Art Camera, Montana Insects, Video Games, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, May 18, 2016


Google has developed a new “art camera” for EXTREME close-ups of artwork. “The Art Camera is a robotic camera, custom-built to create gigapixel images faster and more easily. A robotic system steers the camera automatically from detail to detail, taking hundreds of high resolution close-ups of the painting. To make sure the focus is right on each brush stroke, it’s equipped with a laser and a sonar that—much like a bat—uses high frequency sound to measure the distance of the artwork. Once each detail is captured, our software takes the thousands of close-up shots and, like a jigsaw, stitches the pieces together into one single image.” Google has released the first group of a thousand art camera images. You can zoom right down to the brushwork and the cracks in the paint.

Now available: an “photo book” of insects in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. You can learn more about the GYE here; it covers parts of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. “The website, Insects of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, currently features close-up images showcasing the bright colors, delicate features and habitats of regional butterflies and moths, beetles, flies, bees, wasps, ants, sawflies, grasshoppers and other types of insects. Scientific names of the insects are listed, as is brief information about the insects’ anatomy, behavior and habitat.” Brief is the word; the site is focused mostly on the images, which are spectacular.


GameTrailers, which shut down earlier this year, and which has been the subject of content salvage attempts (which I last mentioned in early April) has been acquired by IGN. “IGN will shut down the GameTrailers website, but its YouTube channel will remain active — including an archive of all of its content.”

Elsevier has acquired the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). I do not get this at all. “SSRN is devoted to providing “tomorrow’s research today” through specialized research networks in the social sciences and humanities. We facilitate the free posting and sharing of research material (e.g., conference papers, preprints, non-peer-reviewed papers) in our subject areas. Social science papers tend to have fewer co-authors, so networking and sharing ideas, hypotheses and drafts during the research process are critical; SSRN helps authors evolve their research and communicate their results worldwide.”


From Esther Crawford: How I turned my resume into a bot. (And how you can too!) What I really liked about this article is the fact that the author is not a developer. And because of that she walked through all the tools you can use. You do not need to be a high-level developer or programmer to try this. Check the end of the article for a link to a followup.


KICKSTARTER CORNER: Couple of Kickstarter projects that might interest you. One of them is a project to build a database of wrestling move GIFs. (Goal for that one is $250.) The other is a project for assembling a database of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) projects in Africa. That one has a whopping goal of $184,000.

Interesting: What happens when a museum closes? “What follows is a guidebook of sorts: takeaways from the museums that have come (and gone) before. Four recently dissolved cultural institutions—MOBIA in New York, the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science in California, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and the Higgins Armory Museum in Massachusetts—each offer a lesson in how to weather the complex process of closing a museum.”


Looks like Symantec antivirus products might have a nasty security bug. “British white hat hacker and Google Project Zero chap Tavis Ormandy is making life miserable for Symantec again: the bug-hunter has turned up an exploitable overflow in ‘the core Symantec Antivirus Engine used in most Symantec and Norton branded Antivirus products’. Described here, the problem is in how the antivirus products handle executables compressed using an early version of the Aspack compression tool.”


If you’re worried about privacy, keep your Twitter geolocation information turned off. “Researchers at MIT and Oxford University have shown that the location stamps on just a handful of Twitter posts — as few as eight over the course of a single day — can be enough to disclose the addresses of the poster’s home and workplace to a relatively low-tech snooper.”

Speaking of privacy, check out this new paper from Stanford. “The research paper, entitled Evaluating the privacy properties of telephone metadata, details how the scientists investigated what they describe as the ‘factual assumptions that undergird policies of differential treatment for content and metadata’, underlining how easily they were able to generate detailed intelligence from metadata.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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