a longest substring with no repeating characters


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First posted on my Steem blog: StemGeeks, SteemIt, SteemPeak*, SteemSTEM.


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  1. Video Friday: Robots Help Keep Medical Staff Safe at COVID-19 Hospital - IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos this week includes: ATRIS, AIMBOT, and Cruzr robots that have been deployed in a Shenzen hospital from UB Tech Robots. The robots help fight the COVID-19 outbreak by performing tasks like monitoring temperatures, disinfecting areas, and providing teleconferencing services for doctors and patients; A robotic arm that can pick up gold-colored coins in honor of St. Patty's Day; A robotic arm from HEBI Robotics that allows a researcher in Pittsburgh to interact with the device in Austria; Slider is a straight-legged biped from Imperial College London; GTI, a robotic arm that can learn and generalize by imitating; and more...

    Here is a drone from the African Drone Forum that is built from scratch and constructed from bamboo:

  2. Dead Languages Come to Life - In modern languages, AI is nearly as good at translating language as human translators, and it does it with far less cost and effort. Google Translate, for example, can translate recorded and written text in 105 languages. The key to this ability, however, is the use of millions of examples from an entire Internet full of data. In contrast, AI systems working to translate dead languages have far fewer training options. Nonetheless, MIT researchers Regina Barzilay and Jiaming Luo, along with Google's Yuan Cao, have developed a technique to decipher ancient languages. As part of this effort, the team translated from Linear B - a 3450 year-old predecessor to Greek - into Greek, and they also translated Ugaritic - an ancient semitic language - into modern Hebrew. The work is described in Neural Decipherment via Minimum-Cost Flow. In short, the technique relies on the repeated iteration across two steps. In step-1, the system uses a neural network with prior knowledge about the modern language to predict the characters in each word. In step-2, it uses a linear program to minimize deviations between the prediction and previously translated samples of the ancient text.

  3. Archaeologists create digital blueprints of historic sites on Yukon's Herschel Island - After a 20 year absence from Yukon's Herschel Island, the University of Calgary's head of anthropology and archaeology, Peter Dawson was concerned when he returned to the island and saw that the area had lost as much as 20 meters of land as a result of coastal erosion. The researcher said that this drove home the point that digital archives of the historical structures on the island need to be preserved. As a result, he used a terrestrial laser scanner to map th exact coordinates of the buildings, and created 3D replicas of sites at the island's Pauline Cove. In addition to its getting a comprehensive historical record of the site, this effort also provides the ability to create an online, virtual exhibit for people who can't make the trip to visit the site. -h/t

  4. George R. R. Martin Is Social Distancing in Westeros - As a result of coronavirus-imposed isolation, George R. R. Martin says that he has been writing about Westeros daily. This is raising fans' hopes that Winds of Winter, the sixth book in Martin's Song of Ice and Fire might finally get completed. He adds that, because he is part of the most vulnerable demographic, he is also taking all recommended precautions in order to keep himself safe.

  5. Steem @golibrary: Find longest substring with no repeating characters - In this @steempress post, the author describes a solution to the problem of finding a longest substring with no repeating characters. The technique makes use of a dynamic sliding window strategy, as described in Longest Substring with K Distinct Characters, and it runs with time complexity of O(N) where N is the length of the string, and space complexity of O(K), where K is the number of unique characters in the string. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @golibrary.)

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