Sunset #12

Sunset #12

4K Time Lapse of sunset over the Pacific shot from San Francisco.

I made this with a Sony A7C, 40mm F2.5 G and a GR-120QD slider. It's taken a while to work with this combo as Sony decided to omit a wired shutter trigger from the A7C. It took a long time to come to terms with this - surely I just had the wrong cable or settings, but no, it doesn't support this super basic function. In case you're struggling with this Hypoxic sells a bluetooth to 2.5mm adapter, although it's actually the other way round - the 2.5mm port causes the bluetooth shutter to activate. It's a little baroque as you're working with a camera (and battery), a slider (and battery) and an adapter (tiny coin battery and no idea how much power is left...). It works though.

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Sunset #12 #timelapse #video #sunset #pacific #4k #slider Sunset #12 )

Does America Need A Third Party (Again)

Andrew Yang and Daniel DiSalvo, pro and anti the motion Does America Need A Third Party.

Open to Debate just released a podcast about the need (or not) for more parties in American politics: Does America Need A Third Party.

Andrew Yang argued in favor. In fact he thinks the right number is probably five - break the democrats in half, break the republicans in half and throw in his Forward party. There is a great case for the first four of these - see this WaPo article from last year. I've suggested forcibly breaking them up, antitrust style. Another approach would be term limits for parties. Yang is growing on me. Reforming the electoral system is a much better platform than universal basic income.

Daniel DiSalvo argued against the motion. Actually he mostly just said that even if everything is broken nothing is going to change so why bother. I think that's 99% right, but not really in the spirit of a debate.

Open to Debate is a rebrand of Intelligence Squared US, which debated the same issue in 2021. In that case the status quo won the day, probably as it was defended by PJ O'Rourke, however the actual vote was 50% more parties and 40% keeping two. Unfortunately I don't know who won this time because Open to Debate has given up on the competitive format and even spirited questioning. You have some back and forth, and some carefully chosen and curated questions like a Biden presser. The original (UK) Intelligence Squared seems to have given up on the big issues and puts out Burgundy vs Bordeaux and people with a book release to plug. Canada is the only real hope right now with the Munk Debates.

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Does America Need A Third Party (Again) #politics #political reform Discussion of the debate between Andrew Yang and Daniel DiSalvo on the need for more political parties in the US. )

Reviews for September 2023

Updated on Friday, September 22, 2023

Spoilers!

Movies

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Review:Movies:Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Very nearly skipped this as the Crystal Skull installment was atrocious. The dial is the Antikythera mechanism which is cool, although it's a toddler proofed version with a very different function than the original. The film's heart is in the right place and it's much closer to the originals, but the CGI young Indie kind of sinks it. Harrison Ford is showing his age but better than any plausible replacement (definite Joe Biden vibes) and I wish they'd stuck with that. Instead there is a lot of flashback to fake young Indie which would make for an impressive demo but doesn't work in a major movie. Maybe the technology will get there one day, or maybe we should hand the baton on to a new generation of heros (again with Joe Biden parallels).

Operation Napoleon

Review:Movies:Operation Napoleon

Fun Icelandic thriller about a Nazi plane that crashed with a mysterious cargo.

Music

America

Haunting music and video by London Grammar. Keeps growing on me.

Podcasts

FiveThirtyEight Politics

Review:Podcasts:FiveThirtyEight Politics

In the run up to Trump's first election I started listening to the NPR Politics Podcast. It was hard to keep up, and the opening with the hour and minute where the content would still be relevant was on the nose. It's since got tired, and they unfortunately switched to a daily update which doesn't have much depth. Safe to say if I'm listening to a politics podcast I know the headlines already. Luckily I also started listening to FiveThirtyEight Politics. Nate Silver might be gone, but it's still great, diving into nerdy detail on the tiniest little thing. This goes to the top of my queue each time it's published, mostly twice a week at the moment.

Intrigue Burning Sun

Review:Podcasts:Intrigue Burning Sun

Disturbing reporting on K-Pop, rape and the Koran legal system.

Intrigue Mayday

Review:Podcasts:Intrigue Mayday

A dead British soldier, the White Helmets and fake chemical attacks in Syria.

Intrigue Tunnel 29

Review:Podcasts:Intrigue Tunnel 29

Yes I will be listening to the entire back catalogue of Intrigue this month. Tunnel 29 is the story of a tunnel under the Berlin wall. It's the best from Intrigue so far.

TV

Good Omens Season 2

Review:TV:Good Omens Season 2

The archangel Gabriel shows up naked at Aziraphale's bookshop, hijinks ensue. Great sequel.

Kaleidoscope

Review:TV:Kaleidoscope

In principle Kaleidoscope is very clever because you can watch most of the episodes in any order, and Netflix says that everyone gets a random shuffle. In practice though it's a heist and so you already know every detail, only the specific macguffins and flourishes need to be added. I enjoyed it.

Special Ops Lioness Season 1

Review:TV:Special Ops Lioness Season 1

A little soapy. I'd rather watch Jack Ryan and Grey's Anatomy separately rather than mashed up together like an experimental ice cream flavor. Has its moments though.

(All images included with ITHCWY reviews are the property of their respective owners and are used to illustrate reviews only.)

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(All Reviews)

(Published to the Fediverse as: Reviews for September 2023 #reviews #indie #video Reviews for September 2023 )

Wave

Beautifully lit wave at Fort Funston

SONY DSC-RX10M4 220mm f4.0 1/2,000s ISO100

A nicely lit wave at Fort Funston (GGNRA) in San Francisco.

