Colorizing Old Photos Requires a Ton of Research

Jared Enos, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Jared Enos, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Looking at a colorized photo of a long-dead historical figure can feel like stepping through a time portal. You’ve likely seen the famous portrait of Albert Einstein clasping his hands, for example, but the image is given new life when you can make out the tone of his skin and the shade of his sweater.

Colorization is a time-consuming process, and the work begins long before artists pick up their graphics tablets. As Vox reports, each hue is obsessively researched using diaries, government records, and the expertise of historians. So when you look at a professionally colorized photo, you aren’t merely looking at an artist’s interpretation of the past—you’re getting an image that’s as close as possible to the real thing.

Get an in-depth look at the craft in the video below.

We Could Be Just Days Away From Seeing the First-Ever Photo of a Black Hole

An artist's rendering of a growing supermassive black hole
An artist's rendering of a growing supermassive black hole
NASA/CXC/M.Weiss, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Lots of people have created simulations and illustrations of black holes based on what is currently known about these incredibly dense objects, but to date, the public has never seen an actual picture of one.

As NBC News reports, that could change next Wednesday, when a team of international scientists releases the “groundbreaking result” of a project that has set its sights on capturing the first image of a black hole. Six simultaneous press conferences will be held around the world, and the U.S. announcement in Washington, D.C. will be livestreamed starting at 9 a.m. on April 10.

The reason black holes are so hard to see is because no light can escape from them. However, scientists know they exist because of the gravitational pull they exert on nearby objects, including stars and gas. The latest endeavor to observe a black hole, dubbed the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, has built a “virtual Earth-sized telescope” by creating a network of eight radio observatories around the world.

It is believed that the announcement will concern a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way called Sagittarius A* (pronounced “Sagittarius A-star”). If scientists are successful in capturing an image of the distant black hole, it would be the equivalent of “standing in New York and counting the individual dimples on a golf ball in Los Angeles,” according to an EHT video.

As for what Sagittarius A* might look like, that remains to be seen. “We might see a crescent, brightened on one side—or a bipolar, jet-like structure,” Dan Marrone, an experimental astrophysicist at the University of Arizona, told Mental Floss in 2017. “We honestly don’t know.”

To livestream the press conference on Wednesday, visit the National Science Foundation's website.

[h/t NBC]

Dogfish Head and Kodak Team Up to Create Beer That Develops Super 8 Film

Dogfish Head
Dogfish Head

As digital technology has advanced and smartphones have become ubiquitous, the Super 8 movie cameras of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s have practically gone extinct. Dogfish Head and Kodak are collaborating on a product that makes the format a lot more convenient for modern amateur filmmakers. According to the Associated Press, their new SuperEIGHT beer doubles as a developer for Super 8 film.

Unlike digital video, which is ready to view as soon as its recorded, Super 8 film needs to be chemically processed first. In 2018, the founder and CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Sam Calagione went on Kodak's podcast The Kodakery to talk about analog film. There he learned that certain beers with high acidity and vitamin C content can be used to develop old-fashioned film.

Following that conversation, Dogfish Head joined forces with Kodak to create a beer specifically for that purpose. The new SuperEIGHT beer is a sour German-style wheat beer with 5.3 percent alcohol content. The key ingredients include blackberry, boysenberry, elderberry, raspberry, kiwi, mango, prickly pear, quinoa, and Hawaiian sea salt. According to Dogfish Head, the drink "has a slightly tart taste and pleasantly refreshing finish, with delicious flavors of berries and watermelon." And if imbibers can resist drinking it all, they can use some to develop their home movies.

The SuperEIGHT beer from Dogfish Head will be available at retailers across the country this April. To see how well it works as a processing agent, check out the short film Kodak developed with the beer below.

[h/t AP]

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