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  • Originally published 06/27/2013

    Apps mix history with technology at the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

    PHILADELPHIA — At the 150th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Gettysburg, many Civil War re-enactors will eschew the use of modern technology, but scores of tourists will embrace it.More than 5,700 Foursquare users have checked in at sites in the historic borough; more than 16,000 Facebook users have liked it. And in the weeks leading up to the anniversary, apps that offer maps and information about key battle spots have surged in popularity.Garry Adelman has been a licensed Gettysburg battlefield guide for 19 years and has recently moved his high-energy tour into the realm of the smartphone. The project was initiated four years ago by the Civil War Trust, a nonprofit battlefield preservation group where Adelman is the director of history and education....

  • Originally published 06/25/2013

    San Francisco™, Brought to You By Google

    Credit: Wiki Commons/HNN staff.Originally posted on TomDispatch.com Finally, journalists have started criticizing in earnest the leviathans of Silicon Valley, notably Google, now the world’s third-largest company in market value. The new round of discussion began even before the revelations that the tech giants were routinely sharing our data with the National Security Agency, or maybe merging with it. Simultaneously another set of journalists, apparently unaware that the weather has changed, is still sneering at San Francisco, my hometown, for not lying down and loving Silicon Valley’s looming presence.

  • Originally published 06/02/2013

    HNN Hot Topics: MOOCs

    Image via Shutterstock/Flickr.NewsCoursera contract with UT system released; history chair says no MOOCs at Knoxville this fall (6-3-13)Historians at MOOC partner schools say faculty not consulted (5-30-13)San Jose State professors fire back at online class offer (5-25-13)Profs get ready for tens of thousands of students in online courses (1-14-13)Commentary

  • Originally published 05/02/2013

    Computing Pioneer Harry Huskey Is Honored at 97

    On Saturday evening, I was a very happy attendee of the Computer History Museum’s Fellow Awards, an inspiring annual event which celebrates the contributions of individuals whose work has changed the course of computing history. Three people were honored this year: Ed Catmull, Harry Huskey and Bob Taylor.Ed Catmull, as I knew, started out as a computer graphics scientist, became one of the founders of Pixar and is now the president of both that extraordinary company and Walt Disney Feature Animation. I was also well aware that Bob Taylor headed up the research efforts at ARPA and Xerox PARC which produced the Internet, the modern graphical user interface, Ethernet, the laser printer and other utterly essential technologies.But Harry Huskey? I’d never heard of the man. Turns out that he did an awful lot — and, having been born in 1916, he did much of it in the very early days of the computing industry, even before the word “computer” came into use....

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    John J. Geoghegan: A Brief History of Book Vending Machines

    John J. Geoghegan reports on unusual inventions that fail in the marketplace despite their innovative nature. His non-fiction book, Operation Storm: Japan's Top Secret Sumbarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World Whttp://hnn.us/node/add/hnnar II, about underwater aircraft carriers designed to attack New York City and Washington, DC, as a follow up to Pearl Harbor was published in March 2013. You can visit him at http://www.operationstormbook.com/ There are lots of reasons why a white elephant technology doesn't catch on. Sometimes the technology is ahead of its time. In other cases, no amount of time can make a misguided technology useful or attractive.Then there's vending machines that sell books.

  • Originally published 02/13/2013

    New Sonar Map Shows Details Of USS Hatteras Wreck

    A new 3D state-of-the-art sonar map released by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, ExploreOcean, Teledyne BlueView and Northwest Hydro shows never-before seen details of the USS Hatteras, the only Union warship sunk in combat in the Gulf of Mexico during the Civil War. The map was released on the 150th anniversary of the ship sinking on Jan. 11, 1863, after fighting the raider CSS Alabama approximately 20 miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas. The Hatteras was a 210-foot-long iron-hulled steamship the U.S. Navy converted into a gunboat. Its wreck is largely intact 57 feet under water in sand and silt....

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