Michael Winslow, the “Man of 10,000 Sound Effects”, Impersonates the Sounds of Jimi Hendrix’s and Led Zeppelin’s Electric Guitars with His Voice

Even if you weren’t a huge fan of the Police Acad­e­my movies, there was one char­ac­ter that made them watch­able: Larvell Jones, played by Michael Winslow, “The Man of a 10,000 Sound Effects.” His char­ac­ter is a sort of odd­ball pres­ence through­out the series, whose abil­i­ty to sound like a siren, a machine gun, a guard dog, or any num­ber of things, invari­ably helps his team save the day. He’s been the only con­sis­tent char­ac­ter through all eight entries of the movie series, a brief tele­vi­sion spin-off, and an ani­mat­ed car­toon series. And I dare say he’s the fran­chise’s rea­son to exist, as a Police Acad­e­my with­out Larvell Jones would be…what? A bunch of crap­py cops?

And while you might think of him as a mas­ter of machine nois­es, Winslow is actu­al­ly a very musi­cal per­former, as his above impres­sion of Jimi Hen­drix, both vocals and gui­tar, proves. Winslow was an army brat, moved all over the place, and his imi­ta­tion skills devel­oped at an ear­ly age, a cop­ing mech­a­nism for a lone­ly child­hood. He kept at it, and made it onto The Gong Show in 1978. The prize mon­ey allowed him to stay in Los Ange­les and start mak­ing the club rounds. He got scout­ed for Police Acad­e­my while open­ing for the Count Basie Orches­tra, per­form­ing “some fusion jazz sounds,” as he described it in an inter­view. For­tu­nate­ly, the film­mak­ers let him impro­vise through his scenes and his career took off from there.

As the clips here show, Winslow can jam hard. His Hen­drix impres­sion is a lit­tle bit stoned, and he gets the voice right. With a back­ing band on tape, he goes on to pro­vide the vocals and the dis­tort­ed, flanged gui­tar. You can see that lit­tle has changed from the ver­sion from the ‘80s at the Just for Laughs Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val in Mon­tre­al, Cana­da, and a 2011 per­for­mance from the Dubom­e­dy Inter­na­tion­al Per­form­ing Arts Fes­ti­val in Dubai. The lat­ter has bet­ter sound qual­i­ty and sep­a­ra­tion so you can hear Winslow’s work.

His Led Zep­pelin impres­sion com­bines both Robert Plant and Jim­my Page, and I won’t spoil the joke, but Winslow explains how Plant came up with “Immi­grant Song.”

And there’s no sound effects involved in his Tina Turn­er impres­sion, but a good wig, and an impres­sive set of pipes that only get wob­bly a few times. But then again, so do his legs.

Side note: Before Winslow there was a come­di­an called Wes Har­ri­son, who had a sim­i­lar tal­ent and a sim­i­lar rise to star­dom: from tal­ent show win­ner to a reg­u­lar guest on late night shows in the 1960s to a steady stream of night­club appear­ances.

In 1988, the two men, sep­a­rat­ed by 35 years, per­formed togeth­er on a Dick Clark vari­ety show. It is per­haps the only time the two shared a stage.

via Metafil­ter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load an Archive of 16,000 Sound Effects from the BBC: A Fas­ci­nat­ing His­to­ry of the 20th Cen­tu­ry in Sound

The Sounds of Blade Run­ner: How Music & Sound Effects Became Part of the DNA of Rid­ley Scott’s Futur­is­tic World

How the Sound Effects on 1930s Radio Shows Were Made: An Inside Look

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the Notes from the Shed pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

A Search Engine for Finding Free, Public Domain Images from World-Class Museums

Even before the pan­dem­ic, muse­ums were putting their art online. Here on Open Cul­ture, we’ve cov­ered such ambi­tious efforts of dig­i­ti­za­tion and mak­ing-avail­able on the part of the Rijksmu­se­um, the Art Insti­tute of Chica­go, and oth­er major insti­tu­tions, some of whom have gone so far as to upload their hold­ings under Cre­ative Com­mons licens­es or in oth­er free-to-use forms. And now you can call forth art­works from the open online col­lec­tions and oth­ers all at once with the search engine Museo.

