The 10,000 Year Photograph

Yesterday I covered the 10,000 Year Clock: a clock designed to tick just once per year, and intended to run for a long, long time. The clock will be housed in a chamber inside a mountain in Nevada (yes, The Long Now Foundation bought a mountain for this purpose -- pictured below, left), and photographer Edward Burtynsky wants to put some photographic art in that chamber. But how do you make a photographic print that will last 10,000 years?

But backing up a bit, the first question is: why photographs? Why not statues or some other highly durable art form? Burtynsky answers: "because [photographs] tell us more than any previous medium. When we think of our own past, we tend to think in terms of family photos." While I think this is a very recent notion (as is photography in general), maybe he has a point -- if we had photographs of human life from thousands of years ago, they would surely tell us a lot about those periods. Here's more from an article on Burtynsky's project:

But photographic prints, especially color prints, degrade badly over time. Burtynsky went on a quest for a technical solution. He thought that automobile paint, which holds up to harsh sunlight, might work if it could be run through an inkjet printer, but that didn't work out. Then he came across a process first discovered in 1855, called "carbon transfer print." It uses magenta, cyan, and yellow inks made of ground stone—the magenta stone can only be found in one mine in Germany—and the black ink is carbon.

On the stage Burtynsky showed a large carbon transfer print of one of his ultra-high resolution photographs. The color and detail were perfect. Accelerated studies show that the print could hang in someone's living room for 500 years and show no loss of quality. Kept in the Clock's mountain in archival conditions it would remain unchanged for 10,000 years. He said that making one print takes five days of work, costs $2,000, and only ten artisans in the world have the skill, at locations in Toronto, Seattle, and Cornwall. Superb images can be made on porcelain (or Clock chamber walls), but Burtynsky prefers archival watercolor paper, because the ink bonds deep into the paper, and in the event of temperature changes, the ink and paper would expand and contract together.

Read the rest for a bit more on Burtynsky's proposed project. See also: Wikipedia on Burtynsky, and Manufactured Landscapes, an excellent documentary about his unique photography.

(Via Kottke.org.)

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
Finally! Windows Notepad Is Getting an Update for the First Time in Years
iStock
iStock

While some of Window's core programs have evolved dramatically over the years, or disappeared all together, Notepad has remained pretty basic. But as The Verge reports, the text-editing app is about to get a little fancier: Microsoft is updating it for the first time in years.

Since it debuted in 1985, Notepad has become a popular platform for writing out code. One common complaint from programmers working in non-Windows coding language is that Notepad doesn't format line breaks properly, resulting in jumbled, messy text. Now, both Unix/Linux line endings (LF) and Macintosh line endings (CR) are supported in Notepad, making it even more accessible to developers.

For the first time, users can zoom text by holding ctrl and scrolling the mouse wheel. They can also delete the last word in their document by pressing ctrl+backspace. On top of all that, the new update comes with a wrap-around find-and-replace feature, a default status bar with line and column numbers, and improved performance when handling large files.

The arrow keys will be easier to navigate as well. You can now use the arrow keys to deselect text before moving the cursor. And if you ever want to look up a word online, Microsoft will allow you to connect directly to Bing through the app.

The new Notepad update will be made available first to Windows Insiders through Windows 10 Insider Preview, then to everyone on the forthcoming update, codenamed Redstone 5, likely later this year.

[h/t The Verge]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
New Website Lets You Sift Through More Than 700,000 Items Found in Amsterdam's Canals
iStock
iStock

Amsterdam's canals are famous for hiding more than eight centuries of history in their mud. From 2003 to 2012, archaeologists had the rare opportunity to dig through an urban river that had been pumped dry, and now 99% Invisible reports that their discoveries are available to browse online.

The new website, dubbed Below the Surface, was released with a book and a documentary of the same name. The project traces the efforts of an archaeological dig that worked parallel to the construction of Amsterdam's new North/South metro line. To bore the train tunnels, crews had to drain part of the River Amstel that runs through the city and dig up the area. Though the excavation wasn't originally intended as an archaeological project, the city used it as an opportunity to collect and preserve some of its history.

About 800 years ago, a trading port popped up at the mouth of the River Amstel and the waterway become a bustling urban hub. Many of the artifacts that have been uncovered are from that era, while some are more contemporary, and one piece dates back to 4300 BCE. All 700,000 objects, which include, toys, coins, and weapons, are cataloged online.

Visitors to the website can look through the collection by category. If you want to view items from the 1500s, for example, you can browse by time period. You also have the option to search by material, like stoneware, for example, and artifact type, like clothing.

After exploring the database, you can learn more about its history in the Below the Surface documentary on Vimeo (English subtitles are coming soon).

[h/t 99% Invisible]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios