Friday, September 30, 2011
Although all of the candidates made some pretty ridiculous errors, it seems that both Cain and Perry have slightly better reasons than the other candidates for their mistakes since they both fell prey to a failed attempt at spin. Cain wanted to come across as a moderate candidate and show that unlike the other Republican candidates, he did not want to alter the Constitution, even though he was displeased with America's current situation, but could not find the necessary quote in the Constitution to back up his statement, so he borrowed it from the Declaration of Independence. Similarly, Perry wanted to gain the support of the Tea Party by showing that the Tea Party had come a long way and did not have to hide itself any longer because Rick Perry would be their spokesperson and help them fight against unfair taxes (I guess?), and had to alter a bit of history to make that statement.
I think that these seemingly uneducated statements will definitely hinder each of the candidates chances at being elected, since most Americans look up to the President and would want to have a President that they can trust and respect, and education and wisdom definitely things that are necessary for one to gain a population' trust and respect. Also, since the President is seen as a representative and spokesperson of America, I think that most American's would want a President that they can be proud of, rather than someone who's apparent lack of education would bring them shame and ridicule from the international community. This is just my opinion and I may be exaggerating the situation. Will the wisdom and education of these Republican candidates actually harm or effect in any way their chances of being elected as President?
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
As Kore mentioned last week, technology is taking over people’s jobs and various businesses. A good example of this is in printed news. Just this month, 38 newspaper employees of a paper in Dallas were laid off from their jobs. Because popular newspapers are now available online, and for free, newspapers are beginning to lose their revenue. At first, I thought that the online advertisements would be equally as costly, but online advertisements are actually much cheaper to purchase than printed advertisements. With declining printed newspaper purchases and without sufficient funds from advertisements, how will newspapers be able to afford their staff?
Sunday, September 25, 2011
A Campus Republicans' baked sale scheduled for Tuesday at UC Berkeley has sparked a controversy. The controversy is that the baked goods will be sold to white men for $2.00, Asian men for $1.50, Latino men for $1.00, and Native American men for $0.25. In addition all women get $0.25 off the baked goods. The Campus Republican President Shawn Lewis stated that the event was to "bring attention, to cause people to get a little upset," and to make people think "more critically about what this kind of policy would do in university admissions". He also states that the pricing of the baked goods is a way to make a statement of the considered California legislation to allow national origin and race to effect the admission process. Many people find this baked sale to be racist, however, Shawn Lewis states that it is to bring to light how the California legislation bill will affect university campuses and to also show that UC Berkeley has more than one political view. At the same day and time a phone bank is schedule to show Governor Brown that Berkeley is supporting the bill.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
announced a new mirrorless (EVIL) camera system in an attempt to break into the lucrative mirrorless camera market that has been taking DSLR camera sells from Nikon. Although the features included sound terrific - fast burst rate / fast processor / smallest EVIL camera available / great movie options / phase detect autofocus / etc - many people (mostly camera enthusiasts) are disappointed by it. Nikon showed a graph at today's unveiling (left), that suggests they expect people upgrading from compact cameras to choose their new solution as well as people purchasing it as a backup to their larger and bulkier DSLRs. (Mirrorless cameras cater to people looking for high quality images as well as compactness)
However, many big names in the photo industry (and many on photo forums) seem to believe that it is not a worthwhile option compared to other available options of that size - Thom Hogan, David Hobby, Ken Rockwell, etc. And when half of your intended market believes your product could have been better suited for them, well, it's not a good sign.
Seeing that Nikons aren't Leicas, this announcement has gone against most of TRIBE. Consumers often do not have tastes for expensive (you can buy DSLRs for less) and not pocketable (what's the difference if you have to carry around a bag anyway). Photo enthusiast consumers often do not have tastes for low resolution sensors, expensive, 2.7x crop factors, slow / few lenses, etc. There are related products that already have a large lens selection and very competent camera bodies. Expensive items are usually not good for income. The number of buyers has decreased because half of the consumers (DSLR owners looking for a smaller / backup option) does not believe in the suitability of the product. And finally consumer expectations of product worth was not particularly high because of the two relatively late and low visibility teasers that were unique (shall we say) - The Big Hands / I AM COMING (really? unintended pun?) So like Wired believes, "Nikon may have screwed this one up."
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Recently, I was in search of a studio flash that would allow me to experiment with different forms of lighting on a relatively tight photography budget. I ended up looking purchasing the Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 because of its excellent feature set and price of a mere $500. You might think that's a lot, but in the studio flash world, it's not. Take for example the similarly specced Elinchrom Ranger RX AS light that sells for $2,300. Sure, it is twice as powerful as the Einstein, but given that the equivalent recharge time, flash duration and other important factors are essentially equal, buying two Einsteins at $1000 gives you the same capabilities at less than 50% of the price.
So what makes Paul C. Buff able to price their flash units lower than comparable manufacturers like Elinchrom or Profoto? It is their unique business model that eliminates "middlemen" from the equation and seeks lower profit margins. By only selling from their store in Tennessee and through their website, Paul C. Buff removes the markups that suppliers charge the distributors and the markups that distributors charge the consumers. Because the goods are traded less times to get into our hands, we essentially get "wholesale" price. Paul C. Buff, unlike most studio flash manufacturers, attempts to maximize their profit by selling at a lower price and have a greater quantity demanded, compared to selling at "pro" level prices and selling less units. Their business model apparently works as they command approximately 60% of the studio flash market, have their flashes used by professionals, and generate enough revenue such that they are able to generate new highly desired products.
So is this a model that most companies should attempt to emulate? It would definitely save consumers money, but would it also mean a demise of the independent local stores? Would a pervasive middleman-eliminated economy spell doom for so many jobs that it would be better to pay more for products for the greater good? Would there be other issues? It sounds like an interesting concept that was at least good for me this time around...
Monday, September 19, 2011
"A giveaway like none other. A project that’s never been seen before. See what happens when Olympus puts the new, revolutionary PEN® E-PM1 in the hands of everyday people. The PEN Ready Project is changing the way we capture the world, and this site is your chance to witness that change."Unfortunately, camera manufacturers like spin. As Thom Hogan points out, this type of giveaway project HAS BEEN seen before. A few years prior, Nikon gave away 200 Nikon D40 to citizens of Georgetown, S. Carolina, and I am told that Oprah does this type of thing as well. So much for that hyperbole.
At any rate, success or failure? Both Hogan and Zhang of Petapixel agree that the response could have been more enthusiastic and the results better if the cameras had been given to people more excited about such a giveaway. As Hogan points out, "You want people hoping they'll be one of the chosen few and looking to see what's happening, not just learning about what the chosen few did."
If Olympus wants people to realize their supposedly great E-PM1 is supposedly great, they probably should attempt to get better results from their marketing attempt. Take for example the photo that ran lead in their video promoting the event (top right), it is not very good. If you want people to buy your camera, the best way would probably involve showing the public that regular, non-photo geek people can take great photos with aforementioned camera.
So basically, Olympus ran a giveaway that had no hype (a surprise event to most) and produced relatively poor photographs. How's that for a marketing strategy - non-price competition failure in an oligopoly, anyone?
As many camera geeks know, and most of you don't, a Canon 24-105mm f/4 lens fell through the roof of Debbie Panye's house in Petaluma, tearing a hole that costs almost $5000 to replace. This event was apparently newsworthy enough that CBS 5 mentioned it during their nightly news report.
Lenses are not falling from the sky left and right, but just one falling lens in the right spot can kill someone. Should the FAA or Foreign Alien Agency attempt to create rules to prevent heavy objects from falling from the sky during what was presumably aerial photography or is it just another example of too much government protection? Most aerial photography is done in a small aircraft with the door open, I for one can see more similar accidents occurring. For example, during a press / photojournalist tour of the Toronto CN Tower's Edgewalk, everything had to be clipped and taped down.
