Thursday, 21 April 2016

Now found yet another ten items that I thought interesting nearly a year ago

Machine Vision Algorithm Chooses the Most Creative Paintings in History
via MIT Technology Review

Creativity is one of humanity’s uniquely defining qualities. Numerous thinkers have explored the qualities that creativity must have, and most pick out two important factors: whatever the process of creativity produces, it must be novel and it must be influential.
Continue reading fascinating machine classification algorithm. And the pictures that it finds are some of my favourites!

Italian women and 16th-century social media
via OUP Blog by Lisa Kaborycha
Venetian courtesan Veronica Franco (1546-1591) describes the perils of her profession in one of her Familiar Letters, which she published in 1580:
To give oneself as prey to so many men, with the risk of being stripped, robbed or killed, that in one single day everything you have acquired over so much time may be taken from you, with so many other perils of injuries and horrible contagious diseases; to drink with another’s mouth, sleep with another’s eyes, move according to another’s desires, always running the clear risk of shipwreck of one’s faculties and life, what could be a greater misery?
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The Light Runner: 1910
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
The Light Runner: 1910
Fairfax County, Virginia, circa 1910
“Vienna P.O.&rdqou;
Our title comes from the name of the delivery wagon
8x10 inch glass negative
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Missing link found between brain, immune system
via 3 Quarks Daily: From KurzweilAI
Overturning decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. The finding could have significant implications for the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s disease to multiple sclerosis. “It changes entirely the way we perceive the neuro-immune interaction. We always perceived it before as something esoteric that can’t be studied. But now we can ask mechanistic questions.” said Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, professor in the UVA Department of Neuroscience and director of UVA’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG).
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Movies for Booklovers – When the Silver Screen Goes Literary
via Abe Books: compiled by
Interesting that this is not in the list.
Look, even the most devout and voracious reader has to come up for air sometimes to prevent our eyes from crossing. And when we do, surely we must dip a toe into the waters of other hobbies. What’s nice, though, is how many of those hobbies can still sneakily support our bibliohabits. Film-watching, of course, is a no-brainer. With many of our most beloved stories adapted for the silver screen, it’s another avenue to spend time with our favourite literary characters.
And even in the case of original films that weren’t books first, many still explore literary events, people and stories in pleasing ways, which is a boon to a booklover.
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All about that Double Bass
via OUP Blog by Miki Onwudinjo
double bass
Distinguished musicians Domenico Dragonetti (1763-1846) and Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889) established a long-standing tradition of playing the double bass that was carried on into the 20th and 21st centuries. From the 1500s, this deep-toned string instrument has made its way from European orchestras to today’s popular music to retain a more natural acoustic sound in performances. If you’re all about that bass, check out these fun musical facts about the double bass and its history.
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When Kansas Took Colorado to Court
via 3 Quarks Daily: Ben Merriman at n+1
Why do these people need so much water? The answer, in large part, is corn. In the 19th century, cattle raised on the plains were shipped off to Chicago for slaughter, but over time meatpacking moved progressively closer to the cow. The stockyards grew so huge that their size became inefficient. Improvements in the railroads and, later, the advent of the semitruck made it cheap to transport meat without a central site of production.
Decentralization also enabled management to escape Chicago’s strong labor movement. The industry is now dispersed across dozens of small plains cities: Dodge City and Garden City on the Arkansas in Kansas, and Liberal, which isn’t far, as well as Greeley, Colorado, and Grand Island, Nebraska, along the Platte. Each city and its small hinterland is a vertically integrated unit for producing beef, and corn is the cheapest means to fatten cattle before they are sent to the slaughterhouse. Consequently, many plains farmers now grow corn instead of dryland crops like wheat. But corn is water hungry and must have twenty inches of rainfall a year to survive and at least forty to thrive. Only one of the corn-growing counties along the upper Arkansas receives twenty inches of rain a year, and some places are so dry that they are, both technically and in outward appearance, deserts.
Although corn is manifestly unsuited to the climate, it is grown in enormous volumes, and irrigation is what allows this to continue.
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The supermarket of lost luggage
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
If lost luggage isn't reunited with its owner after 90 days, it may end up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, where the contents are sorted and sold in what looks like a thrift store for packed possessions.
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Uncle Joe is revered in Putin’s Russia as a benevolent dictator
Stalin’s latest biographer dispenses with the myths and gives us all the facts — which far surpass any fabricated horror
via Arts and Letters Daily: Charlotte Hobson in The Spectator
‘We will achieve abundance’ promises a propaganda poster of 1949. But by 1952 most free Soviet citizens shared the same diet as the inhabitants of the Gulag
‘Lately, the paradoxical turns of recent Russian history… have given my research more than scholarly relevance,’ remarks Oleg Khlevniuk in his introduction. Indeed, in Putin’s Russia Stalin’s apologists and admirers seem daily to become more vocal. The language of the 1930s is used in televised tirades against ‘internal enemies’ and ‘foreign agents’. Stalin himself is upheld not only as a strong leader, but also as an ‘effective manager’ who, despite his mistakes, did what was necessary to modernise the Soviet Union; or, contrarily, as a benevolent dictator who was unaware of the corrupt actions of his officials.
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