Thursday, March 26, 2009

CML / Perrault: What's next for cameras?

CML is a fantastic resource, and I subscribe to a bunch of lists within it including "Cameras in development and what we would like to see." David Perrault CSC recently wrote this post to the list, and I think he's brilliant:
Subject: what's next?
From: David Perrault
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 13:01:09 -0400
X-Message-Number: 7

> ,,,,,Anyway, I'd be curious as to what everyone else wants to see in
> future cameras.,,,,,

More colour information. More resolution. More dynamic range.

Those *should* be the targets but compression, storage and marketing seem to push the agenda towards using resolution numbers to impress.

A move towards 35mm sized sensors seems like an obvious move - it certainly answers an aesthetic problem that is an issue with 2/3-inch cameras.

Exposure index: how fast is fast enough? If the still camera market is any indication there should be improvements here. Imagine working with a camera that had an EI of 3200 with a workable noise floor!

And how about being able to manipulate a camera set-up with a laptop and a more GUI interface? Over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth?

It would also be nice to have a bit more control over characteristics that are currently linear. IOW, software that allows for making certain camera response characteristics non-linear.

Being able to look around the frameline is certainly desirable. An optical finder would be the best.

Any moves towards standardizing things like rods, rosettes and mounting plates would be good for everyone.

PL mounts and single sensor technology is appealing for a lot of reasons.

Light weight and a camera build that doesn't require so many third party add-on's would be great. That's a pretty tall order, but we can dream!

It would be great if what *we* want is what would emerge in the marketplace.

-David Perrault, CSC
Amen, David. Panavision, Arri, Panasonic, Sony, RED -- are you listening?

truth doodle: conversations with movie producers

conversations with movie producers

truth doodle: me / struggling artist / successful artist

me / struggling artist / successful artist

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

raging against the machine only works if the machine can be disassembled

The Big Takeover, by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone Magazine (April 2, 2009 issue).

In eight pages, Matt Taibbi explains what I've felt in my bones but couldn't articulate for months, mainly because I didn't have all the details spelled out for me until now.

I've had people tell me our government is a joke, a shill for the finance megacorporations which truly control us. I figured that just meant purchasing a few lobbyists, which I actually think is okay -- congresspeople can always choose to ignore them -- but now that I know the true scope of things (if Taibbi can be believed), I want to hide under my bed in the fetal position waiting for Armageddon.
Gordon Gecko, Wall Street: "The richest one percent of this country owns half our country's wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It's bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it."
It's not just posturing, the governmental power which Wall Street owns is real. They install their own (e.g. Paulson, Geithner) in our government, in order for Wall Street to be 'regulated' by its palsy-walsy brethren, but I wasn't aware of the true powerlessness of our nation until now. And AIG didn't even have a CFO or Chief Risk-Assessment Officer during the worst of this shitstorm!

Truly, we are in the grip of the world's most frat-boyish gang of thugs:
The bonuses are a nice comic touch highlighting one of the more outrageous tangents of the bailout age, namely the fact that, even with the planet in flames, some members of the Wall Street class can't even get used to the tragedy of having to fly coach. "These people need their trips to Baja, their spa treatments, their hand jobs," says an official involved in the AIG bailout, a serious look on his face, apparently not even half-kidding. "They don't function well without them."
None of this is terribly surprising, and I'm equally furious that we live in a civilization where this sort of thing is -- well, unsurprising. It's all like a "Simpsons" episode gone especially mad. I haven't been this angry since I last watched The Corporation.

Geithner is a joke.

The Treasury Dept., and specifically the Office of Thrift Supervision, is a joke.

The Glass-Steagall Act (the second one) is a joke, thanks to Senator Gramm, Representative Leach, and Representative Bliley. (Tangent: Gramm's wife was on the board of directors for Enron, but Leach supported legislation regarding the use of soy ink by the federal government -- plus he's pro-choice and in favor of stem cell research. How did someone like Leach get mixed up in all this?)

The Fed rules our world in order to benefit a few hundred financial assholes who own us, and they don't have to answer to anybody, least of all Congress.

Silly me! I actually believed that crap like 'voting' and 'paying taxes' meant something to the future of this republic!

This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite comic strips:

I need to go punch holes in some walls now, and then run through the streets shrieking about how soylent green is people. That, or I'll be getting some groceries at Trader Joe's; I'm far easier to soothe when I'm chock full of lunch and have a stocked fridge.

BASTARDS BASTARDS BASTARDS. AND THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO TO CHANGE THIS. Geithner will never chop up companies like AIG to make them more manageable. There will be no legislation passed with any real regulatory teeth. We're all either Gordon Gecko, or we're slaves to a system which is not built to help us.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

the truth about açaí

So, Jon got me into drinking a shot of açaí juice (mixed with pomegranate and other polyphenol-rich juices) every morning, and lately I haven't been sure that it's really worth it. I finally looked up "acai juice" on PubMed this morning, and here's what I found:
[from Comparison of antioxidant potency of commonly consumed polyphenol-rich beverages in the United States. Seeram NP, Aviram M, Zhang Y, Henning SM, Feng L, Dreher M, Heber D. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Feb 27;56(4):1415-22. Epub 2008 Jan 26.]

"Antioxidant potency, ability to inhibit LDL oxidation, and total polyphenol content were consistent in classifying the antioxidant capacity of the polyphenol-rich beverages in the following order:

PJ [pomegranate juice] > red wine > Concord grape juice > blueberry juice > black cherry juice, açaí juice, cranberry juice > orange juice, iced tea beverages, apple juice.

