RaaD Movies, News and Technology

Dany's RaaD Roundup

Breaking News Osama Bin Laden Dead with This Week in the Daily Show and the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner Week of May 1st, 2011


Tonight there was breaking news that President Obama confirmed around 11:45pm on the night of May 1st: US forces have killed Osama Bin Laden in Abbottaban, Pakistan and those forces now have custody of Bin Laden‘s body.

Here are the remarks from President Obama for the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, I must say, it has one of the best and most unexpected openings I would ever think a President would have, I felt like I was back watching wrestling back in the 1980’s.  Obama also makes fun of himself and his Vice President, Joe Biden, with a funny movie trailer.

Seth Meyers headlines the same dinner and in his 20 minutes he hits on things like a lack of birth certificate jokes, Arianna Huffington, Jon Hamm and Zach Galifianakis.

If polls of Republican and Democratic candidates 18 months prior to the election are so useless at predicting who will actually win the ultimate election, can we stop referring to them now? I guess we could fill all that dead airtime on all the 24 hour news networks with more footage of crazy cat videos.
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It’s interesting to see how the different protests during the local town hall meetings are shaking out, while some prominent Republicans are getting booed, some democrats have to sit through a protest with people who ultimately sing that they love the President… by the way, I am VERY confused by that last one.
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I heard about this interview with Gigi Ibrahim from No Agenda (subscribe here). I can’t believe that the story isn’t getting more press that Ibrahim was taught to do this from the American University in Cairo!
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Here is a nice tirade over the latest news regarding funding 9/11 first responder health treatments. My only comment is that if we are checking 9/11 responders on this, instead of getting mad about it, just check any group the government gives money or aid to against the terrorist watch list, so that we never get any scandals in the news about terrorists receiving aid money from the US government. Shouldn’t THAT be what we are avoiding?
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Elizabeth Warren comes back to explain again why she feels her new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is necessary and what has been happening since the agency was created. Currently, the agency takes effect this summer. You can track what her agency is doing at ConsumerFincance.gov
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William Cohan chronicles the history behind Goldman Sachs and how they are the best financial company to make money by exploiting everything possible that is legal.
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Thanks to the AP for the above photo.

Enjoy

Dany

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May 2, 2011 12:07 am Posted by | clips, college, comedians, DC, economy, education, Egypt, Islam, London, Lybia, Middle East, military, New York, newspaper, NYC, photography, podcasts, politics, Religion, tv, Washington, Washington DC | 1 Comment

Helen Thomas Tells Her Story to Playboy

A little bit of time has passed since Helen Thomas has left the White House Press Corps and recently Playboy wanted to get her side of the story about what happened, along with that though, they got a great retrospective of her time at the White House covering almost 1/4 of the Presidents of the United States (the last 10 Presidents). I don’t know what to think about Helen Thomas, she is a great reporter who said some things that I didn’t agree with, but I still think she should be sitting up front in the White House Press Corps asking the tough questions that no one seems to ask anymore. Sadly, I agree with her view of the current state of journalism in the US.

This is a great in depth interview with her, check out the Playboy interview here (or here).

To get an idea, here are of my favorite exchanges:

PLAYBOY: So is this how you pictured retirement?

THOMAS: I’m not retired! I was fired. In fact, I’ll die with my boots on. I’m still writing and I’ll continue to write and ask hard questions. I will never bow out of journalism.

PLAYBOY: Take us back to the White House courtyard on May 27 when Rabbi David Nesenoff pointed his camera at you and asked for your comments on Israel.

THOMAS: He pulled that thing out like a jackknife. I mean, he started out very nice, introducing me to these two young boys who wanted to be in journalism. He said, “Got any advice? Go for it.” I didn’t know it was Jewish Heritage Month, which is why he was at the White House and also why he asked “So what do you think of Israel?” That’s when I said, “They should get the hell out of Palestine.”

PLAYBOY: Did you realize how controversial those words were as you spoke them?

