Google unveiled significant new innovation in the world of online photography this morning, continuing their rapid development pace on Google+. All in Google+ pushed out 41 new features today.
Much of the new work is focused on post production photography to make people’s photographs look better than they can straight out of the camera.
Some have suggested that part of Instagram’s success has been their ability to enhance users’ photos with very simple one touch filters. Instagram has focused on a faux film aesthetic which actually highlights the flaws in many photos to give them more of an artistic old school feel. By contrast Google’s easily, and automatically applied post production tools, work to make photos look more vivid, life like and realistic.
By using simple techniques like skin softening, clarity adjustment, smart vignetting, HDR and other enhancements, Google by default now offers an enhanced photo for every photo uploaded by users to Google+. Also with this new tech Google will give you the ability to view the before and after results and decide which you prefer to use. For photographers who do not want their photos altered in any way, these users can turn this default functionality off.
“You, hear me! Give this fire to that old man. Pull the black worm off the bark and give it to the mother. And no spitting in the ashes!”
It’s an odd little speech. But if it were spoken clearly to a band of hunter-gatherers in the Caucasus 15,000 years ago, there’s a good chance the listeners would know what you were saying.
That’s because all of the nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs in the four sentences are words that have descended largely unchanged from a language that died out as the glaciers were retreating at the end of the last Ice Age.
The traditional view is that words can’t survive for more than 8,000 to 9,000 years. Evolution, linguistic “weathering” and the adoption of replacements from other languages eventually drives ancient words to extinction, just like the dinosaurs of the Jurassic era.
New research, however, suggests a few words survive twice as long.
The police are continuing to investigate plane landing gear—which they believe is from one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001—found between two buildings blocks from the WTC site. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly described the piece as being around 5 feet by 4 feet by 17 inches, discovered in a “very, very narrow, confined area” between 51 Park Place and 50 Murray Street: “It’s difficult to get in there and see.”
Kelly said there was rope tied to one part of the gear, raising the possibility that it had been lowered. He added there weren’t marks on the buildings: “It would have had to fall down at a certain angle.” The location happens to be near where a controversial mosque and community center has been planned. The Post reports, “A lawyer for the proposed ‘Park51’ mosque claimed the landing gear was planted by opponents of the project — a theory Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said cops would explore.”
The object was noticed by surveyors (hired by the owners of 51 Park Place) yesterday who then contacted the police. Kelly also added, “If you see how confined this space is, and you realize the chaos that existed down here on this street, it’s not surprising. It’s very, very confined. No cleanup went on in this 18-inch space between these two buildings.”
Remember that widely discussed Republican National Committee diagnosis that explicitly recognized the need for the party to rethink its approach to gay rights issues? It said: “Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, this issue is a gateway into whether the party is a place they want to be.”
That was a nice sentiment. But here’s the reality:
The Republican National Committee passed resolutions Friday reaffirming its commitment to defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and calling on the Supreme Court to “uphold the sanctity of marriage” as it weighs rulings on two landmark cases involving gay marriage. At the RNC’s spring meeting in Los Angeles, committee members adopted a slate of resolutions unanimously and without discussion, a committee spokeswoman said.
What continues to remain striking here is that support for gay marriage is not just increasing among Americans overall. It’s that support for it is even higher than overall among the very groups among which Republicans themselves say they need to boost their party’s appeal.
Rob Zombie remembers the first time he saw Jaws. It was in 1975. He was a child at the time, probably in fourth grade by his recollections. “There wasn’t anything scary happening,” he remembers. Yet Jaws became a legend of the horror genre it was, in a large part, thanks to the music. “John Williams was really the master of making…those notes, become a tangible thing,” Zombie says. “You hear the music and there’s a shark even though there is visually no shark in the frame.”
“Nothing can stir your brain like a piece of music,” says Zombie. “It can be a piece of music you haven’t heard in 40 years and then someone plays it and all of a sudden you’re transported back to your childhood. You can remember specific, tiny things.”
Zombie laments the lack of big screen earworms in today’s hot films. “You can take a blockbuster movie, like The Dark Knight or Iron Man. Hum me the score,” he commands.
I’m stumped. “Superfans probably can, but the average person couldn’t hum you the score to most popular movies,” he concludes.
“I think that now because of digital technology and whatnot, people are so visually oriented,” says Zombie. “They’re cluttering the frame with so much insanity at all times that they forget that it can be simple.”
Details are still sketchy in the murders of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife in Texas and in the slaying of Colorado prisons director Tom Clements, but investigations seem to be leading to white supremacist prison gangs in both cases. The 211 Crew in Colorado and the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas appear to be connected to the latest spate of murders directed against law enforcement officers and prosecutors. White supremacists appear to have declared open season on police officers, judges and attorneys associated with the justice system. White supremacist violence directed at government officials and law enforcement agents has become a source of increasing concern for the FBI and for independent organizations that monitor hate groups, as white supremacists continue to commit murders and other violent crimes against racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and interracial couples. Over the last four years, white supremacists have been responsible for a number of attacks on American citizens and law enforcement officers. Although the total number of white supremacists remains small, they are an increasing threat to police officers and judges as well as a threat to racial, ethnic and religious minorities in many of our communities.
National Review is not the worst conservative rag out there — they’re like the Daily Caller after it aged ten years, bought a suit, stopped doing coke, and had to live through an uncomfortable coming-out conversation with its college buddy. But it sure prints some dumb BS (I’m just dying to hear what the editors say about “Marriage and the Court,” NOT). Still, this is the first time I’ve seen the magazine run a cover that literally looks like a Photoshop someone mocked up to make everyone on the masthead look like assholes.