[–] TheSeer 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

"With the aid of a particle accelerator, scientists are bringing back ghosts from the past"

I don't think they are being entirely honest with us about everything these particle accelerators can do. Also, it is worth remembering that the particle accelerators do not operate in isolation. They have some of the most powerful supercomputers and networks working in tandem with them.

They could literally (use the computing power to) simulate a civil war and get an idea of who will do what, when, and what countermeasures (or pre-emptive measures) would be most effective.

"99 times out of 100 we lose the damn civil war and get strung up from lamp posts, but if we do X, Y, Z..." X = divide the population Y = take the guns Z = replace God

[–] Glory_Beckons 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Is there any particular question about them that you have?

They're really not that mystical... they just get a lot of hype, particularly (heh) the synchrotrons (the round spinny type).

The two most common types are Light Sources and Neutron Sources. Synchrotron Light Sources spin electrons around really fast. That makes them glow and give off extremely bright X-Rays. Synchrotron Neutron Sources spin protons around really fast and then slam them into a primary target. This makes the primary target slowly disintegrate, giving off tons of neutrons (and other radiation) in all directions.

In both cases most of the radiation is caught by really thick shielding made of concrete laced with various metals. Small gaps in the shielding allow thin beams to get out. These are guided to the so-called beamlines where the instruments are. Most stuff there is for controlling the exact size and shape of the beam. And for holding and moving the samples (in this case the pictures) inside the beam. Then there's detectors behind and/or around the sample which record the radiation that got through the sample or was scattered around by the sample.

That's pretty much it. It's just a gigantic camera really, if you think about it.

A camera that uses x-rays or neutrons instead of visible light, which allows us to see things in samples that we wouldn't be able to see otherwise. As this old photo experiment very visibly demonstrates. Or this coffee pot which looks transparent in the neutron beam but is actually made entirely of metal.

The compute clusters you mention aren't used to run the particle accelerators (nor to simulate anything usually), but to analyze the data that was collected. Mostly for a process called data reduction. Which is basically just de-noising and sharpening the images that were recorded, and generating pretty graphs and visualizations for the papers. They're also not that powerful... nothing you couldn't put together yourself if you had a few 10k to 100k bucks to blow into the wind and nothing better to do.

[–] cheerupbucko 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

The RHIC collider took petabytes of data and required gov clearance to analyze the data. Some people believe they are trying to bore a hole into hell.

[–] TheSeer 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Sure, yeah. How does the Large Hadron Collider create antimatter, and how do they collect/store it?

Of course the supercomputer would be (available for) running simulations when they aren't analyzing data. Could that 'de-noising' be of use when dealing with large amounts of data, like a simulation?

[–] weezkitty 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Awesome!

Scanning the roughly 8-by-7-centimeter daguerreotypes, provided by the National Gallery of Canada, was time-consuming, taking about eight hours per square centimeter.

But damn that's fucking slow. 8 * 7 * 8 = 448 hours for one picture

[–] Glory_Beckons 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

I think that's a mistake in the (journalistic) article. The scientific article says:

A 70 × 80 mm scan range was analyzed with an estimated dwell time of 4 ms per 20 × 20 μm pixel over a collection time of 8.5 h. The beamsize was 20 × 30 μm.

So the whole 8 by 7 cm image took 8.5 hours. And they had two images.

This makes for a much more typical timeframe for an experiment at a synchrotron facility as well. Getting time on a beamline is highly competitive and most experiments are limited to a 2-3 day range, with some higher profile ones getting a week or two. This is probably also why they only did two images; they didn't have time for more.

There's absolutely no way a completely untested technique like this would have been granted the 37+ days of beamtime required to scan two images at 448 hours per image (not even counting set up time)! Ain't nobody got beamtime for that.

[–] weezkitty 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

So it's just crappy article writing again. No surprise I suppose.

[–] Commie_Meta 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

I was wondering why they had a synchrotron. Reading the paper it looks they used it mainly because the high-resolution imager was set up and ready to use. For mass restoration I would expect them to build a custom machine using a standard x-ray tube.

[–] TurdLord5000 2 points 1 points (+3|-2) ago 

Translation: they x-rayed the damned thing

[–] ShinyVoater 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

It looks like they used ultra-targeted x-rays designed to excite only the elements responsible for the intended image, while leaving those that form the tarnish unilluminated. It might not be wholly novel, but it definitely requires a deal of finesse.

[–] Gorillion 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

i think it's just super-advanced filtering at this point. Less the beam/particles than the computers interpreting the mass of data coming back. We'll probably have this shit on our phones in ten years. Literal X-Ray Specs functionality - Faraday mesh underwear soon to follow!

[–] RageAgainstTheAmish 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Whats with that chick having huge hands?

[–] voltronsdicks 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Does this work on emails?

[–] 1Sorry_SOB 3 points 0 points (+3|-3) ago 

Nobody cares. There are mountains of 19th century and early 20th century family photos in the dump. After a generation or two nobody wants family photos.

[–] weezkitty 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

So we should even try to preserve the records of history?

[–] Gorillion 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

It's more that there should be a national call for all old photographs to be donated rather than thrown out. No point spending 20 years perfecting this tech while we happen to be going through a generational shift at the same time, where all this shit is getting tossed because Grandma's been dead for ten years and nobody knows what to do with all these boxes and albums anymore.

History is being disposed of right now. Paper artifacts are becoming less the norm.
It's not really even intentional. Modern life is making these things invisible and out-of-mind.
I personally only recently saved a suitcase full of old photos from being lost to mold because they'd been carelessly stashed in a corner of a garage. Another 6 months and they would have been gone forever.

Just think how many old super 8 films got memory-holed forever once video cameras became common?
And now it takes a huge drama to even find a way of viewing them, or a high cost to get them transferred at some niche service. And yet they're what? A 5 minute youtube clip's worth of content at most?

Ironically, once making memories and recording history via digital means became easier, the memories and history recorded by older means became less cared-for. And while we obsess over uncovering hidden truths in older mediums using our new digital wonder-tech, we're letting mid-to-late 20th century mediums become landfill.