Sarah Parcak fulfills people’s dreams about Archaeology

Morning clouds reveal Machu Picchu, ancient city of the Incas. Peru is home to many archaeological sites — and citizen scientists are mapping the country with GlobalXplorer. Photo: Design Pics Inc./National Geographic Creative GlobalXplorer, the citizen science platform for archaeology, launched two weeks ago. It’s the culmination of Sarah Parcak’s TED Prize wish and, already, more than…

“Everyone will find things on GlobalXplorer,” said Parcak. “All users are making a real difference. I’ve had photos from my friends showing their kids working together to find sites, and emails from retirees who always wanted to be archaeologists but never could. It’s really heartwarming to see this work.”

via ‘Armchair archaeologists’ search 5 million tiles of Peru — TED Blog

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Three medieval worlds and the social memory of cultural heritage sites.

Three medieval worlds and the social memory of cultural heritage sites.

Grzegorz Kiarszys


The presented book “Three medieval worlds. Iuxta castrum Sandouel” aims to tell the stories of the remains of medieval strongholds in the cultural landscape of the Góra district (Lower Silesia Region, Poland) and to restore their presence in the social discourse. The research project was financed by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, coordinated by the National Heritage Board of Poland, with the aid from Archeo Landscapes Europe. The studies focus on the relics of early medieval strongholds and late medieval motte castles located in the Lower Silesia Region, Poland. These features are often considered as mysterious objects of anthropogenic origin. However, their original purpose and cultural value is seldom recognized by the local community.

Relatively low historical awareness in the western Poland results from the historical context of those territories. After the end of World War II, due to decisions made at the conferences in Yalta and Potsdam, the eastern part of the Third Reich was put under Polish administration. The local German population was replaced by Polish settlers from the eastern and central territories. Post-war reality in western Poland caused the meaning of archaeological and historical monuments to be devalued. Polish citizens, resettled to the western territories, perceived the landscape as “alien” or “German”. After the horror of war they were unable to recognize the heritage sites or imagine their abstractive value and identify with it. In their eyes the landscape of “Regained Territories” didn’t have any past or tradition worth to acknowledging and commemorating. Historical and archaeological monuments were not seen as their property.

On the other hand, the communistic ideology was about creating the new social order; it exploited the past for political reasons, developing interest only in specific archaeological sites, for example those related to the early Polish Piast monarchy. Such archaeological sites could later be used in the discourse of propaganda and to justify border shifts after World War II. Along with the disappearance of archaeological earthworks from the Polish topographical maps, they also vanished from the awareness of the local population, losing their cultural value. The consequence of that process had a great impact on the contemporary perception of cultural heritage in western Poland.

Archaeological sites can be valued due to their physical form and state of preservation, as well as their chronology or relationship with historic events that are considered to be important. As soon as such a place is identified and significant, it starts to play a part in contemporary social discourse, receiving a new cultural context. This can be created in relation to different roles such as education, or become an active part of the construction of social identity.

The non-invasive archaeological methods can be useful for popularizing of archaeology and widening the awareness of historical places in local societies. Application of such methods as: aerial photography (both archival and contemporary), Airborne Laser Scanning, magnetometry and historical cartography can be valuable, not only for professional archaeological landscape studies, but also in the process of construction of a narrative about the biography of specific archaeological features.

Archaeology can produce a persuasive and aesthetic background for the contemporary social discourse. Restoring the memory of archaeological heritage sites in the region, with the aid of a properly constructed narrative and visualisation of specific monuments, can revive the imagination of local society and fill in the empty places with stories being told once again.

 

History of the Computer Memory

History of the Computer Memory

Dabrowka Stepniewska


The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, U.S.,  is a nonprofit organization with a four-decade history as the world’s leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history and is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world, encompassing computer hardware, software, documentation, ephemera, photographs, oral histories, and moving images.

The Museum brings computer history to life through large-scale exhibits, an acclaimed speaker series, a dynamic website, docent-led tours and education program. The Museum seeks to preserve a comprehensive view of computing history, one that includes the machines, software, business and competitive environments, personal recollections, and social implications of one of humankind’s most important invention – the Computer.