"I brought up a Canon 5d Mark II with a 16-35 wide zoom, and a Nikon D3s with a 24-70. The memory card slots, eyepiece, and battery doors of both cameras were all taped down to make sure nothing fell off. I have dropped a camera maybe once or twice in my life, and I knew this wouldn’t be the time to have an accident."So, should something similar occur with aerial photography?
We have learned that supply changes based upon several factors, one of them, technology. We know that technology will increase the amount of goods / services supplied at any given input because of increased efficiency. But could technology actually decrease demand as well in some cases?
In the case that an increasing amount of technology equates to a decreasing number of jobs, demand of good / services might actually decrease as overall income decreases. So is technology really as good as many make it sound? Comment away...
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
According to the FDA, arsenic is naturally present in water, air, food and soil in two forms-organic and inorganic. Organic arsenic they said is not dangerous to people, and in fact, inorganic arsenic is also not problematic unless consumed at consistently high level for an extended period of time. In other words, has Oz not done enough research on safe levels of arsenic and caused undue public worry or is he really safeguarding us against contaminants that may be harming us?
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
"I'm offended for all the little girls who didn't have a choice," fired Michelle Bauchmann to the somewhat egotistical response from Perry.
Most of the other republican candidates fired back about mandating the HPV shot in Texas, stating that "personal liberties had been violated". Personally, I don't see how any politician can force a vaccine to become required without raising massive protest. Then again, it also brings up a repetitive topic of government control over health care. How much control does the government have over such a big part of our lives? Since Merck is the sole producer of Gardasil, it also poses the question of how much control does Merck have on the spread and supply of the vaccine in Texas. Ladies, how would you feel if you were forced to undertake a foreign vaccine just at the whim of some politician?
With the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks fresh in our minds and the knowledge that in Iraq and Afghanistan, little girls are used as suicide bombers (some are coerced and some want to do it) is it reasonable or justifiable to allow children to skip a pat down and removal of shoes? Do you really think it's going to be possible to find enough support for this proposal?
Now, the median household income has also slipped to $49,445. With the poor just getting poorer, and more middle class families joining them, a plan needs to be put into immediate action to stop the chain reaction. The more that are unemployed, the less people there are to pay government taxes. More unemployment means less consumerism and demand for goods and services. Less demand calls for less demand for labor, and the cycle continues. If the government can't raise enough funds to help the unemployed, the downward trend traps the government in a deadlock. Will Obama's vastly expensive job plan really be the solution to this ridiculous and complicated issue?
Sunday, September 11, 2011
If you would like to view this video, the title links to the website.
Look through your Sunday newspapers today. In the comics section, you'll find an interesting dedication to 9/11. Regular cartoonists of Sunday newspapers, who normally work independently, have decided to unite and remember September 11. All cartoons in the newspaper are dedicated to the date in some way. Comic strips often mock or criticize the news in a funny way, but today, the cartoonists defined a line between respect and having a little laugh. They wanted to "convey the 'it's okay to laugh again' message." Some are serious or inspirational, while others allow you to have a small laugh. I think this is a great way to remember 9/11. Cartoonists are always really good at conveying messages in an interesting and captivating way and i just think this is a nice way to do it for 9/11. "Cartoonists Remember" is a collection of 93 cartoons from different cartoonists. They will be on display in museums throughout the United States.
The couple commented that "Going up that much in one year certainly would be nice, but in no way reflects reality". So what exactly caused this sudden increase in value?
I know when I say Prop 8, most people automatically think of the fight for the legalization of gay marriage. This is a different Prop 8, which is a corollary to Prop 13. Prop 13 was passed in 1978 and limits the tax increase to 2% a year or the California consumer price index, whichever is less.
Prop 8 asks that assessors restore some or all of the value as our market starts to recover. This can make the house valued up to the original purchase price plus the 2% tax increase. Which can be good and bad.
