The Music of Snow Crystals

Snow crystals can be stunningly beautiful, thanks to their unique and complex symmetrical forms.  It’s no wonder that the “snowflake” has become a favorite visual icon of winter.  And given that snow crystal structures are so alluring to the eye, I found myself wondering whether they could also be made alluring to the ear.  Could…

Animating Mathew Brady: Civil War Era Photographs in Motion

I wish I’d checked out the Mathew Brady collection at the National Archives a lot sooner.  For the past few years, I’ve been experimenting with techniques for animating historical photographs, and I’ve had difficulty finding suitable material to experiment on—especially groups of three or more pictures taken at the same time from different perspectives.  It…

Listen to an Electric Fish from the 1870s!

It’s only a couple seconds long, but this is still an exciting snippet of historical audio, both audibly and conceptually.  You’ll find it at the end of this blog post, and if you’re feeling impatient, you can always scroll down and listen to it right now.  But as for what exactly it is—well, that’s going…

Time-Based Graphs as Moving Pictures (1786-1878)

The wavy lines of time-based graphs can easily be converted into audio, as I explained in an earlier post.  But we can also convert them into video, and in fact sound recordings were being played back as moving pictures in the 1860s, long before anyone had played one back as sound—another notable difference being that…

Historical 3D Fun With Anaglyphs

You’ll need red-cyan glasses to experience the 3D effects in this post.  Don’t let that deter you if you don’t have any.  I just ordered ten pairs for $4.89 (shipping included) on eBay and got them in three days.  I’d like to think that’s a small price to pay and a short time to wait…