Saturday, May 31, 2003

Of salmon and storms and multi-colored roses

Farmed Salmon Looking Less Rosy by Marian Burros, New York Times, May 28, 2003

THE images of salmon farming that the industry promotes seem pristine and natural, of fish frisking in icy cold clean waters, of wise management saving an endangered species while providing shoppers with the fish they love.

But critics say that image of the regal salmon, America's most popular fresh fish, is not the whole reality. Recent lawsuits accuse the industry of polluting the ocean, endangering dwindling stocks of wild salmon and failing to tell shoppers that they use artificial colors to make the fish red.

The criticisms echo many of those leveled at huge corporate farms on land.

"We've come to the point where we view these farms as hog lots or feedlots of the ocean," said Jeff Reardon, the New England conservation director of Trout Unlimited, which has worked with salmon farmers in Maine to reduce the number of fish that escape, to protect wild trout and salmon. "They breed disease and parasites. Like other big animal feedlots there are lots of problems. Some of their practices are beginning to improve, but over all the impact is not lessening."


Salmon Color selection chips[Sigh] I love salmon, and we eat it, or brook trout, at least once a week. I had to idea salmon farming created pollution or environmental hazards. I was surprised to see that salmon farmers can select the color they want their farmed salmon to be. Wild salmon, according to the article, are pink because of the krill and other stuff they eat (like flamingos), but farmed salmon don't eat krill, they eat fish feed, and salmon farmers are given a choice of what additive they want in the fish feed to turn the fish their favorite color of pink. But I guess I shouldn't be that surprised since I know the reason Perdue chickens are that weird yellow color is from what the company feeds them (I think I heard it was marigold seed that does that, but I might be nuts ... ) I wonder if it's a Pantone palette ...

STORMY WEATHER
Poor Ginger--she's so frightened of thunder. Here she is, looking at me and worried that I won't come in and the thunder will get me:

Ginger looking very worried


Right now she's wrapped around the bottom of my chair--I'm afraid to move lest one of the wheels catches her fur and yanks it out.

NEW ROSES
We haven't had a chance to put our new roses into the ground yet; either it's been raining like crazy or we've gotten home too late to do it. I wanted to do it this weekend but, as you might guess from the above, it's raining AGAIN.

But they're blooming! And they're gorgeous! I know pretty much where I'd like to put them, though it might involve getting rid of some raspberry bushes (Stanley doesn't like raspberries and I don't care enough about them to care if the bushes get yanked. They're pretty scaggy-looking things anyway). They're climbing roses, so I'd like to put them on a trellis in the sunny part of the yard, with a clematis on the other side.

onerose.jpg


The old climbing rose bush off the patio is just loaded with buds this year--when that one blooms, it's going to be a sight to see.

I did some experimenting in PhotoShop, working on a shot of the roses I took this morning. I like playing around with the filters and effects and seeing what I can come up with. In this triptych, the first shot is the original photo, the second is kind of an old faded color photo look (kind of), and the third, well, just moody.

copyright 2003 by Lee Fleming, InfoPulse LLC. If you want this for some reason, just ask me by sending email to lee at infopulsellc dot com


It's very weird--Ginger is snoring so it feels as if I have a chair with Magic Fingers. Ah well, time to throw dinner in the oven; maybe Stanley will make it home sometime soon. He's off in Pleasantville, NY doing a job there that he did not know he had to do when he left this morning. Hope he's charging weekend rates.
posted by lee on 05/31/03 at 06:24 PM

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Thursday, May 29, 2003

Loooong day—sheesh!

Doing some work for a client in Branford, about a 45-minute drive each way. Today I parked in the middle of I-95 for nearly two hours while they cleared up an accident. Sucked--WSHU was doing it shill routine (pledge drive), WFUV wasn't coming in right, and the rest of the stations around here are crap. I forgot to lug my book-on-cd along.

