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Hexbyte – Glen Cove – News
Hexbyte – Glen Cove – News
What was once a weird little niche in photography is now a worldwide phenomenon. Food photography is only growing in popularity if the 32 million posts currently on Instagram are anything to go by.
Food photography is here to stay, but it’s not an easy genre to master.
Our guide gives you some of the top tips and tricks to help you get mouth-watering results.
The first thing to think about when you’re on the hunt for a new camera body is the size of the sensor.
Whether you decide to buy a camera with a cropped sensor or invest in a full-frame, your budget will likely determine your choice.
The important thing to know is that your camera and lenses behave differently when they have a cropped sensor than a full-frame.
Every camera has a crop factor. This is a number used to describe how much the camera is cropping your image in relation to the standard 35mm.
A full-frame camera matches the 35mm cropped standard of a traditional film camera. It has a sensor size of 24mm x 36mm. A cropped sensor is smaller than this and is therefore cheaper for camera manufacturers to make. It doesn’t match a lot of lenses and the final images look different.
The Canon Rebel, for example, has a crop factor of 1.6. This means that you multiply 1.6 times the focal length of your lens to get the actual focal length that it will look like your pictures were taken at.
On a full-frame camera, a 50mm lens behaves like a 50mm. Put that same lens on a camera with a cropped sensor, it behaves more like an 80mm.
Lenses are where you should spend the most significant part of your budget. You should look at them as a long-term investment in your craft.
Here are the factors to consider:
Your biggest concern when shopping for a lens is sharpness.
Prime lenses are preferred when shooting food because they are sharper than zoom lenses.
Zoom lenses have more moving parts that enable the zoom to function. This tends to result in lower image quality and sharpness.
They also give you a much tighter depth of field, enabling you to isolate your subject and get that really nice blurred background we all love in food photography.
The 50mm can also be a useful lens, especially if you don’t have a zoom. This lens is good for overhead shots and tablescapes. However, it can give you some distortion when taking a portrait-style shot. In food photography, the 50mm is actually considered a wide-angle lens.
The 50mm f/1.8 is often referred to as the “nifty-fifty” because it gives you decent results for a very low price. If you’re just starting out and your budget is tight, get this one.
Although primes are ideal, it’s actually very useful to have one zoom lens in your kit, such as a 24-70mm.
It’s very sharp for a zoom lens, and really versatile. Many food photographers consider this a staple in their kit.
If you’re shooting with a cropped sensor, then a 60mm macro is a great choice.
On a cropped sensor, it’s more like having a 100mm. If you upgrade to full-frame, you can use it like you would a 50mm.
This lens allows you to get 3/4-angle view shots of your subject with a nice bokeh on a cropped sensor.
You also won’t get the distortion at this angle that you would when shooting with a wider focal length, like a 50mm.
An excellent lens to have in your kit is a 100mm macro lens. This lens is not only for macro or close up shots, although it’s great at these, too.
By pulling further away from your set, you can get very nice portrait-style shots as well. The focal length will give you a great blurred background.
If you go for the 100mm/105mm macro lens on a cropped sensor you will be shooting at a focal length of 150mm.
This will be a very tight crop, which can be a problem if space is an issue.
A tripod is a must for food photography. It helps you create consistent images and frees up your hands to style according to what you see through your camera.
The biggest requirement in a tripod is stability. A tripod needs to be able to handle the weight of your camera and lens.
When shopping for a tripod, look for one with both adjustable height and orientation. This is where you have a center column that you can move.
Make sure that it has rubber feet to avoid slippage, and that it has a high payload.
Payload refers to the amount of weight the tripod is able to withstand. It needs to bear the weight of your camera, lens, and any other additions such as a bracket or extension arm.
The objective of food styling is to make food look it’s very best. Most food needs a bit of doctoring to make it look presentable for the camera.
Here are some things to consider when approaching food styling:
The food you shoot needs to be as fresh as possible so that it looks appealing in your images. When shopping for your ingredients, take care to buy the freshest and best-looking items available.
Always have your scene, lighting, and camera ready before placing your food on set.
When you’re adjusting with your lighting and camera settings, use a substitute in a similar color and shape as your food as a stand-in. Replace it with your “hero” (your main food subject) at the last moment, so that it looks as fresh and appetizing as possible.
When shopping for groceries, be sure to buy more than you think you’ll need for the shoot. Food dries out, melts, goes brown, or otherwise begins to look unappealing within a short time frame.
It needs to be replaced with fresher items.
Depending on the food, you may also need a lot of the items to fill the frame.
The most important factor when choosing the dishes on which you will present your food is the size.
Objects can look very different to the camera than to the eye and often look bigger than we expect. For this reason, it’s a good idea to choose smaller dishes than you would ordinarily use.
