CC Open Culture Remix Art Contest 2022. Entrants are invited to… “reuse public domain or CC BY-licensed images … to create, submit, and share original artworks”. The 2022 theme is “Love Culture? Share Culture!” and note that all submissions must be… “supported by a brief description telling the story behind the artwork”. Free entry. Deadline: 30th April 2022.
There’s a new working UserScript for YouTube Playlist Time Length. Works nicely, and adds a simple total time-length when the playlist page is refreshed. Useful for academics who need to quickly see how long a sequence of videos will run in the classroom, and for learners to know how much time they need to allocate to watching a set of tutorials. Other such UserScripts had stopped working in the past week, but this new one works fine.
Update, May 2022: the latest on how to Display the total time for a YouTube playlist.
How to filter Bing News by source? There appears to be no way to do this in the Web browser, in the same way you can for Google News results with Google Hit Hider. I could find no dedicated addon or UserScript for this, and I tried a half dozen keyword-based DIV-blocker addons without any success. But it can be done by turning a regular ‘monitoring search’ URL into an RSS feed.
1. First run a keyword search at Bing News until you are satisfied with its results. Last time I looked, Bing News allows only two -knockout -keywords.
For example, if you were to cut out most of the crime and grime ‘news’ from your city, and also sort by date, then your URL would look like this…
Here you’ve removed all news containing the words police and court. Note that I’ve also manually added a bit at the end of this, that you won’t have…
2. This turns your Bing News search URL into a RSS feed. Do the same, then add the finished URL to your RSS reader.
3. Once it’s in, filter the feed by link and keyword. For instance, you may be fed up with your city’s local rag and don’t wish to see any more click-baiting headlines from it. In which case this is the sort of URL-wording fragment that you would need in your RSS feedreader…
Here I’m using QuiteRSS, but any good desktop RSS reader should have similar filters.
4. Done. Now, delete or move the Web browser Bookmarks to the Bing News searches, the ones that you were using before. Just use the RSS in future.
Of course, this is only good for repeat ‘past six hours’ monitoring searches based on fixed keywords, not if you need to run dynamic ‘seeking’ searches. But, it works.
A good point, made in a new short OA opinion-piece by Martin Eve…
How can the humanities parrot the oft-repeated liberal humanist line that they exist to produce an educated citizenry capable of participating critically in democracy, when most humanities work remains unreadable by most people? … When justifying oneself, pointing at a scholarly book that costs £60 is not the same as pointing to an article that can be read for free.
Assuming that ‘democracy’ and ‘educated citizenry’ are not soon to raise a sneer rather than a cheer from those holding the cattle-prods, then an obvious solution might be some form of free digest of the text that one wishes to read or consult. Often a good digest might suffice to quench curiosity on the part of independent scholars outside salaried academia. It would be far more than an abstract or a paragraph in an editor’s introduction, better than an Amazon Kindle-like “the first 10% is free” extract, and yet shorter than a Blinkist full-book summary (these being carefully crafted by a human, last I heard).
Could a summarising AI do the task? It can with newspaper articles and (I believe) with structured things such as financial reports. It might need some help with denser and more specialised material from the arts and humanities. Such an AI-bot might be aided by picking up on a dozen simple ‘structure tags’, added by the author alongside the text as they wrote it. And in that task the author might themselves be being assisted by a tagging AI. There might also be a semantics back-end at work. A local history chapter on well-dressing ceremonies and associated folklore in the English Peak District might then not flummox the AI too much. But a convoluted chapter on Elvish linguistics and arcane medieval star-lore detectable in Tolkien’s The Silmarillion might still cause it dissolve into a hissing molten puddle.
What about the idea of digests written by young humans in need of cash, of which the planet is very soon to have a rather large abundance? The AI digester-bot might then assist a well-trained young human, by providing a ‘first pass’ digest.
An informed and curious citizen might then be given 52 credits a year to access such a digesting service. Each credit would pay for the cogent summary of a book chapter or article. The specialisation and reading-difficulty of a text would be assessed initially by the AI, with some texts deemed to merit the expenditure of more than one credit. The digestion of a dense book which evaluates the Norse linguistics allegedly to be found in Sir Gawain & The Green Knight might even need a crowd-funding consortium or similar, pooling their collective credits. But that seems unlikely.
My idea loses ground again when one considers it might work poorly with summaries-of-summaries. For instance I want the weighty “The Year’s Work in Tolkien” summary overview in the latest Tolkien Studies journal. But the issue is prohibitively expensive in print, and is locked away from the public on Project Muse. As an impoverished independent scholar I need to read every word of it to keep up with the field, and a summary will not suffice. No matter how good it is.
So… none of this is really ideal, though it would certainly create a welcome market in somewhere like Bangladesh for AI-assisted ‘academic summarisers’ servicing a ’52 credits a year’ system.
One other vague notion also arises. Google Books already exists and provides a partial ‘Look Inside’ solution for many who need to take a peep into an expensive £50-£120 academic collection or (far less often available) an obscure monograph. Could that existing service be expanded? Even if only through gritted teeth, as most librarians seem to despise Google Books. How about a mandate that says Google Books gets to show 100% of a volume produced with or originating from a public university employee, but only ten years after publication? Could that work in terms of the current economics of such things? I don’t know enough about publishing’s current ‘profits over time’ aspects there, as I haven’t been following the monographs debate. But such a book would still be effectively locked down (not OA in any meaningful sense), while still being readable by the global public. It would be a sort of automatic ‘Knowledge Unlatched’, running globally alongside the existing copyright systems and (because universal) not subject to political skew in terms of the books selected. It might also be retrospective.