Computer History Museum - Revolution-gallery
Computer History Museum – Revolution – exhibition

The Gwen Bell Artifact and Book Collection comprises written works and physical objects relating to early calculating instruments and methods. These works and objects are held in the permanent collection of the Computer History Museum after generous gifts in 2012 and 2014 by Museum co-founders Gwen and Gordon Bell. The text items in this collection comprise works written in French, German, Latin and English. It begins in the early 17th century (ending in about 1980) and includes dozens of works such as mathematical, accounting, farming, astronomy, merchant and engineering tables, monographs on slide rules, arithmometers, planimeters, sectors, Napier´s Bones, military compasses, telescopes, as well as later-day commentaries on these instruments and their history. The written works are available online in scanned (PDF) form.

Computer History Museum-Enigma-encryption-decryption-device-parts-ca-1930
Computer History Museum-Enigma-encryption-decryption-device-parts-ca-1930

The object collection was established as a complement to the rare book collection and both serve to document the early origins and development of human measurement and computation. Its objects include: abaci, sectors, linear, circular and cylindrical slide rules, mechanical and electrical/electronic adding machines and calculators, and replicas of early calculators such as the Pascaline and the Schikard. With both written sources and complementary physical objects, the Bell Collection offers a unique window into the early origins and development of history´s most significant calculating devices and methods.

Computer History Museum-Abacus-500-ad
Computer History Museum-Abacus-500-ad

The Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing exhibition presents the history of computing, from mysterious ancient devices, like the traditional chinese SUAN PAN ABACUS to technologies of the future, like the cloud-based network-attached storage solutions for online backup. You can take a virtual tour through 19 galleries, each dedicated to a different aspect of computing. You can discover the backstories, development drama and astonishing breakthroughs of the gadgets, gurus, and the biggest computer companies in the world.

The Timeline of Computer History presents the memory and storage history, starting from 1947 and the Williams-Kilburn tube  – the first high-speed, entirely electronic memory. Throughout the magnetic memory, the magnetic tape, the concept of virtual memory, first small and minicomputers, memory chip and mass storage system, we are getting near to the present computer memory storages: the flash drives, the Blu-ray optical discs, the cloud-based services and the dropbox.

References:

http://www.computerhistory.org/

http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/gwenbell/

http://www.computerhistory.org/exhibits/revolution/

http://www.computerhistory.org/timeline/memory-storage

http://www.computerhistory.org/planvisit/_media/docs/chm-visitor-map.pdf

http://www.computerhistory.org/planvisit/_media/docs/chm-1hr-tour.pdf

Youthful Memory in Superaging

Youthful Memory in Superaging

Youthful Brains in Older Adults: Preserved Neuroanatomy in the Default Mode and Salience Networks Contributes to Youthful Memory in Superaging

Felicia W. Sun, Michael R. Stepanovic, Joseph Andreano, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Alexandra Touroutoglou and Bradford C. Dickerson


ABSTRACT

Decline in cognitive skills, especially in memory, is often viewed as part of “normal” aging. Yet some individuals “age better” than others. Building on prior research showing that cortical thickness in one brain region, the anterior midcingulate cortex, is preserved in older adults with memory performance abilities equal to or better than those of people 20–30 years younger (i.e., “superagers”), we examined the structural integrity of two large-scale intrinsic brain networks in superaging: the default mode network, typically engaged during memory encoding and retrieval tasks, and the salience network, typically engaged during attention, motivation, and executive function tasks. We predicted that superagers would have preserved cortical thickness in critical nodes in these networks. We defined superagers (60–80 years old) based on their performance compared to young adults (18–32 years old) on the California Verbal Learning Test Long Delay Free Recall test. We found regions within the networks of interest where the cerebral cortex of superagers was thicker than that of typical older adults, and where superagers were anatomically indistinguishable from young adults; hippocampal volume was also preserved in superagers. Within the full group of older adults, thickness of a number of regions, including the anterior temporal cortex, rostral medial prefrontal cortex, and anterior midcingulate cortex, correlated with memory performance, as did the volume of the hippocampus. These results indicate older adults with youthful memory abilities have youthful brain regions in key paralimbic and limbic nodes of the default mode and salience networks that support attentional, executive, and mnemonic processes subserving memory function.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT

