Creating the First Cultural #DigitalLibrary in Canada’s North | University of Alberta #libraries #culture


(Edmonton) When you live 400 kilometres from the nearest library, getting information can be a real challenge. Professor Ali Shiri of the University of Alberta’s School of Library and Information Studies is leading a project to address this issue. Together with co-investigator Dinesh Rathi, Shiri and a team of collaborators have begun to bridge the information gap for some of Canada’s most isolated people with a project called Digital Library North.

Currently, people in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region—an area that spans 90,650 square kilometres—must travel to the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre to access hard-copy information. The challenges with distance and winter above the treeline limit the access. The SSHRC-funded project will create a digital library infrastructure to address the unique information needs in Canada’s northern regions over the next three years. READ MORE: Creating the first cultural digital library in Canada’s North | University of Alberta.

#Digital #Afterlife: Managing Memories of Loved Ones in the Digital Age | #death #socialmedia #memorials


A little discussed topic but an event we may all be confronted with at some point. Below are some resources I have collected regarding managing your digital afterlife or the memories of loved ones in the digital age. The resources provide information on preserving memories on social profiles such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and downloading data from Apple, Google and other services.

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MIT Claims to Have Found a “Language Universal” That Ties All #Languages Together | Ars Technica #cognition


Language takes an astonishing variety of forms across the world—to such a huge extent that a long-standing debate rages around the question of whether all languages have even a single property in common. Well, there’s a new candidate for the elusive title of “language universal” according to a paper in this week’s issue of PNAS. All languages, the authors say, self-organise in such a way that related concepts stay as close together as possible within a sentence, making it easier to piece together the overall meaning.

Language universals are a big deal because they shed light on heavy questions about human cognition. The most famous proponent of the idea of language universals is Noam Chomsky, who suggested a “universal grammar” that underlies all languages. Finding a property that occurs in every single language would suggest that some element of language is genetically predetermined and perhaps that there is specific brain architecture dedicated to language. READ MORE: MIT claims to have found a “language universal” that ties all languages together | Ars Technica.

Dune, 50 Years On: How a Science Fiction Novel Changed the World | The Guardian #books #SciFi #ScienceFiction #Dune


It has sold millions of copies, is perhaps the greatest novel in the science-fiction canon and Star Wars wouldn’t have existed without it. Frank Herbert’s Dune should endure as a politically relevant fantasy from the Age of Aquarius. READ MORE: Dune, 50 years on: how a science fiction novel changed the world | Books | The Guardian.

Scientists are Brewing Medieval Potions to Fight Hospital Superbugs | Gizmodo #ancientbooks #medievalbooks



Last month, a microbiology lab in Nottingham, England made international headlines when it unearthed a substance that kills methicillin-resistant staph, one of the deadliest superbugs of modern times. The most astounding part about the find? It was a 1,000-year-old Viking potion. “This is something we never, ever expected,” said Christina Lee, the Viking scholar at the University of Nottingham who translated the recipe from Old English. “When this tested positive against MRSA, we were just bowled over.”

Bald’s eye salve, intended to vanquish a stye, was discovered in Bald’s Leechbook, an Old English medical primer that hails from 9th century England. The recipe, which claimed to be “the best leechdom” in existence, caught the eye of Freya Harrison, a microbiologist at the University of Nottingham who moonlights as an Anglo-Saxon warrior on the weekends, as a member of the UK’s oldest and largest Viking reenactment society.

“This all kinda started from me being a big nerd,” Harrison told me over Skype. “When I met Christina, she was eager to talk with a microbiologist, because she has an interest in the history of infection. One of the things she had always wanted to do was test some of these medieval remedies out, to see whether they actually work.”

Together with microbiologist Steve Diggle, the three pooled resources to begin the “AncientBiotics” project, which would identify promising Anglo-Saxon remedies and test their medicinal value using modern science. They never expected their first attempt at replicating a medieval potion would be such a roaring success.

“To be honest, I didn’t think anything would come of this,” Diggle, whose interests lie in bacterial communication and evolution, told me over Skype. “For me, one of the most interesting aspects is asking whether this was a true scientific attempt at a recipe for treating an infection. If so, that completely changes our perspective on Anglo-Saxon medicine.”

