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Debunking Misconceptions about Other Cultures, on YouTube Student’s UROP videos draw thousands

For Gregory Kerr’s UROP project, he creates YouTube videos that try to debunk historical misconceptions in engaging ways. Photo by Cydney Scott

Most everything you’ve heard about African history and culture is wrong, according to Gregory Kerr, and much has been left out.

It is not a “giant mud pit full of clay huts and savages,” Kerr (CAS’18) says in a 21-minute video he has put on YouTube. Cataract surgery and C-sections were done there long before Europe got around to them. Africans designed magnificent architecture, including buildings in a coastal region built almost entirely from coral. To the extent that Africans are poor, that’s mainly a consequence of colonization.

Kerr’s video reality check is narrated by a wisecracking, animated version of the student “Blue,” named for his eye color, who is seated by an animated fire in a book-lined library. He runs down facts and fictions about Africa, aided by quick cuts to maps, pictures, and colloquial captions.

Thucydides and YouTube: there are two words you normally don’t hear in the same breath. But classics and philosophy major Kerr is using 21st-century social media to teach lessons about ancient history in a way he says the Greek historian, who lived four centuries before Jesus, would have approved. Thucydides believed history should be enjoyable to read, Kerr says. By that yardstick, “textbooks are garbage,” he continues. “Oh my God, it’s the worst way to convey information.”

So Kerr’s summer project for the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), which matches students with faculty mentors across the University and provides funding for projects, is to make 10 enjoyable videos for a YouTube channel (name: Overly Sarcastic Productions) that either debunk misconceptions about ancient cultures or teach enduring moral lessons. Besides Africa, his planned or completed topics will be Thucydides’ Athens, the Vikings, Japanese Samurai, Mesoamerican peoples, Persia, India, China, the Iroquois, and the Mongols.

His Africa video alone has drawn more than 46,000 views, with Athens just under that.

Overly Sarcastic was started by a non-BU friend of Kerr’s who also enjoys history videos. Kerr actually hated history in high school because of those coma-inducing textbooks, he says. Then during his freshman year at BU, he attended a lecture by Loren J. Samons II, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of classical studies.

Samons discussed ancient Athens so engagingly, Kerr recalls, that “I thought, huh! History can be funny.” He began making YouTube videos on history for earlier UROP projects, with Samons proofreading his earliest scripts. “He destroyed everything I wrote,” Kerr says, “but it was done with love.”

His research sometimes requires consulting BU experts on various topics, as well as the occasional outsider. (He corresponded with an Australian medievalist who has his own YouTube history channel about the Vikings and samurai.) But “the actual information that I’m digging up isn’t locked away anywhere. It’s all fairly, readily discoverable” on the internet, he says, in sources ranging from documentaries to online encyclopedias.

“The whole brunt of this project is, how do I take all this information that’s already pretty much out there and distill it in a way that is…as digestible as possible,” Kerr says. The real work is scripting the videos engagingly. “Anyone can sit down and write down what happened in the American Revolution, but it’s probably going to sound pretty boring,” he says. “I like to think that I have a certain skill in conveying that kind of information in an entertaining, aesthetically pleasing way.”

Thucydides also believed history should teach a moral lesson, he says. Kerr’s 14-minute Athens video emphasizes how the city-state made relentless war until it was defeated by Sparta. “Their hubris,” he narrates, “for all of the shiny temples it gave them, was the ultimate source of their downfall.”

Still, for all of Kerr’s use of modern social media, he acknowledges that old often beats new: “I’d much rather spend the extra 10 hours to read real Plato than read some dried-up-schmuck-on-the-internet’s summary.”

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Apple Csam Faq Addresses Misconceptions And Concerns About Photo Scanning

Apple has responded to misconceptions and concerns about its photo scanning announcements by publishing a CSAM FAQ – answering frequently asked questions about the features.

