Art


Charles Darwin film ‘too controversial for religious America’

A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer.

Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin’s “struggle between faith and reason” as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.

The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.

However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

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Holy fuck. If the rest of the world didn’t think Americans were out their minds, then this – blocking a film because it deals with a historical figure who described one of the most influential scientific theories – will not help in the least. I’m curious as to the exact reasons that the Religious Right is opposed to this movie: if your faith can be shaken by 120 minutes of cute Paul Bettany and his hot wife Jennifer Connelly (playing Darwin and wife Emma, respectively), then maybe that says more about your faith than it does about the movie. And if evolution to you is as much a fairy tale as the Bible is to me, well then, you can just look at the film as a story of a confused and troubled man suffering from the death of his daughter. Big whoop.

This debacle brings to mind a somewhat related bit of controversy that recently swept the nation: the President’s speech to school-children. Now, that is old news, but I’d still like to comment on it. Unlike some people, I was perfectly fine with parents keeping their kids home, telling them not to listen to the Big Bad President or being prepared with a rebuttal after the speech was made. I actually think that that was a very good thing to happen. America’s Right helped emphasize a point I’ve been making for years, and that is of personal responsibility: if you don’t want your kids brainwashed by MTV, the liberal media, evolution-spewing “science” teachers, violent movies or whatever, stand up and ACT LIKE A PARENT. Which is what the Right finally did. I’m somewhat disappointed that they would pick this time to do it, but that’s their choice. It’s actually good parenting to talk to your children, find out what they were taught in school that day and reconcile that new-found knowledge with whatever baseline you happen to adhere to. Maybe the Religious Right should take the same stance with Creation: let your kids watch it, then at home explain that it was all horse-shit, non-sense and contained about as much truth as a Harry Potter flick.

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Flickr

Found this amazing Flickr user, Deborah Chen, through a random search: was looking for “bionic bunny”, stumbled on some of her photos. Great photos, excellent composition, interesting colors, beautiful models (photographer herself included, of course). Just about the only gripe I have with her work (aside from wishing I could do something similar) is that sometimes the 1970’s-coloring is overdone. Here’s an example of where I think it’s appropriate, Argonaut, and here’s one where I think the photo was fine without the effect, Castro.

PostSecret for 9/13/2009

stay_smallerI wish I was there for my cat.

mousepoop_smallerAlright! Good for you!

Get Fuzzy

The brilliance that is Get Fuzzy is sometimes hard to describe to the non-believers. Below is a comic that shouldn’t need much explanation. Sunday edition comics are large, so click for the full image.

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Random thought

There is no such thing as “life”. If we’re looking for anything in this universe, it should be beauty. Possibly more on this topic later.

Fin

Well, anyway, enough internet for this morning, laundry’s done, I can finally go get some dim sum and read.

Currently listening to: Gomez, “Bring It On: 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition”.

Currently reading: “The Dreaming Void”, by Peter F. Hamilton



Monday night…, originally uploaded by FuzzyGamer.

Empty bottle of beer and nothing on TV



Flame and sparks, 4, originally uploaded by FuzzyGamer.



Flame and sparks, 1, originally uploaded by FuzzyGamer.

Two weeks ago I ordered some Nikon-compatible, third-party lens extension tubes. Damn, these things took forever to get here. I just got the beat-up package in the mail yesterday. Of course, they were being shipped from Hong Kong (bought through eBay, 10$ for the tubes and shipping), but I still reserve the right to complain.

I tried to use these yesterday and was woefully disappointed to find that although they fit perfectly well between the camera and my Nikkor 50mm 1.4f lens, my D80 just wouldn’t take a picture. I’d push the shutter-release button and… nothing would happen. I went to bed soon after, tired and mildly irritated.

Today, I actually figured out that to get the D80 to take a photo with these tubes, you need to set the camera to full-manual mode (designated by M). Silly me. So, today I actually got to take some of those macro photos. Considering that I didn’t really have a good subject, they still turned out not-sucky. I’ve uploaded a few images here.

Here’s some photos of the tubes and what they do. Keep in mind that there are actually three tubes of increasing sizes, but in the photos below I have them all hooked up together, to maximize the effect.

This is the lens I am currently using.

This is the lens with the tubes attached.

These are the tubes themselves. Notice that they’re empty – they have no optical elements – their whole purpose is to move the lens away from the focal plane.

A note on using cheap extension tubes

If you go the eBay route and buy extension tubes for 4$, understand what you are getting. These tubes will not allow you to control your lens from the camera, it will become a fully-manual lens. This means that the focus and aperture will have to be set manually. Also, metering will probably be disabled. I understand that the higher-range Nikon’s can meter even when using these tubes, but my D80 cannot.

In my case, I’ve had some difficulty with a completely manual lens and camera, but it’s not a big deal. The main reason for that is that the lens I am using was originally (1986?) designed to be completely manual, so it has the focus and aperture controls on it.

The lens I used to take these photos (18-200mm VR), however, is a more recent lens that only offers CPU-controlled aperture control. The downside of this is that when the lens is not connected to a camera, it “defaults” to its smallest aperture. What this means is that if I want to use the VR lens, I have to look at a scene through a tiny hole, making it harder to focus (the dimmer the image, the harder it is to tell when parts are in focus or not). With my 50mm lens, I set the aperture to a whopping 1.4f, focus on the subject, downshift to 16f and take the photo (for greater depth of field).

The upside of the whole thing is that I can spend 10$ on these tubes and have the option of macro photography. I could have gone all the way with the “official” solution from Nikon, but theirs isn’t perfect either: the rings Nikon sells do not support auto-focus (and that’s at their extortionist prices). Kenko sells rings that do support auto-focus, but they’re still expensive, costing 170$ for the same increase in focal distance. I’m not moving to 100% macro photography (and if I was, I’d just get a dedicated macro lens), so the 10$ solution is fine with me.

Well, it’s almost fine with me. I’m thinking of trying out this reversing ring. It basically allows me to flip the lens and attach it “backwards”. We’ll see how that goes. It’s also around 10$ on eBay.

Of course, at some point (read: when I can afford to), I’ll probably just get a dedicated macro lens and call it a day. But, until then, here’s to cheap experimenting.

I really love this idea: Traveling Toys.

The Piglet photos are my favorite.

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