For the Wetzlers, it is good because their house is said to be worth more. However, this means that they have to pay more in property taxes. Hoping to bring down their sudden increase in taxes, the Wetzlers did as the notice said, and called for an information review. Since the Wetzlers are considered to have well paying jobs, they can afford the extra taxes, but can still be a burden.
Different areas are recovering at different times, so places like Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino, South Sunnyvale that have good schools are more likely to see increases in property taxes. Slower areas such as Gilroy and Morgan Hill are not going to be affected by this as quickly as their surrounding cities.
"Its not going to kill us, but certainly will put a dent in our funds," Wetzler says. "...it dramatically increases our property tax bill for no actual adjustment in value."
On Friday, September 9, Esteban appeared in court and did not enter a plea. Her main reason for being there was "to confirm the details of her legal representation". Esteban has said that she disliked Le because she supposedly ruined the relationship she had with her former boyfriend and father of her 5-year-old, Scott Marasigan.
It is an interesting situation with Esteban because she is pregnant while on trial. Former Santa Clara County prosecutor Steve Clark says that housing a pregnant defendant can be a "logistical nightmare" and that "being in custody on a murder charge isn't exactly well-baby care". Although pregnancy on trial is uncommon, it has been seen before. Tiffany Lopez is being held in Santa Rita Jain in Dublin for suffocating her 2-year-old daughter out of frustration that the girl would not stop crying. At the time of her conviction, she was three months pregnant.
I do hope that they find justice for Michelle Le, and as her cousin Krystine Dinh said, "Our focus is still bringing Michelle home. This whole entire thing has been incredibly difficult".
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Rebecca Burgess decided to wear only locally farmed and manufactured fabrics and clothing, which she found difficult. This sparked her inspiration to create her own business. By working with local farmers, she created her own locally manufactured clothing line. With her neighborhood of West Marin having a 13% unemployment rate, this business creates more jobs for farmers and puts money into the economy by promoting local businesses.
Manufacturing in the US has dropped in workforce size from 28% fifty years ago to 8% today, and is still at risk of dropping even lower.
And now, not only are foreign companies are taking jobs from US citizens, they are also taking over US businesses.
Former US solar company Solyndra, which went suddenly bankrupt, is rumored to be taken over by a foreign company, raising further suspicion about the unpaid bills and sudden troubles. After all, in July the CEO Brian Hurrison did write to the government stating the company was in "good financial standing". Not to mention, the fact that companies cannot lay off 50 or more workers without 60 days notice, which left the 200 former Solyndra workers without jobs.
I think not.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Why did the House Republicans reply so promptly? One reason may be that Obama proposed cutting government spending, a big goal of Republicans. Also, in his speech, he repeatedly called for tax cuts. Throughout his address, he kept emphasizing the fact that his ideals for the plans have been compromised and agreed upon by both parties in the past. Is he spinning the House and did it actually work? Since this was only a proposal, nothing is set in stone, so anything he says could just be a form of spin. Right?
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Remember that time last year when Obama was in the area and everyone was talking about the lines of cop cars in the Bay Area? Well, he was here to visit this failed company. At that time, Obama was promoting the creation of "green" jobs and such to help with unemployment and stimulate the economy. This company seemed to be his main hope for that. Thus, the US Department of Energy loaned the company $535 million. That was March of 2009. Now, they are filing for bankruptcy. Solyndra put out a statement, saying China was too fierce of competition and caused them to stop production and lay off a thousand employees. Those who were laid off recieved no severance pay and had their health benefits ended. Where did all that money go? They couldn't even save some to provide for their employees or now ex-employees?
Wasting away $535 million in a little over two years seems hard to do. How do you spend that kind of money if none was even saved for their employees? In addition, the government actually agreed to this. They loaned the company money and then what? They gave them money and seemed to do little to sustain the company's success. Really? Half a Billion dollars? At least their headquarters look pretty.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Are they spinning us here? Was it really a million jobs? And is Romney's challenge valid? I just feel very skeptical about everything these candidates say. I mean for one thing when Michele Bachmann said that she promised to completely repeal Obamacare, can she really promise that for sure? Well, of course she can't, but still, she said it too enthusiastically for me.
