April 2005 Archives

Since the real estate bubble burst in the 1990s followed by the recession compounded by flat population growth, abandoned buildings have greatly increased in numbers in Japan. There's an interested web gallery called 廃墟デフレスパイラル 〜ぼくたちの秘密の場所〜 (roughlyAbandoned Buildings of the Deflation Spiral - Our Secret Places which features photographs of these abandoned buildings in Japan.

こちらは、このHPのメインである廃墟探索写真館です。 現在は神奈川県やその周辺を探索しております。これから少しずつエリア拡大していきたいです。 まだまだ粗末な廃墟写真達ですがどうぞごゆるりとお楽しみください。

This home page consists of photographs of abandoned buildings that we have found. Right now, we are centering around Kanagawa Prefecture [southwest of Tokyo] and the surrounding areas. We hope to expand this in the future. The photographs are of rather shabby abandoned buildings but we hope you enjoy them.

The CBC Radio One network in Canada has an interesting story online about a blind woman who can now "see". The story is accessible online in text, MP3, Ogg, and other formats. 2005.05.03: Additions to this story placed below.

Imagine being blind for 25 years, and suddenly being able to see again - using your ears. It sounds impossible, but that's exactly what happened to Pat Fletcher. For the past few years, she's been experimenting with a revolutionary new technology that allows her to see through sound. Using a simple computer program that she downloaded from the Internet, called "The vOICe", which translates visual images into soundscapes, Pat's brain is able to translate those sounds back into images.

As a Big Red alumna, I'm disappointed that the current Cornell administration: (1) decided to raze a 100 year old forest for a parking lot; (2) overrode the wishes of the town of Ithaca to preserve the area; and (3) arrested students protesting the creation of the parking lot. See story from the Ithaca Journal here or the AP newsfeed here. My own fond memories of student protests in the early 1990s did not include arrests, the new administration is using police force instead of the gentle art of conciliation and negotiation. I hope other alumnae and alumni consider writing to President Jeffrey Lehman.

The New York Times has a wonderful slideshow by photographer Robert Stolarik (registration required) of cab drivers spending time waiting for rides at Kennedy airport. Depending on where they came from, they play soccer, cards, dominoes, or backgammon, pray towards Mecca, or engage in other activities like studying for their citizenship exams. A wonderful example of the multiple ethnicities that make New York City such an exciting place to live. Next time you take a "shorty trip" to Queens from JFK, remember to tip your driver well. He might have been waiting in line for several hours before picking you up.

It's often said that we receive just as about as much radiation exposure flying than we do getting a low-dose chest X-Ray (see this page; this page; or this page). Apparently we get about 0.05 mSv per seven-hour flight (a chest x-ray is 0.04mSv). What does this mean for our film? Perhaps we shouldn't be as worried about the carry-on X-ray machines as much as background cosmic radiation. High-energy radiation can also flip bits in flash memory cards, so you digital photographers aren't as safe as you think you are.

This site might be well known by some, but Canon has issued some service notices on the EOS 20D digital SLR. The most recent one is:

April 27, 2005: We have confirmed that the BG-E2 battery grip for the EOS 20D digital SLR camera causes issues such as the number of shots being limited or a low-battery warning being displayed immediately when used with a fully charged battery pack or a fresh set of AA batteries. Canon offers its sincerest apologies to all customers who have been inconvenienced by this issue.
Vern Faulkner has published PDFs with very useful tips and techniques for photojournalists on his site http://www.camerapro.ca/. In his words, it's designed for " newspaper journalists, a horde of lesser creatures known for their singular ability to take perfectly good equipment and produce utter garbage.... in other words, you're liable to find a few tips that may help you."

Continuing our soviet theme, the photo archives of the Soviet-era TASS news agency are online here: TassPhoto.com. Click on the "English" button at the top left of the screen to switch to english. Photoethnography.com blog co-editor Mehyar suggests this link:
English -> Photoarchive -> Social Problems

What happens when you pump up a wimpy SLR full of steroids and protein drinks? You get the beast from the east, the former soviet-union Kiev 60 medium format SLR. You really need to see this camera against something like an Olympus OM. It's easily four times the size and most probably five times the weight of its Japanese rival.