While child safety organizations welcomed Apple’s plans to help detect possession of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), and to protect children from predators, there has been a mix of informed and uninformed criticism …


Mainstream media confusion arose when Apple simultaneously announced three separate measures, with many non-technical people confusing the first two:

iMessage explicit photo warnings for children in iCloud Family groups

Detection of known CSAM photos by scanning for digital fingerprints

Responding to Siri and search requests for CSAM materials with a warning and links to help

There has also been a lack of understanding about the methods Apple is using. In the case of iMessage, it is using on-device AI to detect images that appear to be nudes; in the case of CSAM, it is comparing digital fingerprints with fingerprints generated from a user’s stored photos.

In neither case does anyone at Apple get to see any of the photos, with the sole exception of someone flagged for having multiple CSAM photos, when someone at Apple will manually check low-resolution copies to ensure they are true matches before law enforcement is informed.

There has also been confusion between privacy and misuse risks with the features as they stand today (which are nil to exceedingly low) and the potential for abuse by authoritarian governments at a future date. Cybersecurity experts have been warning about the latter, not the former.

Apple already attempted to address the repressive government concerns by launching only in the US for now, and stating that expansion would be on a country-by-country basis, factoring in the legislative environments in each. The FAQ now attempts to address this and other issues.


Apple has published a six-page FAQ designed to address some of the concerns that have been raised. It begins by acknowledging the mixed response.

We want to protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). Since we announced these features, many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support of this new solution, and some have reached out with questions. This document serves to address these questions and provide more clarity and transparency in the process.

The company then underlines that the first two features are entirely separate.

What are the differences between communication safety in Messages and CSAM detection in iCloud Photos?

These two features are not the same and do not use the same technology.

Communication safety in Messages is designed to give parents and children additional tools to help protect their children from sending and receiving sexually explicit images in the Messages app. It works only on images sent or received in the Messages app for child accounts set up in Family Sharing. It analyzes the images on-device, and so does not change the privacy assurances of Messages. When a child account sends or receives sexually explicit images, the photo will be blurred and the child will be warned, presented with helpful resources, and reassured it is okay if they do not want to view or send the photo. As an additional precaution, young children can also be told that, to make sure they are safe, their parents will get a message if they do view it.

The second feature, CSAM detection in iCloud Photos, is designed to keep CSAM off iCloud Photos without providing information to Apple about any photos other than those that match known CSAM images. CSAM images are illegal to possess in most countries, including the United States. This feature only impacts users who have chosen to use iCloud Photos to store their photos. It does not impact users who have not chosen to use iCloud Photos. There is no impact to any other on-device data. This feature does not apply to Messages.

Other points stressed in the FAQ include:

iMessages to and from children are never shared with law enforcement

iMessages remain end-to-end encrypted

Children with abusive parents can safely seek help via iMessage if using only text

Parents are only notified if children aged 12 and under proceed despite a warning

CSAM fingerprint matches are manually reviewed before law enforcement is informed

The trickiest issue remains

The biggest concern raised by the EFF and others remains. While the system today only flags CSAM images, a repressive government could supply Apple with a database that contains other materials, such as the famous Tank Man photo in Tiananmen Square, which is censored in China.

Apple has responded to this by saying it would not allow this:

Could governments force Apple to add non-CSAM images to the hash list?

Apple will refuse any such demands. Apple’s CSAM detection capability is built solely to detect known CSAM images stored in iCloud Photos that have been identified by experts at NCMEC and other child safety groups. We have faced demands to build and deploy government-mandated changes that degrade the privacy of users before, and have steadfastly refused those demands. We will continue to refuse them in the future. Let us be clear, this technology is limited to detecting CSAM stored in iCloud and we will not accede to any government’s request to expand it. Furthermore, Apple conducts human review before making a report to NCMEC. In a case where the system flags photos that do not match known CSAM images, the account would not be disabled and no report would be filed to NCMEC.

That statement is, however, predicated on Apple having the legal freedom to refuse. In China, for example, Apple has been legally required to remove VPN, news, and other apps, and to store the iCloud data of Chinese citizens on a server owned by a government-controlled company.

There is no realistic way for Apple to promise that it will not comply with future requirements to process government-supplied databases of “CSAM images” that also include matches for materials used by critics and protestors. As the company has often said when defending its actions in countries like China, Apple complies with the law in each of the countries in which it operates.