Present your subjects on salad plates or smaller dinner plates. Large plates can dwarf the main subject and dominate the frame.
Herbs and spices, and items such as croutons, can enhance your food shots.
Sprigs of various herbs like rosemary can be tied together with kitchen string to make little bouquets you can use to add context to your food story.
You can enhance a plain bowl of soup with a drizzle of cream and a sprinkling of chopped chives.
The key is that your garnishes should make sense within the wider context of your scene. If you’re shooting salmon with a lemon dill sauce, then don’t garnish it with basil.
When using herbs, use the freshest possible and replace them as you shoot. They wilt or oxidize quickly. Cut herbs can be kept fresh in the refrigerator much longer when wrapped in some wet paper towel.
You need to have a collection of food photography props.
A prop is any item you use on set to enhance the image. In food photography, this is typically kitchenware, like plates and flatware, serving bowls and utensils, and linens.
When selecting your props, think about your food photography style and what types of props would complement it.
If your style is really clean and elegant, or more refined, such props would not make much sense and you’d be better off with more delicate pieces.
In general, stay away from very bright colors and bold patterns, as they distract from the food. Colorful pieces can add a point of interest, but they need to work with the overall composition and feel of the photo.
Don’t use a lot of props. A couple of the right props can have a lot of impact in telling a visual story, but too many will distract the viewer and dominate the image.
When selecting your props, start with one or two pieces, perhaps a neutral salad plate and a vintage knife or spoon. If in doubt, keep it simple.
You’ll need a variety of interesting backgrounds on which to place your food.
Use a variety of items for your backgrounds, like fabric, craft paper, or large floor tiles. You can also get creative and make your own.
Buy sheets of wood and paint or stain them yourself. There are also some great online resources for buying professional food photography backgrounds and they ship worldwide.
When shooting food, neutral or cool-toned backgrounds like blue generally work best.
Whether you use natural or artificial light, you’ll need to modify your light source.
One important item in your kit is a diffuser. This is a panel of sheer white material that you place at the edge of your table to soften the light that hits your scene.
You’ll also need some simple tools to bounce and absorb the light. You can buy a professional 8-in-1 reflector kit, with foldable discs in a variety of materials to use in your shoots, as pictured below.
The silver reflector, for example, can brighten your food, while the gold reflector will add warmth. It usually comes with a diffuser as well.
For a DIY version, you can also use simple black or white cardboard purchased from a craft or dollar store. White brightens your scene, while the black absorbs the light.
You should have an idea of what you want your final image to look like before you pick up your camera. Do you want the light to look soft and dimensional, or are you looking for striking contrast?
The greater the contrast between light and dark, the more dramatic your image will be. Often, your subject will dictate the light you choose.
The next time you shoot, photograph your subject in both soft and hard light and note the difference. How does each approach affect the final result? Many photographers tend to gravitate to one or the other as part of their style.
This is when your light is coming from directly beside the food.
Side lighting is a good approach for a lot of your food photography. It works for most set-ups and is easy to use.
Place a reflector or bounce card on the opposite side to the light. Depending on how much shadow you want on the side of your food, move it closer or farther away, or use a smaller or larger reflector.
When shooting white and airy scenes, you still want some shadow to add dimension.
Backlighting is when you position your light behind your food.
If you imagine the face of a clock, it’s at 12 o’clock. This is an ideal position for beverages or soups, as it adds a sheen and highlights the liquid properties of food.
In general, backlighting is very flattering to food. It makes it gleam and brings out its texture.
However, it can be tricky to work with because it can cause your image to be too bright at the back, and too dark at the front. Too much contrast means the back of the photo will be blown out, with a loss of detail blurring into the main subject. Not enough contrast will result in a blown out photo or one that looks washed out, which is what happens when you shoot with too much light.
Side backlighting is a combination of the first two types of lighting. It’s the best of both worlds and the easiest to work with. Here, our light is placed between 10 and 11 o’clock.
With this lighting style, you get the surface shine provided by backlighting without the risk of overexposure. You also don’t have to reflect as much light onto the front of the food because the light is coming at more of an angle.
When using side backlighting, you’ll have to play around with the height of your light relative to your scene, depending on how you want the shadows to fall.
The closer your light source is to your set, the softer the fall-off will be.
Camera angle can have a powerful effect on your final image.
Before you pick up your camera, you need to think about what kind of food or dish you are shooting and which camera angle will help bring out its best features.
There are three main camera angles used when photographing food: overhead, 3/4 angle, or straight-on.
The 3/4 angle is when your camera is placed anywhere from 25 to 75 degrees in relation to your subject.
The 3/4 angle is a popular angle because it’s so versatile. You can usually show the front and surface of the dish, as well as the sides.
