Saturday News Chum Stew: Atari Breakout, Art Photos, Apostrophes, and Dr George

userpic=observationsWell, it’s Saturday, and that means it is time to clear out all the links that didn’t fit into a theme:

  • Wasting Time in Google. Yet again, Google has resurrected an arcade game as an Easter Egg (how’s that for a metaphor!). First, it was Pacman as a Google Doodle. That doodle, when it was released, caused a significant time waste. This time, it is Atari Breakout hidden in Google Images. Just type “Atari Breakout” into Google Image Search, hit enter, and start knocking your way through the various levels. Photo tiles appear just as they would on any Google search results page, but this time are lit up with their corresponding row’s color, creating a rainbow of Atari and Breakout images across a black screen. Game play is exactly as you may remember it: Knock out all of the blocks and rack up points, while trying to keep the ball from falling off the screen, and then move on to the next level.
  • Photos in Art Museums. Ever wonder why you couldn’t take pictures in art museums. Part of it is the damage from the flash, but it is also that the museum often doesn’t own the copyright for the works. From the article: “Museums often do not hold the copyrights to the works they display, which creates legal problems when visitors start snapping away. According to Julie Ahrens, a lawyer who specializes in issues of copyright and fair use at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University, a photograph of an artwork could be considered a “derivative work,” which is “potentially a violation of the copyright holder.” But the deluge of cameras, along with the fact that the vast majority of visitors simply want to snap a pic for a Facebook album, has led some institutions—such as MoMA, the Indianapolis Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum—to ask lenders for permission to shoot, with the stipulation that pictures are for noncommercial use.”  But that all is changing
  • Photos in Art Museums, Take II. Here’s another photo issue related to art. A New York City photographer took pictures of people in an apartment building without their knowledge, later using them in an exhibition. He did this from across the street with a birder’s telephoto lens. Now the people in the photographs are upset (even though their faces are obscured), calling it an invasion of privacy. So, is it an invasion of privacy if someone in a public space can see you doing something? What if they take a picture of it?
  • Apostrophes in Place Names. Did you know that there is an active effort to scrub apostrophes from place names in the US, so that Caesar’s Palace becomes Caesars Palace. That example was a joke, but the scrubbing is not. Here’s the scoop. Specifically, the Domestic Names Committee of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names doesn’t like apostrophes. The program took off when President Benjamin Harrison set up the Board on Geographic Names in 1890. By one board estimate, it has scrubbed 250,000 apostrophes from federal maps. The states mostly—but not always—bow to its wishes. An apostrophe, the argument goes, implies private ownership of a public place. When names appear on maps, “they change from words having specific dictionary meaning to fixed labels used to refer to geographic entities,” the names committee explains in its statement of “Principles, Policies and Procedures.”
  • AM Radio. It appears there is an active effort to get rid of AM Radio. You remember radio, don’t you. It’s that thing that streams music, talk, news, and commercials wirelessly to a movable receiver… oh, nevermind. In any case, here’s one reporters opinion on how to save AM radio.
  • Dr. George. A short update on Dr. George Fischbeck, who used to do the weather in Los Angeles. The man with the bow tie and glasses is 90 years old now, but is still a character, a performer and a teacher. He has never pretended to be a meteorologist, but he does know how to get peoples’ attention (he actually doesn’t have a doctorate, just like Sheriff John was never a Sheriff, nor was Hobo Kelley a hobo). Here’s another, older, article on Dr. George.