October 22, 2010

Ever hear the phrase “the camera never lies”?

Filed under: Media, Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 16:11

With Photoshop and other image manipulation tools, still photographs have become less and less dependable for preserving “reality”. It’ll be very soon that video will be just as undependable, but in real time:

The effect is achieved by an image synthesizer that reduces the image quality, removes the object, and then increases the image quality back up. This all happens within 40 milliseconds, fast enough that the viewer doesn’t notice any delay. As the camera moves, the system maintains the illusion through tracking algorithms and guesswork. It does seem to be thwarted by reflections though; a cell phone removed from a bathroom counter is still visible in the mirror.

I don’t think the mirror is the limitation in the video: either it’s currently limited to a single point of “invisibility” or the operator forgot to highlight the reflection for the program.

H/T to John Turner for the link.

Allen Patterson tells the real Caramel Pie story

Filed under: Humour, USA — Tags: — Nicholas @ 13:07

In a possibly vain attempt to get ahead of the urban legend generation/amplification/distortion cycle, Allen Patterson tells the original Caramel Pie story:

This is the definitive version of The Caramel Pie Story, a tale that has been spreading throughout north Mississippi (and beyond) for at least 35 years. It is time to get it online before the variant versions take hold and are accepted as truth.

People have told this story so many times that some Mississippians now claim to have been there when they weren’t. Combine those folks with the number of people who claim that they saw the aftermath and, well, there’s not room for that many people on an ocean liner.

The story involves a caramel pie, my family, the LaMastus family (neighbors), a remodeled kitchen, and some ducks.

Don’t forget about the ducks.

The gruesome confessions of a murder that never happened

Filed under: Europe, Germany, Law — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 09:01

Roger Henry sent a link to this Australian story, which is just plain weird:

It was a macabre crime that horrified Germany: a farmer, battered to death and dismembered by his own family, his body apparently fed to his pigs and dogs.

A killing without a corpse, since all traces had been gobbled up in the farmyard.

Yesterday, thought, nine years after Rudi Rupp disappeared, a Bavarian court opened a retrial of his supposed killers after the discovery of his intact body in the River Danube. The case has sent shockwaves through the German judicial system, which since the Second World War has prided itself on its probity and professionalism.

Mr Rupp, a 52-year-old Bavarian pig farmer, allegedly returned home from the pub one autumn night in 2001 and was hit over the head with a large wooden beam by Mathias Eisenhofer, 17, the lover of Mr Rupp’s daughter Manuela, 16. He was beaten almost to death and taken to the cellar where Manuela noticed that her father’s leg was still twitching. Eisenhofer then hit the farmer’s skull with a sharp-edged hammer. Manuela joined in. Another daughter, Andrea, 15, watched, as did the farmer’s wife Hermine.

Why would they make up such a gruesome story? It doesn’t appear to make any sense. The whole thing is so weird that I’d be tempted to check that it wasn’t an early April news story.

Percy Harvin starting to get the respect of opponents

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 08:56

Although I was watching the game, I didn’t notice this little drama:

In Sunday’s 24-21 victory over the Cowboys, the Vikings put Harvin in the backfield seven times. That includes two plays that were negated by penalties and another play the Cowboys quickly aborted.

With the score tied 21-21 with 6 minutes, 12 seconds left, the Vikings lined up at the Dallas 23-yard line. They had three receivers bunched near right, Randy Moss wide left and Harvin standing beside Brett Favre in the shotgun.

The sight of Harvin in the backfield caused not one, not two, but four Cowboys defenders to signal for a timeout. The Vikings went to a different formation after the timeout.

“Dallas probably didn’t have the personnel in the game to deal with that,” backup running back Albert Young said. “That’s the kind of mismatch that can catch a team off-guard. But I don’t think people will be caught off-guard anymore after seeing that one.”

When a player appearing in a different position causes the defenders to panic, you know that player is considered highly dangerous.

Stephen Fry on language

Filed under: Education, Humour, Quotations — Tags: — Nicholas @ 08:50

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