You see this angle a lot in commercial food photography.
The overhead angle is the 90-degree angle. This has become a very popular angle lately due to Instagram.
This angle definitely has several positives. It’s good for fitting several elements into a scene, like in a tablescape. This also makes it a great storytelling angle. You can see a variety of props, ingredients, or dishes of food in the frame when you shoot from overhead. It is also often easier to compose your shot using this angle than a 3/4 angle or straight-on.
However, the overhead angle doesn’t work for every type of food shot. It eliminates depth, which gives a more graphic pop to an image but is not suitable for every type of food.
With the overhead angle, what you most emphasize is the shape of the food and various elements of the scene.
This straight-on camera angle is most suitable for “tall” foods, like burgers or stacks of brownies or pancakes. It emphasizes the height of a dish.
When you’re shooting burgers and sandwiches, the bun or the top piece of bread hides what is inside, so taking the shot from anywhere above the food doesn’t make sense.
Remember, the objective is always to focus on the best features of the food.
Compositional tools can help us make better photographs, however, not each tool will work for each image.
Before you begin to shoot, know the goal of your image. What is the mood? What is it that you want to convey? What is the purpose of your shot and how will it be used?
Good food photography evokes the viewer’s emotions. Composition is one of the main tools that help us do this.
Line is the most basic element in visual composition. Lines lead the eye through a photograph to key focal points and elements and keep the viewer’s eye focused on the image.
There are a couple of things to be aware of when working with lines. When using lines to direct the viewer’s eye, they should point to the main subject, or into the frame.
Lines should also never point outside of the frame, as the eyes will be forced to leave the image. This weakens the image and can cause the viewer to lose interest.
The rule-of-odds states that when photographing a group of objects, having an odd number of elements in the frame is much more visually interesting than having an even number of elements.
Odd numbers create a sense of balance and harmony and provide a resting point for our eyes, whereas even numbers of objects can divide our attention and compete with each other.
When there are more than five elements in an image, it becomes difficult for the mind to register the higher number. For this reason, it’s a good idea to compose many elements into groups of odd numbers whenever possible.
The Rule of Thirds is intended to help you place the main elements and focal point within the composition.
Think of an imaginary grid that divides the image into nine equal parts, like a tic-tac-toe grid. The ratio is 1:1 per rectangle.
Rule of Thirds is a great place to start. It helps add harmony to your images and helps you take the first steps in composition as a new photographer. In fact, it can work for many images, particularly landscapes.
When it comes to food photography, however, this rule can be limiting. You can end up making images that are unbalanced and awkward.
The Phi Grid is a similar concept that is more powerful than the Rule of Thirds. Both grids look almost the same, but the centre lines of the Phi Grid are closer together.
The Phi Grid is an expression of the Golden Ratio. It helps you create a balanced and naturally pleasing image.
The Phi Grid follows the ratio of 1:1.618, a ratio that is a constant in nature and one we automatically gravitate toward.
It appears throughout the natural world, from a nautilus shell to the number of petals in a flower.
You can find the golden ratio everywhere in the world around us, though no one can explain exactly why it exists this way.
You can use this knowledge in your photography. Thinking about how the eye moves through an image and incorporating some expression of the golden ratio will help you create images that the brain will recognize as aesthetically attractive and harmonious.
Positive space is the space taken up by your main subject. Negative space is an area where your eyes can rest. It provides balance, a bit of breathing room, and emphasizes the subject.
Negative space can portray movement and give context to an image. It may also give the viewer the idea that there is a story beyond what the eye is seeing.
In food photography, there is a tendency to shoot with a lot of negative space due to text placement, particularly when it comes to magazine work, product packaging, or advertisements.
When an image doesn’t make use of negative space, it can feel a bit claustrophobic and cluttered. Also, when there is too much going on in an image, the viewer is unsure of where to look.
Repeating elements also add interest to an image. Repetition can occur spontaneously in the subject or can be created by added elements such as props and supporting ingredients.
Sometimes patterns can become monotonous, so breaking up a pattern can create a stronger photograph.
There are various ways to create a break in pattern, such as with a break in color, shape, size, or texture. Where you place this break is crucial; you want to place it in one of your focal points or along intersecting lines.
Color is an important part of a composition. It evokes emotions and creates a sense of mood within an image.
Cool and dark colors such as navy blue and black recede, while light or warm colors like yellow bring objects forward.
Backgrounds and surface colors that are too bright can detract from our subject; they should be chosen according to the mood you want to create, as well as in harmony with your chosen elements.
Color combinations can be monochromatic when they are tonal variations within a single hue. This approach has its place, but utilizing complementary colors is a great technique to apply to food photography.
Complementary colors appear directly opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green, or blue and orange.
