Posted: February 24, 2013 Filed under: Afghanistan, Africa, Diplomacy Nightmares, DR Congo, Foreign Affairs, Fox News, health, Iran, Ivory Coast, morning reads, Political Affective Disorder, Sudan, Uganda | Tags: Academy Awards, Africa, ammo, Brazil, film, guns, Keira Rathbone, leprosy, obsolete technology, weapons trafficking
Well, after having a good evening, watching a couple of Italian films last night, Life is Beautiful and Miracle on Madonna Street, I have a few links for you this morning.
The New York Post has an article about the battles being fought in Africa: A Trail of Bullet Casings Leads From Africa’s Wars to Iran
The first clues appeared in Kenya, Uganda and what is now South Sudan. A British arms researcher surveying ammunition used by government forces and civilian militias in 2006 found Kalashnikov rifle cartridges he had not seen before. The ammunition bore no factory code, suggesting that its manufacturer hoped to avoid detection.
Within two years other researchers were finding identical cartridges circulating through the ethnic violence in Darfur. Similar ammunition then turned up in 2009 in a stadium in Conakry, Guinea, where soldiers had fired on antigovernment protesters, killing more than 150.
For six years, a group of independent arms-trafficking researchers worked to pin down the source of the mystery cartridges. Exchanging information from four continents, they concluded that someone had been quietly funneling rifle and machine-gun ammunition into regions of protracted conflict, and had managed to elude exposure for years. Their only goal was to solve the mystery, not implicate any specific nation.
When the investigators’ breakthrough came, it carried a surprise. The manufacturer was not one of Africa’s usual suspects. It was Iran.
Read the rest at the link, it is a long article.
In other news, this time out of Brazil: Fast New Test Could Find Leprosy Before Damage Is Lasting
A simple, fast and inexpensive new test for leprosy offers hope that, even in the poorest countries, victims can be found and cured before they become permanently disabled or disfigured like the shunned lepers of yore.
American researchers developed the test, and Brazil’s drug-regulatory agency registered it last month. A Brazilian diagnostics company, OrangeLife, will manufacture it on the understanding that the price will be $1 or less.
“This will bring leprosy management out of the Dark Ages,” said Dr. William Levis, who has treated leprosy patients at a Bellevue Hospital outpatient clinic for 30 years.
Even more important, he said, it is expected to detect infections as much as a year before symptoms appear. And the earlier treatment begins, the better the outcome. Leprosy is caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae, related to the one that causes tuberculosis, but reproducing so slowly that symptoms often take seven years to appear.
This new test requires just a drop of blood and the results are given after only ten minutes.
The disease has historically been hard to diagnose, despite the popular, but inaccurate, image of fingers and toes dropping off victims. As the bacteria kill nerves, muscles atrophy and those digits curl into claws. After disuse and repeated injuries, the body reacts protectively by absorbing the bone calcium in the bones, shrinking the digits.
For centuries, some observant doctors have noticed early signs: the numb skin patches, missing eyebrows, drooping earlobes, bulging neck nerves, the flat “lion face” caused by nasal cartilage dissolving.
Since nothing could be done for them before the age of antibiotics, victims lost the use of their hands and had to beg. Some also went blind as the blinking muscles degenerated and their eyes dried out. In the Middle Ages, some towns banned lepers, while others required them to ring bells to warn of their approach. Religious charities created “leper colonies.”
And they still exist, even in the United States. A few elderly residents have chosen to stay on in Carville, La., and Kalaupapa, Hawaii, despite having been cured. Several thousand live at one in northeast Brazil, said John S. Spencer, a leprosy researcher at Colorado State University who has worked there. “People say things like ‘People outside won’t understand what’s wrong with my face,’ ” he said.
Nowadays, he said, most patients are cured before their faces are severely disfigured. Still, he said, he had read a survey in which health experts asked Brazilians whether they would rather have the human immunodeficiency virus or leprosy. Most chose H.I.V. — even though leprosy does not kill, can be cured, and does not make a victim risky to have sex with. “The stigma is that strong,” he said.
Wow. Dr Lewis says he hopes the Brazilian test becomes available in the US so he can test the families of his patients. It takes many antibiotics given over 6 months to a year to cure the disease…these new test provide doctors with more time to could help diagnosis leprosy before permanent nerve damage is done.
I guess my PAD is getting the best of me, I just don’t have the energy to give you more than these…and instead of posting links to more of the same news, give a look at some of the artsy reads below.
With the Academy Awards later tonight, I have two links about film and films.
Two films on Israeli occupation in Oscar race
Hollywood is getting ready to hand out the industry’s most prestigious film awards: the Oscars.
Among the contenders for best documentary is a film directed by an Israeli, and another by a Palestinian.
Both the Israeli The Gatekeepers and Palestinian 5 Broken Cameras tell the same story, but from two quite different perspectives.
Video at the link, and…
For more of Al Jazeera’s extended interviews with Dror Moreh, the director of The Gatekeepers, and Emad Burnat, director of 5 Broken Cameras, click here. Q&A: Dror Moreh and Emad Burnat
Film is finished – this could be its last Oscars
Digital is taking over Hollywood, but celluloid’s fans intend to fight on
They are some of the most powerful people in one of the most powerful entertainment industries in the world. And when Hollywood’s grandest gather at tonight’s Oscars there will be no end of smiles and handshakes. But they are also fans, and like all fans, they are given to apparently arcane squabbles. The latest is whether films should be shot on, well, film.
