Will Dean's Ideas Factory: A social network for buildings isn't as daft as it might sound
Thursday 22 March 2012
As a species, we don't really need any more social networking. But do our buildings?
Honest Buildings is a US website that hopes to allows buildings, or at least their owners or developers, to share details about a building's past, present and future (ie, building works, repairs) to create a profile for millions of addresses on Google maps.
And sure, information about square footage may be handy for those in development. But even for the layman, information on the architects and clients behind buildings we know, love or even live in could prove to be a real treat – though the profiles will depend on crowdsourcing, so may take years to fill up (if at all).
It's only in beta at the moment and so most buildings, including famous ones like New York's Empire State and 30 Rockefeller Plaza still have empty profiles. In order to kickstart things in the UK, I spent an hour researching The Independent's home, Northcliffe House and adding as much history as I could find. An oddly addictive task. honestbuildings.com
Is that your forearm ringing? Nokia's new patent is a skinful
The days of eight people reaching for their handbags when they hear the iPhone "Marimba" theme go off might one day be over if a new patent filed by Nokia in September is ever created. Unwired View's Vlad Bobleanta discovered that the Finnish firm had filed an idea for a tattoo that attaches to your skin and can emit a specification vibration when your phone rings or receives a text message or email.
As well as stick-on "tattoos", the plans also allow users to get actual tattoos using special, information-containing inks (called ferromagnetic inks). It's all very clever, but surely the only kind of people devoted enough to get a Big Tech-related tattoo are Macolytes? For more see: ind.pn/nokiatats
The science of watching word trends
The ability to search for specific words in Google Books – the search giant's scanned-in archive of 5m-plus books from 1800 to the present day, presents myriad opportunities for researchers. One of which is the study of language in a data-driven matter. This field has been dubbed "culturonomics" and it sees scientists being able to measure word usage over time; seehow spellings have morphed and how many unique words there are in the English language (around 1m, much more than previously thought).
The great thing about Google Books, though, is that normal users can do their own, slightly less scientific experiments with word trends and usage at the site's wonderful Ngram Viewer. Which, if you've not tried it for yourself, is at: books.google.com/ngrams.
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?
Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
Lucy, film review: Scarlett Johansson will blow your mind in Luc Besson's complex thriller
JK Rowling pens new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing 'Singing Sorceress' Celestina Warbuck
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians