Archive for August, 2008

HCB @ 100

Henri Cartier-Bresson, the master of “the decisive moment” is one of the defining figures of modern photography. He died in 2004 at the age of 95 but today would have been his 100th birthday. This slideshow from Slate shows some of his work:

Today’s Pictures: HCB @ 100

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Cyclone Roller Coaster Williams Grove Amusement Park

I only went to Williams Grove Amusement Park once, and that was enough. It was very surreal. Listen as the guy points out what horrible shape this roller coaster is in.When we were there the roller coaster was closed for repairs, but I don’t think I would’ve chanced it even if it had been open.

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The Honor and Remember Flag

I understand the symbolism they’re invoking. But doesn’t it look like the folded flag is being set on fire? Am I the only one who thought that? Yes, I know burning is the proper way to dispose of an old or damaged flag, but that’s not appropriate for a memorial flag, so I don’t think that’s what they want to convey.

The design details aside, I don’t think it’s correct for them to say that it “should fly from every flagpole in America”. Folks who proudly fly Old Glory but do not fly this new flag would, by implication, be conveying dishonor. That the Stars & Stripes flying alone on a flagpole might be seen as insufficient does not sit well with me.

Symbols of military pride and sacrifice (like the old Blue Star Service Flag, Gold Stars, and armed forces flags) are correct and proper. But the the Stars & Stripes have served as the national symbol of honor and remembrance since the country’s founding. When you honor the country, you honor those fallen in its service. In my opinion, separating these two concepts by implying that each somehow needs its own specific symbol will only dilute the meaning of both.

via The Corner

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Cicada Attack!

Bryan holds a locust

Originally uploaded by stephmanuel1980

This vicious cicada leaped on my hand and tried to gnaw off my finger. I barely escaped with my life!

Actually, that’s not quite how it happened. I saw it sitting in the middle of the sidewalk and picked it up so he wouldn’t get stepped on. It flew away soon after Steph took this photo. Cicadas are ugly, but harmless.

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The Merry Old Land Of Oz

National Geographic presents this nifty zoomable map of Oz.

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I guess we should be happy that they didn’t come after the guy with torches and pitchforks:

Slashdot | Home Science Under Attack In Massachusetts

In fairness. though. the post on Slashdot is a little sensationalistic (yeah, big surprise). According to the original article firefighters were called to this guy’s home for an unrelated fire. They saw a bunch of chemicals, some of which may not have been stored properly, and were understandably concerned that there might be something bad going on.

That said, his chemicals should be returned. And they shouldn’t be allowed to invoke vague zoning requirements to shut the guy down, either. That would make sense for an industrial operation, but I think it’s an abuse of power to use them to shut down home labs. There’s no zoning requirement for intellectual curiosity.

As a film photographer this sort of precident worries me. There’s nothing particularly dangerous in the darkroom chemicals used for photography, and the quantities are tiny. They’re no more dangerous than bug spray or household cleansers, and if you don’t drink them they’re perfectly safe. But photographers who do their own wet printing, alternative processes, or who mix their own developers from scratch (not too difficult, there are only a few basic ingredients) might have enough bottles and vials around to scare the Chemicals Are Evil brigade. We don’t want to see harmless home darkrooms busted up like illegal moonshine stills.

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RIP Isaac Hayes

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Oh no! Instapundit demonstrates why this new Obama Salute is sure to capture the pivotal space hippie vote.

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Jonah Goldberg on Prosperity & Its Discontents on National Review Online

People ask, “Why is there poverty in the world?” It’s a silly question. Poverty is the default human condition. It is the factory preset of this mortal coil. As individuals and as a species, we are born naked and penniless, bereft of skills or possessions. Likewise, in his civilizational infancy man was poor, in every sense. He lived in ignorance, filth, hunger, and pain, and he died very young, either by violence or disease.

The interesting question isn’t “Why is there poverty?” It’s “Why is there wealth?” Or: “Why is there prosperity here but not there?”

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