THOMAS: I knew I’d hit the third rail. You cannot say anything about Israel in this country. But I’ve lived with this cause for many years. Everybody knows my feelings that the Palestinians have been shortchanged in every way. Sure, the Israelis have a right to exist—but where they were born, not to come and take someone else’s home. I’ve had it up to here with the violations against the Palestinians. Why shouldn’t I say it? I knew exactly what I was doing—I was going for broke. I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up.

PLAYBOY: What was life like in the immediate aftermath as millions started viewing the video on YouTube?

THOMAS: I went into self-imposed house arrest for two weeks. It was a case of “know thyself.” Isn’t that what Socrates said? I wanted to see if I was remorseful—and I wasn’t.

PLAYBOY: Did the phone ring off the hook?

THOMAS: No. Nobody called. But I still have some friends in the White House press pool, who reached out to me. I understand they formed Jews for Helen Thomas at one point.

PLAYBOY: That’s interesting.

THOMAS: I also heard from Jimmy Carter. He called a few weeks later.

PLAYBOY: Has there ever been an honest press secretary?

THOMAS: Jerry terHorst. He lasted one month. He was President Ford’s press secretary. He had covered Ford in Washington. He had been here for 29 years as a reporter from the Grand Rapids paper and then The Detroit News. He understood the press. But he was incapable of lying, and he quit when Ford pardoned Nixon, on the very day. He couldn’t take it. Poor Jerry Ford. He just wasn’t ready to be president. He had prepared himself to be Speaker of the House and stepped into those shoes okay, but he just wasn’t equipped for the big job. We saw that Betty Ford struggled too, of course.”

Thanks to Playboy for the above pic, to Firetown for the pic below of Helen Thomas Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS and to No Agenda (subscribe here) for informing me about this interview.

Enjoy

Dany

March 21, 2011 12:45 pm Posted by | DC, Iraq, Israel, magazines, Middle East, military, newspaper, Palestine, photography, podcasts, politics, Religion, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment

This Week in The Daily Show and Colbert Report for January 16th, 2010

Never forget, advancing age does not decrease intellect or sexual desire, it may increase refractory time, but enjoy this piece about sex amongst Florida’s elderly population.
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I have never seen anyone promote a book like Denis Leary and I have also never seen an interviewer hilariously insult the book and the author as much as with this interview. You can check out Suck on This Year here.
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Here is an interesting look at history and I would not want to read any version of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that took out “the N word.” What would happen if we took all the Martin Luther King Jr. speeches where he used the word “negro” and replaced it with “African American?” There would be an uproar. I have also never heard of anyone publishing any of Thomas Jefferson‘s writings with his language white-washed either. Please just read the entire uncensored version here or get it from Amazon.
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All hail stupid, hastily put together and poorly thought through law proposals following a tragic event! Is it really good to know that a government for the people, by the people can end us up with officially that are just as stupid as some of the rest of us?
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Watch this extended interview with former governor (and most likely Republican Presidential candidate in 2014) Tim Pawlenty. He and Jon have an interesting discussion about the role of the federal government. He has a new book out called Courage to Stand.
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Now it’s time to make fun of how politics crept into the Obama Tucson mourning speech criticism a meer few minutes after the speech ended on most of the 24hr news organizations.
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Now you too can become a member of Congress, it’s easy, just watch this entire clip with your right hand raised in the air, just like 2 of our officially elected Congressmen did (story here)!
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When I heard Lithuania had it’s own perfume, it instantly reminded me of the old Snickers Gheorghe Mureşan commercial.
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Former Facebook programmer and Obama campaign worker Chris Hughes promotes his site jumo.com, where you can find charities  that interest you, follow them and donate.
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Using sarcasm, The Word is just good for you… also, you gotta love the blood libel reference that keeps Sarah Palin in the news cycle almost indefinitely.
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French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, co-author of Public Enemies, talks about God, debate and the inescapable black hole of political rhetoric.
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Who knew that snackrifice would enter  the lexicon? May the power of Dorito-Christ compell you!… or at least absolve you of your sins, or at worst, be offended by it.
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Lastly, after the Christmas weekend blizzard here on the east coast of the US, I found this lovely time lapse video documenting the snowfall with one shot every 5 minutes from a Canon DSLR.
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Enjoy

Dany

January 17, 2011 12:02 pm Posted by | Arizona, books, censorship, clips, crazy celebs, DC, Florida, food, guns, health, Law, Minnesota, photography, Religion, sex, tv, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment

Market Street – San Francisco Days Before the April 18th, 1906 Earthquake


If you have problems watching the above video, see it here.