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(Recent Photos)

(Published to the Fediverse as: Wave #photo #wave #fortfunston #sanfrancisco #pacific Photo of a beautifully lit wave at Fort Funston, San Francisco, California. )

Global Cloud Cover 48 Hour Video Updated Hourly

Updated on Saturday, September 23, 2023

Global IR Cloud Cover

The video below shows the past 48 hours of global cloud cover, 6 frames per second. It's HD so view full screen to get the most detail. The video is updated hourly.

 

The source is the Global IR product from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center. I process their image to be equirectangular instead of spherical mercator (full details here) and then generate a video.

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Global Cloud Cover 48 Hour Video Updated Hourly #etc #clouds #satellite #earth #h5v Video showing 48 hours of global infrared cloud cover in HD, updated hourly. )

Blue Marble 2 Animation

One frame showing the Amazon from a Blue Marble 2 Animation

This animation shows twelve sections from the highest resolution version of NASA's Blue Marble Next Generation image for December 2004.

Can you guess all twelve locations? Answers below.

I use a lower resolution version of this image in Catfood Earth. The full version is 86,400 by 43,200, or 3.7 gigapixels. I've always wanted to do something with all this data, and decided to just follow some random paths and animate out the results. It's a little like watching the view from the ISS, if the ISS could randomly change location and direction.

The sequences in order are:

  1. Passing over Madagascar and then across central Africa. 
  2. Along the Aleutian Islands and into Alaska. 
  3. Across South America and the Amazon. 
  4. Up the Eastern seaboard of the US into Canada. 
  5. Following the Nile through North Africa. 
  6. From Siberia to Denmark. 
  7. Up Baja California and then California USA. 
  8. Philippines, Taiwan, China, Mongolia. 
  9. Following the Caribbean to Florida. 
  10. Across Australia. 
  11. South South America, focused on Chile. 
  12. Koreas, Japan.

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Blue Marble 2 Animation #etc #video #nasa #bluemarble #earth #satellite 4k 60fps video from high resolution satellite imagery, can you guess all twelve locations? )

Is Sortition Having a Random Moment?

Generated image of some random politicians with good hair.

I have long been a proponent of Legislative Service, a specific flavor of sortition where the upper chamber in a bicameral system is replaced by a randomly selected 'jury' on a per-bill basis. You'd serve for a couple of weeks and act as a check and balance on professional politicians who propose the legislation. It might also work well if you find your country in need of a revising body (Bibi, call me). The British government didn't bite, and the concept rarely gets much press, until this week.

In the New York Times, Adam Grant suggests sortition to randomly select politicians:

"In ancient Athens, people had a choice about whether to participate in the lottery. They also had to pass an examination of their capacity to exercise public rights and duties. In America, imagine that anyone who wants to enter the pool has to pass a civics test — the same standard as immigrants applying for citizenship. We might wind up with leaders who understand the Constitution."

Having aced the US citizenship test I'm not sure it's a particularly high bar. I do take the point that we couldn't do much worse than we are now, at least for the top job, but I think there is still a role for professional representation.

Bruce Schneier organized a conference on rethinking democracy. The whole debrief is worth a read, here's the section on sortition:

"Sortition is a system of choosing political officials randomly to deliberate on a particular issue. We use it today when we pick juries, but both the ancient Greeks and some cities in Renaissance Italy used it to select major political officials. Today, several countries—largely in Europe—are using sortition for some policy decisions. We might randomly choose a few hundred people, representative of the population, to spend a few weeks being briefed by experts and debating the problem—and then decide on environmental regulations, or a budget, or pretty much anything."

Much closer to my vision, including having a system of briefing people on the issue. I'd make this adversarial, like a jury trial.

But before this in the US: demolish the electoral college, and then diversify our choice of politicians - either by ranked choice voting or like this.

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(Published to the Fediverse as: Is Sortition Having a Random Moment? #politics #politicalreform #democracy #legislativeservice #sortition Reform democracy via lottery: Sortition covered by Schneier, NYT, Legislative Service. )

Washington Post Misleads With Statistics On First Republican Debate

Washington Post illustration of poll results for first Republican Debate

The photo above is how WaPo decided to illustrate their poll results after the first Republican debate. They say:

"Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came out on top Wednesday night, with 29 percent of Republican voters who watched the debate saying he performed best."

And his head is much much bigger so it's clear who won. Except buried in the small print this is a three percentage point difference in a small poll with a +/- four percentage point margin of error. In other words, flat.

To be clear I want neither of these gentlemen installed in the White House. But this is pretty crappy data reporting.

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(All Politics Posts)

(Published to the Fediverse as: Washington Post Misleads With Statistics On First Republican Debate #politics #election A three percentage point difference on a four percentage point margin of error is not a win. )

Catfood WebCamSaver 3.22

Updated on Saturday, September 23, 2023

Catfood WebCamSaver 3.22

Catfood WebCamSaver 3.22 is available to download. This release updates the webcam list.

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Catfood Earth for Android 4.30

Updated on Saturday, September 23, 2023

Catfood Earth for Android 4.30

Catfood Earth for Android now supports random locations. The slice of Earth displayed will change periodically throughout the day. You can still set a manual location or have Catfood Earth use your current location. Install from Google Play, existing users will get this update over the next few days.

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