Tip o’ the nib to Jonathan B for this one from Gizmodo: How Cartographers for the U.S. Military Inadvertently Created a House of Horrors in South Africa. “The visitors started coming in 2013. The first one who came and refused to leave until he was let inside was a private investigator named Roderick. He was looking for an abducted girl, and he was convinced she was in the house.”
Mashable: Elaborate Instagram scam bilks influencers after luring them to Jakarta. “A scam is making the rounds in the Instagram influencer and photography community, and it’s so elaborate that you can understand why people fell for it. Someone purporting to be Wendi Deng Murdoch, the former wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is fleecing thousands of dollars from hundreds of unsuspecting Instagram influencers and photographers.”
David Rumsey Map Collection: 1940 WPA San Francisco Model 42×38 ft Now Online. “For the first time since 1942, the entire immense 42 by 38 foot WPA built San Francisco Model can be seen assembled virtually. Digitally knitting together all 158 separate pieces with over 6,000 blocks gives the viewer a sense of the extraordinary accomplishment the model represents. Recently recovered after decades of dusty storage, the model has been cleaned and photographed by a dedicated team of individuals as part of the SFMOMA and San Francisco Public Library project called Public Knowledge: Take Part. ” The pictures just in this blog post are outstanding.
KnowTechie: This super helpful website will remove the background of your image in 2 seconds. “You know the one thing that can really elevate your meme game? Like, really make it so your stuff sticks out? Background removal around your subject, so you can stick them into another crazy environment. You used to need expensive software like Photoshop to do this, and it was time-consuming! Plus it didn’t always work well, especially if the background had similar colors, or if the subject had flying hair.” Okay, the big limitations here are that a) your picture has to have a human in it and b) ideally it’s only one human. I tried the tool and it was so good I literally gasped out loud. It wasn’t perfect, but it did a ton of work in just a few seconds.
The Getty Iris, with a side of “Oh, WOW” -: Two Intricate Calligraphy Pages from the Sixteenth-Century Manuscript “Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta” Have Been Decoded for the First Time. “One letter of a Latin text on a page of sixteenth-century parchment captivated my attention for three hours. I consulted dictionaries to determine potential Latin words that might shed light on the myriad possibilities for this letterform. I used magnifying glasses to zoom in on the letter to find any hidden clues; shapes that might lead me in a better direction. It took fully three hours for me to realize that this letter was an uppercase Z.” Visit the article if only to look at the images. The lettering is unreal.
Spacing Toronto: Why I revived the Bureau of Municipal Research. “Ten years ago, as a grad student researching the history of Toronto’s waterfront, I came across a study, published in 1977, that could very well have been written today: ‘Should the Island be an Airport?’ The report, I came to learn, was produced by a long-lived, but largely forgotten, citizens group known as the Bureau of Municipal Research. The Bureau was established in 1914, as the Toronto Daily Star reported at the time, as a centre of “general municipal intelligence.” Its mission and motto was to produce “better government through research,” and for seventy years that’s what it did, publishing over 800 research bulletins and reports on more than a hundred different topics, before closing its doors in 1983.”
EurekAlert: New tool predicts eye, hair and skin color from a DNA sample of an unidentified individual . “An international team, led by scientists from the School of Science at IUPUI and Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, has developed a novel tool to accurately predict eye, hair and skin color from human biological material — even a small DNA sample — left, for example, at a crime scene or obtained from archeological remains. This all-in-one pigmentation profile tool provides a physical description of the person in a way that has not previously been possible by generating all three pigment traits together using a freely available webtool…. The innovative high-probability and high-accuracy complete pigmentation profile webtool is available online without charge.” WOW.