The blog has moved...

Really, it's more accurate to say I've suspended posting here and went on to do two different photo blogs.

Join me at Up Your Asa (a general purpose photo blog)


Mondo Hafla (a belly dance photo blog).

See you there!


Milwaukee Rally Refuses to Rouse...

[story by PatsPen/photos and video by Mikasi]

“What do we want?” came the cry.

“Peace!” came the answer.

“When do we want it?” came the cry.

“Now!” came the answer.

And therein lay the crux of the matter. At 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, a small crowd of roughly 300 protestors had gathered outside the courthouse at 10th and Wells in Milwaukee carrying placards and banners and stickers. Some wore buttons and pins. There was one dog with signs hang along its back. A few small children darted here and there among the adults. Some of the adults were on foot, some sitting on benches, and some in wheelchairs. There were toddlers, preteens, high school students, college students, middle aged adults and senior citizens. There were about an equal number of men and women. And there were sporadic, almost random burst of enthusiasm.

Other than that, it felt a bit like a not-very-well-attended bake sale.

[to read the rest of this story, click here]

[to see the entire photo set click either here or the picture above.]


Al Jazeera launches Creative Commons video repository

I'm posting this for those of you doing news on the Gaza Strip who have been jonesing for footage to accompany your reports. And I am sure more than a few of you have been discouraged by the lockout of reporters and photographers from the Gaza Strip.

Al Jazeera launches Creative Commons video repository

January 14, 2009 at 11:31 am · Filed under copyright, media and tagged: , , , , ,

Al Jazeera yesterday announced the world’s first repository of broadcast-quality video footage released under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution license. Select Al Jazeera video footage – at this time, footage of the War in Gaza - will be available for free to be downloaded, shared, remixed, subtitled and eventually rebroadcasted by users and TV stations across the world with acknowledgement to Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera will release its exclus

While many will see this as a venue for a disinformation campaign it is also a valuable tool for getting to see a side of things  viewing of which has been actively and tacitly discouraged in the US.

And in another bit of news that might be useful, this from the New York Times -

Thus far, however, Al Jazeera has largely stayed away from the blogging that is common on news sites, though that is being reconsidered, Mr. Nanabhay said.

“Especially during these crises, they present a lot of opportunity to use these tools, and the value becomes apparent very quickly,” Mr. Nanabhay said.

Mr. Minty has been focusing on the introduction of a platform at aljazeera.net to allow the public to contribute opinion or “citizen journalism,” ideas that he said were still new to the Arab world.9

While some might see this as another outlet for their current news writing, I am posting is because it could well become a source to help beef up the writing many here are already doing.

Also, please note that the story from the NYT does not focus on the citizen journalism angle - this is just an aside. The focus of the article is on Al Jazerra's unique advantage on reporting from Gaza and how the service can use this in its efforts to better penetrate the U.S. news consumer markets.

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From Big Three to Bogged Three - Senate Rejects Bailout Attempt

If you are an optimist with full faith that the economy will soon bounce back, later today may be a great time to buy some stocks in the Big Three American Automakers - in all likelihood, they should be going cheap.

Um, make that even cheaper.

General Motors Corp. may be in bankruptcy within weeks, followed shortly by Chrysler LLC, after the U.S. Senate rejected a $14 billion rescue plan and the companies’ options for survival dwindled.

“I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor in Washington last night. “It’s not going to be a pleasant sight.”

Can't speak for you, but as I see it, between every election from 2000 on all the way to this big eco collapse we are all caught in the middle of a big, bad disaster film remake from the 70's. It's like Poseidon Adventure, meets Earthquake, meets Wall Street except that last one wasn't a disaster film the first time around. But this rewrite sure is taking a weird turn.

It's gone from "greed is good" to "greed is ghastly" all in one fell year.

President George W. Bush must now decide whether to let the companies collapse or find another way to channel government funds. Minutes after the vote, he was pressed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Reid to tap funds from the Treasury’s $700 billion bank-rescue fund.

However, there is still debate concerning whether that $700 billion was enough to float the economic boat or if it was just optimistic window dressing. Spreading it even thinner couldn't make anything better. Could it?

Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd, who helped lead the negotiations, said the final unresolved issue in the Senate talks was a Republican demand that unionized autoworkers accept a reduction in wages next year, rather than later, to match wages of U.S. workers at foreign-owned companies, such as Toyota Motor Corp.

While I do not often share the sentiments of Republicans, be they elected or not, my guess is that these Republicans have a good point. As a basic lefty loony I've been cranked off by the amount CEO's, CFO's and the rest of them make. To pay the leaders 400 times what the linefolks make is ridiculous. However, it is probably safe to say at this point, that all Gods' children got to suffer - whether they be rank and file or management. I simply doubt the books will balance otherwise.

Let me close with what we can all appreciate as the season's best understatement, this from Senator Harry Ried -

“This is going to be a very bad Christmas” for many people, Reid said on the Senate floor last night.

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Stng Meets Orwell? Scientists Now "See" Your Dreams

The secret world of dreams has been unlocked with the invention of technology capable of illustrating images taken directly from human brains during sleep.

As if advances in home computing alone have not been boggling enough for old guys like me some crazy, brilliant SOB's in a Japanese lab have come up with a new invention straight off the pages of Star Trek's Next Generation...

Or a dystopian Sci-Fi novel.

A team of Japanese scientists have created a device that enables the processing and imaging of thoughts and dreams as experienced in the brain to appear on a computer screen.

While researchers have so far only created technology that can reproduce simple images from the brain, the discovery paves the way for the ability to unlock people's dreams and other brain processes.

Frankly, I can see how my government (among others) would see this as a great opportunity to re-allot money from water boards to circuit boards if they thought they could easily and literally see into another's head.

Right now the technology is not in an advanced state. According to a statement from a spokesman at ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories this

was the first time in the world that it was possible to visualise what people see directly from the brain activity.

"By applying this technology, it may become possible to record and replay subjective images that people perceive like dreams." The scientists, lead by chief researcher Yukiyaso Kamitani, focused on the image recognition procedures in the retina of the human eye.

This means that currently the technology promises no boon to humanity nor threat to civil rights. Still, when the 8086 PCs of 1985 who thought the powerful quad core units of today a scant 20 plus years way?

So we might well see that people taking an unwelcome peak into your head might be less than a generation away.

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I envy comic artists...

They find new ways to tell you what you already know...