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Challenging Five Artificial Intelligence Misconceptions

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has been a buzzword for quite a while now, with most people have heard about it, but do we know what exactly Artificial Intelligence is?  A lot many people are afraid of the word AI and don’t know how to tackle this buzzword, a fear which is usually caused by the unknown.  

The Growth of AI

In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved into one of the hottest topics for debates and discussion. However, though AI is getting an increasing amount of attention as its applications and capabilities grow, there are many misconceptions that mirror around the potential what AI can do changing lives. The misconceptions which surround AI arise from the experienced fear together with either a total lack of information or the misinformation on the subject. This article will go through some of the main misconceptions that make people question the capabilities of AI, and would try to bring it down additionally to explain what AI means and how it might affect your life.  

#1. AI Mirrors the Human Brain

This is the top misconception that surrounds AI, which in its current state, consists of a host of software tools designed to solve multiple problems. Though AI may seem smart, it is not yet similar of equivalent to human intelligence. There are some forms of machine learning (ML) a subcomponent of AI that may have been inspired by the human brain, however, are not equivalent to mirror the human brain. Image recognition technology is more accurate than most humans but cannot be deployed when it comes to solving an analytical math problem. AI many solve one task exceedingly well in the current world but when the conditions of the task change, it would fail.  

#2. AI is Dangerous

Many uses are still in awe of AI thinking of it as complex; through machine learning models are not inherently dangerous. They possess the same level of danger as other technologies which are already present in our lives. Most AI-systems follow human instructions, like solving a specific problem or analysing historical data with an aim to identify the optimal strategy to engage target audiences.  

 #3. AI is Difficult to Comprehend

This misconception comes with the dangerous word associated with AI that is discussed in #2. The truth is tech buzzwords do tend to be a bit confusing with an air of mystery to the layperson. Similar to the concept of the cloud, another dangerous word, the same mysteriousness is true for artificial intelligence as well. The basics of AI are straightforward and artificial intelligence is just a mathematical algorithm that is altered over time. The AI algorithm is always improving based on changing datasets. Similar to the human brain, AI learns on historical data to improve predictions of the future. Though the human brain draws decisions from a subjective point of view, a machine bases its decisions on objective facts learned from previous numbers and analysis.  

#4. AI and Free of Bias?

The truth is no technology is free from bias. AI is no exception. AI technology works on human input which is not bias-free. This puts AI with an intrinsic bias in one way or the other. Currently, there is no way to take the bias away from AI completely, however, efforts are high to reduce it to a minimum. In addition to the technological solutions, such as diverse datasets, it is important to ensure team diversity while working with the AI algorithms and have team members review each other’s work for good. This simple process can significantly reduce the bias that happens with selection bias.  

#5. AI Can only Replace Repetitive Jobs Which Don’t Need Advanced Degrees

Debunking The Verizon Iphone Lte Insane Rumors

Over the weekend, a website claiming that sources “we believe to be familiar with the matter” has made some pretty ballsy claims about the Verizon iPhone. Looking at the information shared by this website, it makes no doubt to me that they were just link baiting, you know, like making up stuff to get people to talk about them.

I didn’t want to talk about it at first, but seeing how many people actually believe this, I had to raise my voice and tell what I really think about all this. Hint: this is all bs…

Verizon held management training for iPhone sales last week

What management? Store managers? Apple’s own Apple Store managers are not aware of new devices as they come out, I really doubt Apple would let Verizon’s managers know about the products weeks before it’s supposed to be released.

Verizon had functioning iPhones (LTE-capable) in management hands for the training sessions

The formal announcement of the iPhones Verizon debut is coming right after Christmas; “Apparently ATT’s final demand so as to maximize ATT’s Christmas iPhone sales”

The end of an exclusive agreement is not similar to death row. You don’t get to have a “final demand”. Besides, Apple couldn’t care less about AT&T. If they wanted to give Verizon the iPhone for Christmas, they would. That would allow Apple to potentially sell more devices.

