April 22, 2014
Desert Tortoise, The Video
Beer & Nudity
I don't usually have two Pennsylvania posts in one day. BTW, see those three ladies in the middle of this poster? They won't really be there...at least not until you've had about a dozen "samples."
One Down, One To Go
CITY OF DESERT HOT SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT
Daniel Bressler, Chief of Police
DESCRIPTION OF INCIDENT: Commercial Burglary – Case # 1404D-4645
On 04/21/14, at about 3:30 AM, a commercial burglary occurred at a hotel in the 66700 Block of 5th Street in Desert Hot Springs. During the investigation, it was determined two adult suspects had forced entry into the hotel's office and stolen several items before fleeing the scene. Caleb Nelson (32 years old) was identified as the primary suspect during the initial investigation. On 04/22/14, the investigating Detective located and arrested Nelson near his residence in Desert Hot Springs. The second suspect's identity is unknown at this time and The Desert Hot Springs Police Department is seeking the public's help in identifying this suspect. The second suspect is described as a white male adult, average height, slightly heavy in weight with medium to dark shoulder length hair (in a loose pony tail) and goatee style facial hair. A picture of the second suspect is attached [above].
Nelson was booked into the Larry D Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on burglary and felony probation violation charges.
Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation please contact the Desert Hot Springs Police Department and ask to speak with Detective Mike Chilner. (760) 329-6411 ext 372. email: [email protected] Citizens can also call Valley Crime Stoppers at (760) 341-7867.
Caleb Nelson, arrested and languishing on the taxpayer dime.
I'm sure there are at least a few people in this town who would be able to tutor this hotelier in how to get a good screengrab from his security videos, so the police won't have to rely on photos of the display.
Meanwhile In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's Attorney General has wisely refused to defend his state's ban on same-sex marriage, so the office of Governor Corbett (a Republican) took on that task. But the defense is no defense. The Governor's office has said they will call no expert witnesses and they will not dispute any of the specific harms caused to the plaintiffs by the marriage ban. Essentially, then, this would seem to be like the Oregon suit - defenseless. But it's got one advantage over Oregon because there is a nominal defendant. The defendant (the Commonwealth) agrees with the plaintiffs that there is no need for a trial so they will not be going through the motions. Both sides are filing requests for summary judgement.
Governor Corbett is to be commended for saving taxpayers' money and minimizing everyone's misery while still staying faithful to what he thinks he has to do as Governor.
Judge John E. Jones III who will be making the decision is a Republican appointed by George W. Bush in 2002. He is a native of Pennsylvania. He ruled in 2005 that a school district's mandate to teach "intelligent design" was unconstitutional. Thereupon, he was attacked by Phyllis Schlafly and Bill O'Reilly; O'Reilly calling him a fascist activist judge. He has defended himself saying that his duty is to the Constitution, not special interests.
OTOH, when he was the Chairman of the state Liquor Control Board he banned the sale of Bad Frog Beer after determining that the frog on the label was giving the finger. Anyone who looks at the label will see that the frog has only 4 toes on both front feet and all 4 toes are extended on both feet. IMO "the finger" was in the mind of the beholder. But even if it was flipping off the drinker, it would seem to be a free speech issue.
Lytro introduced their light field camera in 2011. In a radical departure from all preceding photography, a light field camera is able to record all* the light rays, thereby allowing the viewer to choose and manipulate the depth of field later.
* But obviously it can't record more light rays than the capacity of its memory allows.
Their first camera, while fully functional, was a bit of a novelty. Now they are coming back with their big gun: the Lytro Illum. Perhaps they drew the name "Illum" from "Illuminate," but I had to go look it up. Literally, it's the accusative masculine singular of "ille" in Latin. I'm sure the Latin scholars among my readers need no further clarification, but for the rest of you..."ille" translates to "that," or some uses of "that." IOW, this camera is the accusative masculine of that. I can only wish that "that" was part of the Abbot & Costello routine so we could make another joke, but it's not. "Oh, That's the bat boy!"
But back to our camera: $1,500; 30mm-250mm zoom; 1/4000 minimum shutter speed; comes with the software to make the magic happen, that magic including instant 3D photos.
They've got two videos in the linked article. One has photographers describing why photography is so important, ignoring the fact that if we've gotten this far we already know it's important. But that video does show off the camera's uncanny ability to shoot photos of GoPro cameras (at 1m 15s)! The first couple of seconds of video after that are shot with the GoPro, not a Lytro.
This other video simply shows manipulations of Lytro images and is, therefore, less patronizing.
Here's an interview with Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal and Founder and Executive Chairman Ren Ng with more details. Just ignore the request to sign in or up. The Illum has 4 times the pixels of the previous Lytro and uses a 1-inch sensor. They explain that due to the unique nature of their camera, they are able to do aberration correction in software after the image is shot. Other camera lenses can only correct it with more optics in the lens.
Program, ISO priority, shutter priority, and full manual shooting modes are supported. The interface has also been revamped to run on Android, and includes shooting tools like a new depth overlay to help photographers visualize the three dimensionality of a scene while they frame the shot. It also has a 4-inch articulating touchscreen LCD with 800x480 pixel resolution, and a handful of physical controls.
$1,500 is the pre-order price. Once it's released the price will rise to $1,600. Current Lytro owners get a $200 discount. Pre-ordered Illums will also be "specially-engraved." Specially-engraved with what, they don't say. Maybe it's sort of like the prize in Crackerjacks. Just be surprised.
