TOUR THE WORLD’S GREAT MUSEUMS: Yesterday, Google launched its Art Project, which allows you to peer closely at individual artworks from 17 museums, such as the Uffizi in Florence, the Frick in New York and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg — plus, you can even tour them. Individual museums have done this sort of thing before and Google Earth allowed for some pretty spectacular zoom-ins for select museums, like the Prado. But that required you to download 7.4 MB of data to operate it. Art Project doesn’t; it’s powered by a “suite” of Google technologies, as explained at the Art Project’s YouTube channel (that’s the introductory video above). Of course, it says a lot that the American museums are all in New York with one in D.C. (the Freer Gallery in the Smithsonian). I predict a) they’ll increase the number of participating museums, and b) Art Project still won’t replace the joys of an actual visit to the National Gallery in London. But hey, while you’re going stir crazy …
AFTER THE ‘THIN MAN’: Andrew F. Gulli, publisher of the Strand magazine, has found 15 unpublished short stories by Dashiell Hammett at UT-Austin’s Harry Ransom Center. Hammett died in 1961 — after having worked for the Pinkerton detective agency, written the ‘Continental Op’ short stories and, of course, penning both The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man. The Strand — the British magazine that debuted the first Sherlock Holmes stories in 1891 — will print one of the Hammett stories next month.
THE BLUES MAN COMETH: The greatest folklorist and blues historian ever, Alan Lomax — the author of The Land Where the Blues Began, born in Austin and a UT-Austin student — is the subject of John Szwed’s new bio, Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World. The New York Times review is here. NPR story about Lomax and his massive Library of Congress archives is here.