Museo is a visu­al search engine that con­nects you with the Art Insti­tute of Chica­go, the Rijksmu­se­um, the Min­neapo­lis Insti­tute of Art and the New York Pub­lic Library Dig­i­tal Col­lec­tion,” writes cre­ator Chase McCoy, who also empha­sizes that con­nec­tions with more such col­lec­tions are to come.

“Every image you find here is in the pub­lic domain and com­plete­ly free to use, although cred­it­ing the source insti­tu­tion is rec­om­mend­ed!”

Imag­ine you need images to illus­trate an essay about, say, trav­el. Punch that word into Museo (or a relat­ed one like “jour­ney”) and out come a vari­ety of paint­ings, prints, draw­ings, sculp­tures, books, maps, house­wares, and oth­er items found in muse­ums. Here we have Adolph Men­zel’s In a Rail­way Car­riage (After a Night’s Jour­ney) from 1851, Kat­sushi­ka Hoku­sai’s The East­ern Jour­ney of the Cel­e­brat­ed Poet Ari­wara no Nar­i­hi­ra from 1806, Ael­bert Cuyp’s Riv­er Land­scape with Rid­ers from the mid-1650s, Seth East­man’s Indi­ans Trav­el­ling from 1850, and Richard New­ton’s On a Jour­ney to a Courtship in Wales from 1795.

The results are hard­ly lim­it­ed to con­ven­tion­al works like these: you’ll also find such curiosi­ties as an ear­ly 19th-cen­tu­ry trav­el­ing desk; a portable bank from 1904 called the “trav­el­ing teller”; a 1920 image “show­ing the earth bisect­ed cen­tral­ly through the polar open­ings and at right angles to the equa­tor, giv­ing a clear view of the cen­tral sun and the inte­ri­or con­ti­nents and oceans”; Hen­ry Cor­ry Row­ley Becher’s 1880 trav­el­ogue A Trip to Mex­i­co; and the Auto­mo­bile Club of Hart­ford’s 1922 Motor Trips guide to New Eng­land and east­ern New York.

Most of the art avail­able through Museo comes, as pub­lic-domain mate­r­i­al tends to, from times long past. But that, in its own way, encour­ages their cre­ative use: many of the images returned for “enter­tain­ment,” “food,” “sports,” and even “tech­nol­o­gy” fair­ly demand sur­pris­ing 21st-cen­tu­ry recon­tex­tu­al­iza­tion. As its net­work of col­lec­tions expands, do make a point of vis­it­ing Museo every so often to search for your own sub­jects of inter­est; your next big idea may well be inspired by art from a cen­tu­ry or two (or three, or four) ago.

via Austin Kleon

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Cre­ative Com­mons Offi­cial­ly Launch­es a Search Engine That Index­es 300+ Mil­lion Pub­lic Domain Images

Vis­it 2+ Mil­lion Free Works of Art from 20 World-Class Muse­ums Free Online

The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art Makes 375,000 Images of Fine Art Avail­able Under a Cre­ative Com­mons License: Down­load, Use & Remix

The Art Insti­tute of Chica­go Puts 44,000+ Works of Art Online: View Them in High Res­o­lu­tion

Rijksmu­se­um Dig­i­tizes & Makes Free Online 361,000 Works of Art, Mas­ter­pieces by Rem­brandt Includ­ed!

The New York Pub­lic Library Lets You Down­load 180,000 Images in High Res­o­lu­tion: His­toric Pho­tographs, Maps, Let­ters & More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Researchers Develop a Digital Model of the 2,200-Year-Old Antikythera Mechanism, “the World’s First Computer”

What’s the world’s old­est com­put­er? If you answered the 5‑ton, room-sized IBM Mark I, it’s a good guess, but you’d be off by a cou­ple thou­sand years or so. The first known com­put­er may have been a hand­held device, a lit­tle larg­er than the aver­age tablet. It was also hand-pow­ered and had a lim­it­ed, but nonethe­less remark­able, func­tion: it fol­lowed the Meton­ic cycle, “the 235-month pat­tern that ancient astronomers used to pre­dict eclipses,” writes Rob­by Berman at Big Think.