The color scheme you choose to work with will, in part, be dictated by the food you are shooting.
Your colors should also be balanced in terms of not having too many colors in a frame, which will appear chaotic.
One of the best ways to add interest to your photographs is with texture. It adds contrast and detail and enhances food subjects.
Texture occurs naturally in food, but can also be used effectively in backgrounds and surfaces, and your props and linens, as long as it’s not overdone.
Lots of texture in the food, linens, and backgrounds composed together can look too busy and overwhelm the viewer.
Adobe’s Lightroom is an excellent post-processing program. It’s more intuitive and easier to learn than Photoshop.
I recommend using Lightroom to do your global adjustments and then to fine tune your image in Photoshop if need be. For example, if you need to work on specific areas of the image.
Let’s look at the most important tools:
It’s important to have a basic understanding of the histogram to make the proper adjustments to the exposure and tones in your image.
A histogram maps out the tonal range of an image. Brightness is graphed on a grayscale. Every pixel in the image is assigned to a value.
Black is on the left, while white is on the right. You can find the shades of grey in between.
The distribution of the tones in the histogram will tell you about the overall exposure of the image.
A big peak in any of these regions means that the image has a lot of pixels at that particular density. An open gap in the histogram means that there are no pixels at that density.
Check if you have a strong peak at the black or white end of the histogram. If you do, your image could be underexposed or overexposed.
Generally, most images look best if they contain both dark and light values. Otherwise, they may lack contrast and look flat.
It’s a good idea to crop and straighten your image before you start making global adjustments.
To straighten an image, start in the Transform panel and click on -> Auto.
If this doesn’t work, you can try one of the other settings, or do it manually under the Crop Tool.
To access the Crop Tool in Lightroom, click on the grid symbol under the Histogram in the top panel. Or hit R for the keyboard shortcut. This will allow you to crop your image by bringing in the corners with your cursor.
Note that when the lock is closed on the lock symbol, the tool will crop each side of the image evenly.
If you would like to freeform crop, simply click on it to unlock it.
White Balance in a very important aspect of post-processing your food pictures.
I recommend shooting with a grey card and adjusting your white balance in post-processing. This removes incorrect color casts and ensures that your whites are truly white.
A grey card is a piece of grey plastic you can buy at a camera supply store. It is exactly 18% grey, which is what your camera looks for when metering a scene.
Take a picture with your grey card in the scene. In Lightroom, take the White Balance eyedropper and click on the grey card. It will automatically read the proper white balance.
This panel is where you may end up doing a lot of tweaking before you settle on a final look.
Exposure affects the brightness of the range of tones in your image, however, playing with your shadows and highlights, and your whites and blacks will give you a more precise balancing of tones than simply relying on the Exposure slider.
Check if the bright areas look muddy, or the shadows still need more light. Move the sliders to points where the image looks good overall.
You will likely need to go back and readjust your exposure slider once you have made edits with the other sliders.
Vibrance is also an important slider in editing food photography.
It’s a better editing tool than Saturation because it’s more subtle. It adjusts the less saturated colors without intensifying the already saturated ones.
Vibrance will first boost the saturation of the muted colors and then the other colors.
Whether you actually use the saturation slider depends on the image. In general, a conservative approach is what works best when editing food photography.
If you decide to use this slider the slider, nudge it up a tad, to about +5 or +6.
New users often find the Tone Curve challenging, but it’s one of the most powerful tools found in Lightroom.
The Tone Curve is a graph that maps out where the tones in your images lie. The bottom axis of the Tone Curve starts with Shadows at the far left side. It ends with Highlights on the far right end. The mid-tones fall in the middle, in a range from darker to lighter. They get darker as you move lower, and brighter as you move up the axis.
You can control the lightness and darkness of your tones. Adjust the Point Curve itself or the Region Curve.
The Region has sliders for each part of the tonal range. As you drag each slider, the curve, and the image both change.
To make adjustments with the Point Curve, click on the area you want to affect. This will create an anchor point at which to control the tone.
Dragging the point up lightens that tone; dragging it down darkens it.
Assess the mid-tones in your image to see if they are already bright. If not, click on the middle of the tone curve and bring the point up.
If they are too bright, bring the curve down. Check the other parts of your image.
If you’re just getting started with learning the Tone Curve, play around with the Region sliders first. Take note of how the various sliders affect the curve.
Whichever approach you choose, be sure to watch the histogram as you make changes. This way you’ll make sure that you are not losing important detail.
HSL stands for Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. This is where you balance the colors in Lightroom.
Color adjustments are usually more subjective than tonal adjustments. This is because color gives a photograph a sense of mood.
There are two ways to make color adjustments in this panel. You can adjust them all at once under HSL/All. Or each color individually under the Color tab at the top of the panel.
