Friday, May 22, 2015

Voice box testing

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Friday, May 22, 2015   0 comments links to this post

A tribute to Miyazaki

Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux from Gwenn GERMAIN 

A tribute to Miyazaki (Totoro, Kiki, Ponyo). Made and animated by one person!

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Friday, May 22, 2015   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm F2.8 PRO Lens Review

Robin Wong is more fun to read than dry lens tests (or camera tests). These days he works for Olympus, but it does not sound like he is writing more positively than he did when he was just a fan.
Olympus has released a super-wide edition of their PRO line, making it complete, and Robin reviews it.  The PRO line is dust and splash-proof, of the highest mechanical excellence, and optically so excellent that just ten years ago people would not have believe that zoom lenses could ever get so good. Hell, they are so good that even prime lenses would have to be Leica or Zeiss to be that good (and these zooms are a dang sight cheaper than those, even though of course they are double what a normal lens costs).

These kind of lenses (also existing in the Canon and Nikon world, but much heavier) are very popular with pros, because just one covers a lot of your shooting in top quality, and with two, say the wide-to-normal and the normal-to-longish-tele, you cover pretty much everything which does not come under specialist territory (like wildlife or architecture photography).

Robin is also fun because he very often manages, just in walking around testing a lens, to capture many really lovely photos from his native Malaysia.

[Click for big pic]

Can you believe this nice bokeh on a super-wide? That's because, as I forgot to even mention, the PRO line is also faster than normal zooms, being F:2.8 across the zoom line. This is a big part of their size and price. 

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Wednesday, May 20, 2015   3 comments links to this post

rare footage of 1950s housewife in LSD experiment

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Wednesday, May 20, 2015   0 comments links to this post

Patrick Bruel - J'te le dit quand même

This is interesting. When a song gets popular enough, you don't have to sing it yourself anymore...
It's really sweet.

Of course, with a partner like this, you may like to. Durn, she lovely.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Wednesday, May 20, 2015   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Battle At F-Stop Ridge

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Saturday, May 16, 2015   1 comments links to this post

Jetman Dubai

[As usual, to get a bigger image, click on the YouTube logo or the full screen icon to the right.]

Now that's the way to get to work.

The last half is more visually interesting, because they fly above Dubai city.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Saturday, May 16, 2015   3 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Healing Code, quote

From an astonishing book called The Healing  Code:

"When I was about ten years old we had a special assembly one day in school. Unlike some of the other assemblies we had, it was mesmerizing, inspirational, and fabulous. A karate master shared secrets of life while he did all sorts of amazing feats like breaking boards, bricks, stones, huge chunks of ice, and fighting off many attackers at the same time.

He told us a true story that has stayed with me ever since. It was of a young boy in China about my age who was in the initial stages of learning a certain form of martial arts. The school he attended would periodically have an event for the families and friends of the students to celebrate their progress. Different students prepared far in advance to do their particular demonstration. The master told this one young boy that at the event he was to break a certain number of a certain type of brick. This task was a little bit unusual since the boy had never done it before and would not actually perform the action beforehand! Yes, he would practice like everyone else, but would only practice the technique, not the actual breaking.

When the young boy expressed concern to the master, the master simply smiled and said, “You will have no problem. You know everything you need to break the bricks.” The day of the event came and all the students performed brilliantly to the audience’s delight and appreciation. Finally, for the finale, the young boy came out, bowed to the crowd, bowed to his master, and attacked the bricks as he had practiced. To everyone’s amazement, the bricks broke easily under the boy’s hand.

 The master stepped forward, motioned for everyone to be silent, and explained that what the young boy had just done had never been done before in history. Not by himself, not by any of the great masters of the world. The master shared that the boy, while talented, had been able to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat not because of talent, but simply because he believed he could perform the feat with no doubts in his heart. The breaking of the bricks was simply the physical manifestation of the boy’s internal beliefs."

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Wednesday, May 13, 2015   3 comments links to this post

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cube in a cube in a cube

Here's a cool video of a Russian guy cutting a metal cube within a cube within a cube.
(Warning: turn down sound if you don't care for continuous heavy metal music.)

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Monday, May 11, 2015   1 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Olympus OMD E-M10

I notice that the Olympus E-M10 is currently only $499 (with kit lens) at Amazon US.