The ancient arti­fact known as the Antikythera mech­a­nism — named for the Greek Island under which it was dis­cov­ered — turned up in 1900. It took anoth­er three-quar­ters of a cen­tu­ry before the secrets of what first appeared as a “cor­rod­ed lump” revealed a device of some kind dat­ing from 150 to 100 BC. “By 2009, mod­ern imag­ing tech­nol­o­gy had iden­ti­fied all 30 of the Antikythera mechanism’s gears, and a vir­tu­al mod­el of it was released,” as we not­ed in an ear­li­er post.

The device could pre­dict the posi­tions of the plan­ets (or at least those the Greeks knew of: Mer­cury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Sat­urn), as well as the sun, moon, and eclipses. It placed Earth at the cen­ter of the uni­verse. Researchers study­ing the Antikythera mech­a­nism under­stood that much. But they couldn’t quite under­stand exact­ly how it worked, since only about a third of the com­plex mech­a­nism has sur­vived.

Image by Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don

Now, it appears that researchers from the Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege of Lon­don have fig­ured it out, debut­ing a new com­pu­ta­tion­al mod­el in Sci­en­tif­ic Reports. “Ours is the first mod­el that con­forms to all the phys­i­cal evi­dence and match­es the sci­en­tif­ic inscrip­tions engraved on the mech­a­nism itself,” lead author Tony Freeth tells The Engi­neer. In the video above, you can learn about the his­to­ry of the mech­a­nism and its redis­cov­ery in the 20th cen­tu­ry, and see a detailed expla­na­tion of Freeth and his team’s dis­cov­er­ies.

“About the size of a large dic­tio­nary,” the arti­fact has proven to be the “most com­plex piece of engi­neer­ing from the ancient world” the video informs us. Hav­ing built a 3D mod­el, the researchers next intend to build a repli­ca of the device. If they can do so with “mod­ern machin­ery,” writes Guardian sci­ence edi­tor Ian Sam­ple, “they aim to do the same with tech­niques from antiq­ui­ty” — no small task con­sid­er­ing that it’s “unclear how the ancient Greeks would have man­u­fac­tured such com­po­nents” with­out the use of a lathe, a tool they prob­a­bly did not pos­sess.

Image by Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don

The mech­a­nism will still hold its secrets even if the UCL team’s mod­el works. Why was it made, what was it used for? Were there oth­er such devices? Hope­ful­ly, we won’t have to wait anoth­er sev­er­al decades to learn the answers. Read the team’s Sci­en­tif­ic Reports arti­cle here. 

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

How the World’s Old­est Com­put­er Worked: Recon­struct­ing the 2,200-Year-Old Antikythera Mech­a­nism

Mod­ern Artists Show How the Ancient Greeks & Romans Made Coins, Vas­es & Arti­sanal Glass

How the Ancient Greeks Shaped Mod­ern Math­e­mat­ics: A Short, Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

The Bayeux Tapestry Gets Digitized: View the Medieval Tapestry in High Resolution, Down to the Individual Thread

The Bayeux Tapes­try, one of the most famous arti­facts of its kind, isn’t actu­al­ly a tapes­try. Tech­ni­cal­ly, because the images it bears are embroi­dered onto the cloth rather than woven into it, we should call it the Bayeux Embroi­dery. To quib­ble over a mat­ter like this rather miss­es the point — but then, so does tak­ing too lit­er­al­ly the sto­ry it tells in col­ored yarn over its 224-foot length. Com­mis­sioned, his­to­ri­ans believe, as an apolo­gia for the Nor­man con­quest of Eng­land in 1066, this elab­o­rate work of nar­ra­tive visu­al art con­veys events with a cer­tain slant. But in so doing, the Bayeux’s 75 dra­mat­ic, bloody, rib­ald, and some­times mys­te­ri­ous episodes also cap­ture how peo­ple and things (and even Hal­ley’s Comet) looked in medieval Europe.