The Hue tab or section at the top of the panel is where you choose how warm or cool you want each color in your image to be.
For example, I find that greens almost always look off. I slide the greens slightly more towards the left or right to get them looking more realistic.
To add more warmth – meaning more yellow – to your greens, slide it to the left. For a cooler hue, sliding it to the right adds more blue.
The Saturation slider in the basic panel adjusts the color of the whole image. But the saturation sliders here adjust each color individually.
If you adjust a color to be more saturated, this will affect the saturation of that particular color throughout the whole photo.
Whether you’re working in the basic panel or the HSL panel, saturation requires a light hand.
Lastly, Luminance affects the brightness of the color. These sliders are more valuable than the saturation sliders, so work with these first.
Editing in Lightroom is all about balance. The same goes when working with Hue, Saturation, and Luminance adjustments.
Sharpening should be the last editing step. It adds contrast between pixels and edges, which creates definition and a more refined look.
However, you don’t need to apply sharpening to the whole image because, in food photography, there is not much point in sharpening the props and the background.
The focus is on the food, so that is what you sharpen.
To do this in Lightroom, mask out the image to select the areas of the image you want to sharpen. Hold down the Alt/Option key while clicking on Masking in the Sharpening panel.
Lightroom will show you where the sharpening is being applied in white. Your image will look like an x-ray.
Slide it to the right. The further right you go, the less the image will be sharpened.
You will find that you will be in the +70-80 range for sharpening for food photography.
There is a lot to learn when it comes to shooting food, but hopefully, this guide has given you an overview of what’s involved and some ideas about how you can improve your images.
The more information you have, the more empowered you can be in your creative decisions.
Above all, lots of practice is what is going to take you to the next level in your food photography.
Hexbyte News Computers
When Sam Nixon, an archaeologist with the British Museum, excavated ancient coin molds in Tadmekka, Mali, in 2005, it triggered a several-year exploration of how medieval Africans purified the gold they were using for their currency. Nixon had found little droplets of highly refined gold left over in the molds—which have been dated to the 11th century—as well as curious fragments of glass. Now scientists have recreated the advanced process behind the purification method they used then.
“This is the first time in the archaeological record that we saw glass being used to be able to refine gold,” says Marc Walton, codirector of the Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts, a collaboration between Northwestern University and the Art Institute of Chicago. “The glass appeared to be material that was [actually] recycled glass materials … so it really shows the industriousness and creativity of the craftsmen, who understood the properties of gold and glass enough to [use them for] this process of refining gold.” The recycled glass materials were remnants of broken vessels. Tadmekka was a town right in the middle of the trans-Saharan caravan route, so Nixon uncovered several types of material culture that had to do with trade, namely molds for “bald dinar,” or coins that hadn’t been stamped with the name of a mint (or a 10th-century equivalent of one).
According to Walton, Europeans in the 10th and 11th centuries purified their gold through cupellation, a process in which lead is mixed with gold laced with impurities, and then heated in a furnace until the droplets of purer gold can be skimmed off. But in the case of medieval West Africans, “They were taking the ore and other raw materials from the river and mixing it with glass,” says Walton. Since gold is inert, it doesn’t fully dissolve into melted glass, while impurities and other materials do, making this “a really novel way of using recycled glass material.”
Walton’s team at the Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts replicates a lot of ancient technologies. To get to the bottom of how medieval Africans purified gold so successfully, they also made do with what their environment provided them. “We bought gold dust from a chemical supply company and then we mixed it with local Lake Michigan sand and then we made our own synthetic glass,” says Walton. “We heated it up, were able to dissolve the minerals in the sand, and were left behind with gold.”
Though Walton and his team updated this small-scale, bespoke process for purifying gold to modern times and adapted it to their environment in Illinois, their results show that the medieval Malian technique was both clever and sophisticated.
Hexbyte News Computers
On March 1, the Department of Housing and Urban Development approved a new tranche of funding for Puerto Rico’s reconstruction, the second installment of the $20 billion in disaster recovery funding the federal government has committed to help the island recover from the damage of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Much of that money will be used to repair Puerto Rico’s physical infrastructure, which was ravaged after the storm. In the months after Maria, blue tarps on rooftops and dark streets at night became enduring images of the catastrophic 2017 hurricane season and the inadequacy of the response.
Chris Mellon is a policy analyst with the Future of Property Rights program at New America.
But invisible amid these powerful images hides a seemingly boring little detail: Puerto Rico has an address problem.
