YouTuber launches garlic bread into space just to eat it when it lands back on Earth

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We’ve seen a man, a rocket, and so many other things go into space, so why not send some garlic bread as well?

YouTuber Tom Scott and a group of experts tied a loaf of garlic bread onto a weather balloon in attempt to launch it into space. Aside from sending it off, Scott wanted to test how the bread would taste once it’s been on the edge of the atmosphere for over two hours. 

But, the reason for garlic bread specifically? Scott just said, “Because it’s delicious.” Who could disagree with that?

The goal was to get the garlic bread at least to the edge of space (which is a third of 100 kilometers up [328,084 feet]) with the help of some fisheye lens, radio GPS, and a server box. They were able to track the landing of the bread and successfully capture it to test their theory.

So, what the difference between “earthbound bread” and “stratospheric bread?” Just imagine the bread you’ve launched in space was just taken out of the freezer, barely cooked in the microwave, and eaten. You may want to eat food already cooked on earth.

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A blockchain startup wants to let people buy tokens so they can pick which sites are worthy of ads

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  • The startup MetaX wants to use blockchain technology to create a list of safe websites for advertisers.
  • Consumers and people in the ad industry will be able to purchase crypto tokens to vote on which publications are included on the adChain registry.
  • Dave Strauss, director, revenue operations & analytics at Hearst, believes the concept will resonate with professionals and regular people.
  • The hope is that this list is employed industry wide, which will make it harder for ad fraudsters to operate and send more business toward reputable publishers. 

Lots of startups has emerged in the past year promising to use blockchain technology to track digital advertising transactions.

MetaX says blockchain can actually keep brands out of trouble.

The company, which is working on a slew of blockchain-based products for digital ads, is introducing the adChain registry, which promises to help the ad industry establish a universal list of websites that are safe for everyone. 

Anyone, from consumers to ad tech executives to marketers themselves, can vote on which sites are included on the registry using tokens they purchase on the web, and their votes will be recorded automatically via the Ethereum blockchain.

There are 600 million such tokens available, with secondary market values starting at around 6 cents each, said Alanna Gombert, MetaX global chief revenue officer. There is a 1 billion token cap on adToken.

Even at that price, it’s hard to know whether the average person will open his or her wallet to pay to vote on which sites are brands safe. That’s if they even understand what cryptocurrency or blockchain is. It’s not always that easy to get people to pay for content on the web.

Still, Dave Strauss, director, revenue operations & analytics at Hearst, believes the concept will resonate with professionals and regular people. “This has potential to make significant strides for our industry as it pushes for transparency in the marketplace while including valuable input from the typical internet user," he said.

Over the past few years digital advertising has been plagued by scam artists selling tons of ads on bogus websites visited only by bots, and all sorts of other forms of fraud. That’s led to numerous big name brands either wasting money on ads that nobody sees or finding their ads next to inappropriate content.

As a remedy, many advertisers have employed either ‘black lists’ (sites they want to stay away from) or ‘white lists’ (a limited number of sites they want to run ads on) for their programmatic campaigns.

Theoretically, a universal lists of safe sites that the broader community manages collectively would have broad appeal. Particularly one using blockchain tech, so that the list can’t be manipulated by anybody.

Over time, if such a list became robust and widely used, it would make it harder for fraudsters to operate, as advertisers would restrict their spending on approved sites – so the thinking goes.

That is, if people care enough to buy virtual tokens and vote on who makes it.

Gombert believes that consumers are passionate enough about digital experiences that some will buy tokens and vote. Initially, she predicts that ad operations staffers from major publishers will pounce on this opportunity, since they are the people that live and breathe all of digital advertising’s ills.

"They don’t get to speak publicly often, and they’re so frustrated with these issues," she said.

But won’t publishers be able to buy up lots of tokes and rig the registry to favor their sites? Gombert says there are various safeguards built into the system to prevent this sort of thing. For example, there is deliberately a lag built into the system so that sites don’t get voted in instantly.

