August 29, 2009
Burning Man Machine Tags on Flickr
If you wonder what a "machine tag" is at Flickr, the technical answer is here. Probably the most popular machine tags are used for mapping. They go in the tag place just like any tag. For example, these two:
Usually Flickr hides machine tags from view, but they are accessible and usable. Over the last week there have been hints (here and here) that some kind of special machine tag for mapping Burning Man was in the works, or all ready to go, or sump'n, but not until yesterday did Flickr come out and say (sort of) just how to use it. Here's their explanation. But allow me to clarify the steps you, the Burning Man Flickr photographer, will follow:
- Go to Burning Man with a camera;
- Take photos;
- Come home, wash up, look at your photos;
- As you are preparing to upload those photos to Flickr take note of any that are in/of/at an identifiable "camp," event or piece of art - and you know that when we say "camp" we mean only one of those big theme camps with an assigned spot, not little ordinary camps like mine;
- Look up that "camp" on the theme camp list, or the event on event list, or the art on the art installation list;
- If you find it, click it;
- Take note of the string of digits at the end of the URL of the page you go to - for example, if you go to the page for 24/7 Condom Bar [an event] the digits at the end of the URL are "396";
- Add this tag to your photos at 24/7 Condom Bar "burningman:event=396";
- Voila! The photo will be pegged at its proper location (they say) on the Flickr Black Rock City map (yeah it sucks, but Flickr is owned by Yahoo so it's a Yahoo map).
It's easier than it looks, if you are already in the habit of adding meaningful tags to your photos. But let me tell you about the problem I foresee. Not only do some camps, some events, and almost all art installations change from year to year, but the entire city changes position every year. The BLM does not allow Black Rock City to be built on exactly the same location year after year. Take a look at that map and you'll see it's a 2008 map (count the roads), so it's pegged at the physical location of last year's city. The map is not year-sensitive, and there is no year identifier in the machine tags they are using. Now, maybe "396" will only be used this year and never again. There's no reason they can't do that, but I would like it better if 24/7 Condom Bar kept the same identifier every year, and they simply added year data as well. For example: "burningman:event=2009/396". After I get home from 2010 Burning Man, we'll see if they've figured out how to make this work right.
On another unrelated tech issue, there WILL be cell phone service at Black Rock City this year. This is unprecedented. But not to worry, the service will most certainly be unusable. A temporary tower has been put up a mile outside the orange perimeter fence. It's solar and wind powered and has a satellite uplink. It's got Verizon and AT&T. Verizon allows only 23 users while AT&T allows 35. Total of 58 channels for a city of 40,000 to 50,000 residents. I won't be checking my voicemail.
raygun gothic rocket ship
Photo by john curley. More of his photos and a story at The Burning Blog.
August 28, 2009
I'm sorry I didn't hear about this a little earlier so I could have gotten some to take to Burning Man, where there is quite a bacon cult. It's "Tactical Bacon," canned bacon. Net weight 9 ounces, $12.50 at the linked site. CMMG, whose name is on the label, sells it for $15.95. A photo of the ingredients and nutrition label is here.
August 27, 2009
Fire In Yosemite
Photo by BayerNYC. This may be the Big Meadow fire that was supposed to be a planned burn of 90 acres (♫"a 3-hour tour"♫). That fire has expanded to 2,200 acres and is providing employment to several firefighters.
Meanwhile, our friend the Wildcat Fire that started just before we hiked to the High Sierra Camps, is still burning, but they've got six guys working on it and the trail in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is now open as far as Water Wheel Falls.
Photos by john curley. I'm sorry I'll be missing Tuesday's City Council meeting - NOT!
Woofer - similar to Twitter, but it requires a MINIMUM of 1,400 characters before it will allow you to post. The result can be deep, thoughtful essays, such as this one:
Lameloise was the first 3 michelin star restaurant we visited. Rightly or wrongly the Michelin ratings raise our expectation of the dinner and we expected the dinner to rank with the most memorable meals we have had in other establishments. After taking into consideration the amuse bouche (there were 2) and the pre dessert in 2 parts, we were effectively having a 10course meal. My first issue is the sheer amount of food served. Bythe time I have my pigeon, i could no longer savour the delicate flavour of the dish. I think a gastro meal should be clear and distinct from a gourmand meal which did not happen that night. At Lameloise, the quality of produce and the flawlesssness of execution is without doubt. You know you are tasting very high calibre produce the moment it hits your mouth. I has also never tasted such perfectly cooked langoustine and lobster. Execution was truly flawless. The service was also excellent. They had a cheese trolley of over 20 different types of cheese and the waiter was able to fully articulate the origin, texture and strength of his recommendation. The same waiter also cooked my crepe suzette in front of our table. Yes, it was the best crepe suzette I have ever had - there is a terrific balance of syrup and grand marnier and the crepes maintained its texture and flavour, much unlike the oversoaked crepes you typically get when you order this dish. In spite of the produce, execution and excellent service, two areas stood out and marred our experience. The wine pairing was mediocre beyond belief, unacceptable for dining at this level and a crime in the middle of Burgundy. The chardonnay was sharp and acidic, the pinot noir was flat and dull. Both wines did not complement our meal. They left no impression whatsoever and could not match the dishes served. The other peeve was the innovation and creativity demonstrated in their amuse bouche did not cross over into any of the dishes. The dishes served in the actual menu remained conservative, traditional french cuisine. It is a pity. It's safe to assume a lot of people who dine at such a restaurant are foodies who have eaten at numerous restaurant and many of them french ones. As such, flawless execution of a dish you have encountered countless times can bring a smile of relief, comfort and satisfaction; it however cannot fan ones passion for fine cuisine, trigger deep joy to leave a lasting impression. Alas, that is my big regret. I think I will soon forget this meal as it will blend into the one of many good french restaurants we have patronised
Great White Hope
U.S. Representative Lynn Jenkins (2nd District, Kansas) has apologized - well no, not exactly - her spokesperson has said the Congresswoman "wanted to apologize" for saying that the Republicans are "struggling right now to find the great white hope." She then named three white Republicans as up and comers. The spokesperson went on to say "What she meant by it is they have a bright future. They're bright lights within the party."
Well, that's mighty white of her, damn straight!
Emrys in his garden.
The Contra Costa Times has an article about my friend Emrys (in Concord, California) who recently had his first book published, People Plural (only $9.95 at Amazon).
Two Men - No Bicycle
Here's a bootleg copy of a video from a Chinese language TV channel. This is the one somebody's going to email to you, if they haven't already.
Good camera work at this Italian performance, although the audience seems very restrained in their applause.
But Golden Power is not alone. Here the Portuguese Alexis brothers do a similar performance.Their faces actually show effort and pain, but at least it's different music.
The Alexis brothers in Italy with, again, good camera work. I see they are not barefoot, as the Golden Power boys are.
And finally here's a video of "Melkart Ball" who are Bartłomiej Pankau & Jacek Wyskup appearing on what is "Poland's Got Talent," called "Mam Talent." When the hosts come up at the end of the performance you can see how small these guys actually are, which probably helps make the performance possible. Their website. Barefoot and with skimpy shorts, just like Golden Power.
Have any of these guys endorsed a razor or shaving cream?
Ted Kennedy On Health Insurance
He criticizes the elitist hypocrisy of the U.S. Senate - except for one Senator from Ohio.
Not Living Free In New Hampshire (But Nobody Dies)
News story here. The Keene police arrested a young woman for going topless and refusing to put on a shirt. The police officer, unprofessionally I think, was willing to get into a discussion and argument with the people gathered around. He cited the "panic and alarm" provision, probably in the "disturbing the peace" ordinance, not the "indecent exposure and lewdness" ordinance mentioned by a commenter. This produces gales of laughter from the crowd. I believe it was the same thing cited by the Cambridge cop who arrested Professor Gates while he was insisting on his own rights.
Anyway, the really, really interesting part of this story is that during the whole protest and arrest scene, the young woman has a gun in a holster belted around her waist and nobody says a peep about that. But those tits, oh man, those tits are causing panic and alarm.
BTW, you don't see any female tits in the video above. No P & A here.
August 26, 2009
The Man Is Up
Right In Front Of The Arms And Armor Exhibit, oh my!
He's in the news because he (or maybe just his model) got nabbed for doing a photo shoot in the Arms and Armor Exhibit right there in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. I know from my visits that the room contains an historic organ (the musical kind) from Boston, so this nude cavorting is serious business. The link includes two heavily pixelated videos. I will be searching to see if someone has anything unpixelated to share.
Phil Saviano Gets His Kidney
In the late 1990s the Roman Catholic church made the uncharacteristic decision to make a settlement offer to a victim of priestly sexual abuse WITHOUT requiring a confidentiality agreement. That victim was Phil Saviano and he used his $12,500 settlement to organize SNAP, the "Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests." They were, for awhile, the lone voice speaking the truth about abuse by Roman Catholic clergy. Then the Boston Globe began to run with the story, and the rest is history.
A year ago Mr. Saviano's kidneys began to fail. He searched for a donor and found one in SNAP, Susan Pavlak who herself was molested by a former nun at a Catholic high school (but she still remains an acive Catholic). The transplant took place today.
"The practice of my faith is important to me," she says. "The stupidities of it, and the imperialism of it, and the patriarchy is a problem, and it needs to change. But change can not come only from the outside - it has to come from within."
Yeah, I've heard that reasoning from other Catholics, Catholic clergy, and Log Cabin Republicans.
Castle Air Museum Wrap-Up
Nicknamed the "Vultee Vibrator," this aircraft was flown during the second phase of pilot training by almost all Army Air Corps and Navy pilots during WWII. This was the first aircraft used at Merced Army Air Field, which was later renamed Castle AFB. It was also used at several other pilot-training fields in the San Joaquin Valley.
