Month: February 2006

Study Finds Test Scores Not Lowered by Television

Study Finds Test Scores Not Lowered by Television: “A new study taps into a trove of data from the 1960′s to argue that when it comes to academic test scores, parents can let children watch TV without fear of future harm.”

Who cares about test scores, what about world view, attention span, the ability to read long texts and understand them, thinking deeply about complex issues?

I do think it is rather unscientific of those of us who question the effects of television (me included) to essentially say: this generation and that generation didn’t have TV, look what they did, these other generations seem to watch more TV, look what they’re doing (or not doing). There are other factors and TV, while seeming to be a big one because of the amount of time people seem to spend watching it may not be the only or the biggest one.

However, as one who watched a fair share of TV as a kid and now watches very little, I can say that to me, broadcast TV in the US seems to have gone downhill in terms of production values. But, maybe it’s stayed about the same and American values have gone downhill and it’s just hovering relative to them. Then the question might be, which drove which downhill? Did the culture drive TV production or did TV (MTV-style quick cuts, shows that pander to people’s fantasies) drive the culture?

Whichever the case, I find commercial TV revolting for the most part and I find the fact that US citizens re-elected George Bush revolting as well. The connection is not scientific but it certainly exists in my head.

(Via NYT > Education.)

Tom Hunt

Tom Hunt

Our friend Tom Hunt came over yesterday on his way home from school. He teaches English at a prep school near here. Poor fellow has to wear a jacket and tie every day. Anne and I have known Tom for twenty years, he’s a very close friend of ours who lives a few towns away.

When Tom’s brother in law committed suicide he decided to do some research on suicide. That led him to Beachy Head, a cliff on the coast of England where over 500 people have jumped to their deaths.

The research he did on this particular suicide spot turned into a book, Cliffs of Despair which Anne has just finished and I am about to read. Tom was here yesterday to sign our copy.

One of my favorite flickr photographers, Mystery Me specializes in landscapes and seascapes on the British coast and this shot he took at Marsden Bay, which may not be the same spot certainly reminded me of Tom’s book and of Beachy Head.


One of my flickr contacts, a, has posted an image of a fly fishing reel.

I love this. It’s great in sepia (note to self-try other nerdy design shots in sepia), it’s a wonderful representation of the fact that fly fishing gear is as nerdy as camera gear, maybe more so, and it’s a nice perspective on a reel. I don’t fly fish but if I did I’d be a gear fanatic as I love great design.

Red River Paper

A few of us are looking into what the best printers are for various kinds of photographic print jobs: large archival prints, note cards, and everything in between. There are great reviews of numerous printers and then less than great reviews of the same printers. The exact definition of “archival” seems to vary from place to place and face it, sometimes one gets a lemon copy of what otherwise is a great tool so you can’t take everyone’s reviews and opinions as absolute truth.

My friend Dale is very interested in printing note cards on heavy card stock and not all printers can handle this stock even if the manufacturer says they can. Dale had the bright idea of emailing Red River Paper, a supplier of paper and ink for ink-jet printers to see if they’d give him an opinion.

The emails they sent back were incredibly useful and candid and I have to say, after reading them I’m going to give this company my business because I trust their take on things.

We have yet to decide on printers although we have decided that it is best to have two: one for note cards where the print quality can be a bit less and the ink does not need to be archival, and another for higher end printing for larger scale, shows, and selling where archival inks and papers are important. We’re leaning toward the mid-range Canon printers for the note cards and possibly the Epson R2400 or 1800 for the higher end stuff. Stay tuned, and while you’re waiting, if you print photographs with an ink-jet printer check out Red River and let us know what you think of them.