The Verizon iPhone will be immediately available upon formal announcement

Verizon agreed to take 100% responsibility for security, so all the devices will be in their hands until the official announcement date, and they will then distribute thru channels in massive manner (hence early stockpiling)

Right! So you’re telling me Apple doesn’t have one of these supposed Verizon iPhone in stock? You believe this if you want to, but I don’t.

The new iPhone is an LTE device and that fact – the only “LTE iPhone,” exclusive to Verizon – will be the main marketing theme; i.e. “For the new ‘4G’ (cough) verizon network” that Verizon has already started promoting

This has to be the most ridiculous claim of them all. Let me remind you that while 3G was a widespread technology back in 2007, Apple still decided to limit iPhones to the slower Edge. Why in hell would Apple bet big bucks on a technology that hasn’t made its grades yet? If anything, we won’t see an iPhone LTE until at least 2012.

iPhone 5 was planned to debut in summer as LTE-only, for all contracted carriers, but the clock is ticking and nobody thinks either Verizon or AT&T can get to critical mass to offer an LTE-only version

Seriously? Apple would play all its cards on LTE, something that no one has even tested yet? Apple would drop 3G from the iPhone? Come on people, a little common sense, please!

Steve Jobs is said to be upset that carriers cannot seem to get their LTE act together more quickly

Steve Jobs is a smart guy. I doubt he is upset that carriers aren’t rolling a brand new multi-billion dollar technology quick enough. Jobs knows it’s going to take some time to reach a critical mass.

That was me talking with passion (maybe too much?) about the Verizon iPhone. What do you think about all this?

How To Manage Desktop Notifications On Youtube?

When new videos and updates from your favourite channels, as well as other material, are available, YouTube’s notifications notify you. YouTube will send you alerts for channels you follow as well as alerts based on your preferences. You may modify or deactivate your alerts, as well as view the method for managing your alert settings on YouTube channels. You may decide when and how to be notified via YouTube notifications.

We will show you how to manage YouTube notifications based on your needs in this article. After reading this article, you will understand how to toggle YouTube Notifications.

Management of YouTube Notifications

The notification page on YouTube is divided in two parts − General Settings and E-mail Notification

For managing notifications, you need to go to YouTube on the web browser and then log in to your account. Open settings, then notifications.

General settings

The general settings are again divided into two parts −

Desktop Notification

Your Preferences

Desktop Notification

Get notifications in this browser. Receive notifications on your computer, even if you are not watching YouTube.

At the top of your screen, tap on your profile picture.

Then tap on Settings.

Tap on Notifications.

To get the notification toggle the button to on position.

Your Preferences

To adjust YouTube Your Preference notifications settings, follow the steps down below −

At the top of your screen, tap on your profile picture.

Then tap on Settings.

Tap on Notifications.

The options available in your preference sections are −

Subscriptions − Notify you about activity on the channels you are subscribed to.

Recommended videos − Notify you of videos you might like, based on what you watch.

Mentions − Notify you when others mention your channel.

Shared content − Notify you when others share your content on their channels.

You can choose turn on or off the corresponding button according to your actual needs.

Email Notification

When you scroll down on the page, you will see the Email notification’s part. YouTube tells you the email address where all the mails from it will be sent.

In this part, you will see four sections −

Your family − Send you emails about family and product updates for YouTube or YouTube Kids

By turning on this setting, you are opting in to emails with recommended content, tips, and product updates for families

Permission − Send you emails about your YouTube activity and updates you requested

If this setting is turned off, YouTube may still send you messages regarding your account, required service announcements, legal notifications, and privacy matters.

You can choose turn on or off the corresponding button according to your actual needs.

Your preferences

General product updates

Announcements and recommendations.

YouTube Premium updates

Announcements, updates, and recommendations from YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium.

Creator updates and announcements

Product announcements, creator events, and personalized tips to grow your YouTube channel.

You can choose turn on or off the corresponding button according to your actual needs.

Language − You can choose the language you would like to use to emails only.

Scroll down to the last of page to find language section.

List of available languages will open. Select yours.