It does this in great, if styl­ized detail, at which you can get a clos­er look than has ever before been avail­able to the pub­lic at the Bayeux Muse­um’s web site. The muse­um “worked with teams from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Caen Nor­mandie to dig­i­tize high-res­o­lu­tion images of the tapes­try, which were tak­en in 2017,” says Medievalists.net.

“A sim­ple inter­face was cre­at­ed to access the dig­i­tal ver­sion, which allows users to zoom in and explore it in great detail with access to Latin trans­la­tions in French and Eng­lish.” Made of 2.6 bil­lion pix­els (which brings it to eight giga­bytes in size), the online Bayeux Tapes­try lets us zoom in so far as to exam­ine its indi­vid­ual threads — the same lev­el at which it was inspect­ed in real life ear­li­er last year in antic­i­pa­tion of its next restora­tion.

“A team of eight restor­ers, all spe­cial­ists in antique tex­tiles, car­ried out the detailed inspec­tion in Jan­u­ary 2020, a peri­od when the muse­um was closed to vis­i­tors,” says Medievalists.net. “Among their find­ings were that the tapes­try has 24,204 stains, 16,445 wrin­kles, 9,646 gaps in the cloth or the embroi­dery, 30 non-sta­bi­lized tears, and sig­nif­i­cant weak­en­ing in the first few metres of the work.” (Notably, the col­ors applied in a 19th-cen­tu­ry restora­tion have fad­ed much more than the veg­etable dyes used in the orig­i­nal.) Though cur­rent­ly a bit rough around the edges, the Bayeux Tapes­try looks pret­ty good for its 950 or so years, as any of us can now look more than close­ly enough to see for our­selves. This is a cred­it to its mak­ers — whose iden­ti­ties, for all the scruti­ny per­formed on the work itself, may remain for­ev­er unknown. Explore the high-res­o­lu­tion scan of the Tapes­try here.

via Smith­son­ian Mag­a­zine and Medievalists.net

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Ani­mat­ed Bayeux Tapes­try: A Nov­el Way of Recount­ing The Bat­tle of Hast­ings (1066)

Con­struct Your Own Bayeux Tapes­try with This Free Online App

How the Ornate Tapes­tries from the Age of Louis XIV Were Made (and Are Still Made Today)

160,000 Pages of Glo­ri­ous Medieval Man­u­scripts Dig­i­tized: Vis­it the Bib­lio­the­ca Philadel­phien­sis

Why Knights Fought Snails in Illu­mi­nat­ed Medieval Man­u­scripts

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

17-Year-Old Adeline Harris Created a Quilt Collecting 360 Signatures of the Most Famous People of the 19th Century: Lincoln, Dickens, Emerson & More (1863)

These days, any­one can reach out to hun­dreds of celebri­ties, artists, writ­ers, major heads of state, etc., on social media (or to the interns and assis­tants who run their accounts). Instan­ta­neous con­nec­tion also means hun­dreds of near-instan­ta­neous com­ments in near-real time. It can occa­sion­al­ly mean near-instan­ta­neous influ­encer fame. For 17-year-old Ade­line Har­ris, it would take sev­en years or so to get in touch with 360 of the biggest names in lit­er­a­ture, pol­i­tics, phi­los­o­phy, sci­ence, and oth­er fields of her time. Giv­en that she start­ed in 1856, that’s a some­what extra­or­di­nary feat. It’s only one impres­sive fea­ture of her Tum­bling Block with Sig­na­tures Quilt, most­ly com­plet­ed some­time in 1863.

Har­ris’ quilt­mak­ing project uses a “tum­bling blocks pat­tern,” notes The His­to­ry Blog, “char­ac­ter­ized by a trompe l’oeil that gives it 3D cube effect. [She] show­cased excep­tion­al skill and mas­tery in her needle­work and fab­ric choice, empha­siz­ing the 3D effect with her arrange­ment of the var­ied pat­terns of silk pieces.”

The sig­na­tures on the white dia­monds atop each “tum­bling block” were mailed to Har­ris by request from a “who’s who” of mid-19th cen­tu­ry lumi­nar­ies, includ­ing “an aston­ish­ing eight pres­i­dents of the Unit­ed States (Mar­tin Van Buren, John Tyler, Mil­lard Fill­more, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abra­ham Lin­coln, Andrew John­son, Ulysses S. Grant).”

