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The NYPL's Open Maps Project adds 20,000 High Res Maps

The New York Public Library has released more than 20,000 high resolution cartographic works (maps!) for free, to view and download. "We believe these maps have no known US copyright restrictions." All can be viewed through the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections page and downloaded through their Map Warper. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 31, 2014 - 11 comments

Sometimes it's lovely to be read a bedtime story, even as an adult.

A wonderful, generous and free selection of authors, collections and books online at Lit2Go for awake times or drowsy ones. The Count of Monte Cristo from the Adventure collection | or perhaps a Just So Story from the Fantasy collection | Beowolf from the Here Be Dragons! collection | Aladdin from Andrew Lang's Fairy Books of Many Colors or The Heart of Happy Hollow from the African American collection. Also practical for children. Previously. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Aug 5, 2013 - 9 comments

You shall Hear things, Wonderful to tell

A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt] is remembered for a lot of things: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography (a pioneer of digital color grading), its whimsical humor, fluid vernacular, and many subtle references to Homer's Odyssey. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music. Assembled by T-Bone Burnett, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads and angelic hymns to wistful blues and chain-gang anthems. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South. Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker's Down from the Mountain, an extraordinary yet intimate concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Chris Thomas King, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley) and wryly hosted by John Hartford, an accomplished fiddler, riverboat captain, and raconteur whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu and YouTube -- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list's fascinating history. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 22, 2011 - 107 comments

A Long, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Free Software

In Two Bits (full-book in html) , Christopher M. Kelty investigates the history and cultural significance of Free Software, revealing the people and practices that have transformed not only software, but also music, film, science, and education. The author encourage his readers to modulate the book. [more inside]
posted by Monday, stony Monday on Nov 30, 2009 - 16 comments

They're models, not toys!

Building and flying free flight model airplanes is a pastime so obscure it doesn't even register on the geek heirarchy. But in the period between Lindberg's flight across the Atlantic until the start of the Second World War, thousands of boys (and some girls) around the world succumbed to the allure of rubber, lube, and dope. [more inside]
posted by gamera on Aug 6, 2009 - 13 comments

Almost Perfect

Almost Perfect (1994) is an account of "the rise and fall of WordPerfect Corporation" from the point of view of former executive vice-president W. E. (Pete) Peterson. [via reddit].
posted by Monday, stony Monday on Apr 5, 2009 - 122 comments

picturing childhood

FairyTaleFilter: SurLaLune Fairy Tales features 49 annotated fairy tales, including their histories, similar tales across cultures, modern interpretations and over 1,500 illustrations, 1,600 folktales & fairy tales from around the world in more than 40 full-text eBooks. Fairy Tale timeline. l Women Children's Book Illustrators l The Evolution of the Illustrated Children's Book l Some really beautiful free graphics and clipart from Grandma's Graphics. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Oct 1, 2008 - 11 comments

Out of the mouths of babes...

New Jersey high school student Matthew LaClair has been at the center of controversy before, challenging his U.S. History teacher for proselytizing in class. He's in the news again, bringing attention to conservative bias in his American history textbook. [more inside]
posted by LooseFilter on Apr 27, 2008 - 123 comments

Rebirth lives again

Modern music software, by and large, is fantastic. It lets musicians create sequences of staggering complexity at the drop of a hat, work simultaneously and easily with both MIDI and digital data, and instantly subject audio to the kind of torturous manipulation that would have taken hours, or even days, with a razorblade and tape.

But do you ever really covet software in the same way that you covet hardware? Do you regard your music program with the same affection as your Moog Rogue or Fender Strat? Can something which exists only in a computer's virtual environment inspire the same pride of ownership as, say, that small silver box called a TB303 Bassline? If it's called Rebirth, maybe it can...


And now it lives again... for free
posted by bigmusic on Sep 1, 2005 - 35 comments

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