“We’re here to help.” And if you are lobbying for an American tech firm in Europe, you may find that a lot of those countries’ political and business leaders are not very convinced of our benign intentions. Google appears to be the most successful to date in helping our European friends fill a funding gap that exists there, particularly in terms of technology improvements for schools and museums. Perhaps the biggest challenge for Google is to convince European leaders that they will fully protect citizens’ privacy rights online.
Another major concern appears to be that Google will have too much control over how Europeans gain access to digital services. I don’t think that this has become a major concern in the U.S. ? I believe we have come to use Google as our all-purpose search engine, “Google it!” Is it a question of losing our individual autonomy by using the most powerful and reliable search tool at our disposal? We still have the prerogative of using other search engines, but let’s be honest, size and scope of these searches do matter. Yahoo!
But it seems apparent that Europeans’ perceptions of American interests in Europe and elsewhere might always be tinged by the impressions we left behind after the Second World War: “oversexed, overpaid, and over here.”
“Every artwork is an Instagrammer’s dream come true.” Now you can have your picture taken with you favorite work of art. Well, at least at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. Please have a look at #renwickgallery on your Instagram account. Sorry, selfies are discouraged since the museum curator has declared them to be “kind of obnoxious.” He wants you to be immersed in the work rather promoting this exhibit as a personal photo op.
Renwick is now encouraging photography and believes that this policy is here to stay with possibly a few exceptions. There are still museumgoers who like to see art the old-fashioned way, wanting to absorb the experience itself in real time rather than living through the camera. They are concerned that the photographers are just cataloging the experience like “checking a box.”
So now you can choose whatever kind of museum experience you would like. The only anecdotal data available to date suggests that when you take more detailed photos of the artwork, you actually remember more about it than if you take a more expansive zoomed-out shot. Or you can still just look at the art and put your phone away?
From explorations in outer space to studying and preserving insect specimens on earth, digital technology is surely one of our most powerful tools in these quests. Individual specimen collections can now be digitally photographed from hundreds of angles and made available in 3-D on the web. These collections would easily fill hundreds of cabinets in any natural history museum around the world.
The Museum of Natural History in Berlin and the Florida Museum of Natural History are two examples of such online collections that are easily accessible from your preferred digital device. At the same time, you can still make the trip and view these specimens in person, but I think you will probably have a better view looking at a digital screen.
And of course, if you still prefer, you can resurrect your butterfly net (if you ever had one), and chase all these dazzling species in their natural habitats. Unfortunately in our digital age, this may not seem as appealing as perhaps it once was. Maybe there is really no need to chase these beautiful creatures when we can search and “capture” them on our computer screens. Or you still might simply enjoy watching them on some sunny summer day and admire their natural beauty.