Addresses may seem like mundane pieces of postal infrastructure—that is, until you don’t have one. According to the Puerto Rican government’s recovery plan, the lack of 911-compliant addresses “makes it difficult for emergency responders to locate homes and businesses.” In the wake of a catastrophe like Hurricane Maria, when emergency services can’t reach someone, it can be a matter of life or death. During one of my recent visits to the island, FEMA officials grew visibly emotional, recalling how many people were lost because first responders couldn’t locate them. In the San Juan area alone, there are still thousands of individual FEMA aid applications that cannot be processed because the properties cannot be located. Beyond the current recovery efforts, reliable addresses are needed to support all kinds of government planning initiatives and the provision of social services.
The dysfunction of Puerto Rico’s addressing system has much to do with the island’s colonial history. Puerto Rico was claimed by Spain in 1493 and adopted Spanish addressing conventions. When the island was seized by the United States in 1898, its address system was abruptly grafted onto a nation with a foreign language and customs. The result is a mismatch between Spanish street naming conventions and mailing systems designed for the rest of the United States. For instance, Puerto Rican addresses often use “urbanization” and “barrio” divisions to distinguish between otherwise identical street addresses, and mainland US software frequently has no input field for these. Moreover, the Spanish language convention of using street name prefixes instead of suffixes can cause data to be read in the wrong fields. An ordinary Puerto Rican address can be written in dozens of different ways and they are often recorded differently in different databases.
As a result, the cost of rendering Puerto Rico’s addressing system compliant with mainland US standards has been estimated at up to $200 million.
In the midst of a rebuilding effort that is both sweeping in scope and bound by austerity, the cost of fixing the address system may seem extreme—particularly in light of the emergence of geocoding systems, which promise to solve addressing problems at scale.
Geocodes are what they sound like: unique codes that correspond to geographic coordinates. The currently best known geocoding system was devised by a company called What3Words, though Google, Mapcode, and others have competing systems with different features. What3Words has divided the entire planet into 57 trillion 3- by 3-meter squares, each with a unique three-word identifier. These “addresses” are permanent, easy to record and communicate, and translate into latitude and longitude when plugged into a GPS. The three words that identify a given square are chosen essentially at random from a word dictionary, and there is no relation between adjacent squares. For example, the address from which I am writing this article is voter.demand.part.
So should a place like Puerto Rico simply adopt What3Words as a fix for its broken address system?
From the perspective of a mail carrier, ecommerce vendor, or emergency responder navigating by GPS, What3Words may well succeed in its goal of providing a universal, ready-made addressing system. But from another perspective it doesn’t really provide any addresses at all.
Addresses are names; they have meaning and importance far beyond their administrative function. It is largely through place names that location intersects with issues of history and identity. They record far more than a location on the surface of the earth. It is a location within a cultural landscape which gives us coordinates in time as well as space. Relics of old languages and geographies, environmental patterns, demographics, wildlife.
Names, and the relationships between names, tell you about the people who chose them. What they aspired to, what religion they practiced, what language they spoke. They are hierarchical from country to city to street, and so on, which makes them good for navigation without a GPS. And these hierarchical subdivisions correspond to communities, like neighborhoods that may confer prestige or street cred to their inhabitants. Put differently, addresses encode our location into the civic infrastructure.
Conversely, by assigning utile but random combinations of letters or numbers, geocodes may enhance access to emergency services and ecommerce but mask socioeconomic information that is important to people’s identities.
Having an address means having a name in much the same way a person has a name. Using a geocode instead of an address is, in the case of What3Words, like swapping your first, middle, and last names for three names chosen at random—and, in fact, your name would be guaranteed to be as different as possible from the names of those closest to you, like your parents, spouse, and children.
In a sense, the choice between geocodes and addresses is ultimately a false one, because while their administrative functions overlap, addresses and geocodes are not the same kind of thing. So it is unsurprising that Puerto Ricans are resisting exclusively using a geocode addressing system, no matter what problems it can solve from a technical perspective. That resistance is rightly bound up with the island’s historical fight for self-determination and the struggle to preserve the island’s unique cultural and linguistic heritage.
In some places this is not a major concern. The postal service in Mongolia—where one-quarter of the population is still nomadic, population densities are extremely low, and street names are rare—adopted What3Words as its formal addressing system. And in countries without any serious addressing infrastructure, geocodes are an attractive option for getting important services off the ground. But in a US territory fighting for equal recognition, equal rights, and perhaps statehood, addressing cannot end with geocodes.
WIRED Opinion publishes pieces written by outside contributors and represents a wide range of viewpoints. Read more opinions here. Submit an op-ed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |
WASHINGTON, DC—As millions of dollars in donations stacked up for the Notre-Dame following the horrific fire last month, the Washington National Cathedral was quietly building its own restoration fund—brick-by-plastic brick.
