THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME, in Cleveland, Ohio, is best known for its raucous and dramatic induction ceremonies. But it also has a quieter side: a library and archive, full of research materials, artifacts and memorabilia, and shelves and shelves of old records. Earlier this year, the Rock Hall advertised that they were looking for a new librarian, a position that, judging from the response to Atlas Obscura’s story about it, is up there on many people’s list of dream jobs.
So who got it? After a long and rigorous interview process, 34-year-old Laura Maidens started as the Rock Hall’s librarian in early September. We caught up with her about playlist inspiration, Ramones-themed prayer cards, finding secret notes from Keith Richards, and other highlights of the gig. READ MORE: A Day in the Life of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Librarian | Atlas Obscura
Google’s latest project may be the most widely accessible and comprehensive fashion collection on the planet. All you need to view it is an internet connection.
“We Wear Culture” is a collaboration between Google and more than 180 museums, schools, fashion institutions, and other organizations from all parts of the globe. It’s part of Google’s Arts & Culture platform, which is digitizing the world’s cultural treasures, and functions as a searchable guide to a collective archive of some 30,000 fashion pieces that puts “three millennia of fashion at your fingertips,” Google says.
But it isn’t just a database. Google has worked with curators to create more than 450 exhibits on different topics—say, how the cheongsam changed the way Chinese women dress—making the site an endlessly entertaining, educational portal filled with stunning imagery touching on everything from modern Japanese streetwear to the clothes worn at the court of Versailles. READ MORE: Google’s “We Wear Culture” project is a stunning, searchable archive of 3,000 years of world fashion | Quartz
Researchers from New Zealand have restored the very first recording ever made of computer generated music. The three simple melodies, laid down in 1951, were generated by a machine built by the esteemed British computer scientist Alan Turing. READ MORE: Listen to the First Music Ever Made With a Computer | Gizmodo
Source: Seales et. al, Science Advances 21 Sep 2016: Vol. 2, no. 9, e1601247, Fig. 2 Completed virtual unwrapping for the En-Gedi scroll.
New software tools have enabled scientists to read an ancient, damaged Hebrew scroll without ever unfurling the fragile, disintegrating parchment.
The digitization techniques, known as “volume cartography,” transformed what were the charred remains of the nearly 2,000-year-old En-Gedi scroll into legible columns of handwritten text from the book of Leviticus, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.
“We are reading a real scroll that hasn’t been read for millennia,” said Brent Seales, who helped develop the cartography techniques and is a computer sciences professor at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
READ MORE: 3D ‘unwrapping’ tools let scientists read an ancient Hebrew scroll | Mashable
There are some books that are simply too delicate to crack open — the last thing you want to do is destroy an ornate medieval Bible simply because you’re curious about its contents. If MIT has its way, though, you won’t have to stay away. Its scientists have crafted a computational imaging system that can read the individual pages of a book while it’s closed. Their technology scans a book using terahertz radiation, and relies on the tiny, 20-micrometer air gaps between pages to identify and scan those pages one by one. A letter interpretation algorithm (of the sort that can defeat captchas) helps make sense of any distorted or incomplete text. READ MORE: MIT uses radiation to read closed books | engadget
Scientists have been arguing over the authenticity of an ancient document called the Grolier Codex for 50 years. A new analysis published in a special section of the journal Maya Archaeology has concluded that the codex is indeed genuine, making it the oldest surviving manuscript from the pre-Colombian era. READ MORE: Controversial Maya Codex Is the Real Deal After All | Gizmodo
Science illuminates the dark night when the Greek poet looked to the heavens, lonely for her lover. Due to tantalizing hints in the poem, scholars have long debated when it was written. Now, thanks to software used to simulate night skies in planetariums, scientists have figured it out. READ MORE: Software solves the mystery of a 2,500 year-old poem by Sappho | Ars Technica
At a dig outside Florence, a group of researchers have unearthed a massive stone tablet, known as a stele, covered in Etruscan writing. The 500-pound stone is 4 feet high and was once part of a sacred temple display. But 2500 years ago it was torn down and used as a foundation stone in a much larger temple. READ MORE: Rare example of lost language found on stone hidden 2500 years ago | Ars Technica
The 17th century manuscript, which was handwritten by Isaac Newton, describes a procedure for making mercury—a substance that alchemists thought could turn lead into gold. Sir Isaac Newton Image: Godfrey Kneller As reported in Chemistry World, the US Chemical Heritage Foundation has purchased the document, which languished in a private collection for decades. The newly surfaced manuscript was authored by an American chemist but handwritten and owned by Isaac Newton.
Source: Rediscovered Manuscript Shows How Isaac Newton Dabbled In Alchemy
Since 2013, the Internet Archive has provided access to old console games, arcade titles and even MS-DOS classics like Oregon Trail. Internet Archive curator Jason Scott explained how and why the non-profit preserves history by making sure games from the past aren’t lost as we move on from old hardware and software platforms.
“The thing about computer software history is that it is both adored and ignored,” he said, comparing how we preserve software to how we preserve old film. “For decades, people would throw out floppies containing classic games without a second thought.” While there are museums where you can see old hardware and software as exhibits (Scott called out the Computer History Museum in Mountain View as a particularly good example), these limit access to those who can actually make it to a physical location, which doesn’t take advantage of the fact that software doesn’t have to remain trapped in a particular computer.
By abstracting games away from their old consoles and PCs, the Internet Archive is ensuring that the experience itself can live on through emulation. READ MORE: How Game Historians Are Keeping Your Favorite Bits From Being Lost Forever | TechCrunch