Climb Virtually Up “El Capitan,” Yosemite’s Iconic Rock Wall, With Google Street View

Google has used its Street View technology to let you take virtual tours of some far-flung places -- places like Shackleton’s Antarctic, Mt. Everest and other high mountain peaks, The Amazon River, and The Grand Canyon. Now you can add to the list, El Capitan, the iconic rock wall in the middle of Yosemite National Park.

Yesterday, Google's official blog declared, "Today we’re launching our first-ever vertical Street View collection, giving you the opportunity to climb 3,000 feet up the world’s most famous rock wall: Yosemite’s El Capitan. To bring you this new imagery, we partnered with legendary climbers Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell." Above, you can see this trio in action, talking about what makes El Cap a mecca for rock climbers everywhere.

To create this Street View of El Capitan, Hill, Honnold and Caldwell worked with Google engineers to figure out how to haul a camera up this sheer rock face. And what you ultimately get are some amazing 360-degree panoramic images. According to Caldwell, these "are the closest thing I’ve ever witnessed to actually being thousands of feet up a vertical rock face—better than any video or photo." Which, hating heights, is good enough for me.

via Google Blog

Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and  share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

Do Not Track: Interactive Film Series Reveals the Personal Information You’re Giving Away on the Web

If Facebook knows everything about you, it’s because you handed it the keys to your kingdom.  You posted a photo, liked a favorite childhood TV show, and willingly volunteered your birthday. In other words, you handed it all the data it needs to annoy you with targeted advertising.

(In my case, it’s an ancient secret that helped a middle aged mom shave 5 inches off her waistline. Let me save you a click: acai berries.)

Filmmaker Brett Gaylor (a “lefty Canadian dad who reads science fiction) seeks to set the record straight regarding the web economy’s impact on personal privacy.

Watching his interactive documentary web series, Do Not Track, you’ll inevitably arrive at a crossroads where you must decide whether or not to share your personal information. No biggie, right? It’s what happens every time you consent to “log in with Facebook.”

Every time you choose this convenience, you’re allowing Google and other big time trackers to stick a harpoon (aka cookie) in your side. Swim all you want, little fishy. You’re not exactly getting away, particularly if you’re logged in with a mobile device with a compulsion to reveal your whereabouts.

You say you have nothing to hide? Bully for you! What you may not have considered is the impact your digital easy-breeziness has on friends. Your network. And vice versa. Tag away!

In this arena, every “like”---from an acquaintance’s recently launched organic skincare line to Star Trek---helps trackers build a surprisingly accurate portrait, one that can be used to determine how insurable you are, how worthy of a loan. Gender and age aren’t the only factors that matter here. So does your demonstrated extraversion, your degree of openness.

(Ha ha, and you thought it cost you nothing to “like” that acquaintance’s smelly strawberry-scented moisturizer!)

To get the most out of Do Not Track, you’ll want to supply its producers with your email address on your first visit. It’s a little counter-intuitive, given the subject matter, but doing so will provide you with a unique configuration that promises to lift the veil on what the trackers know about you.

What does it say about me that I couldn’t get my Facebook log-in to work? How disappointing that this failure meant I would be viewing results tailored to Episode 3’s star, German journalist Richard Gutjahr?

(Your profile… says that your age is 42 and your gender is male. But the real gold mine is your Facebook data over time. By analyzing the at least 129 things you have liked on Facebook, we have used our advanced algorithm techniques to assess your personality and have found you scored highest in Openness which indicates you are creative, imaginative, and adventurous. Our personality evaluation system uses Psycho-demographic trait predictions powered by the Apply Magic Sauce API developed at the University of Cambridge Psychometrics Centre.)

I think the takeaway is that I am not too on top of my privacy settings. And why would I be? I’m an extrovert with nothing to hide, except my spending habits, browsing history, race, age, marital status…

Should we take a tip from our high school brethren, who evade the scrutiny of college admissions counselors by adopting some ridiculous, evocative pseudonym? Expect upcoming episodes of Do Not Track to help us navigate these and other digital issues.

Tune in to Do Not Track here. You can find episodes 1, 2 and 3 currently online. Episodes 4-6 will roll out between May 12 and June 9.