And people can get locked out of using tokens if they buy too many too fast. Plus, voters won’t be able to unilaterally kick any publishers off of the adChain registry.

"You can propose to vote someone out of the registry but the community needs to agree with you," said Gombert.

Join the conversation about this story »

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MIT researchers turn water into ‘calm’ computer interfaces

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MIT Media Lab

Our lives are busy and full of distractions. Modern computing. with its constant notifications and enticing red bubbles next to apps, seems designed to keep us enthralled. MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group wants to change that by crafting “calm interfaces.”

The Tangible Media Group demonstrated a way to precisely transport droplets of liquid across a surface back in January, which it called “programmable droplets.” The system is essentially just a printed circuit board, coated with a low-friction material, with a grid of copper wiring on top. By programmatically controlling the electric field of the grid, the team is able to change the shape of polarizable liquid droplets and move them around the surface. The precise control is such that droplets can be both merged and split.

Moving on from the underlying technology, the team is now focused on showing how we might leverage the system to create, play and communicate through natural materials.

“Water is a natural material that exhibits interesting phenomenon like bending light … It has the ability to merge, it happens naturally,” Udayan Umapathi said. A designer, engineer and experimental physicist, Umapathi is a researcher at MIT Media Lab, where he leads development on programmable droplets. “When we looked at various scenarios where you interact with water physically, and water has some physical information, a concrete example that stood out was an artist painting color.”

The first use-case for programmable droplets, then, is a kind of automated painters’ palette. An artist takes a photo on their phone, selects the object they’re focused on, and then sends a signal to the palette to mix various colors to recreate the hue they’re interested in. “In this specific use-case, the information the droplets carry is the color itself … The technology is integrated into a compact, real-world object.” Umapathi said.

Computationally reconfigurable materials, or “Radical Atoms” in MIT parlance, have long been a focus of the Tangible Media Group, and this latest project explores the subject through a new lens. By moving droplets precisely around a “leaf,” the team is able to tap into two natural properties of water: its ability to apply force and its ability to, well, make things wet. Umapathi explained that you could also “program the sequence by which water develops onto various petals” to control the way a flower blooms.

Umapathi generously describes the third project as a “gaming console,” but it’s better described as a single game. As you probably could’ve guessed, it revolves around water. You control a droplet by gently tilting the device to move it around a small tray. Your objective is to absorb the other droplets in the tray, which are controlled by a computer. It plays out something like Pac-Man, or perhaps more accurately Osmos.

The demonstration ends with something a little more conceptual, but potentially a lot more exciting. It shows a person leaving their house in the morning as they pause to send a message to their partner. As they click okay on their message (“Have a nice day <3”), the camera cuts to their partner brushing their teeth. In the fogged-up mirror of the bathroom, we see the message rendered in droplets.

“If you look around, there are water droplets around you, for example rain, or water condensing to droplets on umbrellas and cups,” Umapathi explained. “We’re working on a transparent programmable droplets display, so in this scenario what we’re illustration is that the droplets that are already present in your environment can be harnessed and used as an interface.”

The team does have a fully-working transparent display that can be used to display messages like this, Umapathi said, but it’s not quite developed to the point where it could be seamlessly mounted on a mirror.

It’s important to project forward like this, though. The conceptual scenario is definitely the strongest demonstration of the technology, and the easiest to see being integrated into our day-to-day lives. Umapathi says the team is “at least a year” from a working prototype of the mirror concept, but it’s clear that, unlike many concepts we see, this one is clearly grounded in the realm of possibility.

The Tangible Media Group is due to show off its work this week at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, which is thankfully abbreviated to “CHI 2018.” Following the conference, the team will continue to work on developing its programmable droplets, hopefully working towards bigger and bolder concepts in the future.

In addition to crafting its own concepts, the team has also put its technology in the hands of designers, in the hope of inspiring them to come up with new ways to use it. Umapathi detailed one designer’s idea to create a “micro cocktail machine.” By placing various liquids onto the surface, it would be possible to blend them precisely to make tiny alcoholic beverages. While it’s perhaps the idea with the least societal value, if MIT put its device in the right bar, they could probably make millions charging $5 for a drop of the perfect martini.

