Category Archives: Technology

History: “European Castle Ruins” Digitally Restored By NeoMam Studios

From AtlasObscura.com (March 26, 2020):

…a team of designers recently looked at the now-ruined castles of Middle Ages Europe, lifting the fortifications up from their dilapidated states and digitally reimagining the structures as they were in their heyday.

Samobor Castle Croatia - Digital Enhancement by NeoMam Studios March 2020

Seven European castles were virtually rebuilt, restoring them from their keeps to their baileys. Architects pored over old paintings, blueprints, and other research documents that describe the strongholds, then offered their opinions to the NeoMam Studios design team, which digitally revived the structures from the ground up.

NeoMam Studios website

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Future Of Travel: Google Maps Offers The World (At 100% Discount Pricing)

From a New York Times article (March 24, 2020):

What I find particularly seductive about Google Street View is that it purports to be a very objective document of our world. It is simply the product of a car (or a motorbike or a hiker) driving down a street taking pictures. But, of course, it is far from an objective document. Humans get in the way, as they always do, filling each scene with stories. 

Google Maps Street View film car

Google Maps Website

There is something tantalizing about being there but not being there, about being everywhere and nowhere at once. The geospatial distance leaves us wanting, hungry for more. I’m enamored with the glitchiness of these human landscapes, the way people’s legs are sometimes separated from their bodies, the way everyone’s faces are blurred out, as if they no longer exist (sometimes they no longer do). This is our world, but it is not our world.

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Health: Scripps Research “DETECT” Wearable APP Study – A Viral Illness Early Warning System

DETECT Health Study for Wearables AppWhen your heart beats faster than usual, it can mean that you’re coming down with a cold, flu, coronavirus, or other viral infection. That’s the conclusion of recent medical research.

So wearable devices that measure your resting heart rate—made by Apple, Fitbit, Garmin, and others—might help scientists spot viral outbreaks, and also give you more insight into your own health.

Scripps Research designed DETECT (Digital Engagement & Tracking for Early Control & Treatment), a study that will monitor your heart rate and allow you to record symptoms like fever or coughing.

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Top Science Podcasts: Ultra-Fast Electrical Switches, Glacial Retreat And Dodgier Drones

nature-podcastsResearchers have developed an ultra-fast electrical switch that they hope can be used in communication and imaging applications. 

In this episode:

01:57 Speedy switches

Researchers have developed an ultra-fast electrical switch that they hope can be used in communication and imaging applications. Research Article: Nikoo et al.

08:14 Research Highlights

Using sound to estimate glacial retreat, and building a dodgier drone. Research Highlight: Underwater microphones listen as as glacier retreatsResearch article: Falanga et al.

10:32 Algorithmic heart diagnosis

Scientists have developed a new algorithm which calculates the amount of blood pumped by the heart beat by beat. Research Article: Ouyang et al.News and Views: AI tracks a beating heart’s function over time

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Cambridge Scientists Using Genomics To Create “Pandemic Flu Vaccines”

The race is on to find a vaccine against the new COVID-19 coronavirus. Professor Jonathan Heeney explains why a cautious approach is needed and how his team is using new technology developed for influenza and Ebola viruses to target the new infection.

It is hard now to conceive that two months ago, few people had heard of the new coronavirus. Now, the virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, has spread to every corner of the globe. The World Health Organization has officially declared the outbreak a pandemic.

With the threat of hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of people being infected and healthcare systems becoming overwhelmed, the race is on to develop a vaccine that will protect individuals and slow the spread of the disease. But Professor Jonathan Heeney, Head of the Laboratory of Viral Zoonotics at the University of Cambridge, and one of the people working on a vaccine, says that coronaviruses present a particular challenge to vaccine developers.

Coronaviruses are named after their appearance: they are spherical objects, on the surface of which sit ‘spike’ proteins. The virus uses these spikes to attach to and invade cells in our body. Once inside, the virus uses the cell’s own machinery to help itself replicate and spread throughout the body, causing disease and allowing it to transmit onwards.

Traditionally, scientists would develop vaccines that programme the body to produce antibodies that recognise and block these spikes. But this strategy can misfire with coronaviruses due to a phenomenon known as ‘antibody-induced enhancement’ or ‘vaccine-induced enhancement’, says Heeney.

“If you make antibodies against the spike, they can end up binding to it and helping the virus invade important immune cells known as monocyte-macrophages. Rather than destroying the virus, these cells can then end up being reprogrammed by the viruses, exacerbating the immune response and making the disease much, much worse than it would otherwise be.”

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Smartphone Books: The New York Public Library’s Interactive “Insta Novels”

Insta Novels launched August 22, 2018 on the Library’s Instagram account (@nypl) with Part 1 of a newly digitized version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The novel is illustrated by well-known designer Magoz (@magoz).

The New York Public Library Insta Novels The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka

First, go to the Library’s Instagram account (@nypl) and tap Part 1 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in the Highlights section, right under the bio.

Rest your thumb on lower right part of the screen to hold the page, and lift your thumb to turn the page. (The lower right thumb holder is designed to double as a flip book: if you lift your thumb and let the pages flip, you’ll see an animation.)

As more stories are added, the NYPL Instagram account’s Highlights will turn into a digital bookshelf.