After getting home from work, rushing to walk the dog, then rushing to work out, then rushing to take a friend grocery shopping, I finally made it home for the evening at about 9:15 pm. Only ... Stanley was still working, and didn't get back until the 11pm news was on. Bummer--I knew it was a job he didn't even want to take on, and I wanted to jib-jabber to him about the new project I started (a corporate website redesign), which looks like it's going to be pretty interesting.

It's supposed to rain all weekend. I was kinda hoping to finish planting stuff, and especially get tomatoes in. Plus, the lawn is literally up to my butt (yeah, I'm short, but not THAT short!), and awesomely needs to be mowed. Or scythed. I would just throw wildflower seeds over the half acre and call it a meadow, but I doubt our neighbors would go for it. Besides, I keep losing the dog in the high grass ...
posted by lee on 05/29/03 at 08:27 PM

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Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Zeldman wrong—a rethink? Sort of.

In my comments section, Alexander Johannesen had this to say about my opinion that Zeldman is wrong about the IE/Win lack of support for PNGs:
No, he is right; MS does not fully support PNG, not even in the latest IE incarnations. What you are referring to is the MS-only way of putting an Aplha on images through CSS, and has got nothing to do with PNG in itself which has got Alpha support in its native format. Netscape, Opera, Mozilla all have better PNG support, and in this case Microsoft should be ashamed of themselves.


I see what they're getting at: MS should be fully supporting PNGs without the need to resort to CSS hacks or proprietary DirectX filters, etc. They're right, MS SHOULD be ashamed.

But still, the lack of native IE/Win support for the complete PNG format doesn't mean you can't use them because there are DirectX hacks to support them. So you CAN support those lovely alpha transparencies in IE.

Yes, we should continue to bitch and moan about IE not being standards-compliant--maybe MS will get it and make my job a lot easier. But in the meantime, since IE is not 100% compliant, and IE is the browser used by the vast majority of surfers and probably will be for some time to come, my advice is this: "Deal with it." The bitching and moaning can be pretty offputting without the "but ... "

Aaron Boorman of youngpup has a script called Sleight that he says makes PNG graphics work as normal in Win32 IE5.5+. I haven't tried it yet, so I don't know how well it works. I saw this link on Evolt, where there is a semi-useful article about and useful discussion of PNGs.
posted by lee on 05/27/03 at 09:33 AM

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Sunday, May 25, 2003

“collateral damage” in iraq: the truth is slow in coming

Surveys pointing to high civilian death toll in Iraq (Christian Science Monitor, May 22, 2003)

Evidence is mounting to suggest that between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians may have died during the recent war, according to researchers involved in independent surveys of the country.


These are the victims of a war they did not want, did not ask for. Are we going to provide the families of these victims of this immoral and unnecessary war the same kind of financial assistance we gave to the families of those killed on 9/11?

Tell me how Bush is any less a criminal than Hussein? Is it a question of scale? Bush killed at least 5,000 innocent people in one month, for what?
posted by lee on 05/25/03 at 10:14 AM

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Saturday, May 24, 2003

What is Zeldman Testing?

In Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: The Daily Report Opera and PNG, he wrote, "It also emphasizes that IE/Win is alone among modern browsers in its lack of true support for the 199596 PNG image standard." Wrong, wrong, wrong. Boyo is he wrong.

In the US, go to your local BMW dealership and ask to see their Virtual Sales Center (BMW's name for their kiosk). The navigation interface graphics are done entirely with PNG images BECAUSE IE/Win supports PNG alpha transparency. And I built this interface a couple of years ago, so it's not something new.

