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CFM Home   CFM Blog   Join the Alliance   Moving? New Job? Let the Alliance know. June 05, 2014

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Listened to any good journals lately?
Center for the Future of Museums
Once publications go digital, why limit the content to text and pictures? High-profile online projects such as the New York Times’ award winning “Snow Fall” are starting to weave sound and video into the stories they tell. (In the future, maybe this mix will include digital scent, touch and taste as well!) This week on the CFM Blog, Eric Espig tells us how the Royal British Columbia Museum is jumping into synesthetic publishing with their new journal Curious. And check out the rest of this week’s posts as well: Monday Musing examines how for profit for good companies tackle the challenge of scale; Wordless Wednesday shares a glimpse of radical transparency; Thursday reports out on CFM’s session on “Big Data” at the annual meeting. Come back tomorrow for your weekly Futurist Friday assignment — challenging you to take a few minutes to think about the implications of things to come.
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In Norfolk, Virginia, evidence of climate change is in the streets at high tide
The Washington Post
At high tide on the small inlet next to Norfolk’s most prestigious art museum, the water lapped at the very top of the concrete sea wall that has held it back for 100 years. The sun was shining, but all around the inlet people were bracing for more serious flooding. The Chrysler Museum of Art had just completed a $24 million renovation that emptied the basement, now accessible only by ladder, and lifted the heating and air-conditioning systems to the top floor. Before 1980, the inlet near the Chrysler Museum, known as the Hague, had never flooded for more than 100 hours in a year. By 2009, it was routinely flooded for 200 and even 300 hours a year. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) last year delivered more bad news: If current trends hold, VIMS scientists said, by the end of this century, the sea in Norfolk would rise by 5 1/2 feet or more.
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  Do You Have Wonderful Storytelling?

More and more, storytelling is captivating visitors at the world’s best museums. Storytelling: It Can Change Your Mind is the result of interviewing neuroscientists, social scientists, and master storytellers to unravel the mysteries and skills woven throughout the best tales ever told, and offers helpful guidance for your team. MORE.

