Research Roundup March 8

AI tracks bias in movies across the decades

Recently, some old movies came under renewed scrutiny for glorifying racism and misogyny. Seeking to quantify some of these social biases in films, Carnegie Mellon Language Technology Institute (LTI) researchers Kunal Khadilkar and Ashiqur R. KhudaBukhsh used automated analysis to study 100 Hollywood and 100 Bollywood films over the last 70 years. By analyzing the subtitles of each of these films, they found evidence of gender and cultural biases. For example, they found that between the 1950s and today, movies have used noticeably more male pronouns than female pronouns, and births depicted in movies during the '50s and '60s were more often males.

Read more about it here.

Researchers show how wildfires may affect cloud formation

As climate change contributes to deadlier weather events such as wildfires, researchers, including Carnegie Mellon Professor Ryan Sullivan, have tried to understand how wildfires contribute to changing weather patterns. The researchers burned biomass and studied the ice-nucleating particles that the smoke released. These are particles that can make water freeze at a higher temperature in the atmosphere, and it was found that these particles became more effective as they aged. This may help researchers understand weather patterns better in the future, as ice-nucleating particles affect whether clouds precipitate.

Read more about it here.

CMU lab recognized for cataloging emissions

The Shenango Channel, a collaboration between the CREATE Lab and Allegheny County Clean Air Now (ACCAN), received the Constellation Prize, an award that honors engineers who "elevate the values of environmental protection, social justice, human rights, and peace." The CREATE Lab helped set up high-definition cameras pointed at the Neville Island Shenango Inc. coke plant and recorded thousands of emissions. The Shenango coke plant shut down in 2016 after The Shenango Channel's reports resulted in multiple citations by the Allegheny County Health Department.

Read more about it here.