Thursday 27 September 2007

Bloggin Like a Pro

Another scarey article from Wired, about The Man:
You might think your anonymous online rants are oh-so-clever. But they'll give you away, too. A federally-funded artificial intelligence lab is figuring out how to track people over the Internet, based on how they write.

The University of Arizona's ultra-ambitious "Dark Web" project "aims to systematically collect and analyze all terrorist-generated content on the Web," the National Science Foundation notes. And that analysis, according to the Arizona Star, includes a program which "identif[ies] and track[s] individual authors by their writing styles." [link]

Tuesday 25 September 2007

Something Cheerier

...than the post below. Flickr has a pool for photos over 100 years old. Hurrah!

In the Shadow of Horror

Chilling article in the Herald Tribune, showing the power of primary historical artifacts. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum recently received a package of photographs of Auschwitz - but not of those imprisoned there. The photos are snapshots of the German guards, enjoying their time off..
Although Auschwitz may be the most notorious of the Nazi death camps, there are only a small number of known photos of the place before its liberation in 1945... Rather than showing the men performing their death camp duties, the photos depicted, among other things, a horde of SS men singing cheerily to the accompaniment of an accordionist, Höcker lighting the camp's Christmas tree, a cadre of young SS women frolicking and officers relaxing, some with tunics shed, for a smoking break.... The photos provide a stunning counterpoint to what up until now has been the only major source of preliberation Auschwitz photos, the so-called Auschwitz Album, a compilation of pictures taken by SS photographers in the spring of 1944 and discovered by a survivor in another camp. Those photos depict the arrival at the camp of a transport of Hungarian Jews... The comparisons between the albums are both poignant and obvious, as they juxtapose the comfortable daily lives of the guards with the horrific reality within the camp, where thousands were starving and 1.1 million died. [link]

The online exhibition on the museums webpage contains many of the photos, and an introduction by the archivist.

Important stuff. At a conference, I once asked someone who was collecting oral history about the Holocaust why they were only collecting testimonies from the victims, rather than the perpetrators. Their reaction suggested that this question should not be asked in polite society.

Gems from the New York Times archive

The NY Times has recently discontinued their subscription program for back issues, and made much of the archive freely available online. A good round up here, from, of some historical entries not to be missed, including the 1906 San Franciso earthquake, the first mention of television, and the first mention of the internet in the NY Times. [link]

Thursday 20 September 2007

Real Time Internet Traffic Monitoring

... courtesy of Akamai

Another voting best of whatever

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland have just put online 100 fascinating historical photographs - some old and some modern - from their archive. The online audience has a chance to vote on their favourite: (I always find these votes somewhat spurious but) the images themselves are well worth a few minutes of browsing.

What is also interesting about this project, Treasured Places, is the way they've embraced the web 2.0 facilities about comment sharing, making your own shortlist, etc. Will be interesting to see if it takes off.

Shown here is of workers on the Forth Road Bridge, with the Rail Bridge in the distance. Taken by W Ralston Ltd in 1961, Sir William Arrol Collection. © Glasgow Archives and Special Collections | SC881869. [link].

Tuesday 18 September 2007

Photo Sharing sites

... another excellent introduction from TASI, on photo sharing sites. Worth a peek to get an overview of this expanding sector.

Monday 17 September 2007

Digitize *this*!

Just back from a holiday in Estonia and Latvia. Estonia must be the most wired country I've been to - wifi symbols everywhere (strange place to make an annual intertube fast, then). Latvia... not so much. Every now and then in rural latvia there was a giant road sign pointing to "INTERNETS", generally at a library, where people could access the 'net. Just shows the importance of libraries to the rural environment.

The picture above is from the Vaide horn museum, near the Kolka cape, Latvia. (The horns are not hunting trophies -they are discarded horns found during environmental protection inspections over a period of thirty or so years.) Strikes me as the kind of memory institution that digitisation wouldnt serve very well.... the whole point is the atmosphere of being there. In fact, I can find very little about it on the web at all.