This piece by The Atlantic’s James Somers on Google’s failed book-scanning project is excellent. It’s decently long-form, so my short summary won’t do it justice. But Google spent $400 million and an incredible amount of time and resources scanning 25 million books from libraries across the world. The result of that work is a database at Google HQ that no one, save a handful of engineers who maintain its storage, can access.
Last year, Vogue profiled Josephine Baker for her 110th birthday. It’s an excellent short primer. Aside from her incredible story that took her from a poor girl in the slums of St. Louis to global cultural icon in 1920s Paris, there’s this:
During World War II, Baker aided the French Resistance by smuggling secret messages in invisible ink on her musical sheets. She hid Jewish refugees and weapons in her château that Bakerskin had helped pay for…She received the Croix de Guerre, the Médaille de la Résistance, and Légion d’Honneur. After she died on April 12, 1975, more than 20,000 people crowded the streets of Paris to watch the funeral procession on its way to L’Église de la Madeleine. The French government honored her with a 21-gun salute, making Josephine Baker the first American woman buried in France with full military honors.