YouTube Channel Subscriptions Notifications

You can also manage your subscribed YouTube channel notifications on the web browser. Notifications tell you about the latest videos and updates from the channels you are subscribed to. There are three options including All, Personalized, and None.

None − No notification at all.

When you subscribe to a channel, your YouTube notifications are automatically set to Personalized.

The steps to follow to manage channel manage notifications are −

You can select one according to your needs. For example, if you want to turn All YouTube notifications, you need to select All.

The settings are changed to All.


There are a variety of YouTube tips, tricks, and shortcuts that you may use to improve your user experience on the site. Being able to control which YouTube messages you receive is one of them.

YouTube makes it simple to keep up with your favourite videos and channels by receiving notices whenever there’s new material or improvements available. YouTube will notify you about channels that you have joined and channels that you may be interested in. Therefore, keep track of your messages to make sure that the things that matter to you do not get lost in the shuffle when hundreds of videos are added to the video-sharing site every minute.

How To Use Tags On Youtube: A Step

Tags help the YouTube algorithm understand what your content is about and serve it to the right users. Find out how to use tags on YouTube for best results.

If you want to make sure your YouTube videos are being seen by the right people, you need to understand how YouTube tags work.

This article will walk you through what tags are on YouTube and why they’re important for both content creators and the platform’s algorithm.

We’ll also cover some best practices on using tags in addition to tips for creating accurate, meaningful tags that will help your video get found more easily by the right viewers — and get more views.

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YouTube tags are keywords that you can add to your videos when uploading them to the platform. Tags work as descriptors that help the YouTube algorithm categorize content better.

The most important function of tags is helping YouTube’s algorithm understand what your video is about so it can serve it to the right users when they’re searching for something relevant.

The three main benefits of using relevant, accurate tags on YouTube are:

YouTube tags allow your video to be found by people using YouTube search to look for the type of content you’re offering.

YouTube tags help the platform’s algorithm understand what your video is about so it can surface it in suggestions and on users’ home pages.

YouTube tags help search engines find and index your videos more easily, which increases visibility in organic search results — even outside of YouTube (e.g. on Google).

Now that you know why tags are important, let’s learn how to add them to your videos.

Step 1: Log in to your YouTube account and go to your channel.

Step 2: In the left-hand menu, select Content.

Step 5: In the Tags section, type in your tags, separating them with commas. You can use up to 500 characters.

That’s it!

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your tags, you might want to take a peek at what’s working for successful content within your niche.

To identify popular keywords, go to YouTube search and type in a topic that’s related to your content. For example, if you’re creating a how-to video on training indoor cats, you might type “cat training” into the search bar.

Open a popular video and look at the suggestions on the right side of the screen. The content there is often based on related searches. These are some of the keywords that people who have watched similar content before might be interested in watching next — so take note!

You can also use free online tools to find out what tags, exactly, other creators are using. Try Chrome extension VidIQ or this tag extractor to get inspired.

Source: VidIQ

1. Don’t go overboard

For best results, only use a few tags that are both broad and specific to your content.

Don’t try to cluster too many keywords in one tag or it might not show up when people search for it on YouTube.

2. Use trending tags

Follow the instructions on looking up tags or use YouTube’s auto-suggest feature to identify trends. To use auto-suggest, simply start typing your keyword in the YouTube search bar and YouTube will populate a list of related searches to help you.

Note: When adding trending tags to your videos, make sure they relate to your content. Using excessive, misleading, or irrelevant tags is against YouTube’s policies on spam, deceptive practices, and scams and can result in getting your account suspended.

3. Be specific

Some keywords are more likely to rank highly on search results pages than others, so it’s important to use the right ones when creating your tags. For example, “road trip” is less broad and has higher chances of ranking well in search engine results than “vacation.”

4. Include synonyms

Synonyms can be used as alternate tags for some topics and subjects. Think about the words your audience is likely to use when describing the topic of your video, and use those synonyms to broaden the reach of your tags.

5. Use a tag generator

If you’re out of ideas, use a tag generator to identify related and potentially trending tags. Tools like TunePocket or Keyword Tool come up with tag recommendations based on your video title or the main keyword you want to target — for free.

Source: TunePocket

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