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This is the world’s first Sony E-Mount 35mm film camera – and it’s open source

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This is the world’s first Sony E-Mount 35mm film camera – and it’s open source

Well, this is an interesting turn up for the books. It turns out that while many photographers are trying to adapt their old film cameras to their shiny new Sony cameras, one photographer, Alexander Gee, was doing the opposite. He wanted a film camera that would work with his modern Sony E-Mount lenses.

LEX, as the camera is called, is a one-man operation, and it seems to have come quite far already. Gee plans to make LEX fully open source, once complete, with much of the camera being easily 3D printable and easy to modify. Don’t have Sony lenses? No problem, just modify it for another camera mount and print that out instead.

3D printed cameras aren’t a new idea, but there’s a lot more thought and testing gone into this one than more primitive 3D printed cameras. Gee has documented the entire build process over on the LEX website. Some parts, obviously, can’t be 3D printed, and Gee has repurposed the shutter mechanism from a Sony A7. And a few parts of the body have made using cast ZA2 alloy.

Although the first working prototype looks, as Gee describes, “like a bomb prop from a movie”, he says that it actually worked. The camera contains some custom electronics, presumably to control things like the lens aperture, and shutter mechanism.

While it doesn’t support DX coding, Gee says you can tap in any ISO from as low as 6 all the way up to 512,000. Obviously, though, this is just for the meter. The actual ISO will still depend on the film you’re using and how you intend to develop it.

Once LEX is complete, Gee may consider crowd-funding to run up a small batch of completed cameras. There’s no word on exactly when that may happen or how much they’ll cost. But after this, the files are expected to be released for you to make your own.

Hopefully, by then, we’ll have a better source for shutter mechanisms than ripping them out of Sony A7 cameras.

Check out the complete development process on the LEX website, and don’t forget to check out the sample photos shot by LEX.

[via Sony Alpha Rumors]

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The Smart Scale Tackle’s a Designer’s Worst Nightmare: Human Error

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The year is 1999, the month, September. There’s panic at the NASA headquarters because they’ve just lost contact with their Mars Climate Orbiter. The orbiter entered the Martian atmosphere, but the thrusters fired too late, resulting in a crash with a loss estimated at $125 million. The problem? NASA was working in conjunction with England-based Lockheed Martin. Lockheed sent over navigational commands for the thrusters to NASA in imperial units (pounds of force), and NASA’s software inputted that information assuming it was in metric units (Newtons). Singlehandedly the biggest dimensioning unit related blunder, the Mars Climate Mission is an example of how frustrating it is working with different units across different systems that are prevalent in different countries.

Inventor Joanne Swisterski has had her share of problems too. Often working with clients across the world, she’s had to work with data that was sometimes imperial or metric, or even worse, not to scale (I sympathize too; a client sent me blueprints that he said were to scale, but he happened to click on the “fit to page” option while printing, resulting in a small yet significant difference in output, resulting in a loss of time, material, and eventually money).

Dimensioning is such a major part of what we designers do, and accuracy is everything as far as it’s concerned, so why are we still battling such primitive problems? This pushed Joanne to design the Smart Scale, a scale with a screen and the smarts to help resize, convert, and divide, allowing you to work with alien data, but a system that you’re more familiar with. The Smart Scale works in three ways making your life as a designer, architect, engineer, or plotter INFINITELY easier while working with measuring units that you may be unfamiliar with, or may be of a different scale.