Together with the Lego-building company Bright Bricks, officials at the cathedral have embarked on a project to build a massive replica of the cathedral out of Lego bricks. The project will raise money for much needed earthquake repairs. When complete, the towering yet detailed 1:40-scaled replica will be the largest Lego cathedral in the world. It’ll contain an estimated 500,000 bricks, weighing 612 kilograms, measuring nearly 4-meters long, 2.5-meters wide, and rising 3.35-meters from its elevated platform. It may also be the largest Lego structure ever built from instructions—officials at the cathedral are in talks with Guinness World Records.
Those instructions—created by the designers and professional Lego aficionados at Bright Bricks—are used by volunteers and kind donors who buy individual bricks and place them on the growing replica by hand. The bricks go for $2 each and all the money goes toward the $19 million needed to repair damage from a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in 2011.
The quake caused extensive damage to the neo-gothic structure, with seismic waves rippling through to the top of the church’s Indiana-limestone features. Stone pieces cracked, pinnacles rotated 20 centimeters on their bases, flying buttresses swayed and crumbled, a gargoyle was decapitated by a dislodged stone, and a 159-kilogram finial toppled, falling 20 stories to the ground—where it was later stolen. In all, there was $34 million worth of damage to the massive cathedral, the sixth largest in the world and second largest in the US (only Saint John the Divine in New York City is larger).
The Cathedral closed for weeks following the quake and engineers have worked to stabilize the structure, in some cases removing pinnacles and adding supports. In-house stone masons have worked tirelessly, patching, restoring, and replacing damaged stone pieces. The Cathedral has been blotched by scaffolding ever since. But, so far, the cathedral community has only been able to raise $15 million for the repairs in the years since the quake and much work remains.
That’s where the Lego replica comes in, helping to raise additional funds and bringing in more visitors. Charles Fulcher, director of visitor programs got the idea during a visit to England a few years ago where he was inspired by the Durham Cathedral’s own fundraising Lego replica project, (~300,000 brick
Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |
By the end of 2019, many major VR headset manufacturers seem poised to launch a new “statement” product for PCs. This month sees two such headsets reach store shelves: the Oculus Rift S (coming May 21, priced at $400) and the HP Reverb (out now, starting at $600).
In both companies’ cases, the statement from each headset is a mix of upgrade and compromise. Rift S sees Oculus take two steps forward, two steps back, from its three-year-old Rift headset to establish a new “baseline” PC-VR experience, particularly with active hand tracking in mind. Meanwhile, Reverb aims to deliver the most affordable “high-res” VR headset ever made—which, as you might expect, includes a few imperfections, ranging from the obvious to the surprising.
After living with both headsets, I can report that each headset’s sales pitch is totally fine, not game-changing, and both are worth scrutinizing—because neither is currently a slam-dunk recommendation.
Let’s start with the HP Reverb, a headset that promises to exceed the screen quality and pixel density of the already-impressive HTC Vive Pro and Samsung Odyssey. Reverb’s total resolution weighs in at a combined 4,320×2,160 across its fast-switching LCD panels.
As a result, before HP agreed to send us a testing unit, we were asked to confirm a graphics card minimum of a GTX 1080 or AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200. Notice that their latter suggestion is designed for workstations, not consumer PCs. That’s the point. The Reverb is squarely targeted at an enterprise or development use cases where screen quality is paramount; this is not necessarily your headset for gaming or high-speed interactivity.
This is first made apparent by an awkward headstrap. Unlike the springy flex of the original Oculus Rift or the rotary dial of the PlayStation VR, Reverb’s strap is spartan. You get three velcro straps to adjust, which are all difficult to adjust while wearing the headset. This is all bound by a light-yet-wide halo, meant to fit against the back of the head, and it comes with two decidedly cheap-feeling over-ear speakers—with fuzzy material you’d expect from $5 airplane headphones. (You can’t detach these, but you can push them off your ears and plug in your own headphones with a 3.5mm jack.)
Yet this spartan approach means the strap system is under-engineered, a rarity in the sector. The headset is substantially lighter in mass than the over-engineered Vive Pro, which may be worth some inconvenience. Its back-halo design keeps more weight off your face than the original Rift. Plus, fit it onto your exact head shape once, and it’s simple enough to put on and take off from there.
The Reverb’s flip-up functionality is flimsy and bumps into your head, so it disappoints as a “peek at the outside world” option. Its cramped interior is not particularly glasses-friendly. And if your interpupillary distance (IPD) measures outside the “average” measure of 61-66mm, Reverb’s “digital IPD” adjustment option will leave you unsatisfied from a comfort level.
All of which is to say: If your expected business/enterprise use case includes mostly VR-savvy professionals of a perfect head shape and size, you’ll be fine. If you’re handing these to a variety of utter VR newbies, on the other hand, be ready to on-board them just to get the thing on.