I think this is a fantastic deal. The E-M10 (review) is a slight simplification of the E-M5, which was the camera which brought the Micro Four Thirds camera system into the professional sphere. (I think the only significant differences is that the 10 is not weather sealed, and the Image Stabilization is slightly simpler.)
If you combine this for example with the outstanding, compact portrait- and all-round fast lens 45mm F:1.8, you will have a flexible and powerful system capable of professional results (sharp portraits with blurred backgrounds, and a general zoom) for under $1000. And it is even much lighter and more compact than DSLR cameras. And of course you have what is now one of the widest and best selection of lenses on the market, going from good, compact lenses, reasonably priced, to more expensive lenses which are amongst the best money can buy (no joking).

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Saturday, May 09, 2015   4 comments links to this post

Monday, May 04, 2015

New Leica M Monochrom (sic), review/trial

Whether you can afford them or not (apparently quite a few people can, Leica is busy), you may have an interest in reading about high-quality cameras. If so, this article is num-num. This is about the second version of the Leica M Monochrom, "typ 246". (It seems that Leica is following the trends of Apple and Amazon, no easy distinction of generations, an iMac is an iMac is an iMac, and Kindle is a Kindle is a Kindle. Sigh.)

A Black-and-white-only camera is not only interesting because of the purity and abstractness of the medium, but also because it has no color filter. This means that each pixel gets at least three times as much light as when a color filter is fitted (as it is in virtually all cameras). Imagine what this does for low-light power.

As as the camera does not have little filters in three different colors, this means that it does not have to guess what the light would be in pixel position x if the filter there had been green and not red. How much exactly this improves sharpness and tone accuracy, I don't know if anybody has tried to measure, but my guess is a doubling or so.

So I don't doubt this photographer when he says that the quality he is getting from this B/W full-frame camera with top lenses is "like from a field camera". (A field camera has a negative of 4x5 inches or even 8x10 inches. Not many of the general public are familiar with photographs of such technical quality.)

Of course like all high-end equipment, it does have lacks which laymen don't understand: it does not have Image Stabilization (anti-shake), and it does not have autofocus! A different beast.

New Leica Monochrom, "The Black Ghost"? 

And being digital, it can be fitted with an Electronic ViewFinder (EVF), which does away with that old downside of non-reflex cameras, parallax (non-precise framing), and also now lets them use tele or zoom lenses, impossible with film Leicas.
(Gotta admit that as configured here, the machine is very handsome and "manly". :-)
Update: Mark reminds me about Visoflex, a flip-mirror adapter one could/can put between the Leica and special lenses, like specially made tele- or micro lenses. So "impossible" is not correct. Though surely it had some serious limitations, since Leica made the Leicaflex camera too.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Monday, May 04, 2015   7 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 03, 2015

The complexities of English

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Sunday, May 03, 2015   2 comments links to this post

Blondie, Heart of Glass, with nuke message

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Sunday, May 03, 2015   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 02, 2015

A new road for solar power?

Bert found this, and I agree with him, it could be very, very important indeed.
Elon Musk intoduces new batteries which will pave the way globally for free solar power (after the initial investment, of course).
If we don't go this road, we will choke our planet and continue to have wars over oil, and we will be laughing stock for all the animals and all the other sentient races in the Galaxy.

Amazingly, the pre-order system is not USA-only, but for many countries. Unfortunately I live in an apartment where we are not allowed to put anything on the outside of the building, so I can't get solar panels. They say the battery can save you money anyway because energy providers charge different fees at different times of night and day, but I don't think that alone will be enough for me to do it. Otherwise I'd do this immediately. It would be so damn cool to live in a house independently powered by free solar energy.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Saturday, May 02, 2015   8 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Swedish SF paintings

I've rarely been very interested in very realistic paintings. And I think the main reason is that 98% of those exhibit very little imagination. The artist rarely puts very much of himself into them.

A stellar exception is Simon Stålenhag's paintings. Wonderful realism with great SF.

A lot of art is very very loud, but has little life in it. This is the opposite. 

I also really like that this book has not only the paintings, but text also, which tells some kind of story together with the paintings. I have never understood why combining text and pictures is so rare, except in comix, which almost nobody considers Art. 
Perhaps it is simply that painting and writing separately are very complex endeavors, hard to learn to do well and effectively. And so, making them work well together is like singing opera while racing a motorcycle. 

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Thursday, April 30, 2015   2 comments links to this post

Salt flats reflecting

To my taste, this gets more interesting as it progresses. E

Reflections from Uyuni from Enrique Pacheco 

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Thursday, April 30, 2015   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tiny Tripod for iPhone, "Stance" from Kenu

[Thanks to TCGirl]

And if you're not interested, just enjoy the beautiful presenter.
(Man, after seventeen years of running a girlie site it is hard to stop working at keeping up your reputation as a Dirty Old Man. :-)

It looks like a good product. Looks well produced, and it's amazingly small and light.
Downsides: does not work in landscape format. And will not work with certain cases (But this is true of virtually anything which connects to a phone).

