Archive for June 2010
Yes, I will be going to see the Scott Pilgrim movie. How did you know?
For some reason it feels like 2002 here now …
I think it quite fitting that the first digitally scanned image was a picture of a baby scanned by his father. The National Institute of Standards and Technology wrote about this achievement on the 50th anniversary of this image’s scanning back in May 2007.
It was a grainy image of a baby—just 5 centimeters by 5 centimeters—but it turned out to be the well from which satellite imaging, CAT scans, bar codes on packaging, desktop publishing, digital photography and a host of other imaging technologies sprang.
It was 50 years ago this spring that National Bureau of Standards (NBS, now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST) computer pioneer Russell Kirsch asked “What would happen if computers could look at pictures?” and helped start a revolution in information technology. Kirsch and his colleagues at NBS, who had developed the nation’s first programmable computer, the Standards Eastern Automatic Computer (SEAC), created a rotating drum scanner and programming that allowed images to be fed into it. The first image scanned was a head-and-shoulders shot of Kirsch’s three-month-old son Walden.
The ghostlike black-and-white photo only measured 176 pixels on a side—a far cry from today’s megapixel digital snapshots—but it would become the Adam and Eve for all computer imaging to follow. In 2003, the editors of Life magazine honored Kirsch’s image by naming it one of “the 100 photographs that changed the world.”
Kirsch père and fils were brought to my attention by Rachel Ehrenburg’s Wired Science article examining how the elder Kirsch came up with a process for creating, not the square pixels used above and later on, but pixels of variable shape. (The consensus in the comments is that it’s an unnecessary effort, an unneeded fix.)
I wonder. Has this image has an uninterrutped electronic lineage fifty-three years long, never having been scanned back in from a book or a paper or another physical document?
Since Pride this weekend has been displaced by the G20, it took Joe. My. God. to remind me that today is the 41st anniversary of the eve of the Stonewall riots, the urban protests in New York City that–well–made it possible for me to live. In commemoration of the anniversary, Joe. reposted the New York Daily News article covering the events. It is condenscendingly homophobic, as one might expect for the time, but it marked the beginning of something very nice indeed.
The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, Queen Power exploded with all the fury of a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.
Urged on by cries of “C’mon girls, lets go get’em,” the defenders of Stonewall launched an attack. The cops called for assistance. To the rescue came the Tactical Patrol Force.
Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman, while several Florence Nightingales administered first aid to the fallen warriors. There were some assorted scratches and bruises, but nothing serious was suffered by the honeys turned Madwoman of Chaillot.
Official reports listed four injured policemen with 13 arrests. The War of the Roses lasted about 2 hours from about midnight to 2 a.m. There was a return bout Wednesday night.
Two veterans recently recalled the battle and issued a warning to the cops. “If they close up all the gay joints in this area, there is going to be all out war.”
Both said they were refugees from Indiana and had come to New York where they could live together happily ever after. They were in their early 20’s. They preferred to be called by their married names, Bruce and Nan.
“I don’t like your paper,” Nan lisped matter-of-factly. “It’s anti-fag and pro-cop.”
“I’ll bet you didn’t see what they did to the Stonewall. Did the pigs tell you that they smashed everything in sight? Did you ask them why they stole money out of the cash register and then smashed it with a sledge hammer? Did you ask them why it took them two years to discover that the Stonewall didn’t have a liquor license.”
This is just a brief little [FORUM] post, but events make me wonder.
How many people have actually taken part in a street demonstration? More than one? Was it any particular cause that got you out, an outrage that pushed you out, or were you committed to a particular cause that just happened to take out you on one occasion or another (or others)?