Thanks to Kalev Leetaru, a Yahoo! Fellow in Residence at Georgetown University, you can now head over to a new collection at Flickr and search through an archive of 2.6 million public domain images, all extracted from books, magazines and newspapers published over a 500 year period. Eventually this archive will grow to 14.6 million images.
Mr Leetaru said digitisation projects had so far focused on words and ignored pictures.
"For all these years all the libraries have been digitising their books, but they have been putting them up as PDFs or text searchable works," he told the BBC.
"They have been focusing on the books as a collection of words. This inverts that.
"Stretching half a millennium, it’s amazing to see the total range of images and how the portrayals of things have changed over time.
Geek Speak: Traditional book scanning uses optical character recognition to extract text from books but, in doing so, more or less ignores images. Leetaru wrote a program that went back through the scans and reversed the process, favoring images over text.
And since I just surveyed one of the younger FJP set to see if she knew who Bob Ross was, and the answer was no, let me just say he was an awesome companion when you were home sick from school. You can learn about him here. — Michael
About a month ago I started working on this song that sampled two BBC radio episodes: one about a professor who’s implanted RFID chips into his body so he can physically connect to the Internet and the other about Geisha culture.
Unfortunately, the computer I was working on had a hissy fit, died and took my files with it, so even though this is called Three Parts Kinky, the MP3 here is only take one of parts one and two. (Pro Tip: even if you’re in the habit of backing up, back up again.)
I’ll get back to recreating and finishing this but before I do I’m going to hit up Radiolab’s Remix Contest and think you should too.
Now Indaba and Radiolab want you to remix one or more of their episodes using the stem packs provided. Re-edit them, re-score them, change the narrative structure, turn them into an opera, or do whatever you feel inspired to do. Robert and Jad simply want to hear your best and most creative work. The selected mixes will be highlighted on an upcoming Radiolab episode.
All of this serves to remake Kirby Ferguson’s point with his ‘Everything is a Remix’ series: while established content IP holders like to treat remix as near piracy, mimicry has always existed (good thing) but without attribution (bad thing), especially among Hollywood’s own practitioners.
So let’s move the ball forward. What if instead of considering any of these examples ‘ripoffs’, we treated this imagery (the framing of a shot, the pace of movement) the same way that hip hop treats samples and beats?
If the imagery is effective in conveying a particular thought or emotion, why not allow that as a building block of ‘content’?
The tale of doomed Major Tom plays out in Kolb’s bright and retro animation style, giving a face to the legendary Bowie character and making the conclusion that much sadder…
…If Bowie’s telling of the story sounds a bit dire from the start, Kolb’s reinterpretation is decidedly optimistic. Kolb’s illustrations also take their cues from that 1960s vision of the future seen in Kubrick’s films, but with the artist’s distinctly cheerful vibe that humanizes every aspect of the story, not the least of which are Major Tom’s space capsule and Ground Control themselves. Everything looks shiny and new, everybody is smiling and happy, and there’s no reason to think anything is going to go wrong. But of course it does, and in a way that fans of Bowie’s song will find quite clever. Without giving too much away, Kolb looked to the curious lyric, “And the stars look very different today” as a way to depict what exactly went wrong far above the moon.