Greg W. has written a Kiev 60 SLR fan site. He unabashedly calls it the "best page around for the Kiev 60 camera." I'm not sure about that, but it is definitely in the top five. There's a ton of useful information and some startlingly good photographs. It almost makes one rethink their elitist loyalty to German and Swedish cameras.

Tim Frank recently wrote to me from Pokhara, Nepal. He and his partner Chris Dixon have a website called Frank & Dixon which features their travel and documentary photography. Check out some of the work in Nepal:

POOREST ON THE PLANET? People in Nepal's Mugu district are among the poorest on earth. In September 2005 we had the opportunity to visit this remote, mountainous area, which is badly affected by the Maoist ・People's War. This woman lives in Karkibada village near Gamgadhi, the district capital of Mugu....

Ideally, we would all like to get jobs at large research universities where people are allowed to focus on their one particular speciality and where we are within a community of scholars who can recognize and celebrate our work. But the reality is that the majority of jobs are at small state colleges and liberal arts colleges where departments are small (three to four people) and you have to be a generalist.

That also means that your hiring committee will most likely be generalists. Often, faculty from other departments may participate in the search. These people may not know why your research is so critical to the understanding of one small aspect of social structure in XYZ-land. You may be the newest leading scholar in ABC microstudies, but they will not know what the significance of this is.

Going on the market can be one of the most dispiriting things that a recent Ph.D. can do. While nasty rejection letters from academic journals are par for the course, usually even the most snide letters from the meanest of journal editors contain some kernel of insight into why the paper was considered weak and what you need to do to improve it.

On the other hand, job search rejection letters are almost uniformly unhelpful. Most simply thank you for the application, note the special nature of the applicant pool this year, regret that you were not selected, and wish you well. Usually they are only two or three sentences long. They never tell you why you were not selected.* Don't give up hope!

Blog: Blogshares

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newgraph.pngThis has to be the most bizarre link to this site that I've seen yet:

Blogshares.com

BlogShares is a fantasy stock market for weblogs. Players get to invest a fictional $500, and blogs are valued by incoming links.

Photoethnography.com blog is currently worth over B$5000/share. If only this were real money!

Blog Link: PostSecret

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PostSecret is an incredible blog project that I recently discovered:

D_D50_04.jpgNikon has now officially announced the consumer-level D50 and prosumer D70s, which were scooped on this site a few weeks ago. The reaction has been a giant collective yawn. The Nikons have too few features, are too late, and too expensive to compete against the current Canon and Pentax offerings. And to make matters worse, Nikon has begun to encrypted parts of the raw NEF format in their high-end models and Adobe has announced that they will not fully support the new format. Things do not look good for Nikon right now.

The following chart shows how the various sub-$1000 DSLR offerings stack up:

Gaijin resident in a small town in Iwate prefecture, Mark James Adams sent me a link to his new blog A Study of Nothingness. I want to particularly commend him on his photographic study of Christian signage in Japan and hope he continues the series.

From John Sypal on the Japan Photography list:

Last night I went to Onishi Mitsugu's slide talk at the Nikon salon in Shinjuku (Shinjuku L Tower, 28F) [Tokyo].

Onishi sensei is having an exhibition of his recent work there through this week, and I highly, Highly going there to see it. He works in the shitamachi districts of Tokyo with a D70, and the work is amazing...

I know many people are curious when the success to the Canon EOS 20D will emerge. Now that the Canon Digital Rebel XT (aka 350D) has come out, the 20D has lost some of its luster. If prior timing is anything, Canon has been releasing prosumer DSLRs every 14-18 months:

Leading pen tablet manufacturer Intuos has announced the availability of the Graphire3 6x8 Bluetooth. It's their 6"x8" basic graphic tablet with built-in wireless BlueTooth support (MSRP $249). This is exactly what I've wanted for a while....

From The New York Times > Education > For Women in Sciences, Slow Progress in Academia:

"Even as the number of women earning Ph.D.'s in science has substantially increased - women now account for 45 percent to 50 percent of the biology doctorates, and 33 percent of those in chemistry - the science and engineering faculties of elite research universities remain overwhelmingly male. And the majority of the women are clustered at the junior faculty rank.

I've been going over some of my old fieldnotes as I've been preparing my book on deaf politics in Japan for publication. I did much of my work during 1996-2001 and my notes were written in ClarisWorks and NisusWriter on a PowerBook 230. Unfortunately, I'm finding that many of the notes in ClarisWorks are inaccessible -- I don't have a copy of AppleWorks on my machine. Some of my notes were even in a ClarisWorks database -- quite innovative I thought, but also now inaccessible.

Your curriculum vitae or CV is one of the most important documents that you'll write as a freshly minted graduate student. Even if you are hired and never apply for another position, you'll continue work on the C.V. throughout your entire academic life. For example, I have to submit a new C.V. to my college each year as part of my annual review. When I submit work for review, publishers and conference organizers also usually want an updated CV.
Rangefinderforum.com will be giving away a brand new Bessa R3A rangefinder camera. The rules are:
Write a comprehensive article on rangefinder cameras vs. SLR’s. If someone is considering the purchase of a camera, this article should convince that person to consider a rangefinder camera. In other words, the article should provide information which will spark interest in a rangefinder camera. It would be nice for the article to detail digital photography and the future of rf's .as it relates to it

New York photographer - Naomi Harris' website is making the blog rounds. She does very warm, very humanistic documentary portraiture. I've been quite taken by it. Check out her series on a nursing home in Florida or the World Rubik's Cube Championships.

Although you can rent your cap and gown for your Ph.D. graduation, there are very real reasons why you should purchase them while you are in graduate school. You will be required to be in formal cap, gown, and hood at least twice a year as a faculty member: matriculation and graduation. Also, if you are a member of a honor society (Phi Beta Kappa, for example), you will need your formal wear during those ceremonies as well.

Feli on the LUG posted a link to the The Digital Journalist Columns Archives, with the comment, "Here is an easy way to waste a few hours..." How true.

(Via The Leica Users Group.)

From Nuts & Bolts by Bill Pierce - The Leica, the SLR, and the Eye of the Photographer - The Digital Journalist:

"Last month I mentioned that Dirck sent a number of us an email about the two 35-MM still cameras that he uses on assignment, the Leica rangefinder, and the Canon EOS. I was bowled over by the simple intelligence of his comments. I think most of us are used to being told, 'The new Whamoflex is the best camera in the world, and anybody who uses anything else is an ass.' Of course, it isn't true. No single tool is the best in the world. Try building a house using just a hammer. 

The Leica and the EOS are a relatively popular combination. They are very different cameras that don't step on each others toes. Each outperforms the other in specific situations. "

(Via The Leica Users Group.)

In your last year of graduate school, you should start preparing for the job market. There are several things you will need to get together, in roughly the appropriate order:

This week, I had the great pleasure of having dinner with some of the graduate students at my older alma mater. They had a hundred questions about finishing their dissertation and finding a job in this tight market. I've started this new blog category as a way to write down some of the advice I gave them, in the hopes it can help them and other prospective and newly minted PhDs in anthropology.

You can access this section directly using this link: http://www.photoethnography.com/blog/archives/careers/index.html.

Seems like I was not the only blogger.com user experiencing problems. Wired.com reports that Blogger is experiencing serious technical difficulties, and the blogosphere is up in arms.

NE Asia Online has a very interesting article online exploring Matsushita/Panasonic's push into digital SLRs using the 4/3 system by 2006. Panasonic has previously teamed with Leica for optics, whether this represents a new direction for Panasonic is unknown.

MacWorld has a "first look" preview of Adobe Photoshop CS2: "Photoshop CS2 includes a bunch of powerful new filters and editing tools, tighter integration with and support for Illustrator graphics, support for 32-bit images, and significant improvements to its camera RAW workflow."

Adobe has the officially Photoshop CS2 page online now.

The BBC has an online article titled Blogging from East to West that talks about the important role that blogs have in promoting democracy.

"According to Reporters Sans Frontières, at least 63 bloggers [in China] have been arrested, and most of those are publishing articles outside of the country.

"These are people who are really resisting government oppression."

