Ideas

The Year of Living Mirrorlessly

The Year of Living Mirrorlessly*

A great essay by Randall Armor up on PetaPixel.

This is one of the best pieces of writing on photography gear and being a photographer I’ve ever read. It’s right on point, well written, humorous, and informative. It seems to be pushing the Fuji X100T but in fact, it’s pushing this deeper ideas about photography and photographers.

“I see you rolling your eyes right now. Sure, Fuji probably went a little overboard cashing in on Leica fever. But why not? Camera companies stay fat and happy by understanding their customers’ psychology. Once you’ve gotten the Id, the Ego, and the Superego out of the way, photographers’ personalities can be further distilled into three subcategories: your Poseur, your Old Poop, and your Shooter.”

I’d love to think I’m a “shooter” but I may have a sprinkling of “old poop” folded in as well.

“For Shooters, having too many choices is just that– too many choices. They know that hauling around a bag full of lenses only makes it that much more likely that they will have the wrong lens on the camera every time that once in a lifetime shot presents itself.”

Amen.

*The Year of Living Dangerously is a fantastic film by Peter Weir. Well worth seeing if you haven’t seen it.

Liability insurance as a form of gun control

Let me preface this by saying that I don’t own a gun but I have no problem with the farmer who lives across the road from me taking a deer now and then (he dresses and eats them) and shooting coyotes who threaten his dairy cattle.

I live in Connecticut and one of my senators, Chris Murphy is currently filibustering the Senate to get them to act on gun control. When Chris was in the House he represented the district that had the Sandy Hook school in it, the school where kids were killed with an assault rifle. I support what Chris is doing.

Here’s an idea that might help with guns in the United States:

Why not treat guns like cars: in order to own one you have to carry liability insurance for each one you own. If that gun is involved in a crime or even an accidental killing, in or out of your possession, you’re liable. Guns have serial numbers just like cars have VINs. It would not be impossible to register and insure them at time of purchase, just like cars.

No doubt insuring a tractor trailer is more expensive than insuring a family car so if you have a semi-automatic weapon like an AR15 the you have to carry more insurance because that gun can cause more harm. Frankly, I’d like to see these types of weapons banned; they have no place in civilian life but until that happens, liability insurance would force people to assume some responsibility for them: keep them locked up, out of the hands of children, and out of the hands of criminals.

If you’re caught without liability insurance on one of your guns you’re fined and eventually, you lose the weapon and further, if you continue to abuse the law you lose the right to have weapons.

Of, if you’re found liable in enough accidents, just like cars, the cost of your insurance goes up and eventually it will be impossible for you to get insurance.

It’s not a perfect solution but it does force the folks who have guns to begin to understand that owning one comes with responsibility. And, maybe if one has to insure each gun people will stop buying so many.

I also think that rock climbers, hikers, BASE jumpers, etc. should be encouraged to buy liability insurance to pay for rescues which are incredibly expensive. Or, they should be forced to pay for the rescues.

Oliver Sacks 1989 interview

In case you missed the news, the neurologist and author Oliver Sacks passed away over the weekend. I’ve been thinking about a post about him for a few days now but wasn’t quite sure how to frame it.

My interest in Sacks comes from the fact that he explained neurological anomalies in a way that humanized the people he was talking about. He didn’t exploit his subjects; he shared their stories with us to take the scariness away from different ways of being human. During the time I was coming to terms with my own learning disabilities (dyslexia, ADHD) reading Sacks’ books and these stories were a comfort to me.

This is a wonderful interview done in 1989 by Joanna Simon for the The McNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (now called the PBS NewsHour).

I’m really glad the folks at the NewsHour dug up this piece and no doubt had to digitize it to get it up on youTube. It’s a treasure.

At the end of the piece, Jim Lehrer mentions that the Sacks book Awakenings is being turned into a movie. That movie came out in 1990 and was fantastic. It starred the late Robin Williams as Oliver Sacks. Here’s the trailer:

Makes me sad that both of these people are now gone. Two brilliant folks.

John Oliver on food waste

John Oliver discussed food waste in the United States and the politics that makes it happen.

His piece is based partly on one done by a collaboration of PBS and NPR which I’m embedding below. If you care to, watch the PBS/NPR piece first, it will inform the John Oliver rant.

NPR’s Allison Aubrey looks at why good food is being discarded, and what can be done to prevent it.

[via The Verge]

Greyston Bakery

I was driving to JFK the other day and heard this piece on the Greyston Bakery on the NPR show, Here and Now:

No Resume? Criminal Background? No Problem At This Yonkers Bakery

The company aims to hire the hard-to-employ and is known for its “open hiring” practices, where anyone can sign up regardless of background. All profit from the company go to the Greyston Foundation, which uses it for low-income housing, day care open to the community, a medical center for those with AIDS, and other community endeavors.

from Wikipedia

Bernie Glassman (an aeronautical engineer-turned-Buddhist monk) founded Greyston Bakery in 1982 to put some of his ideas about social justice into practice.

When I got out to LA I listened to the piece again and did a bit of poking around and found the Greyson Bakery site where I bought some brownies to try and found this incredibly moving presentation by Greyston CEO Mike Brady and employee Dion Drew:

TED@Unilever

Dion Drew really choked me up. Fantastic success story.

Unilever is a British/Dutch conglomerate that owns numerous brands, including Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Greyston Bakery makes the brownies that go into Ben & Jerry’s various brownie-infused ice creams. No doubt when the real Ben and Jerry owned and ran their business (before Unilever bought them), they chose the relationship with Greyston to further their own ideas about social change.

I’m an instant fan and will continue to buy Greyston brownies both mail order and from Whole Foods where you can buy them retail.

Hacking Airplanes

I’ve been following and reading Bruce Schneier for many years. He’s one of the most well-researched, articulate, and reasonable technology experts writing about computer and network security around.

I highly recommend reading: Hacking Airplanes. It’s a well reasoned and well written piece on internet vulnerabilities as we become more connected.

Imagine this: A terrorist hacks into a commercial airplane from the ground, takes over the controls from the pilots and flies the plane into the ground. It sounds like the plot of some “Die Hard” reboot, but it’s actually one of the possible scenarios outlined in a new Government Accountability Office report on security vulnerabilities in modern airplanes.

He’s not saying that the above scenario will happen any time soon, or ever, but he is worried that as “the internet of things” grows and our refrigerators, watches, cars, planes, baby monitors and medical equipment become more connected, our vulnerability to cyberattack grows.

The Red Sneaker Effect

The Power of the Hoodie-Wearing C.E.O.

Silvia Bellezza, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Business School, and Francesca Gino and Anat Keinan, two professors there, first studied the link between accomplishment and informality. They found that scholars who dressed down at an academic conference, eschewing blazers for T-shirts, had stronger research records, even controlling for age and gender. Then, they explored why and when this sartorial tactic for announcing status—if that’s what it is—succeeds.

This is a brilliant piece in The New Yorker by Matthew Huston on how status affects how people treat social norms and how the rest of us look at status and norms. Very worthwhile read.