Although in vitro antioxidant potency does not prove in vivo biological activity, there is also consistent clinical evidence of antioxidant potency for the most potent beverages including both PJ and red wine."
Problem is, I hate the heavy, oozy muckiness of pomegranate juice, and red wine makes me a bit loopy for my taste, so I guess I'll stick to Concord grape juice. Good luck finding that stuff with zero added sugar or water, though.

Trader Joe's / Quietube

Man, this ad-which-isn't-an-ad totally sums up the Trader Joe's experience for me, right down to the wonderful cheeses and hideous lack of parking. The parsnip chips are new to me, though.

Also: if you don't yet know about Quietube, try it now. Nownownow. It's so...restful.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Is France really this horrific for Jews?

This is a mass email I received via my mom. Is any of this true?

Subject: Bad News From France - VERY Bad

Bad news from France ...REAL BAD! for French Jews...

Once again, the real news in France is conveniently not being reported as it should. To give you an idea of what's going on in that country where there are now between 5 and 6 million Muslims and about 600,000 Jews, here is an E-mail that came from a Jew living in France. Please read!

"Will the world say nothing - again - as it did in Hitler's time?" He writes: "I AM A JEW -- therefore I am forwarding this to everyone on all my e-mail lists. I will not sit back and do nothing. Nowhere have the flames of anti-Semitism burned more furiously than in France. In Lyon, a car was rammed into a synagogue and set on fire. In Montpellier, the Jewish religious center was firebombed; so were synagogues in Strasbourg and Marseilles; so was a Jewish school in Creteil - all recently. A Jewish sports club in Toulouse was attacked with Molotov cocktails and on the statue of Alfred Dreyfus, in Paris, the words 'Dirty Jew' were painted. In Bondy, 15 men beat up members of a Jewish football team with sticks and metal bars. The bus that takes Jewish children to school in Aubervilliers has been attacked three times in the last 14 months. According to the Police, metropolitan Paris has seen 10 to 12 anti-Jewish incidents PER DAY in the past 30 days. Walls in Jewish neighborhoods have been defaced with slogans proclaiming 'Jews to the gas chambers' and 'Death to the Jews.' A gunman opened fire on a kosher butcher's shop (and, of course, the butcher) in Toulouse, France. A Jewish couple in their 20's were beaten up by five men in Villeurbanne, France (the woman was pregnant). A Jewish school was broken into and vandalized in Sarcelles, France. This was just in the past week."

"So I call on you, whether you are a fellow Jew, a friend, or merely a person with the capacity and desire to distinguish decency from depravity, to do - at least - these three simple things:

"First, care enough to stay informed. Don't ever let yourself become deluded into thinking that this is not your fight. I remind you of what Pastor Neimoller said in World War II: 'First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.'

"Second, boycott France and French products. Only the Arab countries are more toxically anti-Semitic and, unlike them, France exports more than just oil and hatred. So boycott their wines and their perfumes. Boycott their clothes and their foodstuffs. Boycott their movies. Definitely boycott their shores. If we are resolved we can exert amazing pressure and, whatever else we may know about the French, we most certainly know that they are like a cobweb in a hurricane in the face of well-directed pressure.

"Third, send this along to your family, your friends, and your co-workers. Think of all of the people of good conscience that you know and let them know that you - and the people that you care - about need their help.

"The number one bestselling book in France is....'September 11: The Frightening Fraud' which argues that no plane ever hit the Pentagon!

"Please Pass This On, Let's not let history repeat itself, thank-you for your time and consideration."

Let me know, okay?

UPDATE: Thanks to the eagle-eyed Gallus, the plot thickens. Apparently, chunks of the email were plagiarized, but the items are no less true -- to quote Classical Values, "the situation in France is absolutely appalling."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Children’s dictionary dumps ‘nature’ words

Children’s dictionary dumps ‘nature’ words via Next Nature

"Almond" and "buttercup" were ditched for "bungee jumping" and "vandalism"? I find this outrageous -- why not leave all the words in, but print everything on onionskin?

Perhaps all of this is moot anyway. I don't know about you, but I use the Internet to look up words while my American Heritage dictionary gathers dust on my shelf. Are paper dictionaries dead? Or will they exist for children whose parents are shielding them from the nefarious interwebs?

At the very least, let's please bring back "gooseberry" and "porcupine." Please?

Side note: Last week, new phone books were left in front of each of our apartment doors, but most people have yet to take their books inside, despite the fact that nobody is on vacation and all are perfectly aware that they have new phone books waiting for them like forlorn paper doorstops. I already threw mine out, and felt vaguely guilty as I did so.

Parking ticket leads to a virus

Parking ticket leads to a virus in Grand Forks, North Dakota (via BBC News)

A real parking ticket always clearly states your violation, so if you've received a ticket which leaves out that information, you should call your local parking enforcement department to confirm things.

You have been warned.

junk food junkie

"This is why you're fat." is the best. website. ever.

I love the Meta-Pizza ("Pizza topped with mini-pizzas"), the Bacon Cheese Pizza Burger ("Giant burger between two large meat pizzas, eggs, bacon, colby and pepper jack cheese"), the McNuggetini ("A McDonald’s chocolate milkshake with vanilla vodka, rimmed with BBQ sauce and garnished with a chicken McNugget"), the Sausage Egg And Cheese On A Chocolate Glazed Donut, and the Bacon Cheeseburger With Chocolate Covered Bacon.

drool drool drool oh I feel so dirty drool drool drool.

Hat tip to Iconoculture, and to the United States for having the most demented food culture I can possibly imagine -- although I guess France has much to be proud of, too (see the part about "Rôti Sans Pareil").

dancing about architecture

Thanks to Parlophone, and to Jamie for pointing me in the right direction. Bonus: I now understand the term "jackanory."