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Spectral imaging technology applied to text recovery

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  • robert-blau@webtv.net
    David Livingstone s lost letter deciphered BBC, 2 July 2010 The contents of an indecipherable letter written by David Livingstone shortly before he met
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 8, 2010
      David Livingstone's 'lost letter' deciphered BBC, 2 July 2010

      The contents of an "indecipherable" letter written by David Livingstone
      shortly before he met Henry Stanley have been revealed for the first
      time. The so-called Letter from Bambarre was scribbled by the Scottish
      explorer on torn-out book pages in February 1871. Livingstone's writing
      had faded so badly it was impossible to read but scientists used
      spectral imaging technology to recover the text. It condemns slavery,
      relays details of Africa and reveals his ill health. In order to read
      the text, the research team illuminated the letter with successive
      wavelengths of light, separating the text layers, as a 39 megapixel
      camera scanned the pages. The unveiling of the letter's content marks
      the start of a major project looking at Livingstone's final diary from
      1870-71 which has never been published in its original, unabridged form.


      And the previously mentioned:

      Jefferson changed 'subjects' to 'citizens' in Declaration of
      The Washington Post, July 3, 2010

      "Subjects." That's what Thomas Jefferson first wrote in an early draft
      of the Declaration of Independence to describe the people of the 13
      colonies. But in a moment when history took a sharp turn, Jefferson
      sought quite methodically to expunge the word, to wipe it out of
      existence and write over it. Many words were crossed out and replaced in
      the draft, but only one was obliterated. Over the smudge, Jefferson then
      wrote the word "citizens." No longer subjects to the crown, the
      colonists became something different: a people whose allegiance was to
      one another, not to a faraway monarch. Scholars of the revolution have
      long speculated about the "citizens" smear -- wondering whether the
      erased word was "patriots" or "residents" -- but now the Library of
      Congress has determined that the change was far more dramatic. Using a
      modified version of the kind of spectral imaging technology developed
      for the military and for monitoring agriculture, research scientists
      teased apart the mystery and reconstructed the word that Jefferson
      banished in 1776.

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