3702 – The Ghost of Brexit

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3702 – The Ghost of Brexit
Dec 082016
 

You may have noticed, Austria has a properly elected president now, and to the surprise of many, it is not Norbert Hofer, the candidate of the “Freedom Party”.

It has caused a sigh of relief throughout most of Europe, and most certainly among those who still think the EU is a good idea.

Brexit was a shock, and after Brexit, we thought that everything is possible, regardless of how stupid it is. Populism seemed to reign surpreme, and Trump seemed to be the clear proof that the age of facts is over.

Is this a turn of the tide?

We can’t be sure of it. It was Everybody vs Freedom Party in Austria, and what we got was a clear lead of 53.8% vs 46.2%. That’s more than OK for a victory, but it is not a landslide for reason. The next time, in general elections, we will see each party campaign for itself, and only the most principled of them will be steadfast about their refusal to go into a coalition with a probably leading Freedom Party. I expect the Greens and the Neos (a neoliberal party, basically the modern conservatives) in this role, but the two biggest rivals, Social Democrats and People’s Party, are already “reforming” their programs to be compatible with any coalition that may be needed to stay in power.

What can we, the people, do?

Well, we can stop waiting for the next elections. We have to make it clear NOW that we don’t approve. The next time we’ll be asked, it will already be too late. If we don’t say no to populism today, tomorrow and every day, if we don’t insist on facts as the fundament of political decisions, then the rivals for power will all go the way of populism.

If we don’t want to be lied to and if we don’t want to be tricked cheaply, we must demonstrate that populism does not work. Populism depends on a gullible populace. In a society of independent critical thinkers it does not work. Let’s show them that we are responsible individuals and not voting material. That’s all we need to do, but we have to do it convincingly.

3635 – A Fashionable Robot

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3635 – A Fashionable Robot
Oct 012016
 

When I read Isaac Asimov’s robot novels last year, I found them almost comically outdated. It’s not that I didn’t like the stories, but robots had turned out to be a direction that humanity had not taken. They had been a remote possibility when Asimov wrote the books, but in the end we had focused on other efforts.

Or so I thought.

Now I am not so sure any more. Some things are just harder than others, and while I don’t see much evidence of Robot Laws or full-fledged artificial intelligence, the idea of using robots as perfect killers seems to be pervasive. Seems we’re leaning more to the Terminator side 🙂

But anyway, as I said, some things are hard and just take their time. Look for example at Elon Musk’s announcements of his planned Mars transfer ship. The ship, the project of transporting a hundred people as a first colony, that’s almost exactly what Kim Stanley Robinson proposed in his “Mars Trilogy”. It was not possible when KSR wrote it, it may not be possible yet, but we’re definitely getting near.

I wouldn’t rule out fully autonomous robots any more. It may just take a little longer than Asimov expected.

Sep 272014
 

Hmm … ok, so blogs have gone out of fashion. The interesting thing is, that blogs cater to a specificneed for communication. A YouTube channel or a Facebook page, they have completely different patterns of update and of interaction. I wonder what kind of medium fulfills this role in today’s Internet?

And then there is the sort of blog where interaction still happens. Paul Lester comes to my mind. I mean, Paul is just an extraordinarily nice guy – and he is a communicator. I’m not 🙂

Well, as I said, I won’t stop blogging. I’m just wondering 😀

Here’s an image seen while walking through Villach on a sunny day. Triumph is one of the big old manufacturers of underwear around here and the “magic” advertised in the window is something about no wires. Well, whatever, but I found it funny to see the word magic in the same context as these “mannequins”, magically reduced to a bare minimum.

The Song of the Day is “It’s Magic” by Doris Day. Hear it on YouTube.

2723 – Hidden Shame

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 2723 – Hidden Shame
Apr 012014
 

Lately I have been back in the vicinity of my old apartment, in the seventh district, probably Vienna’s most varied and interesting part, and really, it was a pleasure to see photo opportunities everywhere, in a density of which I can only dream of where I live now.

Of course back where all the bicycles, and if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you may also have come to know that mannequin in front of a second-hand dealer’s shop. You may not have seen her with pants down though 😀

Hidden Shame” from the Elvis Costello album “Secret, Profane & Sugarcane” is the Song of the Day. Hear it on YouTube.