Related Content:

The Internet’s Own Boy: New Documentary About Aaron Swartz Now Free Online

A Threat to Internet Freedom: Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger Explains Why Net Neutrality Matters

How Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive Will Preserve the Infinite Information on the Web

Ayun Halliday an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine invites you to look into her very soul @AyunHalliday

Take a Virtual Tour of Robben Island Where Nelson Mandela and Other Apartheid Opponents Were Jailed

Ted Mills recently told you all about the Google-powered virtual tour of Abbey Road Studios. What shouldn't go without mention is the new, Google-powered virtual tour of Robben Island -- "the island where Nelson Mandela and many of South Africa’s freedom fighters were imprisoned during their quest for equality." Along with over 3,000 political prisoners, Nelson Mandela spent 18 years imprisoned here, much of the time confined to a 8 x 7 foot prison cell. (Don't forget Mandela also spent another nine years in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison.)

All of the Robben Island tours are conducted by ex-prisoners. On the new virtual tour, you will encounter Vusumsi Mcongo (see above), a member of the anti-Apartheid movement who was jailed on Robben Island from 1978 to 1990.

You can start the tour of the maximum security prison and UNESCO World Heritage Site here.

via Google

Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and  share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

Take a Virtual Tour of Abbey Road Studios, Courtesy of the New Google Site “Inside Abbey Road”

Once again, Google quietly drops a nifty piece of interactive webbery and acts like it ain’t no big deal.

Google's new web site, Inside Abbey Road, lets viewers walk inside Abbey Road Studios, check out the famous recording studio (home to most of the Beatles’ songs, birthplace of Dark Side of the Moon, Radiohead’s The Bends, Kanye West's Late Registration, the list goes on) inspect the rooms, and watch interviews and mini-docs. It also matches up iconic photos (including the one shot outside of the famous crosswalk) with the studio today. The site is a collaboration between Google and the studio to celebrate over 80 years of music history.

Inside Abbey Road

Abbey Road existed before the Fab Four and Cliff Richard, of course, and the new site includes footage of composer Sir Edward Elgar opening the studio in 1931 and conducting a recording of “Land of Hope and Glory.”

There’s plenty of modern footage too, from Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams to Take That and Sigur Rós. You have to poke around a little bit to find everything, but the site includes a map in case you get lost.

abbey road beatles

You can also have a go at mixing a four-track recording in the control booth, fool around on the J37 tape deck that was the height of tech during the time of Sgt. Pepper, and try to find the rumored echo chamber. (Trust me, it’s there.)

abbey road board

If you want to take a break outside and watch a real-time version of this digital location, there’s always the Abbey Road traffic cam, where you watch a whole bunch of tourists try to get their Beatles on without getting hit by an irate lorry driver. Here's OC editor, Dan Colman, captured on the webcam just last week.

Take your virtual tour of Abbey Road here.

Related Content:

Paul McCartney’s Conceptual Drawings For the Abbey Road Cover and Magical Mystery Tour Film

A Short Film on the Famous Crosswalk From the Beatles’ Abbey Road Album Cover

Watch Documentaries on the Making of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here

Chaos & Creation at Abbey Road: Paul McCartney Revisits The Beatles’ Fabled Recording Studio

Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills and/or watch his films here.

Google Puts Online 10,000 Works of Street Art from Across the Globe

circling

Circling Birdies by Cheko, Granada Spain

Since last we wrote, Google Street Art has doubled its online archive by adding some 5,000 images, bringing the tally to 10,000, with coordinates pinpointing exact locations on all five continents (though as of this writing, things are a bit thin on the ground in Africa). Given the temporal realities of outdoor, guerrilla art, pilgrims may arrive to find a blank canvas where graffiti once flourished. (RIP New York City’s 5 Pointz, the “Institute of Higher Burning.”)

A major aim of the project is virtual preservation. As with performance art, documentation is key. Not all of the work can be attributed, but click on an image to see what is known. Guided tours to neighborhoods rich with street art allow armchair travelers to experience the work, and interviews with the artists dispel any number of stereotypes.




