British Architects, 3D Artifacts, Malta, More: Saturday Buzz, February 20, 2016


The Royal Institute of British Architects has launched an online image archive. “Established in 2005 by Robert Elwall with just 5000 images, RIBApix is today a stunning collection of over 85,000 digital architectural images including hundreds from Australia. Sourced from the British Architectural Library, the RIBApix content features the work of some of the world’s top architecture photographers including Eric de Maré, Edwin Smith, John Donat, Dell & Wainwright and Tony Ray-Jones.” Apparently this extended archive was launched in November but I missed it.

Historic artifacts destroyed by ISIS are now available for 3D printing. “Over the last year, Ms. [Morehshin] Allahyari has been compiling the scant research available on artworks that were confirmed destroyed from archaeologists and historians with the hopes of building a digital time capsule. The result is a 570 MB ZIP file that includes scholarly research, email correspondence with the Mosul Museum, high resolution images and 3-D printable versions of the artworks.”

Malta’s Digital Library is up and running. “A digital archive of the documents at the National Library in Valletta is up and running and readers can now download a copy of the first printed books dating back to the 15th century, known as incunabula, to read them at their leisure on their mobile or computer….There are over 60,000 pages accessible online so far, but the digitisation process will be ongoing as the library is always receiving new material. So far, 700,000 pages have been captured and are going through the digitisation process.”

The government of Ukraine is setting up a database with information about government spending. “A new website set up by the Finance Ministry allows anyone to monitor the Ukrainian authorities’ transactions with public money.” The article is behind a paywall.

The government of India is developing a database of all bridges on highways in India, which sounds like a massive undertaking. “If everything goes well as per the plan conceptualized by the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, very soon, all the 1.5 lakh major and minor bridges on national highways in the country will be put under central database system called Indian Bridge Management System (IBMS).” 1.5 lakh is 150,000.


The New York Times has an article about several news database projects designed to provide information on the lives of escaped slaves. “These searchable listings indicate how often slaves managed to leave with their children, how some were able to pass for white and how many recaptured slaves kept trying to escape. Among the new website projects are Runaway Slaves in Britain, set up by the University of Glasgow, and Freedom on the Move, based at Cornell University and covering American newspapers.”

You know that states which have their election primaries early in the cycle get a lot of TV advertising, but did you know exactly how much? A new game lets you try to dodge the ads while couch-surfing. “Using data from the Political TV Ad Archive, which scrapes broadcasts for campaign ads and stores them in a timestamped database, I built ‘Super Campaign Dodger.’ It’s an arcade-style game that puts you in Iowa two days before the caucuses, when television ads came at an average of every 45 seconds. Your job: Keep your sanity. And as you slide across channels, keep in mind that this is real data—this is what the TV schedule looked like in Iowa right before the big vote.” The article has the game embedded. I lasted just over three hours (um, in-game time. Not real time.)


A woman who has lost much of her vision to disease can see again thanks to a Google Cardboard app. “The woman in question, Bonny, suffers from Stargardt disease. This is a common form of vision loss that causes the photoreceptor cells in the retina to die, which in turn could potentially cause complete vision loss. However thanks to the use of the Cardboard headset and an app called Near Sighted VR Augmented Aid, it has allowed Bonny to see again.” The story includes a video of Bonny using Google Cardboard and her victory dances when he realizes she can really see things. Please note I had to blow my nose and wipe my eyes multiple times during the video because of … allergies. Yeah. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Thanks to a $2.5 million dollar grant, The NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame will be getting a digital archive of players. “The foundation of late Buffalo Bills founding owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. presented a $2.5 million grant to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday….The grant will also help cover the cost of the digitization of the Hall of Fame archives, with a focus on developing a comprehensive digital archive of every NFL player past and present.”

Interesting: How are fashion publishers using Instagram? “It’s a pivotal time in the fashion calendar: New York Fashion Week (Fall/Winter 2016). Amidst the snow and glacial temperatures, the great and powerful of the style world descended on New York City last week for seven days of shows, events, and previews. The last week also included Valentine’s Day and the 58th Grammys, leading to a corresponding flurry of activity on social. We decided to use these events to get a feel for how fashion publications are using social – in this case, Instagram.” Surprised at the minimal use of video.


PubMed breaks down that “Facebook acts like cocaine on your brain” story that was floating around a few days ago. “In this study, researchers ran an experiment with 20 US college students, who had functional MRI (fMRIs) scans of their brains while undertaking a test designed to measure their response to signs and symbols associated with Facebook, such as the “F” logo….The researchers found that those with the highest reported symptoms of Facebook ‘addiction’ had more activation of ‘impulsive’ brain systems, including the amygdala-striatal system, as is seen in substance addiction. However, unlike people addicted to drugs or alcohol, the brain systems linked to inhibition of impulses (the prefrontal cortex) were working normally.”

World leaders are good at making use of Twitter and Facebook. Instagram? not so much. “From Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, it seems almost every world leader has a presence on the social network. Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom was the latest to set up an account on February 10. However, according to a study by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, one-third of world leaders with Instagram accounts do not use the service.” Good morning, Internet…

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