READ MORE: Scientists are Brewing Medieval Potions to Fight Hospital Superbugs | Gizmodo

A few popular fiction titles I’ve enjoyed reading relating to medieval/historical “primers,” “recipe books” or books of knowledge are: 

50 Comic Books That Explain Comic Books Today | Vox


Flip open any comic book and you’ll find a story of overcoming the odds. Whether it’s a web-slinger seeking to make his way in the world, a caped crusader intent on making his city a better place, or a mutant who has to deal with human hate, comic books have always been a beacon of hope for the underdogs of this world. But perhaps the greatest comic book story ever told is that of the books themselves…

…Today, comic books command a seat at pop culture’s table. They rule the box office and television screens. But most of all, from Superman to Sex Criminals, they’re still places where the greatest stories are being told. Here are 50 comic books that explain the vast history, how certain books shaped the medium, and the state of comics today…READ MORE: 50 comic books that explain comic books today | Vox

Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Open Culture


You could pay $118 on Amazon for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s catalog The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry. Or you could pay $0 to download it at MetPublications, the site offering “five decades of Met Museum publications on art history available to read, download, and/or search for free.” If that strikes you as an obvious choice, prepare to spend some serious time browsing MetPublications’ collection of free art books and catalogs. READ MORE: Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Open Culture.

The Story of Lorem Ipsum: How Scrambled Text by Cicero Became the Standard For Typesetters Everywhere | Open Culture


READ: The Story of Lorem Ipsum: How Scrambled Text by Cicero Became the Standard For Typesetters Everywhere | Open Culture

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The Insane History of How American Paranoia Ruined and Censored Comic Books | Vox


One of the most hurtful things you can say to a comic book reader is that comic books are for kids.

It’s a chilling insult that the stuff they read — the stuff they love — never advanced beyond its funny-page beginnings. But it’s also — often unknown to comics fans — a blunt reminder of one of the worst things to ever happen to comic books.

Some 60 years ago, during the era of McCarthyism, comic books became a threat. The panic culminated in a Senate hearing in 1954. This, of course, isn’t to say that McCarthyism and the comic book panic were comparable in their human toll. But they share the same symptoms of American fear and a harsh, reactive response to it.

The reaction to the suspected scourge was the Comics Code — a set of rules that spelled out what comics could and couldn’t do. Good had to triumph over evil. Government had to be respected. Marriages never ended in divorce. And it was in the best interests of publishers to remain compliant.

What adults thought was best for children ended up censoring and dissolving away years of progress and artistry, as well as comics that challenged American views on gender and race. Consequently, that cemented the idea that this was a medium for kids — something that we’ve only recently started disbelieving.

READ MORE: The insane history of how American paranoia ruined and censored comic books | Vox

The Gorgeous Typeface That Drove Men Mad and Sparked a 100-Year Mystery | Gizmodo


No one seemed to notice him: A dark figure who often came to stand at the edge of London’s Hammersmith Bridge on nights in 1916. No one seemed to notice, either, that during his visits he was dropping something into the River Thames. Something heavy.

Over the course of more than a hundred illicit nightly trips, this man was committing a crime—against his partner, a man who owned half of what was being heaved into the Thames, and against himself, the force that had spurred its creation. This venerable figure, founder of the legendary Doves Press and the mastermind of its typeface, was a man named T.J. Cobden Sanderson. And he was taking the metal type that he had painstakingly overseen and dumping thousands of pounds of it into the river.

As a driving force in the Arts & Crafts movement in England, Cobden Sanderson championed traditional craftsmanship against the rising tides of industrialization. He was brilliant and creative, and in some ways, a luddite—because he was concerned that the typeface he had designed would be sold to a mechanized printing press after his death by his business partner, with whom he was feuding.

So, night after night, he was making it his business to “bequeath” it to the river, in his words, screwing his partner out of his half of their work and destroying a legendarily beautiful typeface forever. Or so it seemed.

READ MORE: The Gorgeous Typeface That Drove Men Mad and Sparked a 100-Year Mystery | Gizmodo

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