Mary Meeker's 2014 Internet Trends report is a must read
The Age
Renowned tech analyst Mary Meeker has delivered her influential annual Internet Trends report, emphasising the rise of mobile interfaces in transforming the way we communicate and interact. Among the more startling statistics she revealed was that more than 1.8 billion photos are shared every day and the dating app Tinder, which allows conversation only after both people have "liked" each other, now registers 800 million swipes per day and 11 million matches. Meeker, who is now a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, delivered her observations and predictions at the Code conference in California. Her seminar is hugely influential in the technology industry, as well as for media buyers, strategists and the markets. She describes the biggest "re-imagination" of the net as a trend toward mobile devices with sensors that enable users to share a huge and diverse range of information. ♦ Includes embed of the slides from Meeker’s presentation.
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Just like taco trucks, art takes to the road
The New York Times
On a recent Saturday, Elise Graham and her 23-year-old son, Aaron, pulled a 12-foot van into a parking spot on West 14th Street in Greenwich Village, swung open the back doors, lowered the aluminum stairs, and welcomed visitors inside their mobile Rodi Gallery. Around the United States, art is on the roll. Inspired by the success of food trucks, gallery owners like the Grahams, who are based in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., have been taking their show on the road. For the last year, they have traveled to populated spots like the meatpacking district of Manhattan, the Peekskill train station and Astoria Park in Queens.
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Drugmakers find breakthroughs in medicine tailored to individuals' genetic makeups
The Washington Post
The FDA’s speedy approval of new lung cancer drug Zykadia offered the latest evidence that the age of “personalized medicine,” while long predicted, is increasingly becoming reality. For reasons scientific and economic, one-size-fits-all blockbuster drugs are giving way to treatments tailored to individuals’ genetic makeups and aimed at narrow subsets of broader diseases. What happens when targeted drugs become the rule rather than the exception? Will insurers refuse to cover some of them? Will the government ponder rationing them? Will only the wealthy be able to afford the best and newest treatments?
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How Google Glass could change the way we view art
The Independent
A team from Manchester Metropolitan University is investigating how Google’s new wearable computers can be used to display instant information on artworks as visitors walk round museums, possibly replacing gallery guidebooks and audio guides entirely. The George Stubbs painting "Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians" at Manchester Art Gallery has been selected as a test subject, with visitors ranging from art students to senior citizens trying out the new technology. The wearer uses the spectacles to take a picture of the painting. This is recognized by Google Glass, which provides them with the artwork information they would usually read on the wall. Audio information about Stubbs is also available for the wearer to select. Further testing for the Google Glass Augmented Reality Project will be carried out on six more paintings at the gallery later this month. The team hopes by then the glasses will also be able to provide suggestions and recommend similar works, for example other oil paintings of that period or other works by Stubbs. The wearer could then be guided to their location in the gallery. “Wearables — whether that’s Google Glass, watches or even clothing — are going to be the future of tourism.”
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Open data as the new default
Government Health IT
The transparency movement is growing across the world. From government to corporate data, and healthcare especially stands to benefit, even as traditions are broken and openness leaves some incumbents perhaps a little uncomfortable. In the public sector, the latest open information proposal is in California, where voters are deciding whether to require local governments to meet state law for public access to meetings and records of government officials and to pay for it themselves. Especially now that a majority of American hospitals and doctors are using electronic health records, public reporting of outcomes should be less of an administrative burden. That combined with the ubiquity of the Internet and advances in data visualization should make it much easier for transparency to become the default in healthcare, just as the open data movement is pushing for in local, state and federal governments.
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Facebook could decide an election without anyone ever finding out
New Republic
On Nov. 2, 2010, Facebook’s American users were subject to an ambitious experiment in civic-engineering: Could a social network get otherwise-indolent people to cast a ballot in that day’s congressional midterm elections? The answer was yes. Overall, users notified of their friends’ voting were 0.39 percent more likely to vote than those in the control group, and any resulting decisions to cast a ballot also appeared to ripple to the behavior of close Facebook friends, even if those people hadn’t received the original message. That small increase in turnout rates amounted to a lot of new votes. Now consider a hypothetical, hotly contested future election. Suppose that Mark Zuckerberg personally favors whichever candidate you don’t like, [and] our hypothetical Zuck chooses not to spice the feeds of users unsympathetic to his views. Such machinations then flip the outcome of our hypothetical election. Should the law constrain this kind of behavior?
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Smartphones, Mad Men, and the decline of social media
Young people are becoming aware of the negative impact computers are having on them. They have already abandoned Facebook — and, as crazy as this sounds, journalist Ari Rosenberg thinks they will abandon Twitter and Instagram next. Not just because mom’s presence on these social media platforms have made these places uncool, but because looking people in the eyes and communicating with a purpose, face-to-face, will become the next cool thing. Those staring at their phones while hanging with their friends will be chastised. The very peer pressure that created social media will bring it down. Why? Because at the end of the day, what kids want is to be nothing like their parents — and they can see the idiots we’ve become.
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10 jobs that you could have in 2030
Fast Company
All of the predictions we've seen lately regarding the "jobs of the future" assume that we'll even have jobs once the robots take over. Eventually, we may not. But in the medium-term future, there will still be jobs for the taking (including jobs overseeing robots). The Canadian Scholarship Trust teamed up with futurists to imagine a job fair in 2030, with predictions based on the environmental, social, technological, and social trends happening now. Here are some of the jobs they came up with. ♦ You, too, might have a future as a Neighborhood Watch Officer, tending a flock of surveillance drones, a Nostalgist recreating past eras, or a Simplicity Expert running interference on digital distractions.
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Museum Innovations

