Paint-Decorated Walls, Islamic Art, Twitter, More: Friday Buzz, November 4, 2016


In development: an online archive of paint-decorated walls. “The Center for Painted Wall Preservation Inc. (CPWP) is dedicated to the research and preservation of 18th- and early 19th-century American paint-decorated plaster walls. Its goal is to survey and document these walls in situ or in collections, to further the appreciation of this rare and vulnerable art form, and to serve as a resource for the preservation of painted plaster walls for future generations. It also assists owners in the research, appreciation, documentation, conservation, and restoration of their paint-decorated walls.

In development: a digital archive of Islamic art. “Assembled over the course of five decades by the noted art collector Edmund de Unger (1918–2011), the Keir Collection of Islamic Art is recognized by scholars as one of the most geographically and historically comprehensive of its kind, encompassing almost 2,000 works spanning three continents and 13 centuries of Islamic cultural production—from rock crystal to metalwork, ceramics, textiles, carpets and works on paper. The Keir Collection came to the [Dallas Museum of Art] on a long-term loan agreement with the trustees of the Keir Collection that was finalized in 2014, transforming the Museum into the third largest repository of Islamic art in the United States….As part of its loan agreement with the trustees of the Keir Collection, the Museum is also creating the first ever digital archive of the collection to enhance its accessibility for scholarship and public engagement.”


Twitter’s @Gov account can provide you with a variety of voting information via DM. “Starting today, when a someone sends a private, Direct Message to Twitter’s @gov account they will have access to a variety of additional, personalized voting information, including polling location, candidate and proposition information, and additional electoral resources about absentee voting and state election rules.”

YouTube is making some tweaks to its comment system. “YouTube today is rolling out an upgrade to its comments system, with the goal of putting creators more in control of which comments get featured in the feed, as well as the ability to better interact with their viewers and fans.”

Twitter will livestream an awards show on December 1. “Twitter is already a hotbed of discussion during awards shows, and now it’s ready to broadcast one of those shows — if not necessarily the one you expect. The social network has reached a deal to stream The Game Awards when they kick off December 1st at 8:30PM Eastern.”

Twitter is apparently not the only big tech company to team up with the NFL. “Are you ready for some football in VR? Google and the NFL are. The two companies are teaming up to produce a nine part miniseries that will give fans an immersive view into what game day in the NFL is like. The episodes, shot using Google’s 360-degree camera and capture system, Jump, will focus on how players, coaches, executives, cheerleaders and fans prepare for game day.”


I admit, not particularly useful unless you’re into pranks, but very funny: How to make Google Home & Amazon Echo talk to each other in an infinite loop. “Google’s new Google Home assistant is out this week. It’s a rival to Amazon Echo. Both are voice-activated. So could they talk to each other? Yes — and in fact, they can keep talking without end, if you arrange things right. I discovered this in the way all great discoveries should happen, with one of my kids trying to make both devices lose their minds. My youngest son started playing around and ended up getting them to talk incessantly to each other.”


An amazing story from National Geographic: He Collected 12,000 Road Maps—Now We’re Discovering Their Secrets. “Robert Berlo got hooked on maps at an early age. As a kid growing up in San Francisco he’d pore over roadmaps in the backseat of the car on family vacations. Sometime around age 11 he started collecting them. By the time Berlo died in 2012 at 71 he’d amassed more than 12,000 roadmaps and atlases. But he did more than covet and collect them. Over the decades, Berlo spent countless hours mining his maps for data, creating tables, charts, graphs, and still more maps on everything from transportation systems to the population history of small towns. Now, Berlo’s collection is getting another life as a repository of previously hidden information.”

MORE good stuff from the National Geographic. I try not to use the same sources in an issue but this is really good. Can Archivists Save the World’s Newest Nation? “…even as the nation teeters on the brink of civil war and famine, a cadre of brave archivists, curators, and folklorists are working to preserve and protect the culture and history of South Sudan. [Deng Nhial] Chiok, a 49-year-old anthropologist, is one of them. In twice-weekly cultural heritage classes, he tries to ensure that a generation raised in refugee camps will inherit the folktales, dances, and history of their ancestors. When Chiok’s students raise their hands, they grapple with how to preserve this identity in the chaos of war.”

Smithsonian: How Experts Are Digitizing Ancient Manuscripts. “In recent years, conservators and preservationists have turned to digital tools to preserve old texts and manuscripts. There are a lot of advantages to these techniques—not only can they be stored and cleaned up even if the originals are too delicate, but digitizing old books can allow more people to read them than if they only existed as physical objects. However, when it comes to restoring these books, it takes a lot more than simply scanning the pages into a computer.”

Quartz: The “Facebook impact” on elections is real, and significant—just look at Hong Kong’s last vote. “As the US presidential election nears, analysts are speculating about the potential impact Facebook may have on turnout, and who ultimately wins the race. Hong Kong’s election may provide some clues. In Hong Kong, the ‘Facebook effect’ pushed younger, more liberal, voters to the polls and led to an upset in what was once one of the city’s most conservative, Beijing-leaning districts.”

Digiday: How publishers are making money from Facebook Live. “Facebook officially opened its doors to branded content this April, letting media owners publish advertorials, either co-created with brands or sponsored by them, to their verified Facebook pages. There’s also the option to run short ad breaks within Facebook Live videos, though this is just running with a handful of test publishers. And while there hasn’t been an avalanche of publishers running sponsored live videos — most are just figuring out how to develop audiences for Facebook Live — some are starting to see dollar signs.” Good morning, Internet…

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