2422 – You Keep Me Hangin’ On

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 2422 – You Keep Me Hangin’ On
Jun 042013
 

Sometimes what you see is what you’ve expected, sometimes it’s what you could have expected, and sometimes it’s just interesting to see what you see, because it is clearly beyond everything that you’d possibly have been able to expect at all.

If someone had forced me to come up with an advertising and decoration solution for his clothing shop, I am absolutely sure I’d never have come up with this, even if it had cost me my life.

My fault, of course 😀

The Song of the Day is “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by Aretha Franklin. Hear it on YouTube.

May 302012
 

I have decided to slowly import my image collection into Lightroom catalogs. I use one catalog per year. I may at one time decide to pull all those catalogs into one big catalog, but at the moment this seems to be a workable solution. 2012 is done, keywords applied to all images, and now I go back through 2011. I already have December and am now working on November.

It’s not only keywording though. I also find images that at the time didn’t make it into a post, often only because I lacked time. Here’s one of them, taken with the Olympus E-P2 and its kit lens, the 17/2.8 pancake.

It’s ISO 1600 and parts of the mannequin were pulled out of the shadow. Yes, there is noise, but if you ask me, the noise is pretty attractive. It’s a fine grain that does not take away from the overall impression at all. Feel free to look at bigger sizes on Flickr.

Again, this is not in any way comparable to what the OM-D can do (while it’s almost two stops better than the LX5), but the remarkable fact is, that Lightroom, correctly used, is as good as Photoshop CS3 + Topaz Denoise, and in some cases it is even better. Part of this is obviously the progress Adobe have made since Camera RAW 4.6. Color noise reduction is much better now and somehow coarse color noise is magically converted into fine-grained luminance noise. In a way the noise that’s left looks very much like the famous DxO noise. I am very satisfied.

This post is called “Untold Stories I” because I fully expect more of them. Cataloging, keywording and processing of old images take time, and that time is time that I don’t shoot. There is no way around though. I just have to do it, because I already have trouble finding images.

“Untold Stories” is from Sinead O’Connor’s 2005 album “Throw Down Your Arms”. You either love it or hate it, I for sure love it. Hear it on YouTube.

Jan 262011
 

Finally here’s an image of today, taken this evening on my way home from work. The whole day we had a mix of snow and rain, but in the end the rain won and the snow is already gone again.

The Song of the Day is “Too Much Between Us” from the 1967 Procol Harum album “A Salty Dog”. Hear it on YouTube.

Well, that’s it for today, and I can tell you, it feels damn good to be done again with the backlog 🙂

Sep 152010
 

I’m pretty sure we had that girl a few times. I would have expected her under the label “Mannequin“, but there ain’t nothing.

Anyway. This is in the window of an interesting shop in Lerchenfelderstraße. They sell all sorts of old things, and for instance they gave us this old telephone. OK, here I found it: “761 – Carry On Regardless“. I had forgotten to label it properly 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Your Smiling Face” from the 1998 self-titled Dakota Moon debut album. Hear it on YouTube. It’s a cover of this James Taylor song.

Feb 182010
 

Nothing ages faster than science fiction, and when I saw this image, when I tried variants and ended up with this toned B&W, it immediately reminded me of 1950s science fiction movies.

Speaking of sci-fi, I’m still reading Orson Scott Card, and while “Ender’s Game” did not overly impress me, “Speaker For The Dead” brought up some real clever questions, and now I am in the middle of “Xenocide”. Seems like I will read the next one as well.

The Song of the Day is “A Better Future” from David Bowie’s 2002 album “Heathen”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jan 192010
 

OK, after Sunday’s sunny splendor, Vienna felt like a shock. I arrived late Sunday night in light snowfall, and in the morning most of it had been washed away by rain.

Mind you, the emphasis is on “most”. Even today, Tuesday morning, when I look out of the window, the snow is not completely gone. The slush will stay with us. How do you like that, Mr Cedric Canard? 😀

Nevertheless, treating the day like a lemon, I was able to squeeze something out for you. We had those mannequins a few times, notably in “829 – Dedicated Follower Of Fashion“, “948 – Hit The Road To Dreamland” (as one of the additional images) and “1006 – The Great Song Of Indifference“. Here I had just to wait a little, until the approaching cars provided the right light.

The Song of the Day, well, this was an obvious one. We already had the song some time ago, though not the exact title. “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” from one of Bob Dylan’s early masterpieces, the 1966 double album “Blonde on Blonde”. Hear it on YouTube.