So why are authoritarian governments so worried about blogging? Perhaps it is because the internet is so virulent. In the same way that spammers can reach millions of people in an easy way, ideas deemed dangerously democratic by many regimes can spread faster than bacteria on a petri-dish.

Julien Pain, of Reporters Sans Frontières, says: "Blogging is a very, very important tool in terms of freedom of expression.

This week's NYT Magazine has another interesting article titled Food: Eat, Memory: Our Lady of Lawson, about convenience store culture in Japan. Another must-read although like convenience store food, a bit light in nutritional content. There's a doctoral candidate at Yale who is working on mass culture and convenience stores, we'll have to wait for his definitive word on the subject.

Link: Tokyo Girls on NYT

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The New York Times Magazine has a very interesting article about Hellen van Meene's photographs of young Japanese women and Japanese youth culture. Be sure to check out the multimedia slideshow.

Although it has only been updated sporadically, this blog may be useful to other scholars: Disability Law Blog: U.S. Supreme Court Archives. Also, check out this page, titled the Supreme Court Addresses the ADA (Graziadio Business Report).

01.gifIn Japan, people with disabilities are eligible for a disability welfare ID card (障害者手帳). The card certifies that you have a registered disability and makes you eligible for a broad array of social welfare benefits including a disability welfare pension, faster access to public housing, free municipal transit (buses and subways), lower income taxes, subsidized durable medical equipment, and discounts on Japan Railways and national highways, among other things. Companies can also hire you under the Employment Promotion Act for People with Disabilities (障害者雇用促進法).

Digital Camera Watch (Japan): Cosina/Carl Zeiss T* Biogon 35mm F2: ""

The Japanese online magazine DC Watch has posted an extensive hands-on review of the Carl Zeiss T* Biogon 35mm F2 using the Epson R-D1 digital rangefinder. This follows their earlier review of the Planar 50mm f/2. I've posted a rough translation of the salient points of the biogon review below. This lens is just becoming available in Japan, I've already received a phone call letting me know my pre-order has been filled by Map Camera in Shinjuku.

Ecto blog image Right now, I'm using MarsEdit to write these blogs. I'm going to experiment with Ecto, which is very highly rated and is cross-platform. On first glance, Ecto seems more configurable, but is definitely less user-friendly. Anyone have other recommendations or suggestions?

The New York Times > International > Asia Pacific > The Saturday Profile: Born to Be a Foreigner in Her Motherland:

The New York Times has an article on a woman who was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Korean father, who was denied a supervisory position at her government job because she was not Japanese. This is a thorny issue in Japan because the issues surrounding naturalization are very complex, especially in regards to the resident Korean (在日コリアン) population.

The British Journal of Photography notes that Zeiss is stepping into secure the Contax brand:

Carl Zeiss is in discussions to save the Contax brand name after Kyocera's shock decision to pull out of the manufacture of Contax-branded 35mm film and digital cameras, as exclusively revealed by BJP.

Zeiss, which owns the Contax brand, is currently in discussions with Kyocera but is also looking at partnerships with another manufacturer should Kyocera go ahead with its plans to discontinue both its own brand as well as Contax-branded cameras (BJP, 02 March).

I think this bodes well for the future production of a digital Zeiss Contax camera with Leica M lens mount.

http://db.riskwaters.com/public/showPage.html?page=213639

Nikon Corporation accidentally allowed the user manual for their upcoming D50 digital SLR to leak on the web, according to MacWorld.com. I tried googling for it (for ... errr... research purposes only...), but it appears to have been taken down already. We know it's 6.1 megapixels and will write to SD cards. It's being designed as the EOS Digital Rebel/KISS killer. If you have any info, feel free to post.

2005.05.02: Some other sites are illegally hosting the manuals for the D50 and D70s (the successor to the very popular D70). Rob Galbraith's site has more info on this story as it unfolds.

Inspired by a recent posting on MacOSXHints.com, I've been using PrintFu.org to print out copies of my book manuscript for the various readers that are reviewing it. My book (on deaf politics and sign language in modern Japan) is about 300 pages long. PrintFu can print it for about $11 with postage in the USA.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2005 is the previous archive.

May 2005 is the next archive.

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