September 21, 2011

Neat Things: Google Ngrams

Posted in Go, Look, Make tagged , , at 6:08 am by onetinyacorn

Google labs has produced Ngrams, a very awesome, customizable way to chart cultural trends over centuries. I wanted to track the ebb and flow of political ideologies through time, so I input the terms for various political constructs into Ngrams, and it gave me this nifty chart, based on the OCR of its digitized corpus of English-language books (click on image for full-size view):

Politics Ngram

So we see a clear decline in mentions of the term “monarchy” in books since 1800 [I’ve since learned that you can track verbiage back to around 1550!], and a spike in the term “democracy” around World War II. Futher, I can search by decade and term in Google books to locate precise mentions of my specified terms. Think about how interesting it would be to track epidemiological trends this way! You could also run side-by-side comparisons on the same terms in different languages, for a cross-cultural perspective. Dreamy, isn’t it?


May 11, 2011

On Tattoos

Posted in Look tagged , , at 7:35 pm by onetinyacorn

Like many people in this day and age, I’m obsessed with tattoos. I was a tattoo apprentice for a while back in 2004 or so, but circumstances made me stop mid-way through my apprenticeship and I haven’t found a suitable place to pick the trade up again. Nowadays, I sate my desire by perusing tattoo art sites since I don’t have the cash flow to add to my body art.

What is my favorite site for such purposes? Oh, I’m so glad you asked. is my new favorite. There’s a large amount of great work, owing to the fact that each submission is vetted first. Many people include the stories behind their tattoo, if you’re into that (I tend to like art for art’s sake, but that’s an unfashionable response. People are now expected to have elaborate reasons for their tattoos, as if beauty isn’t enough). As a bonus, there’s no superfluous nudity. I hate tattoo sites that look like all the submitters are trying to build up their Suicide Girls portfolio. I’m here to see the tattoos, dammit.

March 23, 2011

What is Consciousness?

Posted in Go tagged , , at 2:08 am by onetinyacorn

Information is Beautiful is one of my very favorite sites, and it is devoted to information visualization. Check out this awesome study they’re conducting: you choose your conception of consciousness, and they’ll crunch the numbers and send you the results! This made me so happy, I can’t even tell you.

What is Consciousness?

October 28, 2010

Street Art Gallery

Posted in Look, Make tagged , , , at 12:36 am by onetinyacorn

unurth is an amazing gallery of street art. Go ahead and click the link, I’ll wait…

See?!! I think that it’s crazy that people in the U.S. can be arrested for creating works of art like that. Would you rather look at a grey concrete wall, or a gorgeous mural? A lot of this art is created in dilapidated neighborhoods—empty storefronts, boarded-up buildings—that could use some re-invigoration. Issues of community revitalization, giving voice to the marginalized, and the reclamation of space are all touched upon through street art.

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