The quilt also con­tains the sig­na­tures of Union gen­er­als, con­gress­men, jour­nal­ists, aca­d­e­mics, cler­gy­men. Famous names include Samuel Morse, Horace Gree­ley, Wash­ing­ton Irv­ing, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Wal­do Emer­son, Jacob Grimm, Alexan­der von Hum­boldt, Hen­ry Wadsworth Longfel­low, Julia Ward Howe, Har­ri­et Beech­er Stowe, William Cullen Bryant, Alexan­dre Dumas, Oliv­er Wen­dell Holmes, William Make­peace Thack­er­ay, and Charles Dick­ens. She placed the names in cat­e­gories divid­ing the sig­na­to­ries by pro­fes­sion.

The full list “is noth­ing short of phe­nom­e­nal,” the Pub­lic Domain Review writes, adding that “accord­ing to her grand-daugh­ter the Lin­coln sig­na­ture was, due to a fam­i­ly con­nec­tion, actu­al­ly acquired in per­son, and Ade­line was meant to have even danced with Lin­coln at his inau­gu­ra­tion ball.” Har­ris — lat­er Ade­line Har­ris Sears — came from a wealthy Rhode Island tex­tile mill fam­i­ly and mar­ried a promi­nent cler­gy­man. She spent most of her life in the state, and mailed most of her sig­na­ture requests rather than deliv­er­ing them first­hand.

Sig­na­ture quilts were not new; they had been sewn for years to mark fam­i­ly occa­sions and oth­er events. But nev­er had they been a means of celebri­ty auto­graph-hunt­ing, nor been cre­at­ed by a sin­gle indi­vid­ual. Col­lect­ing auto­graphs, how­ev­er, was quite pop­u­lar. “Adeline’s taste for auto­graphs… betrays her roman­tic nature,” writes Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art cura­tor Amelia Peck. “Among a cer­tain seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion, it was believed that a person’s sig­na­ture revealed sig­nif­i­cant aspects of his or her per­son­al­i­ty.”

It’s hard not to see the seeds of our con­tem­po­rary cul­ture in the con­sump­tion of celebri­ty auto­graphs Peck describes: “By own­ing a sig­na­ture of an illus­tri­ous per­son, one could learn about the char­ac­ter­is­tics that made him or her great and emu­late those traits.” This mania for auto­graphs “par­al­leled the nine­teenth-cen­tu­ry fas­ci­na­tion with oth­er types of pseu­do­sci­en­tif­ic per­son­al­i­ty dis­cov­ery, such as phrenol­o­gy.” There were deep, mys­ti­cal mean­ings in Ade­line’s quilt, wrote edi­tor Sarah Hale, who also donat­ed a sig­na­ture. In her 1868 book Man­ners, Hap­py Homes and Good Soci­ety All the Year Round, Hale explained what made the quilt a mas­ter­piece:

In short, we think this auto­graph bedquilt may be called a very won­der­ful inven­tion in the way of needle­work. The mere mechan­i­cal part, the num­ber of small pieces, stitch­es neat­ly tak­en and accu­rate­ly ordered; the arrang­ing prop­er­ly and join­ing nice­ly 2780 del­i­cate bits of var­i­ous beau­ti­ful and cost­ly fab­rics, is a task that would require no small share of res­o­lu­tion, patience, firm­ness, and per­se­ver­ance. Then comes the intel­lec­tu­al part, the taste to assort col­ors and to make the appear­ance what it ought to be, where so many hun­dreds of shades are to be matched and suit­ed to each oth­er. After that we rise to the moral, when human deeds are to live in names, the con­sid­er­a­tion of the celebri­ties, who are to be placed each, the cen­tre of his or her own cir­cle! To do this well requires a knowl­edge of books and life, and an instinc­tive sense of the fit­ness of things, so as to assign each name its suit­able place in this galaxy of stars or dia­monds.