April 21, 2014
The Significance of LGBT Pulp Fiction at PS Library
On April 29, 2014, the Palm Springs Public Library, in partnership with the ONE Archives Foundation, will present author Katherine V. Forrest in conversation with ONE board member Dr. Christopher Freeman. They will be discussing the significance of LGBT Pulp Fiction and its impact on writers today.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
Palm Springs Public Library
300 S. Sunrise Way,
Palm Springs, CA
The lecture is FREE and open to the public, but seating is limited.
U.S. Senator Learns
Learns what those yellow dots on the waiting platform are for.
That's Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut on the right.
April 18, 2014
Illegal Marijuana Dispensary On 3rd Street Shut Down
Press Release: Drugs and Firearm Seizure
Agency: Coachella Valley Violent Crime Gang Task Force
Station Area: Palm Desert
Incident Date: 4-16-14 Time: 11:00 p.m.
Incident Location: 66200 block of Third Street, Desert Hot Springs
On Wednesday, April 16, 2014, a Gang Task Force officer with the Desert Hot Springs Police Department was following up leads from a citizen report of possible drug sales from a residential neighborhood within the city. The Task Force officer arrested one local gang member for carrying a loaded and concealed firearm. Arrested was 18-year-old Nicholas Lee of Desert Hot Springs. Lee was booked into the Riverside County Larry D. Smith Correctional facility, located in the city of Banning.
Officers with the Gang Task Force, Post Release Accountability and Corrections Team (PACT), and officers with the Desert Hot Springs Police Department continued the investigation resulting in locating a marijuana dispensary being operated from a residential home in the 66200 block of Third Street. A search of the location resulted in the seizure of several firearms, a small amount of methamphetamine, and a large amount of marijuana. This is an ongoing investigation and no further information will be released at this time.
If you have any information about this crime, please contact the Gang Task Force office at (760) 345-6268.
Of Moderate Interest
Some company that makes, I think, carbon fiber bicycles with electric motors, I think (I'm not going to even bother to search for any clarification) has provided this video shot from a UAV of a couple of their bicycles in the recent CicLAvia on Wilshire Boulevard. You will see that what could be a pretty cool 60-second video becomes little more than beautiful tedium as the cyclists and the UAV (with, probably, a GoPro) cover no more than 3 blocks of the 6-mile event which went from Grand Avenue on the east to LACMA at Fairfax on the west.
The three blocks videoed to death are centered on the Wilshire United Methodist Church and Scottish Rite Masonic Temple. Beautiful and impressive - once or twice. But after the 17th flyover of the church you begin to wonder if this isn't really a roof inspection service that's being promoted.
I do wish to point out that the first of the two cyclists that the camera focuses on right in front of the church doors is wearing way cool white Crocs because who knows? Because it's L.A. I guess. Maybe they are making the point that you pedal so little on these bikes you can even do it in Crocs.
Flowers In Joshua Tree N.P.
After a little cross-country walking in Joshua Tree National Park my boots were transformed into giant, clumsy bees, transporting pollen hither and thither. I don't know if I successfully pollinated anything, but the bees don't know if they do either. The high desert area is flowering nicely. The photo above was taken not far from the western entrance in the town of Joshua Tree.
I didn't travel down to the Cottonwood exit, so I couldn't observe how the low desert flowers are doing.
This weekend all your National Parks have free entrance. No charge. Get out there.
Footnote To History
Charles Cooper is the attorney who led the defense team for California's Prop 8. His practice is based in D.C. "He was named by The National Law Journal as one of the 10 best civil litigators in Washington."
He was haunted throughout the proceedings by a comment he made when the Proposition 8 case was at trial before U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. Walker asked Cooper how it would harm the state’s interest in encouraging heterosexual couples to marry and raise families if it also allowed same-sex couples to wed. "Your honor, my answer is, I don't know. I don't know," Cooper eventually replied.
These days he is busy helping to plan the marriage of his daughter Ashley Lininger to another woman who is identified only as "Casey." Ms. Lininger is a resident of Massachusetts.
Wow. Just Wow.
Oregon has a ban on same-sex marriage. Therefore, as surely as night follows day, the constitutionality of that ban is being tested in court .
The photo above depicts a conference of some of the parties defending the ban. At the head of the table is, of course, the Attorney General. Along the left side are some attorneys from private organizations who are assisting the state's defense, while along the right are representatives of some of the parties who have filed amicus briefs. Or maybe it's the other way around. They look so much alike.
Yes, indeed, my point is that no one, no one, NO ONE is coming forward to defend the state's ban in any way, shape or form whatsoever. The courtroom will have the judge, the plaintiff team, and nothing but chirping crickets on the defense team. In sports you can just call "forfeit" and go home, but I guess in a court of law you've got to go through the motions.
Huffington Post Jumps The Shark
I seem to recall that when The Huffington Post first appeared it had a fair amount of thoughtful and interesting material, although it was always a bit shy on the facts. Over time it has declined terribly and seems to have gotten down to the level of the worst of the British tabloids. Look at this. A phenomenon that is an exciting, but expected everyday occurrence at Burning Man gets blown into some pseudoscience mystery.
Next week: strange lights seen over an Air Force base and rainbows too close to the ground.
April 17, 2014
Can't Wait To Share
This was on a morning hike yesterday on no particular trail that was a loop going south from Jumbo Rocks and returning via Live Oak Canyon. Many more photos to come.
World's Tallest GoPro Photographer
When the GoPro was invented they had no idea the amazing never-berfore-photographed things that would be brought to video. Animal mouths; flying with gulls, eagles and vultures; meteors falling; and now this: