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January 12, 2018


This is the most recent open thread, so:

I just saw a bald eagle floating down the Delaware River on a big chunk of ice. Wish I had a camera on me.

Wow! Lucky you hsh!

I just saw a bald eagle floating down the Delaware River on a big chunk of ice. Wish I had a camera on me.

Too far away to take a pic with your phone? I mean surely you have a phone on your person at all times these days..... ;-)

Too far away to take a pic with your phone? I mean surely you have a phone on your person at all times these days..... ;-)

Nope. Not when I'm exercising at lunch (braving the cold, winter winds off the Delaware in a very manly, George Washington kind of way).

I knew you were a manly GW kind of guy, hsh. Glad to have it confirmed.

I was never much into taking pictures until I kind of randomly acquired a little digital camera several years after they became common. Turned out I *loved* it when I could upload pics right away, make my own cards from them, keep photo diaries of a sort, etc. When Ezster Hargittai from Crooked Timber started a photo group a while back (2013?), I joined it and stayed semi-faithful for the 4 years it existed. Since it folded I've fallen off the picture-taking wagon, but I still may climb back up one of these days.

The debate I've had with myself for a while has been whether to graduate from this beloved little camera I have -- which is at this point a reconditioned copy of my original, which I broke with carelessness -- to a fancier camera with lenses etc. If I decide to get more serious, I'll need a better camera. But what I absolutely love about the one I have is that it fits in a pocket. For 6 or 7 years I carried it with me everywhere -- cargo shorts with side pockets in the summer, jacket pocket in the winter, the camera slipped into a little drawstring bag -- so that I could take any kind of spur of the moment picture that struck me, all day, every day, everywhere and anywhere. Kind of like a lot of people do with phones now, but I have a cheap phone with a crappy camera so that doesn't work for me.

I'm still not sure I would have carried it in my sweatpants pocket while jogging, though. Then again, I don't jog, so there's that.

The trade-off that I can't resolve is that with a fancy camera that doesn't fit in a pocket, I have to make a deliberate decision when I leave the house: this is a picture-taking expedition, or not; and I have to lug stuff around. With the little camera, any time is picture-taking time. I suppose I could have both...the little one still with me always, the fancy one only sometimes.

Friday afternoon escape-from-spreadsheets musings.

aside from the fixed focal length (digital zoom is a lie!), i'm very impressed with the cameras in smartphones these days.

i rarely take my big ol Nikon out of the house anymore.

digital zoom is a lie!

Assuming your eyes could focus on things no matter how close, it's like looking at part of the same damned picture with it smashed up against your face. Just effing crop it after the fact. There's no difference.

huge difference!

making pixels bigger (digital zoom) is a terrible substitute for magnification (optical zoom).

But digital zoom and cropping just make pixels bigger.

The next generation of phones have/will have two or more lenses, data from which can be combined computationally in all sorts of interesting ways, but they are not yet very cheap:

In any event, I carry a camera with me most of the time, in a shoulder bag which also holds tablet, book, sunglasses etc (i.e. a more or less acceptable manbag).

making pixels bigger (digital zoom

Don't use phones or know much, but "making pixels bigger" since they are hardware sounds really strange

In media, I watch all kinds of resolutions on my 1920x1080, and for instance when a 480 vertical is expanded to fill the screen, my player uses software dithering, bestguessing the color pixel that should be between two pixels separated by expansion. It is not at all optimal, but the blurriness is not because the pixels are bigger. Same process is done with downscaling.

As per not wanting immigrants from shithole countries--yes, there are people who live in terrible places. Seems to me that's exactly who should be allowed to immigrate because they are the people who need to immigrate. Norwegains don't need to immigrate (and would be seriously reducing their quality of life if they came here)

Thats what struck me about the not wanting immigrants from shithole countries The term is rude but the underlying assumption is really really clueless.

We are a nation of people who came from places wath were shitholes at some point in history. And I say that as a person of French ancestry (Franco-Prussian War) married to a person of Irish ancestry(potato famine)

huge difference!

making pixels bigger (digital zoom) is a terrible substitute for magnification (optical zoom).

Right. I was agreeing with you. Digital zoom is like cropping (and resizing) afterwards. No new information is added. You’re just looking closer at part of the same image.

Don't use phones or know much, but "making pixels bigger" since they are hardware sounds really strange

the pixels on the phone's sensor never change. with a old school zoom lens in front of a digital sensor, the image gets magnified by the lens and the sensor sees the magnified image. exactly like film.

with digital zoom, the lens is fixed - doesn't zoom at all. so, what happens is that the image that comes off the sensor gets cropped, and then enlarged. so if your camera's sensor takes ex. 4000x3000 pixel images, and you digitally zoom in 2x, the camera will take the image off the sensor, crop it to 2000x1500, then enlarge that image back up to 4000x3000. that's what you'll see.

the very simplest way to do that enlargement is to take every single pixel in the 2000x1500 image and duplicate it once horizontally and once vertically. the color in the top-left pixel of the cropped image gets put into the four pixels in the top-left of the 4000x3000 image. in effect, each source pixel becomes 4x as big. it's an ugly effect (but very fast!).

in 1D it's easy.

if you have this series of five numbers:

8 16 9 7 1

and you need a series of ten numbers that looks somewhat like the original, you can just duplicate them:

8 8 16 16 9 9 7 7 1 1

that's a 2x enlargement. and that's "pixels get bigger". each pixel grew twice as big, in effect.

that's also the "mosaic" effect: just make each pixel into a big square.

there are more sophisticated ways to do enlargement. but they are all ultimately just variations of weighted a average: pick some number of adjacent pixels, do a weighted average to find the new pixel.

8 16 9 7 1

enlarge 5 to 9, doing a simple average:

8 12 16 13 9 7 8 4 1

new values are just average of adjacent pairs of old ones.

and here's the issue. by coincidence at all, a digital blur is also done with a weighted average. the only difference is that a blur has the same number of pixels in the input and output. with enlargement, you create multiple blurred pixels from each source pixel; each output pixel is a blurred version of the almost the same set of source pixels as its neighbors.

8 16 9 7 1

enlarge 5 to 12 - interpolate two pixels between each pair of source pixels:

8 10 14 16 14 12 9 8 8 7 5 3 1

the jump from 8 to 16 was a pretty big jump (for these numbers) - and jumps are actually edges, borders, fine detail, in the image. but 8, 10, 14, 16 is a nice smooth gradient - no more edge. now it's a ramp.

in case you wanted a lecture...

(did i mention that i used to do this stuff for a living and would lovelovelove to get back into it?)

Well that's it. The Federal government will shut down in an hour due to lack of approval to spend money.

Apparently even the 3 1/2 months since the fiscal year started (not to mention the previous months when the job should have been done) still weren't enough to get the Congress' most basic governing function accomplished. No wonder the public holds the Congress in such low regard.

As of 12:00, McConnell has not yet closed the vote, so we shall see.

He, Trump's brand of "government" needs to be mucked out and hosed off, let alone shut down.


First, this sucks, second, this is all on the Dems, third, that may work out for them.

I would be taking credit for it if I were them, not giving Trump credit for it.

If you are going to stand on principle and demand an immigration solution or else, then own it.

I might respect you for that.

But 45 Dem Senators and 4 Rep Senators voted tonight against a 6 year extension of CHIPS and to not fund the government for the next four weeks.

CHIPS is off the table for beating up Reps. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

this is all on the Dems

What about the Republican Senators who voted with the Democrats? Shouldn't they get some credit, too?

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