As for the Reverb’s screens, the pixel resolution of 4,320×2,160 is
Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature |
Mission control might never have witnessed Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon if it weren’t for the vision of men like Eugene Shoemaker. Geologists Ivo Luccitta and Jerry Schaber say Shoemaker, who was their boss and a top gun at the U.S. Geological Survey, made a lot of stuff happen on that historic mission.
Originally, NASA didn’t want to televise the iconic moment, they said.
“We worked very hard here to use television in our field exercises and show them how valuable it was,” Luccitta said.
As the story goes, Shoemaker had a lot of convincing to do when it came to NASA.
“They didn’t want to take a rock hammer. They didn’t want to take anything that … could hurt their suit and poke a hole in their suit. They didn’t want us to even photograph the rocks,” Schaber said.
According to Eugene Shoemaker’s widow, Carolyn, Shoemaker would tell people at NASA there was no point in going to the moon unless you were going to do some science while there. And Carolyn knows a thing or two about heavenly bodies. She helped discover a comet that broke apart in 1994 and crash-landed on Jupiter.
Shoemaker felt that man could do a lot on the moon if given the chance. His chance first came in an Arizona town called Flagstaff – nestled between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon. The town is in full celebration of the moon landing’s golden anniversary, from restaurants serving specialty drinks on the rocks – moon shaped rocks – to dark-side-of-the-moon dessert apples at bakeries.
Jeff Hall is caretaker of the Lowell Observatory, which has artifacts from the Apollo mission on display. Lowell’s telescope, one of the oldest in the nation, helped geologists map the moon for the Apollo landing.
“Flagstaff provided the astronauts a near-perfect venue to see what they were going to run into on the moon,” Hall said. ‘You only get one shot when you’re up there. You’d better get it right.”
But Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins weren’t geologists. It was up to people like Schaber and Luccitta to train them. So, they got a crash course in geology, training at nearby cinder fields and studying rock formations at the meteor crater – a breathtaking hole in the earth nearly 4,000 feet in diameter and more than 500 feet deep. It’s believed an impact created it approximately 50,000 years ago.
According to meteor crater tour guide Jeff Beal, they didn’t have much time to learn: about two days. With that knowledge in hand, they were off. But there was no guarantee they’d have a chance to use it.
While Walter Cronkite anchored CBS News’ coverage from New York, his colleague George Herman broadcasted live from the USGS in Flagstaff, where the mission continues.
With a renewed pledge for space exploration, the USGS is once again training. And they’ll be doing it in the same spaces and places that the Apollo 11 team did.
© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Hexbyte – Science and Tech
There have been a couple ‘instant death’ locations last season due to the Unvaulting event, but now the bug is back in Season 9 around Neo Tilted.
Fortnite Battle Royale Season 9 dropped on May 9 that included complete redesigns of Tilted Towers and Retail Row, now Neo Tilted and Mega Mall respectively.
The end of Season 8 saw the destruction of Tilted Towers and Retail Row due to the volcano erupting and tossing rocks across the map.
Leading up to Season 9 the Unvaulting event caused an instant death area to appear around Loot Lake, which was the epicenter for the event.
Another instant death location has been found around Neo Tilted, thanks to this clip posted on the FortniteBR subreddit.
The clip shows the player opening a supply drop then attempting to slide down the mountain in order to chase the loot, but is then suddenly eliminated.
Players have been finding different “instant death” locations around Fortnite for a while, but for one to appear so soon into a new season is certainly rare.
Even though Season 9 has gained positive remarks from the casual community, the competitive community has been upset over things like the inconsistency found in the new combat shotgun’s damage.
We expect Epic to address these bugs and glitches with the next patch, v9.10, expect to drop next week around May 14.
What has been your favorite part of Fortnite Battle Royale Season 9? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us on Twitter at @FortniteINTEL.
Hexbyte – Science and Tech
Production has reportedly started on a key part of Apple’s next generation of iPhones. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing has started early test production of the A13 processor that will power Apple’s next phone, possibly called the iPhone 11, according to a Bloomberg report Friday citing unnamed sources. The chip could reportedly enter mass production as early as this month.
September is when Apple typically unveils its new line of iPhones. There is little definitive news about the new flagship smartphone, but rumors say it’ll have three rear cameras and reverse charging. No one is expecting to see a 5G version of the iPhone 11.
Before new iPhones are unveiled though, Apple is expected to show off the next version of its mobile operating system, iOS 13, at its annual WWDC, which starts on June 3. Other possible announcements for the event include a new version of MacOS and an App Store for the Apple Watch. We might even see hardware such as a new iPad or MacBook.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing declined to comment.
Originally published May 10, 9:23 a.m. PT.
Update, 11:14 a.m. PT: Adds Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing declining comment.
iOS 13 leaks hint at future products and the latest iPhone…