In addition, when Perry stated that Social Security is a lie, Romney challenged him, stating that millions of Americans live off of it, so obviously it's not a failure. I thought Perry was a little too harsh there saying Social Security is a failure. It may not be perfect, but I have to agree with Romney on that that we need to fix it and make it better and for sure keep it. What do you guys think? Is Social Security really that much of a failure?
On Monday, another case arose. Except this time, it was a celebrity. Lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, of the famous band Green Day was asked to leave the plane when he refused to pull up his saggy pants after a flight attendant asked him to. Southwest Airlines immediately apologized after they heard what happened. I wonder if they would have apologized if the victim was not a celebrity.
Even though this case is not as extreme as the former, it is still controversial. Should airlines really have the right to kick someone off the plane based on their clothing preferences? I understand that not complying to their requests is a good reason, but what kind of request is that? It's kind of ridiculous if you ask me. If you let a man in women's underwear on a plane, why not saggy pants? It's not like anyone is complaining, nor is it harming anyone. Don't we have a right to dress how we want?
Possession and distribution of the cannabis under California law is punishable by a hefty fine and under Federal law, is considered illegal like other drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
However, there are a few people, as we saw watching the video in class today, who believe that this crack down of pot should no longer be troubling local police. Why, might you ask? It could give more money to the cities and state from the taxes, makes it easier to access for those who need the marijuana for medical purposes, and some think that having it accessible to the public will lower the desire to abuse the drug.
Of course, there are some who have other ideas. The idea of turning California into a "Green State" does not sound pleasant to people against the idea of legalizing marijuana, and there is no proven fact that having it legal will reduce the use of marijuana. In fact, the use of marijuana may increase due to accessibility. And who can guarantee that all people who are buying the cannabis truly need it for medical reasons?
I think the Federal government should handle how to classify drugs, not the state governments.
That was my September 11, 2001.
10 years later, here we are. Remembering the past. Remembering the fallen. Remembering the Brave. And how so much has changed since then.
America became more strict, more aware. They prosecuted hundreds of terrorists, strengthened the anti-terrorist efforts, and created the USA PATRIOT Act. Some believe that these measures taken were needed and that safety of the country was most important at the time. Others feel that the actions, like the PATRIOT Act, gives the government prodigious powers and forced people to choose between safety and liberty.
President Bush passed the PATRIOT Act just 6 weeks after the attack, so is it possible that it was passed in the heat of the moment? Or was there true thought and care put into this Act?
Right now, we cannot blame others for not seeing the attack ahead of time or what measures--extreme or not--were taken. Instead we must grow with what history has provided us with and most importantly, remember those who have fallen and those who were Brave.
For those who wish to share, I think it would be interesting to hear what you remember from that day, because it has impacted all of our lives since.
Some educators, such as Christine Greenhow, believe that the participation of teens on online sites could encourage creativity and technical skills. She also comments that "social media can make the lessons more relevant and meaningful".
In order to take this experiment to the next level, high school science teacher Susan Domanico used a few different online sites to post presentations that she recorded so that students could refer to them as a resource when studying. Some teacher also use Ning for uploading homework, sharing information with parents, and connecting with other teachers.
But some are not too keen on this idea.
There is still debate on whether teachers should be allowed to use social networking sites because of the harassment, cyberbullying, and inappropriate materials that may be exposed to the students using the sites.
So in some ways, Facebook could be used to help students access learning materials and homework assignments, but the different problems that could arise from using these social networking sites has some people turned off.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
This continuously increasing deficit is a result of the postal service's constant overpaying of millions of dollars into pension funds. In this day and age, everything is done over the internet, e-mail instead of the traditional mail, reading news on websites, and paying bills via web. Since 2006, annual mail volume has decreased 22%. For now, the postal service is quickly running out of money. A solution? Send more letters.