Roller Skating Rinks, Otto Piene’s Sketchbooks, WhatsApp, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, March 4, 2021


Spectrum News: Liverpool Man Creates Website to Remember Rinks Nationwide. “A Liverpool man who had a love for roller skating when he was younger has a way for us to celebrate old rinks. Mark Falso created a website called Dead Rinks which contains names, information, and pictures of more than 2,100 rinks from across the country.”


Harvard Art Museums: Art Study Center Seminar at Home: From Portable Studio to Digital Archive—A Look at Otto Piene’s Sketchbooks. “Otto Piene (1928–2014) was a pioneer in multimedia and technology-based art, creating a large, kaleidoscopic body of work based on the intersections of art, science, and nature. In this session, curatorial fellow Lauren Hanson and museum data specialist Jeff Steward share their research into the 2019 gift of Piene’s sketchbooks—a visual archive of over seven decades of artistic practice—and how the bound pages of these ‘portable studios’ act as a generative site for visual thinking. They will also discuss the current development of a digital project that will allow audiences around the globe to experience the intimacy and dynamism found in the nearly 9,000 pages of Piene’s sketchbooks.” April 16th, and free.


CNET: WhatsApp adds voice and video calls to its desktop app. “WhatsApp on Wednesday added the ability to make voice and video calls via its desktop app. The feature will be limited to one-to-one calls initially, but the Facebook-owned messaging app will expand it down the line to include group calls.”

Neowin: Microsoft Excel on the web is getting version history, multiple range selection, and more. “Microsoft announced a bunch of new that are coming to Excel on the web. First up is easier navigation. There’s a new All Sheets button that can take you directly to the worksheet you want in a multiple-worksheet workbook.”


PetaPixel: The Best Cloud Storage Platforms for Photographers in 2021. “As another year of taking photos rolls on, having enough storage is yet another thing on every photographer’s checklist. Thanks to the cloud, we can have another layer of security and enjoy the convenience of accessing our photos anywhere as long as we have an Internet connection. Those who are frequently using free cloud storage platforms as an extra back-up may already know that they will soon have one less option.”


Search Engine Land: Pinterest powers up creators during stressful times. “The pandemic didn’t just change our lives out in the real world, it changed digital lives as well. It modified the demands users placed on familiar tools. For marketers, taking note of these shifts on social media platforms is essential. For the architects of these communities, the trends cut deep into human experience.”

Gizmodo: QAnon, CultTok, and Leaving It All Behind. “Culttok and similar fundamentalist religious defector TikTok accounts sort of feel like something between educational channels and therapeutic practice; they (often former Evangelicals and Mormons) affirm that they were completely engulfed by a very specific kind of dogmatic ideology. They recall how they rejected what they describe as alternative facts and prejudiced messaging. They discuss the challenges of breaking free and letting go.”


Motherboard: Military Unit that Conducts Drone Strikes Bought Location Data from Ordinary Apps. “A division of the Iowa Air National Guard that carries out overseas intelligence missions, performs reconnaissance, and conducts strikes with Reaper drones recently bought access to location data harvested from ordinary apps installed on peoples’ smartphones, Motherboard has found. The tool, called Locate X, lets users search by a specific area and see which devices were present in that location at a particular point in time.”


Phys .org: Researchers can store the Declaration of Independence in a single molecule. “Just how much space would you need to store all of the world’s data? A building? A block? A city? The amount of global data is estimated to be around 44 zettabytes. A 15-million-square-foot warehouse can hold 1 billion gigabytes, or .001 zettabyte. So you would need 44,000 such warehouses—which would cover nearly the entire state of West Virginia. John Chaput is hoping to change all that.”

CNET: Those popular Tom Cruise deepfakes on TikTok are unsettlingly realistic. “Tons of people are watching the creepy videos of the Mission: Impossible star. You’d think they were genuine if you didn’t know. And maybe even if you did.” I did. They are really good.


Mashable: Listen to deepfake Gucci Mane read classic literature. “Mark Twain once said that the mark of a classic is that everyone wants to have read it but not actually read it. It makes sense: Classics must provide some artistic or cultural value to be considered ‘classic’ — but they’re just so boring. MSCHF just made the Western canon more exciting with Project Gucciberg. It’s Project Gutenberg (a collection of public domain Western literature) meets the rapper Gucci Mane. Using Artificial Intelligence, MSCHF recreated his voice to read classics from Pride and Prejudice to Don Quixote.” And Little Women. I think you might need headphones to appreciate this completely. Good afternoon, Internet…

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