Maya Artifacts, Middle East Architecture, Photo Management, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, November 30, 2017


Google Blog: The British Museum and Google Arts & Culture: Decoding the secrets of the ancient Maya. “In the 19th century, the explorer Alfred Maudslay set out to capture and preserve the stories the Maya of Central America, one of the largest and most successful indigenous cultures in the world, with more than 2000 years of rich and vibrant history. For decades, he travelled through the region carrying tons of equipment on mule trains through the jungle and created the first glass plate photographs and plaster casts of some of the most important ancient Maya art from the region. More than 100 years later, Google Arts & Culture and the British Museum are picking up where Maudslay left off. Now, visitors from around the world can explore the Maya’s rich heritage online and learn about their achievements in art, architecture, astronomy, mathematics and language.”


Artstor Blog: Now available: Alka Patel Archive: Afghanistan and Iran, Art and Architecture. “Alka Patel and the University of California, Irvine have contributed approximately 5,000 images of the art and architecture of historic Islamic sites in Afghanistan and Iran to the Artstor Digital Library. The collection in Artstor is made up of Patel’s field photography, with an emphasis on mosque architecture, and it includes extensive and uncommon coverage of the monuments of the Ghurid Dynasty (c. 1149-1215).”

The Verge: Microsoft’s photos app for iOS and Android will quickly transfer pictures to a PC. “Microsoft is planning to release a photos companion app for iOS and Android devices, to quickly transfer pictures to a PC. The app will be available soon for Windows 10 testers, and it will support the quick transfer of photos or videos from phones to PCs on the same Wi-Fi network.”

Digital Trends: New Facebook Messenger tool could let businesses broadcast mass chat messages. “Businesses could soon use Facebook Messenger to send you automated, mass-delivered messages. First spotted by The Next Web’s Matt Navarra, Facebook recently confirmed that it is privately testing Messenger Broadcast, a platform that would allow businesses to send mass messages — though only to Messenger users that have already initiated a conversation.” Ugh.


Artsy: A New Museum Exists Solely in VR. What Does that Mean for the Future?. “At the new Kremer Museum, the lighting is perfectly optimized to accentuate the colors, brushstrokes, and details in each painting. The frames reflect light differently than the art, and soon, all of the lighting will be adjusted according to each visitor’s height to entirely eliminate glare. Visitors can not only view the front of each painting, but also the back, and potentially the X-ray as well—and they can do so from anywhere in the world, as long as they have the proper gear. The museum exists solely in virtual reality.”

The Register: ‘Break up Google and Facebook if you ever want innovation again’. “If the tech industry wants another wave of innovation to match the PC or the internet, Google and Facebook must be broken up, journalist and film producer Jonathan Taplin told an audience at University College London’s Faculty of Law this week. He was speaking at an event titled Crisis in Copyright Policy: How the digital monopolies have cornered culture and what it means for all of us, where he credited the clampers put on Bell then IBM for helping to create the PC industry and the internet.”


TechCrunch: Senators introduce revenge porn bill. “Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), as well as Rep. Jackie Speier introduced a bill today to address revenge porn. The bill, Ending Nonconsenual Online User Graphic Harassment (ENOUGH) Act of 2017, is designed to address the unwanted sharing of private, explicit images.”


Axios: How Snapchat is separating social from media. “The personalized newsfeed revolutionized the way people share and consume content. But let’s be honest: this came at a huge cost to facts, our minds and the entire media industry. This is a challenging problem to solve because the obvious benefits that have driven the growth of social media – more friends! more likes! more free content! – are also the things that will undermine it in the long run.” You can pitch your better algorithm all day long, but I don’t see anything about more transparency.

Bloomberg: How to Tame Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. “It’s harder to fix a problem than to identify it. That goes quadruple for Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Inc., and Facebook Inc. On the upside, these U.S. tech giants provide some of the world’s best-loved products and services. Investors love them, too. They’re the first-, second-, fourth-, and fifth-most-valuable companies. (Microsoft Corp. places third.) Yet the four, taken together, also stand widely accused of the sins associated with corporate bullies: crushing competition, avoiding taxes, undermining democracy and invading privacy. Russian operatives have used American social media companies as a playground. Executives of Facebook, Google, and Twitter Inc. told Congress on Oct. 31 that they can’t even measure the extent of Russia’s manipulation of the U.S. presidential election and don’t yet have the tools to stop it the next time.” This is an enormous article with a lot to think about.

Science Blog: Yelp Reviewers Take A Dimmer View Of Nursing Homes Than The Feds. “The stars are not aligned when it comes to online reviews of nursing homes. A new study by the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology shows that Yelp reviewers give nursing homes significantly less favorable ratings than those found on the federal website, Nursing Home Compare, run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).” Good afternoon, Internet…

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