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Meta’s ‘Massively Multilingual’ AI Model Translates Up to 100 Languages (Maria)

The author writes, “On Tuesday, Meta announced SeamlessM4T, a multimodal AI model for speech and text translations. As a neural network that can process both text and audio, it can perform text-to-speech, speech-to-text, speech-to-speech, and text-to-text translations for ‘up to 100 languages,’ according to Meta. Its goal is to help people who speak different languages communicate with each other more effectively. Continuing Meta’s relatively open approach to AI, Meta is releasing SeamlessM4T under a research license (CC BY-NC 4.0) that allows developers to build on the work.”

She’s a Republican Gun Owner. Now She’s Pleading With GOP Lawmakers for Change. (Russ)

From The Washington Post: “Melissa Alexander wanted to make Gino Bulso feel it in his heart, in his gut. She told him her story: Her son was in his fourth-grade classroom on March 27 when a shooter smashed into the school and started firing. He stood silently against a wall with the other children, feet away from the killer. He heard the shots that killed three of his 9-year-old schoolmates and three adults. … Since the mass shooting at The Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville, Alexander, 44, has been jolted into political activism for the first time in her life. She is among thousands of brand-new Tennessee activists, largely led by mothers, who are pleading with the state legislature to pass stricter gun laws.”

A Climate Warning from the Cradle of Civilization (Laura)

The author writes, “Every schoolchild learns the name: Mesopotamia — the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of civilization. Today, much of that land is turning to dust. The word itself, Mesopotamia, means the land between rivers. It is where the wheel was invented, irrigation flourished, and the earliest known system of writing emerged. The rivers here, some scholars say, fed the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon and converged at the place described in the Bible as the Garden of Eden. Now, so little water remains in some villages near the Euphrates River that families are dismantling their homes, brick by brick, piling them into pickup trucks — window frames, doors and all — and driving away.”

After Years of Promise, Cell-Based Meat Is Moving From the Lab to Dinner Plates (Reader Jim)

From the Boston Globe: “It may never have occurred to you to hanker for a supper of, say, flame-broiled North Atlantic right whale, braised shank of black rhino, or of another critically endangered species. But should such a craving come, it may soon be possible to satisfy it, according to scientists and the technological promises of a fast-emerging industry. It may also be possible to dine on a filet mignon that won’t raise cholesterol levels, consume bacon that rabbis might consider kosher, and grill burgers a vegetarian might approve of — all without killing animals or contributing to the massive greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising animals for food.”

This Molecule May Have Seeded Earth Life (Sean)

From Nautilus: “Floating in the middle of our galaxy, near the center of the Milky Way, inside a cloud of gas that swirls at the temperature of 100 Kelvin or -279.67 Fahrenheit, a molecule essential to life on Earth has just been discovered. It sounds inconceivable that such a level of cosmic cold could harbor anything remotely related to a living organism — and yet it does. In fact, without this molecule, humans — and all other breathing, growing things on the planet — would not be possible. … The findings bolster Panspermia, the theory that life on Earth takes its origin from space and that our planet was ‘seeded’ by various cosmic molecules that took a ride on meteors and meteorites, which later gave rise to organisms.” 

Wind Phones: The Power of a One-Way Phone Call to Cope With Grief (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Brittany Bacinski prepared to connect with her first love, putting into words what she should have told him years ago. She had traveled more than 2,000 miles from her home in Michigan to speak with him in an Olympia, Washington, park. The one-sided conversation would be through a vintage rotary phone. She picked up the receiver, the dense weight matching the heaviness she felt. She stuck her finger into the clear holes, dialed a number, and began talking. The phone wasn’t connected to anything, her words didn’t go anywhere. And that was the point. The man she called in 2022 … died in 2019. But with the 10-minute call in the forest, she finally said all she needed to say.”


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