Art-o-mancy | Make the museum your personal oracle
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Art-o-mancy turns the museum into your own personal oracle. Close your eyes and let yourself be directed by your own intuition (with a guide) to a work of art that suggests answers to the deepest questions you have about your life. Related to the series of “Sacred” exhibitions, Sacred Salons are participatory experiences exploring a wide range of ideas and practices related to the nature of the sacred within a secular, multi-faith society.
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Robot Linda to meet the public at London's Natural History Museum
Having a robot around the house might be nice, but not if it keeps stepping on the cat and tripping over the coffee table. This month, the public will get the chance to meet a robot at the Natural History Museum in London that may be a bit kinder to furniture and tabbies. The University of Lincoln’s Linda robot, which will mingle with visitors, is designed to learn about its surroundings and make it easier to work human environments. Linda is a mobile robot developed by the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science. It’s one of six robots built for the £7.2 million ($12 million) STRANDS project, which aims to produce robots suitable for working with security guards and staff in nursing homes.
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Field Museum rolls out another craft beer
Chicago Tribune
The Field Museum and a local brewing company are launching a craft beer in stores across Chicago next month, an endeavor aimed at raising money for the institution’s educational programs. It will be called "Cabinet of Curiosities," a White India Pale Ale spiced with coriander, black peppercorn and orange and lemon peels, according to Megan Beckert, the museum's director of special events, tourism group sales and food operations. The beer’s name refers to what collections were once called. “The Field Museum is definitely not in the beer broker business,” said Beckert. “This is just a fun way of bringing people together and getting a conversation started.”
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Harvard uses projection technology to shine new light on faded Rothko murals
Harvard Art Museums has announced a seven-month exhibit called Mark Rothko’s Harvard Murals, set to open in November featuring six panels Rothko made for Harvard in 1961 and 1962, as well as a series of related studies. Besides the opportunity to see works that have not been displayed for more than a decade, visitors will be able to see the murals in a new light, thanks to new digital restoration technology. A multidisplinary team, including art historians, conservation experts and scientists at the Harvard Art Museums (the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies and the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art) and the MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture research group worked together on the challenge and arrived at a light-based technique that uses a noninvasive, digital camera-projector system driven by custom software.
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Tools for the Future

Tiny device 'sees' crop disease before it happens
Farmers typically look for physical symptoms of disease, such as discolored or wilting leaves, to identify threats to crops. By the time these symptoms are visible, however, the plant is already dead or dying. And the culprit pathogen may have already spread to nearby plants, threatening the health of the entire crop. But there may be a better way. Researchers say robots equipped with tiny sensors, each about the size of a 9-volt battery, could detect threats to crops and warn farmers. The goal is to fit dozens of the micro gas chromatographs (GCs) on a ground robot that a farmer could then use in crop fields to take samples from plant to plant and get results in minutes. ♦ Researchers are already experimenting with using portable spectroscopy to detect volatile organic compounds resulting from the degradation of collections. How long before collection storage rooms are patrolled by mini-robots sniffing for signs of trouble?
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3-D printed food actually looks (and tastes) pretty delicious
The Wire
In Germany, companies are doing some incredible things with 3-D printing. They're using it to make food. Actual food, like the kind that tastes good. One of the more successful projects is Biozoon's Smoothfood, which was developed to print food for senior citizens in retirement and assisted living communities. Those communities have a major need for food that their residents do not need to chew. But rather than feeding them baby food for adults, Smoothfood creates melt-in-your-mouth food (literally) from fresh ingredients using a 3-D printer. The food looks like food, tastes like food, but has the consistency of puree that prevents residents from choking.
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PlanG turns millennial shoppers into givers
UpStart Business Journal
Marti Beller and Heather Loftus believe the next generation of shoppers and workers thinks differently than those that came before. So differently that after 15 years of running the massive credit-card reward program Connexions Loyalty as president and second in command, they decided to take on that new generation directly with PlanG, a platform for consumers who grew up with pink-ribbon merchandise and philanthropic brands like Toms Shoes and want to give to the charities of their choice when they shop, work, and raise money.
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Scientists achieve reliable quantum teleportation for first time
Albert Einstein once told a friend that quantum mechanics doesn't hold water in his scientific world view because "physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky actions at a distance." That spooky action at a distance is entanglement, a quantum phenomenon in which two particles, separated by any amount of distance, can instantaneously affect one another as if part of a unified system. Now, scientists have successfully hijacked that quantum weirdness — doing so reliably for the first time — to produce what many sci-fi fans have long dreamt up: Teleportation. No, not beaming humans aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, but the teleportation of data.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read the most in recent months.

    Watch 'brandals' replace 365 ads with 365 pieces of art across the UK (Fast Company)
New Glass Labyrinth is the ultimate disorienting experience (My Modern Met)
What if billboards advertised art instead of stuff you don't need? (Fast Company)
Norway reopens racist 'human zoo' to remind people about racism (Salon)
The world's 1st Empathy Museum (Virgin Unite)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

Dispatches from the Future of Museums
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