Memory performance typically declines with age, as does cortical structural integrity, yet some older adults maintain youthful memory. We tested the hypothesis that superagers (older individuals with youthful memory performance) would exhibit preserved neuroanatomy in key brain networks subserving memory. We found that superagers not only perform similarly to young adults on memory testing, they also do not show the typical patterns of brain atrophy in certain regions. These regions are contained largely within two major intrinsic brain networks: the default mode network, implicated in memory encoding, storage, and retrieval, and the salience network, associated with attention and executive processes involved in encoding and retrieval. Preserved neuroanatomical integrity in these networks is associated with better memory performance among older adults.


Full open access research for “Youthful Brains in Older Adults: Preserved Neuroanatomy in the Default Mode and Salience Networks Contributes to Youthful Memory in Superaging” in Journal of Neuroscience:

The Journal of Neuroscience, 14 September 2016, 36(37): 9659-9668; doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1492-16.2016

Featured image source: Preserved hippocampal volume—a key node in the default mode network— correlates with preserved memory in elderly adults. Felicia W. Sun et al. J. Neurosci. 2016;36:9659-9668 ©2016 by Society for Neuroscience

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/36/37/9659/F4.expansion.html

The Transient Transference of Memory – an Exhibition in the BLU — The Library of Trinity College Dublin

As part of the memory-themed programme of events for Trinity Week, a small exhibition has been set up in the Orientation Space in the BLU. Comprising of a very old VT100 terminal (which older readers may remember as the first type of machine to run the electronic version of the Library Catalogue) and some older…

via The Transient Transference of Memory – an Exhibition in the BLU — The Library of Trinity College Dublin

TrinityWeek16-brochure
TrinityWeek16 – brochure

 

 

Vlad Basarab. The Archaeology of Memory

 

Vlad Basarab is a multi-media, performance and video artist, a recipient of a Fulbright research grant on the impact of the communist period on intellectuals in Romania (2013-2014). He was born in 1977 in Bucharest and moved to Alaska in 1995, where he received a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Ceramics from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2001. Since 2013, he holds a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Electronic Media from West Virginia University, Morgantown. Basarab is currently a doctorate candidate at the University of Art in Bucharest. He took part in numerous international exhibitions and projects. The past plays an important part in Basarab’s creative process. The Archaeology of Memory Project has been influenced by the loss of collective culture and memory. The act of remembering becomes the only vehicle for keeping history alive.

The Archaeology of Memory Project is an installation consist of books made out of clay, wooden table and water. The Artist has chosen to reference books as a historic symbols of knowledge and collective memory. The videos are time-lapse recordings of clay books being dissolved over the course of seven days by dripping water. The deconstructive aspect present in the disintegration of clay books, references on a metaphoric level the breaking down of the mind and memory. The geologic-like changes that the clay books undergo reference loss of collective memory. Undoing the book in seven days, also references the creation of the world. Through the erosion of the clay books, the Author compares the process of memory and its disappearance to geological transformations.

From the beginning of history, there has been a connection between words and clay as the first forms of written knowledge were on clay tablets. While the loss of collective memory seems like a natural occurrence that one cannot stop, it is never too late to try to revitalize culture and language. Books have always seemed to make knowledge more tangible, yet in these videos they are crumbling away, dissolving in what appears to be a natural process. There is a sense of nostalgia for knowledge and culture.

Vlad Basarab

Reference: http://www.basarab-art.com/index.php/projects/archaeology-memory/

 

If these trees could talk…

Trees are part of human life. They are a kind of silent witnesses of many different events over the years, therefore, are a part of human memory too. Their biological and physical properties have been noticed and were creatively used by man so that today we can treat them as Memory Mediums. In the article below, three archaeologists from Poznań, Poland are trying to determine the exact date of construction of the field fortifications and retrace their history through an analysis of inscriptions and drawings carved in beech trees growing along the remains of trenches – a part of fortifications created by the Germans to defend the eastern borders of the Third Reich, built in the years 1934 – 1944.

ryty na dzrewachSigns carved in the trees reveal the mysteries of the past