See more close-ups of the quilt at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art, who hold this one-of-a-kind work of sig­na­to­ry fab­ric art in their col­lec­tions.

via the Pub­lic Domain Review

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

The Solar Sys­tem Quilt: In 1876, a Teacher Cre­ates a Hand­craft­ed Quilt to Use as a Teach­ing Aid in Her Astron­o­my Class

Too Big for Any Muse­um, AIDS Quilt Goes Dig­i­tal Thanks to Microsoft

Bisa Butler’s Beau­ti­ful Quilt­ed Por­traits of Fred­er­ick Dou­glass, Nina Simone, Jean-Michel Basquiat & More

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.

Archeologists Reconstruct the Faces of 10-Century Medieval Dukes, Using DNA Analysis & 3‑D Models of Skulls

Maybe you’ve sung the Christ­mas car­ol “Good King Wences­las” and won­dered who this good king was. The car­ol wasn’t writ­ten until the 19th cen­tu­ry, but “Wences­las was a real per­son,” writes NPR’s Tom Manoff, the patron saint of the Czechs and “the Duke of Bohemia, a 10th-cen­tu­ry Chris­t­ian prince in a land where many prac­ticed a more ancient reli­gion. In one ver­sion of his leg­end, Wences­las was mur­dered in a plot by his broth­er,” Boleslav, “under the sway of their so-called pagan moth­er,” Dra­homíra.

Wences­las’ grand­moth­er Lud­mil­la died a Chris­t­ian mar­tyr in 921 A.D. Her hus­band, Bořivoj, ruled as the first doc­u­ment­ed mem­ber of the Pře­mys­lid Dynasty (late 800s-1306), and her two sons Spyti­h­nĕv I (cir­ca 875–915) and Vratislav I (cir­ca 888–921), Wences­las’ father, ruled after their father’s death. The skele­tal remains of these roy­al Bohemi­an broth­ers were iden­ti­fied at Prague Cas­tle in the 1980s by anthro­pol­o­gist Emanuel Vlček. Due to advances in DNA analy­sis and imag­ing, we can now see an approx­i­ma­tion of what they looked like. (See Spyti­h­nĕv at the top and Vratislav at the bot­tom in the image below.)

A Czech-Brazil­lian research team cre­at­ed the recon­struc­tions, mak­ing “edu­cat­ed guess­es” about the broth­ers’ hair­styles, beards, and cloth­ing. “The team, which includ­ed archae­ol­o­gists Jiří Šin­delář and Jan Frol­ík, pho­tog­ra­ph­er Mar­tin Frouz, and 3‑D tech­ni­cian Cicero André da Cos­ta Moraes,” Isis Davis-Marks writes at Smith­son­ian, “has pre­vi­ous­ly recon­struct­ed the faces of Zdisla­va of Lem­berk (cir­ca 1220–1252), patron saint of fam­i­lies, and Czech monarch Judi­ta of Thuringia (cir­ca 1135–1174), among oth­ers.”

The project pro­ceed­ed in sev­er­al stages, with dif­fer­ent experts involved along the way. “First,” notes Archae­ol­o­gy, “detailed images of the bones were assem­bled using pho­togram­me­try to form vir­tu­al 3‑D mod­els” of the skulls. Then, facial recon­struc­tion expert Moraes added mus­cle, tis­sue, skin, etc., rely­ing on “mul­ti­ple three-dimen­sion­al recon­struc­tion tech­niques,” Davis-Marks writes, “includ­ing anatom­i­cal and soft tis­sue depth meth­ods, to ensure the high­est pos­si­ble lev­el of accu­ra­cy.” DNA analy­sis showed that the broth­ers like­ly had blue eyes and red­dish-brown hair.

Spyti­h­nĕv and Vratislav’s oth­er fea­tures come from the best guess of the researchers based on “minia­tures or man­u­scripts,” says Frol­ík, “but we don’t real­ly know.” Do they look a bit like video game char­ac­ters? They look very much, in their dig­i­tal sheen, like char­ac­ters in a medieval video game. But per­haps we can antic­i­pate a day when real peo­ple from the dis­tant past return as ful­ly ani­mat­ed 3D recon­struc­tions to replay, for our edu­ca­tion and amuse­ment, the bat­tles, court intrigues, and frat­ri­cides of his­to­ry as we know it.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

20,000 Endan­gered Archae­o­log­i­cal Sites Now Cat­a­logued in a New Online Data­base

Beer Archae­ol­o­gy: Yes, It’s a Thing

The His­to­ry of Europe from 400 BC to the Present, Ani­mat­ed in 12 Min­utes

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.