Some of the most successful directors, such as James Cameron and George Lucas, are so obsessed with having the best special effects that they have spent millions embracing computer-generated imagery and abandoned 35mm film. Others, such as Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, are wedded to traditional celluloid, which is becoming the film equivalent of the vinyl record.
Epics such as Les Misérables and Lincoln – both shot on 35mm – and digital creations such as Life of Pi have all made millions at the box office. While film buffs may talk about the “feel” of film, with all its subtleties, the reality is that pixilated perfection is winning – the whirring of 35mm film projectors silenced by the hum of digital machines.
Just take a look at the films nominated for best picture:
Although many love a sharp, digital picture with high definition, others prefer something a bit less “real”. The split among directors is highlighted in the nominations for Best Picture. Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook and Lincoln were shot on film. While Argo, Amour, Life of Pi and Zero Dark Thirty were shot on digital. As was The Hobbit nominated in three technical Oscar categories.
David O Russell, director of Silver Linings Playbook, said: “Maybe I’m old-fashioned, maybe I’m superstitious, maybe I’m romantic – I love film and it has a magic quality, it has a warmth. I may use digital cameras in a pinch because they are small and fast but I like film for its humaneness.” He is one of a number of directors determined to continue shooting on 35mm. Another is Nolan, who made the Dark Knight trilogy: “I am now constantly asked to justify why I want to shoot a film on film,” he said. Nolan likens digital to an “amazing” cookie until you realise “this is some horrible chemical crap that’s giving you this bad illusion that fools you at first.”
You can read more about what actors, cinematographers and directors think about digital vs film at the link up top. I tend to agree with the folks who love film…and think that digital sucks.
Another archaic form of technology that gets lost in this day in age is the typewriter. Take this woman’s use of the typewriter:
Keira Rathbone’s Incredible Typewriter Art
As romantic as the idea of working on a typewriter now seems, in reality they’re rather clunky and temperamental things. Writing with one would probably take us an age – and if we made a mistake? Well, forget it.
So imagine trying to draw with one.
London based artist Keira Rathbone, originally from Dorset, does exactly that; clustering together marks made by letters, numbers and symbols, to make brilliant, one-off images.
Keira Rathbone Makes Art At The Stroke Of A Key (PHOTOS)
The English artist clusters letters, numbers and symbols from a typewriter keyboard to composite images; from portraits of friends and celebrities to landscapes and still life. A closer look at what looks like a sketch of Wimborne Minster, a church in East Dorset, England, reveals swirls of ampersands and the ticks of quotations marks.
Watch the video below to see the artist at work, and click through the slideshow to see examples of her typewriter art. Visit keirarathbone.com for more examples of her work.
Be sure to take a look at the pictures, Rathone’s art is impressive…
Another obsolete form of technology is shown below…Keypunch Orchestra: 1937 | Shorpy Historical Photo Archive
June 1937. “Baltimore, Maryland. For every Social Security account number issued an ’employee master card’ is made in the Social Security board records office. Testifying data, given on the application blank form SS-5, is transferred to this master card in the form of upended quadrangular holes, punched by key punch machines, which have a keyboard like a typewriter. Each key struck by an operator causes a hole to be punched in the card. The position of a hole determines the letter or number other machines will reproduce from the master card. From this master card is made an actuarial card, to be used later for statistical purposes. The master card also is used in other machines which sort them numerically, according to account numbers, alphabetically according to the name code, translate the holes into numbers and letters, and print the data on individual ledger sheets, indexes, registry of accounts and other uses. The photograph above shows records office workers punching master cards on key punch machines.” Whew. Longest caption ever? Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.
That is all I have for you this morning. Hope you all enjoy your Sunday, see ya later on tonight…should be quite a show.
So what are you all reading and blogging about today?
Posted: January 22, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, 2012 primaries, Baby Boomers, Central Intelligence Agency, court rulings, First Amendment, morning reads, SCOTUS, SOPA, the internet | Tags: bankruptcy, Chapter 11, CIA, Copyright, Digital Technology, film, Hollywood, Kodachrome, Kodak, Modern Art, Motion Picture, Photography, Popcorn, Public Domain, Roger Ebert, Supreme Court
Well, we all knew that the Newt Master was going to take South Carolina. So if its alright with you, I’d like to avoid all that Primary fodder and spend today’s morning reads on items associated with film. Real Film. The kind that has gone the way of 8–Tracks and buggy whips.
The past few weeks we have seen companies file bankruptcy left and right. (Personally, I cannot understand how the company that gave us the Twinkie and Wonder Bread failed so miserably. I mean, in this land of milk and Hohos…or if you prefer, Ding Dongs, how can Hostess not succeed?)
However, there was one company who filed for Chapter 11, that should have seen the writing on the wall.
In his 1973 hit song Kodachrome, Paul Simon warned everyone who had a Nikon camera and loved to take a photograph that everything looks worse in black and white.
You can colour him prophetic. Eastman Kodak, maker of the Kodachrome colour slide film immortalized by Simon, filed for bankruptcy protection and was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.
Here’s some history for you:
Between its humble beginnings as a two-man partner-ship formed 132 years ago and now the most humbling of denouements, the Kodak brand enjoyed immense popularity, exercised social influence and wielded corporate power. In 1930, Kodak joined the stable of blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average listings. At Kodak’s peak of market dominance in the mid-1970s, 90 per cent of the film and 85 per cent of the cameras sold in the United States were theirs. The user-friendly, low-tech, point-and-shoot Kodak Instamatic, its top-of-the-line version complete with flashcubes, was omnipresent in Canada too through the 1960s and ’70s, and it acted as something of a democratizing social force. Rich or poor, everyone could be a shutterbug, and people of all ages were forever churning through Kodacolor 126 film cartridges.
At the same time, Kodachrome saturated the 35mm market and all those Nikon cameras were capturing the nice bright colours, preserving the greens of summer, making people think all the world was a sunny day, oh yeah – just like the song said.
By 1983, the little company that George Eastman and Henry Strong founded in Rochester, N.Y., about a century earlier had 60,400 people on its payroll and was the quintessential portrait of an American success story.
It has been reported that Kodak got too fat and sassy at that point, its management too complacent at the top of the photography industry to keep innovating in order to fend off rivals like Japan’s Fuji Corp., many of them leaner and hungrier and more than capable of stealing market share. Fuji became the official camera and film of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics – setting up shop in Kodak’s back yard as it were – and the foothold gained in the U.S. market through that one strategic partnership was incredibly valuable.
Strangely, Kodak was slow to read the writing on the wall and as the rest of the industry wholeheartedly embraced the advent of digital technology, too much of Kodak’s identity, inventory and infrastructure was still tied up in film, a throwback commodity that was becoming obsolete. They believed in its staying power, as this statement from Kodak corporate literature suggests.
“While electronic or digital technologies will continue to provide many enhancements for home and commercial use, film will remain the highest quality medium for image capture well into the 21st century.”
Yes, film is the quintessential medium to capture an image, but unfortunately the public has become a digital technology consumer. Film, records, videos, books…the list goes on. Everything is there at your fingertips. Literally. Just swipe your index finger along a touch screen and voila…you can watch, listen or read anything that tickles your fancy. So as the article concludes:
So it was not Mama who took our Kodachrome away, as Simon feared all those years ago, it was digital technology.
Now that Kodak has bankruptcy protection, the company has a year to reorganize. Bankruptcy protection: Kodak gets a year to reorganize – CSMonitor.com
Girded by a $950 million financing deal with Citigroup Inc., the photography pioneer aims to keep operating normally during bankruptcy while it peddles a trove of digital-imaging patents.
After years of mammoth cost-cutting and turnaround efforts, Kodak ran short of cash and sought protection from its creditors Thursday. It is required under its bankruptcy financing terms to produce a reorganization plan by Feb. 15, 2013.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in New York gave Kodak permission to borrow an initial $650 million from Citigroup.
He also set a June 30 deadline for Kodak to seek his approval of bidding procedures for the sale of 1,100 patents that analysts estimate could fetch at least $2 billion. No buyers have emerged since Kodak started shopping them around in July.
Through negotiations and lawsuits, Kodak has already collected $1.9 billion in patent licensing fees and royalties since 2008. Last week, it intensified efforts to defend its intellectual property by filing patent-infringement lawsuits against Apple Inc., HTC Corp., Samsung Electronics and Fujifilm Corp.
Kodak is also involved another high figure dispute at the US International Trade Commission, with Apple and Blackberry’s maker Research in Motion, Ltd. regarding image preview technology.
Kodak is hoping to see a billion dollar settlement from the trade disputes, however the decision has been put off until September.
The Independent had this to say about Kodak and Chapter 11: The moment it all went wrong for Kodak
When companies go bust, we, the customers, rarely pay much heed. It’s all about judges, restructuring and then, if they are lucky, their re-emerging in some shrunken form to carry on as if nothing had happened. Not so in the case of Kodak, which is now taking the walk of ignominy to the bankruptcy courts.
For this is a company we care about – at least if we were born before 1986 or so, when Kodak was at the peak of its commercial powers. A hundred years earlier George Eastman, the company’s founder, had invented roll film, which replaced photographic plates and allowed photography to become a hobby of the masses. Kodak did not quite own the 20th century, but it did become the curator of our memories.
“One of the interesting parts of this bankruptcy story is everyone’s saddened by it,” notes Robert Burley, professor of photography at Ryerson University in Toronto. “There’s a kind of emotional connection to Kodak for many people. You could find that name inside every American household and, in the last five years, it’s disappeared.”
I think that is a fair assessment, it is a sad thing to read about Kodak filling for bankruptcy because so much of our lives can be connected to a Kodak Moment…My family has boxes and boxes of Kodak Moments. Those cherished photos tucked away will remain, eventually fading into a yellowed memory that can be touched and held in your fingertips. Only to be replaced by a memory stick and a glossy printout, very sad indeed.
Here are a few links for you that honor the thing we call film…Kodachrome…A fond farewell to Kodak.
Eastman Kodak black and white film, negatives, film development reels and black and white prints. Photograph: Gary Cameron/Reuters
I’ve wanted to write something about the imminent demise of Kodak since rumours about their bankruptcy started circulating a couple of months ago. But it wasn’t until I caught a repeat of British fashion photographer Rankin’s TV programme about Time magazine’s veteran photojournalists that something really caught my eye, taking me back to my early experience of being a photographer. It brought home what Kodak meant to me.
The documentary includes a clip of an old BBC Omnibus film about the great war photographer and Life staffer Larry Burrows, who returned time and again to Vietnam to document the war, and eventually died there. Here he was, I guess early in the morning, getting ready to go out for the day, sitting and talking about his experiences to the film crew while opening box after box of Kodak film. He was taking out those lovely, tiny, dome-topped tin canisters and chucking the boxes at his feet until it formed a veritable pile of discarded cardboard.
That was the thing about shooting on film and printing on paper: every time, it felt fresh. Fresh film, chilled from a fridge. Box fresh, beautifully packaged by Kodak in cute yellow boxes that opened with one thumb, perforated in exactly the right place. It was photographic paper that seemed somehow less greasy than the Ilford equivalent when it slipped through your fingers in the developing tray. It was printing paper packed in stylishly thin and flat boxes, in the same yellow Kodak livery. Was it really more contrasty than the competition? Were the blacks deeper, or did it just feel better when soaked through?
When Kodak stopped making their Kodachrome film in 2010, the company issued this press release and tribute. Take some time to look at the images, some of them like the one below will obviously be recognized as photographs which defined a mood, a moment, a war, a life…
Kodak: A Thousand Words – A Tribute to KODACHROME: A Photography Icon
They say all good things in life come to an end. Today we announced that Kodak will retire KODACHROME Film, concluding its 74-year run.
It was a difficult decision, given its rich history. At the end of the day, photographers have told us and showed us they’ve moved on to newer other Kodak films and/or digital. KODACHROME Film currently represents a fraction of one percent of our film sales. We at Kodak want to celebrate with you the rich history of this storied film. Feel free to share with us your fondest memories of Kodachrome.
© Steve McCurry
Sharbat Gula, Afghan Girl, at Nasir Bagh refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984.
I’ve had the profound privilege of working with the world’s greatest photographers in my role here at Kodak. I serve as the company’s liaison with the pro community, and I’ve gotten to know the best of the best. Each one has their Kodachrome story.
Please read those stories…and,
View our slideshow of great KODACHROME moments.
Another farewell to Kodachrome, this time from CBS Sunday Morning:
They are fast becoming a memory of Christmas past – photographs taken the old way, with film. And the most famous film of all — Kodachrome — is itself about to become a memory, as CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports.
Professional photographer Kent Miller is up before sunrise making sure everything’s perfect for his photo shoot. He wants to capture a triathlete named Carlos Lema at the foot of the George Washington Bridge just across the river from Manhattan in just the right light at dawn.
His film of choice, as it has been for millions of others, is Kodachrome.
“Kodachrome is probably the first professional film I ever really shot,” Miller said.
A professional photographer for more than 20 years, Miller shoots mostly digital now. But this is a job for film, and not just any film – Kodachrome.
“It just reproduces colors in a way that most other films never did, and it lasts forever,” Miller said. “It’s something that is difficult to do with just shooting digital until you bring it in to Photoshop and resaturate and do all your work in there. But just straight out the camera it doesn’t have that density and dynamic ranges as the Kodachrome does just naturally.”
Todd Gustavson is the curator of technology at the Eastman House – Kodak’s museum in Rochester, N.Y.
“It’s a baby boom product,” he said. “After World War II – availability of new automobiles, national parks were open – and people were able to have some time to travel and of course now there is a this new color film which you could use to document your family vacations and then of course come back and show your friends and neighbors your slides on your carousel or Kodak slide projector.”
Back in 2010, when this story was reported, the last place on earth who could develop the Kodachrome film was on its last week of production.
Kodachrome isn’t a do-it-yourself kind of film. Those long-lasting brilliant colors are the result of a unique developing process involving special chemicals only Kodak makes – or made to be more precise.
It isn’t something you can develop in your basement darkroom.
“The real difference between Kodachrome and all the other color films is that the dyes that make up the image you see in the film, in Kodachrome, don’t get incorporated into the film until it is actually developed,” explained Grant Steinle, who now runs the business his father started .
They’re sad at Dwayne’s, but not at all surprised. They’ve been watching their Kodachrome business shrink, even as other labs stopped processing Kodachrome and Dwayne’s became the only place people from around the world could send their film to be developed.
They’re still doing 700 rolls a day, but that’s not nearly enough demand to convince Kodak to make more chemicals. They’ve got just enough for another week.
“It’s going to be really sad day, it was an important part of our business and Kodachrome was an important part of the history of all of photography,” Grant Steinle said. “To know it was the first consumer color film that was available. Lots of really iconic images of the 20th century were captured on Kodachrome.”
Here are some wonderful images, captured on Kodachrome by one of the photographers for Vanity Fair. The Last Roll of Kodachrome—Frame by Frame! | Culture | Vanity Fair
Two years ago, photographer Steve McCurry heard the whispers. Due to the digital-photography revolution, Kodak was considering discontinuing one of the most legendary film stocks of all time: Kodachrome, a film which was to color slides what the saxophone was to jazz. McCurry spoke with Kodak’s worldwide-marketing wizard Audrey Jonckheer, hoping to persuade Kodak to bequeath him the very last roll that came off the assembly line in Rochester, New York. They readily agreed. And recently, McCurry—most famous for his National Geographic cover of an Afghan girl in a refugee camp, shot on Kodachrome—loaded his Nikon F6 with the 36-exposure spool and headed east, intending to concentrate on visual artists like himself, relying on his typical mix of portraiture, photojournalism, and street photography.
Herewith, presented for the first time in their entirety, are the frames from that historic final roll, which accompanied McCurry from the manufacturing plant in Rochester to his home in Manhattan (where he is a member of the prestigious photo agency Magnum), to Bombay, Rajasthan, Bombay, Istanbul, London, and back to New York. (The camera was X-rayed twice at airports along the way.) McCurry’s final stop, on July 12, 2010: Dwayne’s Photo, in Parsons, Kansas—the only lab on Earth that still developed Kodachrome—which halted all such processing in late December.
Now, these next links are not Kodachrome specific, but nevertheless, photos taken with film.
For some images of the The Iran Hostage Crisis, 31 Years Later — PICTURES – – NationalJournal.com
Jan. 20 marks the 31-year anniversary of the release of hostages from Iran. Fifty-two Americans were held for 444 days in the American Embassy in Tehran, in one of the most significant flash points in the long, tumultuous relationship between the two countries.
Gin and Tacos has some links to photo galleries in one of the blog’s latest post: ginandtacos.com » Blog Archive » NPF: TORCH-PASSING
NASA’s newly released, true color, hi-res scans of the photographs from the Gemini missions (pre-Apollo).
If space isn’t interesting to you, take a look through one of my other favorites, the Prokudin-Gorsky color photographs taken in Russia between 1900 and 1910. Or learn more about the pioneer of color photography here. It’s pretty difficult to convince your brain that this photo was taken in 1905, isn’t it?
Of course I must link to one of my favorite sites: Shorpy Historical Photo Archive | Vintage Fine Art Prints
More after the jump.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 16, 2011 Filed under: Environment, morning reads | Tags: animal noises, classic movies, Climate change, film, History, salt
As the title suggests, today’s morning reads are going to be mostly fluff…
Late last night I was sitting in our local Banjoville Mickey D’s, it was around midnight and the only people in the joint were a group of cheerleaders from the night’s football game and my family. What a scene…On the TV screen was Fox News, which is no surprise given the conservative “Christian” clientele…the TV was on mute, the CC subtitles were on, but the sound system was playing a medieval Gregorian chant. And they had that music turned way up!
They must have it going for a reason…perhaps to make sure the good ol boy country folks won’t linger after they eat their burgers. So here we sit in this empty fast food restaurant, and my mother begins to talk about the book she is reading, The Brothers Karamazov. Only she called it The Brothers Kamikaze, and she didn’t catch the slip.
It was like a surreal episode from an early Twilight Zone…I felt completely detached, as if I was watching the scene like a spectator. And all the while, the monks are singing in Latin, Fox news has this guy with way too much Botox in his brow and forehead…jabbering on about the difference between Mormons and the real Jesus loving Christians, and my mother going on about the cruel nihilist characteristics of the Kamikaze brothers…
That is a perfect description of how I feel about this morning’s post, it is going to be a mix of links that don’t really add up to anything substantial.
First let’s get the soundtrack started, no not monks… but piranhas. New Study Finds Piranhas Talk To Each Other via Barking | Geekosystem
Red-bellied piranhas are already scary enough, but it turns out that these hyper-aggressive carnivorous fish are also quite the talkers. Using hydrophones to record the fish in captivity, Eric Parmentier from Belgium’s Université de Liège recorded a series of sounds that suggest the fish have a lexicon of audio signals produced in a rather unique way. The study has recently been published in The Journal of Experimental Biology.
The researchers were able to identify three distinct sounds, or “barks,” produced by the fish. In their research, they found that these barks were repeated in similar situations, suggesting that the sounds carry some kind of meaning. For instance, a low grunting sound seemed to signal other piranhas to keep their distance from the barking fish. A rhythmic thud bark, the researchers found, was associated with circling and fighting other fish. Lastly, chasing and nipping fish seemed to be the final level of signaling with a soft creating sound produced by their gnashing their teeth.
But here is the kicker, the fish are using their swim bladders to produce sound…for some reason when I read this I immediately thought of a beginning bag pipe player.
Previous piranha projects had revealed that the fish’s swim bladder — the organ that allows fish to adjust their boyancy in the water — was used to produce sound.
Using the swim bladder as a starting point, Parmentier’s team found that stimulating the muscles around the organ produced sound. Once the stimulation ceased, so did the sound. This is significant since it showed that the muscles were creating the sound and the bladder was not resonating, in which case the sound would have continued after the muscles ceased moving. It also showed that the frequency and pitch of the barks were determined entirely on the muscle contractions.
There is a link to a National Geographic video of the fish making the sounds…neat stuff. I especially like the subtitles…Get away…Let’s Fight… I’m gonna kick your ass…and Hey Baby, let’s get it on.
On to the latest study that asked the question: Did Columbus Cause Europe’s Little Ice Age? | Informed Comment
This story is irresistible for a world historian interested in climate change. Richard Nevle, a geochemist at Stanford, argues that the European advent in the New World, which killed 90% of the 80 million native Americans, caused the Little Ice Age.
The native peoples of the New World burned a lot of wood. When they largely didn’t exist anymore, because they suffered high mortality from a host of European diseases to which they had no immunity, they stopped putting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Instead, forests grew rapidly since they weren’t being chopped down anymore, and land wasn’t being cleared for agriculture. Forests take in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, plus they fix some carbon dioxide in the soil. They are what is called a “carbon sink,” though not a really efficient one, since much of the carbon they take out of the atmosphere eventually finds its way back there. I suspect the dramatic fall-off in the burning of fossil fuels was the much more important cause here.
Less carbon dioxide reduces the “greenhouse effect” making the earth cooler.
An alternative theory is that reduced solar activity contributed to the cooling in the 1600s and 1700s. And the warming period of 900-1300 may have already been reversed in part by the Black Death in Europe and the Middle East, which wiped out one third of the population and would have reduced carbon emissions. Of course all these causes could have operated together.
And when you think of what the little ice age caused, it is clear that climate does affect out history and our future.
During the Little Ice age in Britain, people used to go ice skating on the Thames in the winter. Agriculture was badly hurt by shorter growing seasons, causing famines and violent competition over resources– i.e. wars and revolutions. Scandinavia, which had been a major player in world affairs during the warm centuries 900-1300– ruling Ireland and Sicily (where Vikings fought Arabs) and discovering North America– rapidly declined in significance as it froze over. Famously, there were bread famines in France in the 1780s that likely contributed to the outbreak of the French Revolution.
Give the article a read, Cole goes on to discuss other historical wars and famine and exploration that may find its sources in climate changes. I remember when the Egypt rising was taking place, there were articles talking about how the age of a population relates to various uprisings, wars and revolutions throughout history. It makes me think of this young group of people who have started a global occupation protest against austerity and big banksters. Interesting isn’t it?
Moving on from global warming and cooling, to salt. Decadent Meal Made Entirely From Salt | Geekosystem
This monochromatic tableau is part of a new exhibition featuring the work of Ken and Julia Yonetani called Sense of Taste, currently on display at the GV Art gallery in London. Modeled after a traditional still life painting, this sculpture presents a decadent meal of cheese, fruit, wine, fresh fish, and lobster. However, it is made entirely out of salt.
Beautiful…what a picture. Click that link for some more cool images of sculptures made of salt and a quick description of how they do it.
I have more gorgeous images for you, this time pictures of movie legend Carole Lombard. She Blogged By Night: Carole Lombard
Lombard really was beautiful and compelling, wasn’t she?
Oh yes, she sure was. More pictures at the link above.
From Minx’s Missing Link File: Sticking with the movie theme, some of you may have seen The Ides of March this weekend, here is a review that I thought many of you would appreciate. The Ides of March Has A Woman Problem | Mediaite
I went in to The Ides of March wanting to like it. I really wanted to! It has West Wing-esque political drama, following a candidate and his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President. It boasts a stellar cast including George Clooney and (feminist!) Ryan Gosling. It has already garnered significant Oscar buzz and is seen as a potential Best Picture contender. But five minutes in, it became glaringly obvious that even the combined star power of Clooney and Gosling couldn’t save this film from its major problem: the women.
In a cast full of all-star talent, there are two women in this movie and both characters are vapid, one-dimensional, and function only to prop up the male characters. As the film opens, the first female character (Evan Rachel Wood) is bringing coffee to a team entirely of men – she’s an intern. From what I can see in the film she is the only woman working on the entire campaign – was it really necessary to make her an intern?
Comparing this movie to The Social Network, which I thought showed women in a negative light, this movie is about a subject that is definitely a mans world, but the ceiling has received a few cracks in the last election…
And while American politics is still largely dominated by men – it has come a long way in the last several years, farther than the all-dude environment in Ides would lead you to believe. There have been dozens of prominent women running for office and even more working on campaigns in the last few election cycles: there have been Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin, and countless others. Patti Solis Doyle ran the Clinton campaign in 2007 and Donna Brazile ran the Gore campaign in 2000, to name just a couple. Yet nowhere in do the writers even consider the possibility that women may have had something worthwhile to contribute to politics.
Yes, wasn’t there a female president on West Wing? Maybe I am just thinking about something else. Even this election cycle, it seems plain to me that the US still isn’t ready for a female president. And if the war against women escalates, it will only make it harder for us to have that Madame President in the White House.
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: This article in Salon really spoke to me, and since we’ve been talking about moving pictures…it is the perfect way to end this fluff post. R.I.P., the movie camera: 1888-2011 – Salon.com
Cecil B. DeMille (Credit: doctormacro.com)
Major manufacturers have ceased production of new motion picture film cameras; cinema as we once knew it is dead
We might as well call it: Cinema as we knew it is dead.
An article at the moviemaking technology website Creative Cow reports that the three major manufacturers of motion picture film cameras — Aaton, ARRI and Panavision — have all ceased production of new cameras within the last year, and will only make digital movie cameras from now on. As the article’s author, Debra Kaufman, poignantly puts it, “Someone, somewhere in the world is now holding the last film camera ever to roll off the line.”
This is heartbreaking, and makes me think of the time when vinyl records went with the wind…
…Cinema is not just a medium. It is a language. Its essence — storytelling with shots and cuts, with or without sound — will survive the death of the physical material, celluloid, that many believed was inseparably linked to it. The physical essence of analog cinema won’t survive the death of film (except at museums and repertory houses that insist on showing 16mm and 35mm prints).
But digital cinema will become so adept at mimicking the look of film that within a couple of decades, even cinematographers may not be able to tell the difference. The painterly colors, supple gray scale, hard sharpness and enticing flicker of motion picture film were always important (if mostly unacknowledged) parts of cinema’s mass appeal. The makers of digital moviemaking equipment got hip to that in the late ’90s, and channeled their research and development money accordingly; it’s surely no coincidence that celluloid-chauvinist moviegoers and moviemakers stopped resisting the digital transition once they realized that the new, electronically-created movies could be made to look somewhat like the analog kind, with dense images, a flickery frame rate, and starkly defined planes of depth.
But let’s not kid ourselves: Now that analog filmmaking is dead, an ineffable beauty has died with it. Let’s raise two toasts, then — one to the glorious past, and one to the future, whatever it may hold.
Well, that is all I can do this early morning. (It is almost 3 am here in Banjoland and I am barely keeping my eyes open.) So what are you reading about today? I bet there is some real hard news in this cycle, let’s hear about some articles you have found this morning…
Posted: February 20, 2011 Filed under: collective bargaining, Environment, Foreign Affairs, just because, morning reads, Water | Tags: charlie chaplin, film, internet, journalism, water shortages, Wisconsin protests
…being Wisconsin cheezy. Yes, its Sunday Morning and Minx here with your morning reads.
First off, if you missed Boston Boomers post late last night, go read it now…she has posted “some links to the important events that have taken place today in the many ongoing protests.”
If you are a Wisconsin Teacher you are having one hell of a time right now. It has been difficult watching these hard working public sector/state employees getting trashed on the news. The way these journalist and media celebrities talk, you would think these people are just like Marie Antoinette. Living the high life while the private sector folks work and pay for everything…leave out the fact that if the real rich Marie Antoinettes out there weren’t getting all those damn tax cuts…things would be a hell of a lot better for everyone.
Doctors are throwing their support behind the teachers. You may have already seen this:
Wisconsin Doctors Tell Teachers: Call in Sick to Continue Protests – ABC News
Also from ABC News:
Largest Protest yet Fails to Sway Wis. Lawmakers – ABC News
And over at Huffpo, is this another “Beer Summit?” As one of the supporters of Walker’s bill states: “Beer is something we can all agree on.” Madison Puts The Civility Back Into Discourse
The slogans they had chanted had highlighted the stark differences that separated them.
“Kill the bill!” cried the opponents of Republican Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to cut the pay and benefits of unionized public workers and sharply reduce their collective bargaining rights. “Pass the bill!” supporters of the proposal shouted back.
But aside from a few outsiders — like AFL-CIO chief Rich Trumka here to back opponents of the measure, and Andrew Breitbart, the conservative provocateur who appeared at the Tea Party-backed rally to support Walker — the people on hand were from Wisconsin itself and these neighbors were remarkably civil despite their sharp disagreements.
Wisconsonites are united, even in times like this, by many things, including a love of University of Wisconsin, Madison, athletics and the program’s strutting mascot Bucky the Badger; a devotion to the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers NFL football team; and, of course, a love of beer, brought to the state by its German settlers and honed by brewers whose names are part of American history: Pabst, Schlitz, Miller and Blatz.
So when the opposing rallies ended here on Saturday, many of the demonstrators retired to the numerous bars in the Capitol’s shadow, like The Old Fashioned Tavern & Restaurant, with its 50 beers on tap — all from Wisconsin — and another 100 in bottles, 99 of them from the Badger state. The one other, from neighboring Minnesota, is listed under imports.
Over pints of Evil Doppleganger Double Mai Bock and Lost Lake Pilsner, knots of demonstrators debated the questions that have galvanized union employees across the country and brought the business of the state legislature to a standstill. Is Walker’s proposal part of the Republican’s effort to put the state’s finances in order, a repudiation of the state’s long history of progressive politics, or the latest example of that tradition?
