Uncovering lost images from 19th century + Chernobyl: Glories of an ideological state

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Uncovering lost images from the 19th century

EXCERPT: Art curators will be able to recover images on daguerreotypes, the earliest form of photography that used silver plates, after a team of scientists led by Western University learned how to use light to see through degradation that has occurred over time.

Research published today in Scientific Reports -- Nature includes two images from the National Gallery of Canada's photography research unit that show photographs that were taken, perhaps as early as 1850, but were no longer visible because of tarnish and other damage. The retrieved images, one of a woman and the other of a man, were beyond recognition.

"It's somewhat haunting because they are anonymous and yet it is striking at the same time," said Madalena Kozachuk, a PhD student in Western's Department of Chemistry and lead author of the scientific paper. "The image is totally unexpected because you don't see it on the plate at all. It's hidden behind time," continues Kozachuk. "But then we see it and we can see such fine details: the eyes, the folds of the clothing, the detailed embroidered patterns of the table cloth."

The identities of the woman and the man are not known....

MORE: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20...174759.htm

Chernobyl Revisited: A Case Study in Ineptitude and Deceit

book review: “Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe,” by Serhii Plokhy (Basic Books, 432 pages).

EXCERPT: . . . Those shellshocked operators were in total denial about what happened, refusing to believe that the reactor could have exploded — to the point where one of the engineers in charge kept ordering that water be pumped into the reactor to cool it, a decision that likely added to the contamination.

Likewise, many of the bureaucrats and technocrats from Moscow who descended on Chernobyl and the neighboring city of Pripyat in the hours after the accident refused at first to accept that the nine-year-old reactor, which they considered a showpiece of Soviet industrial and scientific prowess, could have been so fundamentally flawed.

And when everyone came to realize that Unit 4 was indeed destroyed and that radioactive contamination was getting worse, denial was replaced by the Soviet government’s propensity for secrecy. The delayed decision to abandon Pripyat, home to 50,000 people, has been told often, and Plokhy gives it a full recounting here, including descriptions of parents and children enjoying a fine spring day, oblivious to the radiation around them, in the hours before they were told they had to evacuate.

Less well known is the decision to proceed with the annual May Day parade in Kiev, just 75 miles south of Chernobyl, with radiation levels running high in the city of two million. Plokhy provides a riveting account, with none other than Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, ordering the parade to go ahead and threatening a Ukraine official with expulsion from the Communist Party if he refused.

Gorbachev, who at the time was becoming a darling of the West for his moves toward openness, comes off rather badly in Plokhy’s telling, more often interested in keeping the situation under wraps than in revealing the truth to his own people. [...]

Plokhy is [...] especially thorough in his analysis of the political unrest in the years that followed, including the rise of an “eco” movement in Ukraine and elsewhere that was often led by writers turned politicians. He draws a clear connection between the Chernobyl accident and the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and while some historians may argue that the link is not that straightforward, he makes a strong case for it....

MORE: https://undark.org/article/book-review-p...chernobyl/

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