(Hmm, either they got their mits on that back in the nineties, or they paid well for it. It's virtually impossible to find a pronounceable or even memorable domain of five or less characters now.)

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Tuesday, April 28, 2015   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Math and the Simpsons

What could be further apart than high math and The Simpsons? LOTS of things, as this article explains; there are several high-math big brains on the Simpsons writing team. (And more yet on the Futurama team.)

For example, "Colonel Homer" (1992) features the first appearance of the local movie theatre, and eagle-eyed viewers would have glimpsed that it is called the Springfield Googolplex. In order to appreciate this reference, it is necessary to go back to 1938, when the American mathematician Edward Kasner was in conversation with his nephew Milton Sirotta. Kasner casually mentioned that it would be useful to have a label to describe the number 10100 (or 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). The nine-year-old Milton suggested the word googol. 
 In his book Mathematics and the Imagination, Kasner recalled how the conversation with his nephew continued: "At the same time that he suggested 'googol', he gave a name for a still larger number: 'googolplex'. A googolplex is much larger than a googol, but is still finite, as the inventor of the name was quick to point out. It was first suggested that a googolplex should be 1, followed by writing zeros until you get tired." 
 The uncle rightly felt that the googolplex would then be a somewhat arbitrary and subjective number, so he redefined the googolplex as 10googol. This represents a number that is 1 followed by a googol zeros, which is far more zeros that you could fit on a piece of paper the size of the observable universe, even if you used the smallest font imaginable.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Thursday, April 23, 2015   1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Joyce Chu, I'm true Malaysian, not Korean

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Wednesday, April 22, 2015   6 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tremastet beton, by Gasolin, translated. "Three-masted concrete"

I was astonished and disappointed when I could not find any translation of Gasolin's classic song. So I translated it myself. It's quite poetic in style, so the translation had to be quite conceptual at places. The text was written by Mogens Mogensen, an old poet the band had befriended. He wrote the lyrics to several of their songs, and was "a sailor like Captain Haddock". - Eolake

Lyrics in Danish and English

Tremastet Beton

Du søger solnedgangens stille hygge,
der er myg
du drages mod havet der ser du mor'ild
gennem skovene's mørke sale

Three-masted Concrete

You seek the quiet coziness of dusk
mites in the air
You are drawn towards the sea
where you see phosphorescence
through the dark cathedrals of the forests

over marker, marker med kornmodsglans
da søger du hjem i din stue
ensomheden, skæret, skæret fra de fyrre watt
du smider dig i dækstolen
dine øjne er lukkede, men du ser.

Over fields, fields with the glow of ripe harvest
You seek your home and your room
Loneliness, the glow, the glow of forty watts
you throw yourself down on your deck chair
Your eyes are closed. But you see.

Du ser drenge der søger mod havet
de kommer inde fra, langt inde fra landet
legende langs kajerne med store kraner
de kommer langvejs fra
havnepigernes fnisen på dækket
et stød i fløjten,
du skal hjem, åh hold kæft

You see boys seeking the sea
They come from inland, far far inland
they play along the habor with its great cranes
They come from far away
The girls of the habor giggling on the deck
the whistle blows
You gotta go home now. Aw, shut up

hoppen skal, den skal den du vil
sømanden gør det sgu'
lukkede øjne, sømand fjorten somre.
Store have, ensomheden og drengen
solen, bølgerne, mågerne og stjernerne
krigen, pigerne og havnene, og myggene
og feberen, feberen og pigerne, piger i mange farver

The mare must, it must, what you know
The sailor does it, I'll be damned
Closed eyes. Sailor. Fourteen summers.
Great seas, loneliness and the boy
The sun, the waves, the gulls, the stars
the war, the girls and the ports, and the mites
The fever, the fever, the girls. Girls in many colors.

navne på havne, piger derfra er der ingen
sus-dus og rotter, delfiner og marsvin og lus
kanontorden, skibe der brænder, signalflag
havene ta'r dem, de sorte sejlere
lukkede øjne der stadigvæk ser
sømand, pensionist søger mage.

Names of ports, girls, none are from there
The wild life and rats, dolphins and porpoises and lice.
The thunder of cannons, burning ships, signal flags
The seas take them away, those black sailors
Closed eyes, but seeing still
Sailor, retired, seeking soul mate

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Tuesday, April 21, 2015   9 comments links to this post

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