Designed to look just like the triangular scales we’ve worked with in the past, the Smart Scale comes with a slender, horizontal screen where you’d see the measurements, and a row of buttons on top. Switch it on, and its 12-inch e-ink display powers up showing you a scale in a measuring unit of your choice. Cycling between inches and millimeters is as easy as pushing a button… however, here’s where things get better. The Smart Scale allows you to create a custom scale depending on what you’re measuring. If you’re working with a scaled down set of prints, the Smart Scale allows you to input one reference measurement using a slider on the back, and it creates a brand new scale using that reference, allowing you to measure scaled up or scaled down models in their native unit without having to sit with a calculator, multiplying or dividing away to get accurate data. A simple convert button allows you to cycle between imperial and metric measurements, depending on a system you use, or your client uses, allowing you to collaborate with countries with varying national standards without having your own version of the Mars Climate Orbiter crisis. A third and rather interesting function is its ability to work as a divider. The slider on the back allows you to measure a given area, then simply use the keypad to choose how many divisions you want it in and the screen divides the given length into the inputted amount of divisions… while always presenting you with the data you need on the left-hand side of the screen, telling you exactly what unit you’re measuring in, etc.

The Smart Scale notices a problem we’ve never really worked on solving effectively. Looking and behaving exactly like the scales we’ve used in the past, it’s the equivalent of a digital vernier, albeit much smarter and definitely more useful. The screen on the Smart Scale comes with a beautiful contrast, and a high resolution making it accurate and legible, while its aluminum body keeps things classy and protects the electronics inside. The Smart Scale comes with a MicroUSB port for easy charging and an incredibly long battery life, given the e-ink display’s minimal energy footprint.

Speaking from personal experience, the Smart Scale is probably the most innovative step we’ve taken in the recent past in making sure our tools for problem-solving ‘don’t have any problems themselves’. The Smart Scale saves time, energy, material, and eventually money too, making work for designers, engineers, and architects much more efficient, whether you’re working across borders, or with someone who’s used to a different unit system than you. An absolute must-have for everyone who uses linear measurements in their day-to-day lives, the Smar Scale eliminates chances of human error, making you as a professional much more effective, efficient, and valuable!

Designer: Joanne Swisterski

Click here to Buy Now: $149.00 $159.00 Hurry, 8 days left!

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This function allows you to take a drawing that was printed out of scale and measure it as though it was perfectly to scale. This is made possible by using the sliding pointer. Line up the start of a known dimension (point A) with the fixed pointer. Move the slider to the end of the dimension (point B). Input the distance it represents, your desired units and hit enter. The screen will regenerate itself to the new custom scale.

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This function allows you to convert the screen between metric and imperial. For example, if you’ve received a drawing in imperial, and you’re more comfortable with metric, tap the convert button and the long screen regenerates to the metric version of whatever was on the screen previously, or vice versa.

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This function is applicable when you need to divide a space into a number of equal sections. For example, if you have to make 4 equally spaced lines on a drawing, instead of working out the math separately you simply follow the same steps as the with the custom scale section above. Move the sliding pointer across the distance that requires dividing. Input 4 on the number pad and the ruler will display 4 equally spaced notches on the screen.

Click here to Buy Now: $149.00 $159.00 Hurry, 8 days left!

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Bartenders Should Shush People

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I like a quiet bar. I have since I was 21. This isn’t an unusual desire; any time I’m at a bar past 8, someone (sometimes it’s not even me!) eventually says “Sorry, I couldn’t hear you. The bar got so loud!” Even the quietest dive fills up now and then with people shouting to be heard, when each person individually wishes the place were quieter. Why, as a culture, have we failed to find a way out of this loudness war? Why are most bars so fucking loud?

As my colleague Kelly Stout recently noted at Deadspin, it only takes one person to make the whole place louder. And once that happens, it’s extremely hard to quiet the place down again. Even if one whole group of patrons quiets down, the whispering isn’t nearly as viral as the shouting. Quieting down takes an active command directed at the whole establishment. And only the most officious bar patron would have the nerve to ask all their fellow patrons to quiet down. The solution, then, lies with the bar’s staff. At any bar that isn’t actively cultivating a rager atmosphere, the staff should be shushing the customers.

