Monthly Archives: August 2009

Facebook Exodus

Facebook Exodus

The disillusionment with Facebook has come in waves. An early faction lost faith in 2008, when Facebook’s beloved Scrabble application, Scrabulous, was pulled amid copyright issues. It was suddenly clear that Facebook was not just a social club but also an expanding force on the Web, beholden to corporate interests. A later group, Harmsen’s crowd, grew frustrated last winter when Facebook seemed to claim perpetual ownership of users’ contributions to the site. (Facebook later adjusted its membership contract, but it continues to integrate advertising, intellectual property and social life.) A third wave of dissenters appears to be bored with it, obscurely sore or just somehow creeped out.

I doubt my feelings about facebook are shared by many so if/when I leave (was I even there?) there won’t even be a ripple, let alone a wave. I think facebook sucks, it’s the social internet equivalent of MySpace for slightly older people, it’s ugly, cluttered, and much of it doesn’t work well. Frankly, it feels more like AOL at the hight of its social popularity. It’s a virtual city with really bad urban planning, city services that don’t work well, and billboards all over the place.

Doctors Disagree About Effectiveness, Cost of Stents

Doctors Disagree About Effectiveness, Cost of Stents

I heard this piece the other day on All Things Considered. It’s very well produced by Chana Joffe-Walt and beautifully illuminates why cutting healthcare costs is difficult. Two cardiologists disagree on whether stents are over used. Listen to the piece, it’s only 4 minutes long.

One of their biggest disagreements concerns stents, tiny metal tubes that cardiologists use to open clogged arteries and relieve chest pain. Studies show that cardiologists sometimes use stents in scenarios where research would indicate they are unnecessary.

Topol says he believes as many as 20 percent of all stents aren’t really needed. He notes that annually, 1.2 million patients undergo a stent procedure. “Undoubtedly, that’s more than we need to do,” he says.

Sitting in the same California hospital, Teirstein says he’s not convinced by the research Topol leans on. Teirstein is an ardent believer in the technology and puts in an average of seven stents a day. “I definitely have a bias towards stents,” he says. “I have a lot of experience with stents. I’ve seen patients do so much better.”

The Unlikely Writer

The Unlikely Writer

Atul Gawande, “slightly bewildered” surgeon and health-policy scholar—and a literary voice of medicine

I’ve been reading Gawande for years in The New Yorker. What an amazing guy.

Here’s the New Yorker article that got him Obama’s ear: The Cost Conundrum.

Here’s the show he did with Tom Ashbrook, OnPoint: Costly Care in a Texas Town.

[via kottke.org]

Images of Ramdan

Ramadan 2009

In Muslim nations and regions around the globe, this is the first week of the holy month of Ramadan, a time for followers to abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activity during the day, breaking their fast each sunset, with traditional meals and sweets.

Great collection of images, the food for the fast breaking looks fantastic.

Simon Roberts’ We English

We English

Simon Roberts travelled throughout England in a motorhome between August 2007 and September 2008, for this portfolio of large-format tableaux photographs of the English at leisure. Photographing ordinary people engaged in a variety of pastimes, Roberts finds beauty in the mundane; the result is an elegiac exploration of identity, attachment to home and land, and the relationship between people and place. This is the most significant contribution to the photography of England in recent years.

– Chris Boot, Publisher

This is a wonderful collection of work and to my “Yankee” eyes really captures the English mood.

[via lensculture]

N.Y. Times mines its data to identify words that readers find abstruse

N.Y. Times mines its data to identify words that readers find abstruse

This is a fascinating post and the comment thread is equally fascinating.

The 25 most looked up words on the NY Times web site vs. the 25 most looked up words on Dictionary.com. There is no overlap.

The comment thread digs a bit into this class thing as well.

Wow, collect data and you can see a lot.

Cowboys and Photojournalists

Cowboys and Photojournalists

While watching the 4-H youngsters going about their business at MontanaFair in Billings this month, I was struck by a parallel. Here I am in 2009, at a fair ground: a photojournalist, making pictures of cowboys in every direction I look. Don’t any of us know that none of us are supposed to exist?

This is a fantastic photo essay.

We have many town fairs around here with 4-H kids and animals and the culture of it has never been captured as well as what Kenneth Jarecke has done here.

Show announcement postcards

Show announcement postcards

Warren, Connecticut. I printed a thousand (1000) post cards for my friend Joy Brown to announce the opening of one of her shows a few years ago.

Printed on Red River Polar Matte card stock on a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 printer.

I filled my office, our bedroom and other rooms with flat surfaces with these cards for drying overnight and it took three days to get them all printed and dried.

Wide Screen VS Full Screen

This is the best demonstration, discussion, and argument for wide screen (letter box, etc.) vs. pan and scan (the aspect ratio of older TVs). Bravo, well done.

We’ve been slowly moving all of our DVDs to their original aspect ratios for a few years now and soon we hope to buy a TV that will take better advantage of that.

The late Sidney Pollack (on this video as well) did a small piece on this as an introduction to one of his movies. When I saw that it had a huge effect on me and we started the move to original aspect ratio with our movies on DVD.

[via Coudal Partners Blended Feed]

Early morning on the Shepaug

Early morning on the Shepaug

Washington, Connecticut. Gary and I stopped on our way to the bridge to take a shot of the Shepaug River and the far bank in almost complete darkness. Long (30 second) exposure makes for some still water although the water was quite still on this bend anyway.

Early morning on the Shepaug

Looking upstream on the Shepaug from Hauser Bridge

Looking upstream on the Shepaug from Hauser Bridge

Washington, Connecticut. This was shot in early morning from a swinging suspension bridge, handheld with a 1.3 second exposure so things aren’t very sharp here.

All of that said, the river and air were calm in the early morning and there was quite a bit of ground fog because of heavy rain the night before. It was a scene worth attempting to photograph, even sans-tripod.

Early morning is a great time to be out shooting if one can actually get up and make it happen. Those who do this know that once you’re out there you forget how difficult it was to get up and out the door.

PTLens

I’m experimenting with an application called PTLens which corrects pincushion/barrel distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration, and perspective.

In this case, the 24mm end of the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L causes distortion in the perspective on buildings left and right of center.

Before:

Lower Manhattan and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal

After:

Lower Manhattan and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal (corrected)

The image would need to be cropped to remove the black areas left and right of bottom center.

I heard about this application from one of my favorite photobloggers, Sam Javanrouh who no doubt uses it a lot on his wide angle urban landscape images.

Mt. Greylock Monument

Mt. Greylock Monument

Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts. My friend Loren (on the left) and I have been walking together almost every Friday for three years now. Most of our walks are around here in the Steep Rock land trust and we decided to do something a bit more adventurous.

Mt. Greylock is a state park in the northwest corner of Massachusetts. It’s the highest point in the state and our walk up the west side from Rt. 7 climbed about 2500 feet in 4 miles. While I’ve done many other walks and climbs that were more strenuous, I’ve not done them recently. And, it just so happened that it was hot and humid out.

It was a great walk, not too hard and the park is wonderful. Some of our route took the Appalachian trail and we saw a half dozen hikers doing the entire 1500 mile length of it.

I’m quite sure we’ll return here in the fall, the colors in the panoramic views will be magnificent.