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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens
Solar panels

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers December 3, 2022 to December 9, 2022 and includes articles on selling AI-generated artwork and using a supercomputer to model the impact of wildfire smoke on solar energy production. 

1. Practicing Speeches

Toastmasters International, a nonprofit organization that teaches public speaking skills, has partnered with Yoodli, a U.S.-based speech technology company, to offer virtual coaching services. Toastmasters members can record a speech, upload it to Yoodli’s platform, and receive feedback on their pacing, eye contact, filler words, and more from Yoodli’s AI system.

2. Modeling Supervolcanos

An international team of researchers have used a supercomputer to model the magma reservoirs below the Yellowstone Caldera, a supervolcano in Wyoming. The ratio of rock to crystals in top reservoirs can indicate how close a volcano is to erupting, with higher ratios indicating that an eruption is forthcoming. Previous research suggested the top reservoir below Yellowstone had a rock to crystal ratio of nine percent. However, the team found that the reservoir’s rock to crystal ratio is between 16 and 20 percent and that the reservoir is twice as large as previously thought. 

3. Discussing Nutrition

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have created an AI system that can help doctors discuss nutrition with their patients. The system uses patients’ electronic health records to guide appointment discussions, help doctors and patients set goals, and track patients’ progress, as well as draft chart notes for physicians. 

4. Tracking Nonfatal Opioid Overdoses

The White House has launched a data dashboard to track nonfatal overdoses from opioids in the United States. The dashboard contains data on the number of nonfatal opioid overdoses in individual counties, the rate of nonfatal opioid overdoses per 100,000 people, the average time emergency services took to get to patients, the number of naloxone administrations per overdose, and the percentage of patients not transported to a hospital. 

5. Fixing Abnormal or Missing Data

Google has created a machine learning model that can flag data it thinks might be abnormal or predict data to fill missing fields in Google Sheets. Google has launched the tool as an extension for Sheets. 

6. Quantifying the Impact of Smoke on Solar Energy

Researchers at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research have quantified the effects of wildfire smoke on solar energy production during the September 2020 wildfires in California. The team used a supercomputer to analyze data on wildfire smoke, meteorological conditions, energy production and solar irradiance, or a measure of light energy from the sun, and found that energy production dropped by 10 to 30 percent between peak hours of noon to 4 p.m. on days with heavy smoke. 

7. Detecting Pneumonia

Researchers at Hanyang University in South Korea and Yantai University in China have created an AI system that can determine if a patient has pneumonia from the sound of their cough. The team trained the system with 70 recordings of a cough from 15 patients with pneumonia and 56 recordings of a cough from patients without pneumonia.

8. Riding in Autonomous Vehicles

Uber has partnered with Motional, a U.S.-based autonomous vehicle company, to offer rides in autonomous vehicles. Uber and Motional will first offer autonomous ride-hailing services in Las Vegas, Nevada and then expand to Los Angeles, California. 

9. Selling AI-Generated Artwork

Adobe, a U.S.-based computer software company, has updated its stock photo program to allow generative artwork. Contributors can submit artwork created with an AI system to the platform for use or sale. 

10. Supporting LGBTQ+ Rights

Corner, a Brazilian soccer magazine, has created a Snapchat lens to support LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar. The lens uses augmented reality to display a rainbow on top of a FIFA-approved flag. 

Image credit: Flickr user Jonathan Cutrer

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