The bartender is the only person in the place whom everyone must obey. While the owner can set policy, it’s the bartender who makes the decisions on the ground: who gets served first, who gets the good pours, who gets cut off. The bartender is the only one who can claim the authority to set the volume level. The bartender gives and the bartender takes, so the bartender will be obeyed.

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Like the universal basic income, this revolutionary idea has been tested in a real-world experiment. At Burp Castle, in New York’s East Village, whenever the conversation starts getting loud, the bartenders (sometimes dressed as monks, don’t worry about it) will deliver a long, gentle shhhhhhhh. And it works. Everyone in the place settles down to a whisper. I’ve heard it happen many times, and most everyone enjoys it. They recognized the shushing as friendly, not chastising, a necessary check on an innocent human failing. Burp Castle has a 4-star Yelp rating and is, of course, my favorite bar. A few friends chafe at the shushing; they’re still my friends, but I’ve learned something about them.

This is, I’ll grant, a somewhat extreme and idealized example. Burp Castle only seats a couple dozen people, mostly at tables of two or three. It’s a beer-only bar, which encourages slower alcohol consumption, and it serves only a small craft selection, which encourages patrons to sip thoughtfully (or at least pretentiously) and empowers its bartenders as counselors and beer sommoliers. The music is sometimes jazz, sometimes actual Gregorian chants. The walls are covered in murals of monks behaving badly. Fine, it’s a theme bar. Everything about the place supports the shush gimmick.

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But there are plenty of classic bars, heavy on the beer and the natural wood, where the occasional shush wouldn’t feel out of place. Wine bars, high-quality liquor bars, bars with multiple hokey signs about not pissing off the staff—all bars where the bartender/patron relationship gives off a whiff of the dom/sub—are ready for the shush. It’d work great in performatively secretive “speakeasies,” and give those places some reason to exist beyond pretending Prohibition wasn’t repealed.

The level of noise that triggers a shush will vary from bar to bar. In some places the shush will be a bell, or a word, or hell, an ear-shattering airhorn that scares the noise right out of people. And obviously, obviously not every bar should have the shush. Some places are meant to be rowdy. Maybe we’ll find that the ideal percentage of bars that shush is 90%—maybe it’s just 10%. But it’s absolutely more than one.

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A stunning new video shows what it’s like to fly past a comet tumbling through space

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comet

  • A comet known as Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was visited by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft for two years.
  • The agency released a new batch of photos of the comet in March.
  • A fan of the spacecraft animated some of those images into a stunning new timelapse video of Rosetta’s view as it flew past the comet.
  • The movie shows dust flying around Comet 67P as it tumbles against a field of stars.

In August 2014, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft pulled up to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and studied the gritty, duck-shaped object for 2 years.

Today the ESA continues to publish new images taken by the probe, and it March it released a fresh batch of data.

Many of Rosetta’s photos were taken in sequence — so Twitter user "landru79" stacked and stitched the pictures into a stunning new timelapse movie, posted Monday.

"Amazing scene from #comet #67P," the ESA tweeted about landru79’s work.

The video clip (below) shows roughly 25 minutes of flight past Comet 67P on June 1, 2016. The scene looks like something out of a science-fiction film:

In the background, a field of stars moves behind Comet 67P as it tumbles through space.

Rosetta took the photos just a few months after the roughly 2.5-mile-long comet shot out a burst of material. So in the foreground, sunlit specks of ice and dust float near a cliff that stands thousands of feet tall.

Cosmic rays also hit Rosetta’s camera sensor, causing white streaks in the series of black-and-white images.

In addition to photographing Comet 67P, Rosetta also set down a probe called Philae on the comet’s surface — though the lander rolled into a shady crevice and was never heard from again.

On September 30, 2016, the ESA purposefully crashed Rosetta into the wad of ice, rock, and dust. The robot took a final and fateful sequence of images along the way.

SEE ALSO: Here’s how high you could jump on other worlds in the solar system

DON’T MISS: A diamond-encrusted meteorite that fell to Earth may come from a long-lost planet in our solar system

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Where, when, and how to watch this weekend’s meteor shower created by Halley’s Comet

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Amazon can now deliver packages to the trunk of your car

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Amazon is taking its relationship with its customers to the next level.

