The above GIF was created from new 3D scans of the bullets that killed president John F. Kennedy. The GIF shows two bits of the bullets that killed the president along with another mostly complete bullet plucked from Texas Governor John Connally's hospital stretcher. The National Archives temporarily removed the historic projectiles from the vault so that the National Institute of Standards and Technology could create digital replicas of them at microscopic resolution. Next year, the digital replicas will become part of the National Archive's JFK Assassination Records publicly available online. From Smithsonian:
These bullets now enter the National Archives’ digital collection alongside three others thought to hail from the same firearm: two discharged as test shots, and another from an earlier failed assassination attempt on Army Major General Edwin Walker. All were imaged with a specialized microscope that scanned their surfaces, charting their features much like a satellite recording the topography of a mountain range. The pictures were then stitched together by NIST ballistics specialists to generate a vivid 3-D rendering detailed enough to show grooves left by the barrel of the gun.
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You've likely seen the stabilized, enhanced panoramic edit of the famous Zapruder film of JFK's assassination. Here's another angle—the less well-known Orville Nix film—with the same treatment. Though it's not as clear or as long as Zapruder, it's recorded from the other side, showing the grassy knoll and a ground-level view of the assassination. (Note that at least four people filmed the fatal shot, and possibly five.) Read the rest
You snooze, you lose. You have just missed the chance to bid on, and possibly own, the last car driven by Lee Harvey Oswald, which just sold on ebay. Read the rest
Scott writes, "We've just received word that our documentary short, The Silly Bastard Next to the Bed, will be debuting at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC next month. In the film, we set out to locate and interview 'the silly bastard' that JFK rants about in the YouTube phone call. The video has been a pretty big hit - as far as presidential phone calls go - and we're about to top 400K views. (Thanks, Scott!) Read the rest
This is incredible: multiple films of JFK's assassination not only superimposed and stabilized, but slowed down and interpolated to 30fps and allowed to build a panoramic view of the unfolding event. The interpolation makes it very untrustworthy, but the overall effect is fascinating: zoom and enhance for real. [Video Link] Read the rest
I recently learned that some birds have been found to be able to isolate and control different parts of their vocal tract independently, allowing them to sing simultaneous double tones or alternate between frequencies very rapidly. I'm not sure about the particular species below, but I think it's safe to say that numerous birds on this album are at least using similar 'mad avian skills' to sound like synthesizers.
This album, recorded by celebrated ornithologist Johan Dalgas Frisch, (and first released on the Sabia label in 1961), was once in the Top 50 of Brasil's popular record sales. President João Goulart actually gave JFK a copy when he came to visit (click on thumbnail below for photographic evidence). Talk about a country with its musical priorities in the right place!
This collection of recordings isn't readily available in the states, but if you can't track down a used LP or torrent, it looks like you can buy it from this site in Brasil.
This post is a special 'avian edition' of a series about music that disorients the senses. I've found that some of the most amazing and jarring auditory illusions are not the usual scientifically distilled or synthesized ones, they're often found in folk music and made by people's voices. Of course, in a way, it makes perfect sense - the vocal chords are some of the most complex and advanced musical instruments in existence. They are ubiquitously available, and we've been experimenting with them for longer than any other sound-making implement. Read the rest