Introducing Archaeopix Search

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I’ve been quiet recently as I’ve been work­ing on vari­ous things. One of them is now pub­lic and may be help­ful to edu­cat­ors and blog­gers. Tom Goskar and I have put together the site Archaeopix. The front of the site is a clear rip-off homage to Astronomy Picture of the Day. I like that. It’s an excuse to say “Hey look at this thing!” and gen­er­ally be positive.

The clever bit is the search page.

Searching Flickr can be hit ‘n’ miss. Generally if you want to use a photo for a blog or edu­ca­tional handout and you need it quickly, it needs to be licensed under a cre­at­ive com­mons licence. You can search on Flickr for cc-licensed pho­tos, but a search for “Rome” will bring up everything with Rome in it. Groups are handy because they’re themed. So you could search the Archaeology group for Rome. The prob­lem then is that you’ll find a lot of ©opy­right pho­tos. You really need a group which is all cc-licensed. Chiron is a good example of that. However Chiron’s strength is that it focuses on the clas­sical world, which means you won’t find pre­his­toric Europe in it, or any­thing Mayan. This is where Archaeopix search comes in.

Using this you can define what you want to use the photo for. You can spe­cify if you want to use the photo on a com­mer­cial site or if you want to be able to mess around with the image for a poster. You can then spe­cify which group you want to search in. The default is Archaeology, but there’s oth­ers like Chiron, or Southwestern Archaeology. The search looks at the Flickr API, so that only pho­tos match­ing a suit­able licence turn up in the results.

It won’t turn all Flickr groups into Chiron clones, but it makes them more use­ful. If you’ve any sug­ges­tions on improv­ing the search leave me a com­ment below. Or you could just look at the Taj Mahal’s Evil Twin — which is today’s photo.

When turning your back is threatening behaviour

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This is what I hope will be the last polit­ics post for a little while. I try to avoid it, because the volume of mater­ial means there’s a huge amount to cri­ti­cise on all sides. Yet it seems fool­ish to look into a trivial book, when some­thing like this happens.

At the G20 protests Ian Tomlinson died from a heart attack. He wasn’t protest­ing, he was just try­ing to get home. The police issued a state­ment that he died after pro­test­ers pre­ven­ted med­ics from treat­ing him. Video evid­ence has come to light which shows that’s not likely to be true. A video at the Guardian shows Tomlinson, with his hands in his pock­ets walk­ing away from police armed in riot gear. He is attacked from behind and knocked to the ground shortly before he died. No police officers offered any assist­ance, it came from the pub­lic. In light of that, it’s reas­on­able to ser­i­ously con­sider other claims that Tomlinson had been assaul­ted by officers before the video was shot.

There’s plenty of blame. The police officer strik­ing Tomlinson is clearly a cow­ard but, see­ing as his actions don’t seem to have res­ul­ted in imme­di­ate action, there’s plenty of other people to sus­pend or fire. Whoever put out the mis­lead­ing state­ment on Tomlinson’s death is, at best, neg­li­gent. The people who devised the poli­cing strategy are, at best, incom­pet­ent. Ultimately the gov­ern­ment has eroded civil liber­ties to the extent that people can­not protest against its eco­nomic mis­man­age­ment. The same gov­ern­ment has recently passed a law which could make this type of film­ing illegal because, as any Icelander can tell you, anti-terror leg­lisla­tion has a tend­ency to spread. By mak­ing every­one a poten­tial enemy they too have had a part in this.

It’s com­mon to pin the blame for the break­down of mod­ern soci­ety onto a fash­ion­able hobby-horse, video games, rock ‘n’ roll or the fad of the day. The beha­viour of the police is always going to be con­trib­ut­ing factor. I’m will­ing to best most of the people join­ing didn’t enter the force to assault people, but if you meet an officer now will you really want to take the risk? That’s a prob­lem if you’re in favour of justice because poli­cing can­not hap­pen without the con­sent of a com­munity. Otherwise it’s just a para­mil­it­ary occu­pa­tion. The video shows plenty of wit­nesses in yel­low jack­ets. If they won’t assist the law, who will?