Archive for September, 2005

First-Grade Felon

Everyone stand back! He’s got a butter knife!

And school district wants the parents to be grateful because they didn’t expel him.

Every time something stupid like this happens the administrators inevitably cop out and claim their hands are tied. So I’m wondering, if schools insist on rules so stringent, inflexible, and mechanically implied that no human interpretation is required or allowed, then why do they keep paying the school administrators? There’s obviously nothing left for them to do.

via today’s Best of the Web

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Verboten at Bucknell

If you’re a student at Bucknell University then, whatever you do, don’t say these two forbidden words.

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Adventures in Brandmarking

Tonight’s episode: The Case of the Corporate Cloned Q’s!

In which desktop design company Quark discovers why a new corporate logo formed from a single letter in an readily identifiable typeface is perhaps not as unique as they had hoped.

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The BBC has excellent taste

I was reading this post on Wizbang when I discovered, much to my shock, that I’ve been mentioned in this BBC News "Weblog Watch" column: Caught short in the web:

But, however easily dealt with, the editing of the image
is the lesser of the pro-Bush bloggers’ charges against Reuters. (It’s
also one for which Bryan Costin
offers an ingenious solution: "All [the media] have to do is make the
full sized, original photo available for download.") The more vexed
issue is why an apparently reputable agency would consider such a note
to be newsworthy.

I’m flattered! I’m one of many bloggers quoted in the piece, which does a very good job of covering the issues surrounding the infamous Reuters Potty Note, and the ethics of news photos in the age of Photoshop. You should read the whole thing.

Thanks to the author, Mr. Alan Connor, for the kind words. If any news agencies happen to think my small suggestion is worthwhile then I’ll be overjoyed. And if any of you folks are stopping by via the article link, welcome to my humble blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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Lt. Gen. Russell Honore is kicking ass and chewing bubble gum. And he’s all outa gum.

"You are stuck on stupid" is his classic comeback to a, well, stupid reporter in New Orleans. Nagin and Honore are trying to prepare the city for the possible arrival of Hurricane Rita. And Honore, at least, is determined not to have a repeat of Katrina. So they held a press conference to tell the public about how the evac plans are going to work this time. But, in typical fashion, the reporters insisted on making themselves the story and garbling the facts in the process.

Go read the transcript and listen to the MP3 file. You’ll enjoy it.

I understand why politicians and beauraucrats can’t always be as direct as millitary officials. But the press long ago surrendered any special respect they were due, and frankly I think we’d all be much better off if with more straight-talking.

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A family illness

My mom called this morning and told me that my Uncle Wayne (my mom’s older brother) had a stroke late last night.

He’s resting comfortably in the hospital now, but he has some paralysis on his right side. He’s a mechanic, so any physical impairment could be a serious problem for his career. They won’t know much more until tonight after they’ve run some tests. Stroke treatment and physical therapy techniques have come a long way in recently years so we’re hoping for a good recovery.

If you’re so inclined, please include Wayne and Brenda Green and my mom, Kathy Costin, in your prayers. Thanks.

MONDAY UPDATE: The doctors at Frederick Memorial Hospital think this may be a cardiac problem and not a stroke after all. Uncle Wayne’s been transferred to Washington Medical Center (DC) in anticipation of a catheterization-and-stint procedure. Apparently Washington Medical Center is one of the leading hospitals in the country for this type of thing, which is very reassuring.

He had a partial MRI yesterday and will need a full MRI this afternoon to determine the exact problem and the course of treatment. Right now he’s very weak on his right side and has only very limited movement in his right hand. However, he has shown some signs of improvment since yesterday.

TUESDAY UPDATE: Further tests indicate that it almost certainly was a stroke after all. Earlier indications that there had been heart damage appear to have been incorrect, but they’re going to do an endoscopic examination tomorrow to make absolutely sure. If those tests are negative then the next step will be a regimen of medication and week or so of intensive physical therapy designed to recover as much function in his right side as possible. They seem optimistic about his chances, and Mom reports that Uncle Wayne was in good spirits this evening when she visited. He’s impatient to get back home.

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Potty all the time

Wizbang has the goods on a shocking Reuters photo of the President. Get this: Bush sometimes goes to the bathroom.

Wow! What a scoop! Good to see those highly paid press photographers are earning their pay. And that the finely tuned editorial instincts at Reuters can pick out such compelling and historic images.

Some folks in the Wizbang comments are speculating that the photo may have been faked. I think that’s a little silly; it looks perfectly real to me. The image has been level corrected in Photoshop or something similar to enhance the contrast. Almost every photo gets this treatment to one degree or another, so that’s nothing weird. The blur from the top to the bottom of the note is just the narrow depth-of-field you get with a fast lens. Of course, this sort of distrust would be eliminated by making the original image files and EXIF data available, which all news agencies should do.

So no undue hanky panky with the image. I am a little concerned about the ethics of taking photos of the President’s notes over his shoulder. Or any other diplomat’s shoulder, for that matter. I think it’s reasonable for them to have some expectation of privacy while meeting in the Security Council. I assume this was during a break or something and that they don’t let people with cameras spy on everyone during the meeting. Still don’t like it much.

Extensive forensic analysis in my basement CSI lab shows two distinct
styles of handwriting
. It appears that the top part of the note requesting a bathroom break is actually from
Condi Rice, and the writing at the bottom is Bush’s reply.

still remain. Was it #1 or #2? Does the UN hand out those little
bathroom keys like gas stations do, and did Condi give hers back when she returned? Did excessive use of toilets by the
White House staff actually cause the flooding in New Orleans?I’ll be
sure and post any new developments as this breaking story develops.

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