Google Street View: Contextualized

Cool new project from the Social Media Information Lab at Rutgers. It’s called the Beat:

[W]hat Google delivers in breadth, it loses in depth. The nature of the car camera technology means that all we see are exteriors passed by. Faces are blurred. We don’t really see people living their lives, so much as the backdrop against which they do so… [The Beat] mashes up geolocated, hashtagged Instagram photos with the Google Street View locations from which they were posed. In doing so, it provides the human foreground for these locations.

{via andrew sullivan}.

You can search using tags, too, which can get pretty interesting. Here are some of my favorite mashups from my time spent with it yesterday:

The Beat Instragram / Google Street View Mashup

The Beat Instragram / Google Street View Mashup

Instagram/Google Street View Mashup

How Grammar Affects Political Messaging

Cool article:

We discovered that altering nothing more than grammatical aspect in a message about a political candidate could affect impressions of that candidate’s past actions, and ultimately influence attitudes about whether he would be re-elected. Participants in our study read a passage about a fictitious politician named Mark Johnson…

The passage described Mark’s educational background, and reported some things he did while he was in office, including an affair with an assistant and hush money from a prominent constituent. Some participants read a sentence about actions framed with past progressive (was VERB+ing): “Last year, Mark was having an affair with his assistant and was taking money from a prominent constituent.” Others read a sentence about actions framed with simple past (VERB+ed): “Last year, Mark had an affair with his assistant and took money from a prominent constituent.” Everything else was the same.

Read the whole article, Framing Political Messages with Grammar and Metaphor {american scholar}, to learn how to tweak the past during your next political campaign.

Sun Airway {new music}

This Philadelphia-based band took awhile to grow on me. I wrote them off as another airy Beach House-esque band (nothing against Beach House), and didn’t really catch on to the melodies right away. The Pitchfork review backs me up:

Soft Fall, like its predecessor, refuses to give everything away at first; if you want to get close, well, you’ve got some work to do. If you don’t, that’s cool, too: Soft Fall just works, whether as a dazzling display of sumptuous synthetic ambience, rich, romantic pop, and quite a few points in between.

Or something.

Now I’m obsessed. This is one of my favorite cuts from their latest album, Soft Fall {spotify}, but “Soft Fall” and “Wild Palms” are close runners-up.

I’m looking forward to their upcoming show at Johnny Brenda’s, the very venue they played their first show in, two and-a-half years ago.

Also of note: the record was mixed by David Wrench of a band I posted a couple weeks ago: Bat for Lashes {this blog}.


Sun Airway — “Close” {aac}.