Month: September 2007

German Threaded Junk, 1 inch tall

German Threaded Junk, 1 inch tall

Warren, Connecticut. I don’t know about you but I have jars, cans, and boxes of old nuts, bolts, and "junk" like this in my basement that I’ve both inherited from the pack rat we bought our house from and which I’ve collected over many years. I promised my wife that this is going to be the year I clean up and organize this stuff and so, I set up a table and started sorting. Of course, the sorting gets interrupted every time I find a thing like this which I know nothing about yet think is interesting. I now have a bigger collection of interesting crap that has no use than seemingly useful crap that also probably has no use. Nothing has been thrown out and now all I’m doing is looking for cool junk to photograph. Sigh, my poor wife.

Well, I found a use for this totemic piece of junk. Recently my Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens fell apart in my hands: a screw fell out and it sounded like something was loose inside when shook, never a good sign. It was out of warranty but I had Canon fix it and I just got it back. What to shoot to test the lens? Ah, the German threaded totemic figure sitting on my desk.

Hey, the lens works.

Note: This piece of brass is 1″ tall.

Thomas L. Friedman: 9/11 Is Over

Thomas L. Friedman tells us who he’s not going to vote for in the next election: 9/11 Is Over.

Friedman is talking about a president who will heal us and get us focused on our core values. Great, we need that. But, so many of our core values have been compromised by Bush and Cheney that rather than just moving on as if nothing happened I think we have to acknowledge what’s happened during their term.

Impeach Bush/Cheney, try them as war criminals and acknowledge and then clean up the messes they’ve made. If we don’t make right the bad we’ve done in the world it will matter little who our next president is.

Dan Rather stands by his story

Sidney Blumenthal has an incredible piece in Salon on the Dan Rather/CBS lawsuit: Dan Rather stands by his story.

Rather could have simply allowed the statute of limitations to run out, lived off his millions, and faded away. But the incident ate at him. On one level, the Bush National Guard story is about Bush and the National Guard. On another, of course, it is about Rather’s reputation. But on yet another it is about CBS’s overwhelming desire to please the Bush White House and censor itself. The White House campaign against Rather has been so successful that many in the national press corps behave as though in mouthing its talking points they are demonstrating their own independent thought.

This lawsuit has the potential to shine a bright light on how CBS and other news organizations have been systematically intimidated by the Bush administration, both the meddling but also the corporate support in suppressing information that might hurt Bush. I hope Rather kicks their butts, they desserve it.

If Bush went to Tehran…

I have no idea what to think about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad because the only lens I see him through is American media. I’m sure I’d never join a fan club of his but the way he was received at Columbia University got me thinking.

If George Bush gave a speech at Tehran University and the President of the university made a speech about him like Columbia President Bollinger did about Ahmadinejad the other day, many Americans and most of the American media would go ape shit and cry fowl.

Bollinger said: “Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator,” adding, “You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.”

Would Lee Bollinger have said that to George Bush? He certainly exhibits the same signs. I would love to see and hear an educated world leader say something similar to Bush or introduce him by telling the truth about him.

I’m no fan of Hugo Chavez’s either but when he called George Bush “the devil,” some Americans got up in arms but I felt like for once someone with a microphone was at least standing up to Bush and calling him out for having no clothes. Okay, Chaves and Ahmadinejad may not be the best folks to be doing this but the rest of the world seems to be as chicken as our Democratic Congress.

We like to think of ourselves as the bastion of free speech and free ideas and I initially applauded Columbia for asking Ahmadinejad to speak but my word, what Bollinger did was not a demonstration of a civilized society, it’s a demonstration of just how far we’ve sunk during the Bush years.

We’ll never know what would happen if Bush spoke in Tehran because Bush won’t speak anywhere there will be protesters, even in the United States. He complains about the way gays are treated in Iran but won an election here using fear of gay marriage.

Long before this incident I felt like Ahmadinejad was exactly like Bush: an extremist President who does not represent his people.

Given that we know that Bush doesn’t represent a majority of Americans why is it that we insist that this guy represent Iranians? That seems to me to be a Bush/Neo-con invention to rationalize an invasion of Iran.

The fact that Americans are weighing in the way they are on this issue (many supporting Bollinger for verbally abusing Ahmadinejad) demonstrates our continued double standard about our place in the world and given our current “regime” I’d say we have no leg to stand on.

Should Iranians have nuclear power? Who the hell are we to decide that? We’re the only country on earth to ever drop a nuclear bomb (twice), have more nuclear weapons than the rest of the world combined, and have recently invaded and destabilized a country for no good reason. And, we’re being run by a nut case president who, more than any other looks like he’s just itching to drop a bomb. I’d say Ahmadinejad has it right: if we want him to dump his nuclear program then we ought to be dumping ours too.

Radioshift

Radioshift is a Macintosh OS X application for recording live radio, very much “Tivo for radio.”

I’m tracking my fav shows with podcasts in the iTunes Music Store. Free, no charge, works. But, this looks even better and will work with many formats. Gotta give it a try.

Gave it a try. It’s fantastic. Listen to shows you like live and record them. Then, if you want to keep them you can and send them over to iTunes.

Like Tivo it tells you when the shows are on and you can record automatically, listening or not.

My only issue with it (and it’s a big one) is that the sound has an under water echo. I hope that gets worked out as I’d rather use this to get live shows than get podcasts the day after.

[via Daring Fireball Linked List]

Dried Peppergrass in Morning light

Dried Peppergrass in Morning light

Washington, Connecticut. A friend and I got up early to do some landscape photography in early morning light but once out it was hard to resist putting on a macro lens and looking closely at weeds and flowers in that same light. This peppergrass is growing wild in what used to be a cornfield and is now part of the Macricostas Preserve of the Steep Rock Land Trust. The light shining through the dried pods show the seeds of future peppergrass plants waiting to be distributed.

‘$100 laptop’ to sell to public

‘$100 laptop’ to sell to public

The organisation behind the project has launched the “give one, get one” scheme that will allow US residents to purchase two laptops for $399 (£198).

One laptop will be sent to the buyer whilst a child in the developing world will receive the second machine

The G1G1 scheme, as it is known, will offer the laptops for just two weeks, starting on the 12 November.

[via BBC News | World | UK Edition]

King Corn

King Corn

King Corn, a documentary where Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat-and how we farm.

Note that Michael Pollan is interviewed in the film and his writing in various places, including the now unlocked New York Times magazine has helped to “out” corn and various aspects of American agribusiness.

[via Coudal Partners Blended Feed]