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.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 3 Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
- 4 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 5 UK weather: 'Coldest night of the year' tonight as freezing temperatures plummet to -10C
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
Exodus: Gods and Kings banned in the UAE for 'religious mistakes'
Game of Thrones is most-pirated TV show of 2014
Doctor Who and the BBC 'promoting a gay agenda', viewers complain
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk