The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Fun with expensive toys

I'm still getting to know the Canon 20D that Anne gave me last month. I've introduced it to my (15-year-old) 80-200 zoom that hitherto has hung out with my old EOS Rebel film camera. Because the image sensor on the 20D has only 63% of the area as a pane of 35mm film, lens lengths are extended 1.6x, making the lens, in effect, a 128-320 zoom. Combine that with bright daylight and selectable ISO speeds, and you get 1/3200 shutter at f/5.6, which eliminates camera shake:

Sadly, after carefully examining the raw version of this photo and the lens I used to take it, I have discovered that the 20D forgives absolutely nothing. Here's a detail of the original without any processing (though at higher compression than raw). Notice the subtle blue shimmer along the branch edges, and the general lack of focus? I believe those are lens artifacts. Given the dust visible inside the lens (in the sealed parts where cleaning is impossible without dismantling it), and the aging of the visible lens surfaces, I think it's time for a new long lens.

Wonder what his rent was...

Rocky Raccoon checked into a room. Here's the AP story:

Raccoon found atop Loop skyscraper

A wayward raccoon has been living on top of a 43-story building in Chicago's Loop.
A construction manager didn't believe it at first when a worker reported seeing the raccoon on the 36th floor of the Kluczynski Federal Building, but a cell-phone photo provided proof. The critter was climbing scaffolding at the building, where the facade is being restored.
Construction boss Tony Slavic used tuna to bait a humane trap on the roof and eventually captured the raccoon. On Tuesday, he released it into a forest preserve in suburban Chicago.

CIA chief steps down

Central Intelligence Agency chief Porter Goss has abruptly resigned his post. His office swears this has nothing at all to do with the hookers-and-parties scandal inching ever closer to him.

Says Josh Marshall:

We don't know definitely why Goss pulled the plug yet. But the CIA Director doesn't march over to the White House and resign, effective immediately, unless something very big is up.

I'll be watching this story.

Schneier on who owns your computer

Security expert Bruce Schneier has a good article today about threats to your computer (hint: Sony is one):

There are all sorts of interests vying for control of your computer. There are media companies that want to control what you can do with the music and videos they sell you. There are companies that use software as a conduit to collect marketing information, deliver advertising or do whatever it is their real owners require. And there are software companies that are trying to make money by pleasing not only their customers, but other companies they ally themselves with. All these companies want to own your computer.

This essay originally appeared on Wired.com.

Net neutrality threatened; Mike McCurry on wrong side

The New York Times editorial page today reminded everyone who values the Internet to call their representatives in Congress and demand continued net neutrality:

One of the Internet's great strengths is that a single blogger or a small political group can inexpensively create a Web page that is just as accessible to the world as Microsoft's home page. But this democratic Internet would be in danger if the companies that deliver Internet service changed the rules so that Web sites that pay them money would be easily accessible, while little-guy sites would be harder to access, and slower to navigate. Providers could also block access to sites they do not like.

And over on Huffington, Adam Green has some things to say about Mike McCurry's activities helping the big telcos:

Mike McCurry knows that the free and open Internet most Americans think is the "status quo" is actually GONE in 3 months. So it's more than a little bit deceptive when McCurry asks, "What service is being degraded? What is not right with the Internet that you are trying to cure?" McCurry is implying the exact opposite of what he knows to be true.That's a lie, and it's a genuinely sad sight for those who once admired him.

It's possible that, in three months, not only will Iraq be shattered, but also the Internet. Then Iran? Maybe India? Anyone for Indiana? Why does the Administration (993 days, 21 hours) hate things that start with "I?"

The Ascent of Man

Seems God was just about done creating the universe, but He had two extra things left in his bag of creations, so He decided to split them between Adam and Eve. He told the couple that one of the things He had to give away was the ability to stand up while urinating.

"It's a very handy thing," God told the couple, "I was wondering if either one of you wanted the ability."

Adam jumped up and blurted, "Oh, give that to me! I'd love to oh please, oh please, oh please, let me have that ability. It'd be so great! When I'm working in the garden or naming the animals. I could just stand there and let it fly. It'd be so cool, I could write my name in the sand. Oh please God, let it be me who You give that gift to, let me stand and pee, oh please..."

On and on he went like an excited little boy who had to pee. Eve just smiled and told God that if Adam really wanted that so badly, that he should have it. It seemed to be the sort of thing that would make him happy and she really wouldn't mind if Adam were the one given this ability. And so Adam was given the ability to control the direction of his misdirection while in a vertical position. And so, he was happy and did celebrate by wetting down the bark on the tree nearest him, laughing with delight all the while. And it was good.

"Fine," God said, looking back into His bag of leftover gifts, "What's left here? Oh yes, Multiple orgasms..."