You can see an example of how to apply the alpha filter here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/samples/author/filter/Alpha.htm. The html / CSS looks something like this:

‹DIV ID="oFilterDIV" STYLE="position:absolute; top:50px; left:10px; width:240px; height:160px; padding:10px; font:bold 13pt verdana; background:green;
filter:progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha( Opacity=100, FinishOpacity=0, Style=1, StartX=0, FinishX=100, StartY=0, FinishY=100)"›
This is the DIV object content.‹/DIV›

I don't know if Netscape 6+ or Opera supports MS filters now or not--I haven't had any reason to experiment and find out since I haven't needed them for web work, just for a kiosk interface where the browser is absolutely controlled. Now I'm wondering: I wonder if they do ... I'll just add it to my list of things I want to experiment with ... (I need about four additional hours per day with no corresponding need for additional sleep!)
posted by lee on 05/24/03 at 10:12 PM

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here & there & so on

Check out this Flash movie by interaction artist / student Danny Gomez. Be patient, get through the early stuff, wait for the interesting stuff, the peyote trip. Not recommended for those on dialup, unless you can let it run while you do other things.

If aliens are controlling your mind, you might wanna check out how to make a helmet to block them. Stop Alien Abductions tells you how--but you MUST use velostat and only velostat will do.

REVIEWLET:
We finally watched Panic Room last night. It kept our attention. It was exciting at points. But I found the whole premise VERY implausible: if the thieves discovered people in what they thought would be an empty house, why didn't they just wait until the people left and break in later? Or, barring that, the nephew coulda just claimed his inheritance and pay the damned inheritance taxes. Or the schmucks coulda just knocked on the door and offered to split the booty with the new homeowners. But no. If so, there would have been no movie, right?

So the message of this movie was very Republican: do away with inheritance taxes so homeowners uwittingly now in possession of hidden safes in their hidden safe rooms are safe in their beds. Don't be a nice guy thief because you'll lose out in the end. And, it's okay to be a home-invading thief because you're such a nice, compassionate guy and you really really need the money so you can win your custody battle.

It's worth watching because Forest Whitaker and Jodie Foster are damned fine actors. Kristen Stewart as the daughter was no slouch herself--she's one to watch.
posted by lee on 05/24/03 at 10:59 AM

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Thursday, May 22, 2003

book reviews for real people

I did a search for Carolyn Knapp earlier this evening because I read that she died last year and was shocked and I wanted to know why she died (lung cancer, at 42). I read Knapp's Drinking: A Love Storyseveral years ago. The book meant a lot to me.

At any rate, when I googled Knapp, I came upon Booked, a blog by Cynthia Crossen. I began reading through it--she's a very good journal writer (she either wrote or still writes for the Wall Street Journal, and has two non-fiction books: Tainted Truth and The Rich and How They Got That Way. I had actually heard of, if not read, the latter.)

Booked is the web companion to her (print) newsletter about books, wherein she writes her reviews of various and sundry books, mainly fiction, and with a few entries here and there about her life.

So far, based on what I've read, I think I'll start reading the books on her "Fiction 50" list that I haven't already read. Mainly because it does NOT include Cold Mountain (which I thought was a nasty piece of work and not good literature at all, let alone Pulitzer-worthy) and because her reviews appeal to me.
posted by lee on 05/22/03 at 10:43 PM

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post-war iraq

The Mark Fiore: The War Planner is pretty apt. Depressingly apt.

Meanwhile, Tony of Beneath Buddha's Eyes is posting his stories and photos from his trip to Baghdad on an AmeriCares relief mission.
posted by lee on 05/22/03 at 10:06 AM

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Tuesday, May 20, 2003

orsinal has a new game

Orisinal added Rainmaker. Orsinal is up for a Webby.

The Webbys are going to be presented online on June 5. How lame is that? I guess IDG didn't want to spring for the meeting space.
posted by lee on 05/20/03 at 10:34 PM

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Sunday, May 18, 2003

origami for your cd

Make a paper cd case (or jewel case) complete with tracks, or mailing address, etc. Takes html form data and converts into a PDF file, which you then print out and fold by following the little lines ... might be useful, I dunno for sure. Via Kevin Smith at Centricle.
posted by lee on 05/18/03 at 08:59 PM

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