Listen to Wikipedia: A Web Site That Turns Every Wikipedia Edit Into Ambient Music in Real Time

Wikipedia turned 20 years old this past Jan­u­ary. Do you remem­ber how you first heard of it? Or more to the point, do you remem­ber when you actu­al­ly start­ed click­ing on it when it came up in your search results? For me, Wikipedia first proved an essen­tial resource for learn­ing about music: on it I looked up my favorite bands, then found my way to entries about all the peo­ple, events, places, and things asso­ci­at­ed with them. (I then tru­ly felt what it meant to go down an inter­net “rab­bit hole.”) Hav­ing been intrigued by, for instance, the music of Bri­an Eno, I dis­cov­ered through Wikipedia the world of ambi­ent music, of which Eno’s work con­sti­tutes only one part.

Two decades on, Wikipedia itself has become ambi­ent music. Lis­ten to Wikipedia, writes co-cre­ator Mah­moud Hashe­mi, “is a real-time aural­iza­tion of Wikipedia grow­ing, one edit at a time. The site is lit­er­al­ly self-explana­to­ry.” Even so, at that linked blog post Hashe­mi and his fel­low devel­op­er Stephen LaPorte explain that “Bells are addi­tions, strings are sub­trac­tions.”

Small­er edits sound high­er ones, and larg­er edits low­er ones. “There’s some­thing reas­sur­ing about know­ing that every user makes a noise, every edit has a voice in the roar. (Green cir­cles are anony­mous edits and pur­ple cir­cles are bots. White cir­cles are brought to you by Reg­is­tered Users Like You.)”

It all sounds a bit like — and looks even more like — Eno’s “gen­er­a­tive music” apps. But Lis­ten to Wikipedia adds a con­sid­er­able ver­bal and intel­lec­tu­al dimen­sion, label­ing each edit that bub­bles up with the name of the rel­e­vant page. Kawaii met­al. Year of the Fifth Coali­tion. Tom Brady. Lee Coun­ty, Texas. Do You Like Hitch­cock? Justin Bieber discog­ra­phy. Geog­ra­phy of Gael­ic games. Cal­i­for­nia Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty. Bas­ket­ball at the 1988 Sum­mer Olympics – Men’s tour­na­ment. All these names arose and van­ished with­in about a min­ute’s view­ing, as did many oth­ers of more deeply tan­ta­liz­ing obscu­ri­ty. If you feel tempt­ed to look them all up on Wikipedia itself, count your­self among those of us who’ve known, for twen­ty years now, where the inter­net’s real poten­tial for addi­tion lies. Explore Lis­ten to Wikipedia here.

h/t @pbkauf

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Bri­an Eno Explains the Ori­gins of Ambi­ent Music

Behold the MusicMap: The Ulti­mate Inter­ac­tive Geneal­o­gy of Music Cre­at­ed Between 1870 and 2016

The His­to­ry of Elec­tron­ic Music Visu­al­ized on a Cir­cuit Dia­gram of a 1950s Theremin: 200 Inven­tors, Com­posers & Musi­cians

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Udacity Running a Flash Sale (75% Off) Through the End of March 16

A quick heads up: Udac­i­ty is run­ning a flash sale (75% off) that ends lat­er today. Found­ed by com­put­er sci­en­tist and entre­pre­neur Sebas­t­ian Thrun, Udac­i­ty part­ners with lead­ing tech com­pa­nies and offers an array of cours­es (and cer­tifi­cates) in data sci­ence, machine learn­ing, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, cloud com­put­ing, and autonomous sys­tems. To get the 75% off dis­count, click here, select a course, and then use the code SPRING75 dur­ing the check­out process.

Note: Open Cul­ture has a part­ner­ship with Udac­i­ty. If read­ers enroll in cer­tain Udac­i­ty cours­es and pro­grams, it helps sup­port Open Cul­ture.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.