This is a simple concept – a search engine that returns Google image results for the same search term from countries across the globe. The results are pretty compelling. Be forewarned – you could end up losing a decent amount of time to this site once you get started.
This Cultural Difference Image Engine (the site itself lacks explanatory info, so I’m making that name up) appears to be the work of a seasoned activist and tech veteran Aaron Swartz and accomplished artist Taryn Simon. The effect is to get a glimpse of what Google users in other countries see when they use the search engine. The results range from brow-furrowing to hilarious.
Based on the several dozen search queries I submitted, the clear winners for substance and style here are North Korea (spoiler alert – almost all results have nothing to do with what you searched for) and Syria, followed closely by France and Iran. Heck, they can all be pretty weird.
If you’re having a tough time figuring out where to start, you can get some pretty odd results from some foreign nations when you type in names of food. You’re on your own from there.
Image: Search Button from BigStock Photo
If, like me, you have always believed that you never stop learning, and that the pursuit of knowledge and understanding is part of the human condition, then I think you will love this. “In Our Time” , one of the BBC‘s flagship radio programmes, now has its archive online, going back to 1998.
“In Our Time” is a weekly radio programme about 40 minutes long, with Melvyn Bragg, the presenter, and usually three experts from the field. The programme discusses topics from art to science to history to literature: it’s the history of ideas, as they term it, and it exposes you to the whole gamut of life and human development. Recent episodes included the Cool Universe, the Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation, Munch and The Scream and the Infant Brain. As you can see, it covers some pretty wide ground.
For sure, there’s the odd programme which will be of no interest whatsoever, but I’m constantly fascinated by what I don’t know so every programme is surprise. Even if I don’t think I’ll be interested, I’ll listen just for the context.
The archive is in a couple of different formats, some RealPlayer and some iPlayer, and you don’t seem to be able to download the programmes for listening on portable devices. However, if you are hooked, there’s an podcast (in a variety of formats) for current programmes and you can download the audio for listening in the car / gym / wherever.
If you add one podcast to your playlist this year, this should be it (after GNC, of course!)
Americans seem to be in love with their high-tech gadget. Cell phones with customized ring tones, personal digital assistants with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking, high-speed broadband Internet connections, and software applications that provide greater processing power and accuracy than our parents ever dreamed about are available to us 24 hours a day, 365.242199 days a year.
But for all the hype about technological gadgets, most of us in the United States aren’t hip. According to a reported released today by the Pew Internet and American Life Project less than a third of Americans are high-end technology adopters. For this small group of Americans technology comes first. They’re willing to disconnect their wired telephones in favor of wireless cell phones; e-mail may be their principle communication tool; and the Internet defines their news and entertainment sources.
The Pew report is enlightening from many perspectives. For me, I was shocked to read how few Americans value technology as tool for maintaining communication.
One of the greatest social changes I’ve witnessed in the last two decades is the ready acceptance of and consequent dependence on computer-based technology. It seems to me that many Americans have the latest electronic gadget, whether it’s a cell phone that can e-mail color photographs or an MP3 CD player that plays continues music for over eight hours, never repeating a song. Me, I’m partial to PDA technology. I can’t remember my appointments, client phone numbers, or passwords; without my handheld digital computer, I’d have to return to carrying my leather portfolio wherever I go (and that can’t hang from my belt).
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Pew Internet & American Life Project