Thousands of pilots in the Army, Air Forces and Navy, plus the British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Air Forces trained in the AT-6. 15,109 of them were built, more than any other trainer. It was called the "Harvard" in British service and the "Wirraway" in Australia. In the Korean War, T-6s were used as forward air control aircraft, armed with smoke rockets to designate targets and carrying an observer to assist the pilot. The T-6 lasted long beyond WWII and was eventually used by many nations. It was phased out of USAF service in 1958. Many survive and are often seen at air shows.
It was originally designed as a glider, although the design provided for it eventually being powered. A tactical transport, it was a versatile aircraft able to be converted in a short time to a troop transport carrying 61 troops, MedEvac transport with 50 litters, or a freighter carrying 15,000 pounds of cargo. It was used extensively in Vietnam, hauling all kinds of cargo including live animals; used for defoliation missions; two were converted for night interdiction. Two small jet engines could be attached underwing near the external tanks; the attachment points are visible on this aircraft at Castle Air Museum. This type was flown by five other countries and Air America, the CIA's covert transport operation.
This aircraft was developed to replace the Martin B-10 and was based on the Douglas DC-2 commercial transport. It competed with an early version of the Boeing B-17 and won out. By 1939 it was considered to be underpowered, to have inadequate defensive armament and carried too small a bomb load. Some were destroyed at Pearl Harbor and in 1942 were relegated to anti-submarine or transport duty. A B-18 was the first American aircraft to sink a U-Boar. This is the oldest aircraft in the Castle Air Museum collection, built in 1938.
A follow-on to the Douglas A-20 light bomber, the A-26 saw limited combat in Europe in late 1944 and early 1945. Redesignated B-26 in 1948, it was the only attack bomber available for the Korean War where it was heavily used. Some B-26s were part of the initial group of aircraft sent to Vietnam as part of Operation Farm gate in the early 1960s. Its last combat mission was in 1969. This display aircraft at Castle Air Museum was in the USAF inventory from May 1945 to August 1957.
The first post-WWII commercial transport designed by Consolidated Vultee evolved primarily as a replacement for the DC-3. The aircraft was powered by two 2,500 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engines. Military versions of the 240 were produced as the T-29A to E aircrew trainers for navigators and radar operators, and as C-131A Samaritan personnel or casualty evacuation transports accommodating thirty-seven passengers or twenty-eight stretchers. In the mid-70s, 23 C-131As were refurbished and modified for service with the US Coast Guard and designated HC-131A.
In the late 1940s, a significantly modified version of the B-29 was developed and designated B-50. One of the B-50s nicknamed "Lucky Lady II" made the first non-stop flight around the world, departing westward from Carswell AFB, Texas, and returning 94 hours 1 minute later having flown 23,452 miles. The B-50 was the last propeller-driven bomber delivered to the USAF. After being replaced by the B-47, they were relegated to other duties. This aircraft at Castle Air Museum was assigned to the Weather Reconnaissance Squadron at McClellan AFB, Sacramento, California, where it performed weather tracking and atmospheric sampling after Soviet nuclear weapons test. B-50s served until 1964.
That's all the photos from my visit to the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, California. If you go visit, bring plenty of your own water, as you won't find any provided for you, unless you want to drink from the sink faucets in the restrooms. If they've forgotten to open the visitor's center, just go around to the right. There are a couple of gates there that will probably be unlocked. Start your tour. Eventually they'll notice you're there and ask you for your $10 admission price.
The quoted descriptions I've been using are from a booklet they gave me when I paid my admission. I've made some revisions for consistency, to correct grammar (somebody at the museum was educated in British English) and change occasional first person pronouns to third.
Ron's Log is experiencing a brief surge of traffic as people search for images using the term topless day. Topless day was last Saturday, but a year ago I linked to a Burning Man photo that I thought was appropriate for topless day, and (as I write this) that is the number #2 image to come up on that Google search. Warning, there are tits in that link.
Just before that I got a surge of traffic from people searching for "forest lawn" glendale map where my scan of one of the cemetery's free hand-out maps is at the #5 position on Google. Ya just never know where your traffic is going to come from - but if you're putting money into it "tits" always pays off. Other related key words should be obvious.
August 25, 2009
Pink Ride - Wednesday Noon
Photo by Halcyon. "Wear pink & bring bike." I think I can manage that. 9:30 on the Esplanade. Slightly more information here.
As a Christian certain of your ascent to heaven when the Rapture comes, have you given some thought to your pets? For only $110 (good for ten years) this collection of atheists agree to take care of the "dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and small caged mammals" that you have left behind. If, when the long-awaited moment arrives, the representative of Eternal Earth-Bound Pets finds that through some terrible oversight, one (or even more!) of the human members of your family are still sitting there all corporeal and caring for your pet, then Eternal Earth-Bound Pets will not take your pet...but you don't get a refund either.
There are a lot more people than atheists who won't be swept up in the Rapture, but the website doesn't say if Eternal Earth-Bound Pets plan to expand their staff to include them as well. Doing so would certainly allow many more pets to be cared for.