posts about or somewhat related to ‘book’

American History: Now in Color! 

In An American Odyssey, published by Taschen, you can now see striking color photographs of the U.S. that predated autochrome photography by almost 20 years.

All of the postcard images are curated from the private collection of Marc Walter, the early results of a photolithographic process — something Wired dubbed “what Instagram would have looked like in the 1800s” because of the surreal, dreamlike quality of the photochroms’ colorings.

On the unique process:

Photochrom photographers would start the process by coating a printing plate with a light-sensitive emulsion and then exposing a glass plate photo negative onto it. Unlike modern four-color printing process that can represent millions of colors by overlapping tiny dots of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink, the inks mixed for Photochroms were mixed by hand in an attempt to perfectly match the yellow-green sunblasted scrub brush that surrounds the Grand Canyon or the aquamarine ocean water of the Bahamas. The photographers would erase the entire plate except for the area reserved for that specific color and make 10-15 more plates to fill out the composition. Photographic details were preserved, but an emotive, if slightly artificial, range of color was added.

Bonus: Learn more about the coloring process, history, and more over at the helpful FAQ by Taschen.

Images: “A Monday Washing, New York” and the cover of the new volume by Marc Walter and Sabine Arqué, a collection that spans from 1888-1924 from the Detroit Photographic Company, courtesy of Taschen books. 

A human author simply decides an interesting emotional path for the story, and the computer does the rest.

Margaret Sarlej, PhD candidate at University of New South Wales, to Phys.org. Computer writes its own fables.

We’ve written before about robots writing the news, now they’re writing fables.

Sarlej has written an application that takes 22 identified emotions used in fables, mixes and matches them with a plot, and pops out a written story.

Easier said than done. 

Via The Guardian:

Breaking stories down for a computer “involves not only encoding story elements like characters, events, and plot, but also the ‘common sense’ people take for granted”, said Sarlej. Telling a story is simple enough for a child to do, but stories are actually “incredibly complex”.

"For example, if Bob gives Alice an apple, Alice will have the apple, and Bob will not. To a person, that’s obvious, and doesn’t require explanation. If Bob punches Carl, people would generally assume Carl will be unhappy about it, but a computer doesn’t have the ‘common sense’ to make such an inference. In a computer programme, details like this must be explicitly spelled out," she said.

Current results are fairly rudimentary but, according to Scarlej’s supervisor, computers “will be making interesting and meaningful contributions to literature within the next decade.”

TED: Mike Matas:  A next-generation digital book - Mike Matas (2011)

Great example of a book on an iPad and iPhone. Some really nifty interactive stuff in there.