60 Minutes came out with a story last week of a restored movie from 1906 simply called Market Street, an 11 minute film during the early days of film making. Amazingly, the film was shot in San Francisco just 11 days before the April 18th earthquake of 1906.

I wanted to present both the story that 60 Minutes aired (above) as well as the full uninterrupted movie (below). As well, I wanted to show just some panoramic pictures of SF in the aftermath of the quake. It is pretty amazing just how much a major US city changed in just a little over 100 years.

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If you have problems watching the above video, see it here.

Thanks to Wikimedia for hosting the full versions of panorama 1 and 2.

Enjoy this bit of history.

Dany

October 26, 2010 5:54 pm Posted by | clips, movies, photography, tv | Leave a comment

Apple’s New Toys for the 2010 Holliday Season

Steve Jobs made quite a few announcements about newer smaller  iPod shuffles, iPod nanos, iPod touches, a new iTunes and a new Apple TV along with many more updates on September 1st. You can watch the whole 90min conference here (subscribe to their keynote podcast here) including a performance at the end from the lead of Coldplay, Chris Martin. You can watch the musical performance here:

Of all the announcements, I thought the most interesting were the new social network Ping that is built into the new iTunes store, also accessible on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. They made a big deal about having over 160 million customers already with access to the store itself who now have access to this music social network. Considering that you’ll now be able to follow your favorite artists and friends, get local concert information, post videos, music and photos and get customized music suggestions based on who you follow, the facebooks, myspaces and twitters of the world should be wary, especially since Apple has a clear business model already tied into this network since it’s another way to open up people to new songs, albums and artists. It’s only a matter of time before this expands to include TV shows and movies. Facebook’s 500+ million worldwide active users still seems to top the charts, but I’m guessing Mark Zuckerberg‘s ears perked up when he heard this news.

The other interesting story from the conference I felt was the new Apple TV. Jobs admitted that since 2006, when the original Apple TV launched it wasn’t the biggest hit, but now they have added a lot of new features to integrate it with all the other products, with the ability to stream content (movies, TV shows and photos) from their computers, iPads, iPhones and iPod touches.  They added Netflix streaming support for Netflix subscribers along with TV show and movie rentals ranging from 99cents up to $4.99 for new movies being released on the same date as their dvd, there is also the ability to listen to and watch all the podcasts you subscribe to, which brings online content almost onto an equal playing field as movies and TV shows for access to your HD TV. The new Apple TV box is a lot smaller than before (the box almost fits in the palm of Steve Jobs’ hand),  probably because there’s no storage space on the device (everything works via streaming internet), the menu system seems easy to use. You’ll need a TV with an HDMI port since that’s the only output port, but it has built in WiFi and an Ethernet port for faster connections. I think with the new $99 price point for the Apple TV, they will basically put Roku‘s streaming box and anyone else like them right out of the market.

The photographer in me was very impressed with the demo of the new camera feature that was added to the iPod touch camera, high dynamic range (HDR) option. Using this, you can take a picture in bright light and the camera will take 3 quick pictures in succession, one at normal exposure, another underexposed one to bring out the colors from a bright sky and a third picture that is overexposed to bring out the dark sections of the picture and then blending the three pictures together to have a final photo with an enormous dynamic range of color and detail in the shot. Here is one example Apple has up on their site:

and here is an example that the great folks at AppleInsider created with their iPod touch with the original on the left and the HDR image on the right:

Thanks to Apple and AppleInsider for the above pictures. Also, if you want to see some professional HDR images from higher-end cameras check out this Flickr page and SmashingMagazine.