On Tuesday, Amazon announced that it is extending its Amazon Key delivery service from homes to personal vehicles. With Amazon Key In-Car, Amazon couriers will be able to deliver packages inside signed up customers’ cars.

Amazon Key In Car isn’t available to everyone yet. It is enabled in 2015 or newer General Motors or Volvo vehicles equipped with cloud-connected technologies (OnStar and Volvo on Call, respectively). It’s only accessible to Prime members, and it has launched in 37 cities; Amazon customers can check whether they qualify here.

Customers can sign up their vehicles through the Amazon Key app. Then, while shopping on Amazon, they can select their car as their chosen delivery method whenever they want to. Cars have to be parked within a two-block radius of a specified address, and can’t be in a multi-level, underground, or restricted-access parking garage.

Amazon Key In-Car is an expansion of Amazon Key, which let couriers deliver packages directly inside people’s homes using keypad and smart locks and cameras. With Amazon Key, customers had to purchase the enabled keypads and cameras to qualify. But Amazon Key In-Car is available to anyone with OnStar or Volvo On Call access.

“Customers have also told us they love features like keyless guest access and being able to monitor their front door from anywhere with the Amazon Key App,” Peter Larsen, Amazon vice president of delivery technology, said in a statement. “In-car delivery gives customers that same peace of mind and allows them to take the Amazon experience with them. And, with no additional hardware or devices required, customers can start ordering in-car delivery today.”

Amazon has built in a number of safety features — which is a good thing considering the security hiccoughs they’ve already experienced with Amazon Key. In February of this year, an Amazon customer found an Amazon delivery man walking around his bedroom. And in November, security researchers found that a flaw in Amazon Key cameras made it vulnerable to being knocked out in an attack.

Cameras aren’t available with Amazon Key In-Car. But customers will be able to monitor the delivery process step-by-step from their own devices. A delivery person’s request to unlock goes through Amazon, then to OnStar or Volvo On Call. And couriers won’t be able to move on to their next delivery until they have scanned the package confirming delivery, and locked the vehicle back up.

Amazon, GM, and Volvo said that delivery people won’t be able to turn on or access any other electric features once they have access to the car. Volvo said that its cars equipped with Volvo On Call still need a physical key to actually drive it. Mashable is awaiting confirmation regarding whether this is the case for OnStar-equipped GM vehicles, too, and will update this story when we know more.

“Select customers” have already had early access to the feature, and Amazon shockingly reports that they love it.

So, if you trust Amazon enough to give it access to your home (as well as all of your data!), Amazon Key In-Car could be an even more convenient option for you.

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This short video shows the surface of a comet

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This short video shows the surface of a comet

In 2014, Rosetta spacecraft became the first spacecraft to orbit a comet and bring the back the first-ever photos of it surface. In this short video, someone has brought the frames together to create a sense of motion. And it makes the whole thing even more impressive.

Rosetta spacecraft was launched in 2004 from the Guiana Space Centre. On 7 May 2014, it reached Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It orbited the comet for 17 months performed the most detailed study of a comet ever attempted.

Twitter user landru79 used the photos captured on 1 June 2016 by Rosetta. These are 12.5-second-exposure images stitched together to create a video. It only lasts one minute, but if you’re a space geek, it will fill you with joy.

Landru79 briefly describes the process, as much as it can fit within a tweet:

“It’s only a pre-work stacking and balancing B/N frames… Next step colour gif using only filters 22 -orange-, 23 -green-  and 24 -blue-  ~6 RGB posible.  Will see… much paralax to manage”

The users guess that the dots in the background are a field of background stars, and all the long streaks are foreground dust. The video may be short, but it was just enough to spark people’s imagination and have them fantasize about attaching themselves to the comet and riding along.

[via PetaPixel; lead image credits: Buddy_Nath]

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