Wisconsin HS Student schools Greta over Walker’s radical assault on Unions and even proposes raising taxes on the rich | Crooks and Liars
Middleton High school student Jacob Fiskel joins in the protests and explains to Greta van Susteren why it’s important that teachers and public workers do what they have to, even if they stay at home if they don’t want to lose their right to collective bargaining because of Gov. Walker’s outrageous proposal to try and destroy unions. He’s gone as far as reading the National Guard against them. I found it interesting that when Greta asked Jacob what the state should do to fix the budget problem, Jacob called out the rich. Now that’s shared sacrifice.
Greta: In terms of your state, do you have some suggestions on how to deal with your budget crisis?
Fiskel; Yes I do. I think we should really consider raising taxes on the rich. I know the argument is that it’s going to hurt small businesses, but with this plan you’re taking spending money away from teachers and public workers and small businesses are going to lose millions of dollars. But if we can raises taxes on the rich we can afford it and we can start to pay for our budget problems. Earlier Gov. Walker has already cut a hundred million dollars of corporate taxes and that’s one of the reasons why we’re in this mess.
Greta: What do you think is going to happen with those Senators in Illinois? DO you think they should stay in Il. or come back to Madison to vote on this?
Fiskel: I think they should do whatever is necessary for them to be able to talk with Gov. Walker and the Republicans to make sure that our demands are met and to make sure that the public workers of Wisconsin get the respect that they deserve?
Greta was not aggressive with Jacob and let him speak his mind. He even said that the actions Walker is taking would affect the quality of teachers and education on the whole state. Doesn’t Jacob make much more sense than let’s say, Rep. Paul Ryan?
Yes, this kid is smart and articulate…look how quick he is with answers.
Dakinikat has been covering Wisconsin so if you have not read her post, please check them out:
Death by Propaganda « Sky Dancing
And now for the Propaganda « Sky Dancing
On Wisconsin! (Breaking News) « Sky Dancing
Okay, one thing that seemed to come out of the Egyptian rising was just how impressive the reports from field journalist and reporters were. Much more impressive than their counterparts reporting from comfy news studios. Did you wonder what the affect of zero internet service had on these reporters during the revolt? What effect has the internet had on journalism? | Technology | The Observer
For Peter Beaumont, this newspaper’s foreign affairs editor, the revolution in Egypt revealed more than the power of the people in triumphing over repressive regimes; on a personal level, he discovered something new about his working practices.
Beaumont trained as a journalist in the days before the world wide web, but, like most of his profession, he has integrated new technologies into his news-gathering techniques as they’ve emerged. Covering the events in Cairo during the internet blackout in Egypt was like taking a step back in time.
“We went back to what we used to do: write up the story on the computer, go to the business centre, print it out and dictate it over the phone,” he says. “We didn’t have to worry about what was on the internet; we just had to worry about what we were seeing. It was absolutely liberating.”
Minx’s Missing Link: This article came out just last night, but it seems so interesting that I thought many readers would like to scan it over. Not to mention that cool picture of a camel swigging back a bottle of water. That is one talented camelid.
What does the Arab world do when its water runs out? | Environment | The Observer
A camel takes a drink in Jordan. The Middle East faces conflict if its water shortage is not tackled. Photograph: Neal Clark/Robert Harding Collection
Poverty, repression, decades of injustice and mass unemployment have all been cited as causes of the political convulsions in the Middle East and north Africa these last weeks. But a less recognised reason for the turmoil in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and now Iran has been rising food prices, directly linked to a growing regional water crisis.
The diverse states that make up the Arab world, stretching from the Atlantic coast to Iraq, have some of the world’s greatest oil reserves, but this disguises the fact that they mostly occupy hyper-arid places. Rivers are few, water demand is increasing as populations grow, underground reserves are shrinking and nearly all depend on imported staple foods that are now trading at record prices. [Guardian]
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link:
Was Charlie Chaplin a Gypsy? | Film | The Guardian
In a bomb-proof concrete vault beneath one of the more moneyed stretches of Switzerland lies something better than bullion. Here, behind blast doors and security screens, are stored the remains of one of the greatest figures of the 20th century. You might wonder what more there is to know about Charles Spencer Chaplin. Born in London in 1889; survivor of a tough workhouse childhood; the embodiment of screen comedy; fugitive from J Edgar Hoover; the presiding genius of The Kid and The Gold Rush and The Great Dictator. His signature character, the Little Tramp, was once so fiercely present in the global consciousness that commentators studied its effects like a branch of epidemiology. In 1915, “Chaplinitis” was identified as a global affliction. On 12 November 1916, a bizarre outbreak of mass hysteria produced 800 simultaneous sightings of Chaplin across America.
Though the virus is less contagious today, Chaplin’s face is still one of the most widely recognised images on the planet. And yet, in that Montruex vault, there is a wealth of material that has barely been touched. There are letters that evoke his bitter estrangement from America in the 1950s. There are reel-to-reel recordings of him improvising at the piano (“I’m so depressed,” he trills, groping his way towards a tune that rings right). A cache of press cuttings details the British Army’s banning of the Chaplin moustache from the trenches of the first world war. Other clippings indicate that, in the early 1930s, he considered returning to his homeland and entering politics. [Guardian]
Give the rest of the article a read, it goes on to discuss the possible re-writing of The Tramp’s family history.
So what are you reading today? Anything positive? Don’t know about you, but I need a jolt of humanity about now.