Cultural institutions like Turkey’s Pera Museum and Hong Kong’s Art Research Institute, and street art projects based in such hubs as Rome, Paris, Sydney, and Bangkok, have pulled together official collections of photos and videos, but you can play curator too.

It’s easy to add images to a collection of your own making that can be shared with the public at large or saved for private inspiration. Careful, you could lose hours…it’s like Pinterest for people who gravitate toward spray paint and rubbish strewn vacant lots over gingham wrapped Mason jars.

It’s been a long and brutal winter here on the east coast, so for my first foray, I prowled for Signs of Spring. One of my first hits was “Circling Birdies” by Cheko, above. Located in Granada, Spain, it's one of the existing works Google has turned into a GIF with some light, logical animation.

Behold a bit of what typing “flower,” “baby animals,” “plants,” and “trees” into a search box can yield! You can enter Google Street Art here.

Child With Windmill

Artist: Walter Kershaw
London UK

Thrashbird

Artists: Thrashbird and Renee Gagnon
Los Angeles, California.

Baby Chick

Artist: unknown
Rochester, NY

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 11.07.58 PM

Icy and Sot
Rochester NY

Freedom Fighter

Artist: Kristy Sandoval
Los Angeles, CA

Natureza Viva

Artists: Regg and Violant
Alfragide Portugal

Beetle

Artist: Klit
Alfragide, Portugal
A giant colorful beetle tries to fly between the ceiling and the floor of this parking lot. His wings seem filled with flower petals. So, the "Living Nature" project brought a set of huge insects that carry a note of living spirit to the space.

Deep Blue

Artist: Rai Cruz
Manila, Philippines

Nagel
Artist: Christiaan Nagel
London, England

Untitled Rome
Artist: Lady Aiko
Rome, Italy

Parsa

Artist: Andrew Kentish
Nepal

Related Content:

Tour the World’s Street Art with Google Street Art

Obey the Giant: Short Film Presents the True Story of Shepard Fairey’s First Act of Street Art

Big Bang Big Boom: Graffiti Stop-Motion Animation Creatively Depicts the Evolution of Life

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Google Makes Available 750 Icons for Designers & Developers: All Open Source 

google icons

If you're a designer or developer, Kottke.org thought you'd might like to know: "As part of their Material Design visual language, Google has open-sourced a package of 750 icons. More info here."

Over at Github, you can view a live preview of the icons or download the icon pack now.

Our friends at BoingBoing add, "They're licensed CC-BY-SA and designed for use in mobile apps and other interactive stuff." Use them well.

 

Tour the World’s Street Art with Google Street Art

By far the most enjoyable part of our recent family trip to London was the afternoon my young son and I spent in Shoreditch, groping our way to No Brow, a comics shop I had noticed on an early morning stroll with our hostess. Our route was evidence that I had forgotten the coordinates, the street name, the name of the shop… Eventually, I realized we were lost, and that is where the real fun began, as we retraced our steps using street art as bread crumbs.

Ah right, there's  that rooftop mushroom installation!

And there's that Stik figure

After a while, a FedEx man took pity on us, ruining our fun by steering us toward the proper address..

I'm not sure I could ever duplicate our trail, but I enjoy trying with Google Street Art. Armchair travelers can use it to project themselves to the heart of ephemeral, possibly illegal exhibitions all over the globe,.

Bogotá... Paris... New York's legendary 5 Pointz, before the landlord clutched and whitewashed the entire thing in the dead of night. Each up close photo bears a highly informational caption, much more than you'd find in the street itself. Think of it as an after-the-fact digital museum. It's appropriate, given the ephemeral nature of the work. An online presence is its best shot at preservation.

Those of us with something to contribute can add to the record with a user gallery or by tagging our photos with #StreetArtist.

Enter Google Street Art here.

Related Content:

Obey the Giant: Short Film Presents the True Story of Shepard Fairey’s First Act of Street Art

Banksy Creates a Tiny Replica of The Great Sphinx Of Giza In Queens

Big Bang Big Boom: Graffiti Stop-Motion Animation Creatively Depicts the Evolution of Life

Ayun Halliday is an author, homeschooler and the Chief Primatologist of The East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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