Monday, September 18, 2006

What's The Confusion Here?

From CNN:


The Guardian Council in Iran, the constitutional body that examines legislation to be sure it doesn't conflict with the constitution, issued a statement saying, in part, that the statements "emanated from [the] pope's ignorance about Islam."


On Sunday the pope said he was "deeply sorry" for the reaction to comments he made last week when he quoted from a 14th-century emperor regarding Muslims.

"These in fact were quotations from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought," he said in his regular Sunday blessing, the Angelus.


The remarks came last Tuesday, when the pope spoke to professors in Germany and quoted 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached," Benedict quoted.


The killing of an Italian nun and her bodyguard Sunday at a children's hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, raised speculation that it was carried out in reaction to the pope's remarks on Islam. (Full story)

In addition, Palestinian security sources said a church in Tulkarem was attacked Sunday with Molotov cocktails, and there was an attempted attack on a church in Tubas, near Jenin.

Authorities were also investigating Molotov cocktail attacks on three churches in Nablus on Saturday, as well as an attack on a church in Gaza.


Would some astute observer explain all that to me? The Pope was just quoting some old text to a bunch of academics. And THEN, turns out the guy he was quoting might've been right.

So what am I missing here?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

When The Deal Goes Down
Bob Dylan

In the still of the night, in the world's ancient light
Where wisdom grows up in strife
My bewildering brain, toils in vain
Through the darkness on the pathways of life
Each invisible prayer is like a cloud in the air
Tomorrow keeps turning around
We live and we die, we know not why
But I'll be with you when the deal goes down

We eat and we drink, we feel and we think
Far down the street we stray
I laugh and I cry and I'm haunted by
Things I never meant nor wished to say
The midnight rain follows the train
We all wear the same thorny crown
Soul to soul, our shadows roll
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

Well, the moon gives light and it shines by night
When I scarcely feel the glow
We learn to live and then we forgive
O'r the road we're bound to go
More frailer than the flowers, these precious hours
That keep us so tightly bound
You come to my eyes like a vision from the skies
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

Well, I picked up a rose and it poked through my clothes
I followed the winding stream
I heard the deafening noise, I felt transient joys
I know they're not what they seem
In this earthly domain, full of disappointment and pain
You'll never see me frown
I owe my heart to you, and that's sayin' it true
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Panoramic Technique

Cousin Paul mentioned that uncle Francis might be interested in knowing how to create a digital panorama like the two I've put up here before(this one and this one), so here's my two sen on how to do this.

It's not hard to create a panorama from a bunch of digital photos, but you need the right software. You also need either a camera tripod, or a steady hand to hold your camera and rotate it. If you just google for 'free panorama software' or something like that there'll be a bunch of links that should point you in the right direction. There's a bunch you have to pay for... try to find one that's easy to use and free. It's been a while since I experimented with software that's available online, so I'm not familiar with the free panorama software that's out there now... these days I use the software that came bundled with my Nikon. They all work off the same principles though.

All panorama stitching software will need you to provide photos taken from a single point, with the camera rotating around that point. The important things to remember when taking the digital photos for the panorama are:

1) Keep the center of the camera in the same place as much as possible. Moving the center creates parallax motion between the images, and the stitched panorama will be distorted. For this reason, if you're taking pictures by hand, scenery that's further away tends to produce a better looking result that stuff that's close-up (like in a tight, enclosed space). If you use a tripod, this shouldn't be a problem.

2) Keep the vertical orientation of the camera constant (try not to tilt it). Again, this isn't usually a problem if you have a tripod.

3) Try to keep an approximate 50% overlap between photo pairs, and make sure there's enough detail in the scenery so the software can merge photos accurately. Also, the details should be fairly spread out. Panorama software works by finding the correct transformation between two images that it is trying to merge, and it uses these detail points to figure out how one image maps to another. Trying to create a panorama of a room with bare walls or an outdoor area with nothing but blue skies and little or no detail on the ground is usually futile.

Once you have your photos, plug them into your software and follow the instructions. Some software allows you to manually select corresponding points between photo pairs, to make sure the merge is accurate. If your photos were taken well, though, most of the automated algorithms used these days should produce acceptable results.

That's it! Have fun!