Archive for May 2009

links for 2009-05-21

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

The last survivor of the Titanic

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Remember Titanic? Of course. Who can forget the largest grossing film of all time? $1.8 billion, unadjusted for inflation. Those who remember the plot of the film (around the historical backdrop) remember that the film deals with a fictional survivor of the April 14, 1912 sinking of the mighty ship.

What I didn’t know is that now there is only one such living survivor in real life, 97-year-old Millvina Dean of England, who was two months old at the time the ship sank, and is now in declining health.

As it happened, Irish author Don Mullan photographed Dean a few weeks ago for an exhibition, and at the time, offered to sell photos autographed by Dean with all proceeds to pay for her nursing home bills. In so doing, he challenged stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, and director James Cameron, to match his donation, saying:

If we cannot take care of this gracious and very special lady, now in her 98th year, then all our concern about the Titanic is but a sham. Millvina Dean must be allowed to live out the remainder of her days without any worry or concern about meeting the costs of her welfare.

There are people including director James Cameron and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet and Canadian singer Celine Dion who have made enormous profits from the Titanic story and I believe they can and, morally, should help.

On Monday, the two stars and their director responded by donating a combined $30,000 toward Dean’s medical expenses…in essence, giving back a small portion to the last bearer of the ship’s historic legacy.

2,222 of the people who were on the Titanic on April 14, 1912 have passed on…1,517 that day, and 705 others over the 97 years following. Only one is now left. I think it’s a class act by DiCaprio, Winslet, and Cameron to make sure Millvina Dean’s final years are ones to remember.

UPDATE 6/1/09: And she’s gone. No word on what will happen to the money pledged.

Cameras prejudiced against Asians?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Blogger jozjozjoz is having issues with the technology in her camera lately, going so far as to call her camera (gasp) racist.

As I was taking pictures of my family, it kept asking “Did someone blink?” even though our eyes were always open. Sheesh! RACIST!

Did someone blink?

The camera in question was a Nikon S630. I have a Nikon as well, but it’s a D40 DSLR. My first thought when I heard this was this: Nikon is a Japanese company. (In fact, they pronounce it differently there…NEE-kone rather than NIGH-konn.) So you would think that they should have designed this anti-blink feature with Asian eyes in mind. Because as most people know, when we Asians smile (which, after all, is what you do in front of a camera 99% of the time), our eyes all but disappear. Kinda annoying when you’d have to fight with your camera on this.

As I thought about it, though, it made me wonder. Photographers come in two stripes. One type gravitates toward the DSLR, interchangeable lenses, and off-camera flash; the other type wants the camera to do all the work. Point, shoot, done. The camera makers have bent over backward to make cameras easy to use for point-and-shooters, and for the most part they’ve succeeded.

For instance, in modern point-and-shoot cameras, we see autofocus mechanisms that focus in on faces, cameras that release the shutter when the subject smiles, and (as you can see) cameras that detect the dreaded blink.

While this technology is all well and good, sometimes I wonder whether camera technology is becoming too smart for its own good. I’d probably imagine that if the camera hadn’t tried to be helpful, “racism” probably wouldn’t be an issue here. :)

Twitter Updates for 2009-05-08

Friday, May 8th, 2009
  • Co-worker received VM: “I need help logging in. Call me at 555…uh…you know what…I forgot. I’ll call you back.” Click. ROFL!! #
  • Guess it’s looking like the Red and White Song Contest at the Capitol. One side will be singing for joy and the other side the blues. #HB444 #

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Twitter Updates for 2009-05-07

Thursday, May 7th, 2009
  • Lots of empty seats at Ala Moana Food Court today, even during peak lunch hour. Sign of the times, I guess. #
  • Anyone find it a bit awkward when a protected account follows you out of the blue? Like someone taking but not giving in return? #

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Twitter Updates for 2009-05-06

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
  • Office tried dialing into our system via modem; “no dial tone.” Their IT folks apparently told her the problem was on OUR side. HUH? #

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Twitter Updates for 2009-05-05

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
  • The vog’s so thick this morning, I swear, I’m smelling sulfur. #

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Twitter Updates for 2009-05-02

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

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Twitter Updates for 2009-05-01

Friday, May 1st, 2009
  • Here I am…back to repairing potholes on the electronic claims superhighway… #
  • is at Honolulu – http://bkite.com/070p2 #
  • Hoping the Blazers do well in Houston tonight and force a Game 7 back in Portland. #
  • And on day 101, a SCOTUS nomination? Wow. RT @politicalticker: Justice Souter to retire from Supreme Court – http://tinyurl.com/dbpkmc #

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