Enjoy

Dany

September 2, 2010 9:26 pm Posted by | apple, art, clips, HD, movies, music, music videos, photography, podcasts, software, technology, tv | 2 Comments

The Immortal Jellyfish – Turritopsis nutricula

I have heard TED talks about the science of humans potentially living for 1000 years (video below) from Aubrey de Grey (subscribe to TED talks here), but this is the first story I have seen where we have actually found a species on Earth that we think has managed to do what our science has been striving for, everlasting life. The Turritopsis nutricula seems to start as a sexually immature polyp form then transdifferentiates into a sexually mature form. For most creatures, that is just about the end of their major transformations until death, but the Turritopsis nutricula transdifferentiates again, this time back into its immature form again, it will then just repeat this cycle ad infinitum.

Sadly, as of now, us humans are not very good at this quite yet, transdifferentiation is a specific type of metaplasia and as all you medical folks know, when human cells go into metaplasia, that’s not always a good sign. Just think about Barrett’s esophagus metaplasia, which has a high risk of becoming cancerous.

Here is the original research article the story came from.

Thanks to Katrina for sharing this link and thanks to 14bikeco’s Blog for the images!

Enjoy

Dany

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Turritopsis nutricula

April 15, 2010 3:23 pm Posted by | clips, lectures, medicine, nature, photography, podcasts, science | 1 Comment

Photo Contests, The US Census and The Daily Show Roundup for the Week of April 2nd, 2010

This week I found a bit more than just some Daily Show highlights. First, I want to present some of my favorite Worth1000 photo retouching contest submissions. The above image is the winning entry from a contest of If Vampires Ruled. So, if you enjoy retouching photos or even creating your own images from scratch, you should be aware of Worth1000, where you can win money from all sorts of contests. Also, The Fire Wire has put together a nice bunch of images of artist renditions of how cartoon characters would look in the real world, very similar, but even more extensive than when I last reported on the topic. Here is my favorite from the page of everybody’s favorite sailor man, Popeye:

Here is an interesting take on the reporting around the violence since the passage of the US health care bill (here is the entire bill and here are the final changes to that bill)
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On a lighter, but maybe scarier note, Don “Moose” Lewis wants to popularize an all white male pro basketball league, although he does admit the reason for this is that white men are not as good at basketball than top black athletes, so is this racism a push?
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Politics always seems to be a hypocritical game, both parties are to blame, but for right now, the latest scandal hits the GOP‘s Chairman Michael Steele and how some of the donated funds to the Republican party may have gone to paying for expensive outings at a bondage themed strip club. I wonder how happy conservative Republican donors are going to be to see this:
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Senator John McCain looks to have a rocky Republican primary contest as he is being challenged by J.D. Hayworth, someone running as a more conservative voice to represent Arizona in the Senate, so McCain has started to elicit the campaign help of his former VP candidate Sarah Palin, the problem is similar to Nixon‘s problem against JFK in the first televised presidential debate, Palin just outshines him and he doesn’t end up looking good during this interview.
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Robin Williams gets interviewed by Jon Stewart to promote his new Weapons of Self Destruction (buy it here), but at the same time has some comments of his own regarding recent political scandals
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I love a good political protest by any group, but do we really need scary cops? Maybe we do if protesters are throwing eggs… not exactly peaceful protesting
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It is interesting that now that a health care bill has been signed into law, President Obama has been an extremely busy bee with everything from Russian nuclear diplomacy to NCAA March Madness tournament picks
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Roxana Saberi, is interviewed while promoting her book, Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran (buy it here), where she was arrested and charged as a spy
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Why is CNN hiring an incendiary right wing blogger as part of their on-air group of political blogger analysts? Also, are they vetting his most incendiary comments live, on-air, just to avoid a scandal of those old posts leaking later or are they unsure of their decision to even hire Erick Erickson.
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Here is an interesting story regarding the US Census of the population. Some are opposed to the questions being asked on current census forms, there are some good and some bad arguments for this, but most interesting of the whole story is comparing what questions were asked on the original US Census compared to the questions being asked today. After this final video, I will post the original 1790 Census compared to the current 2010 version.
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The original 1790 census collected 6 questions sorted by every county/city in the US asking for 1. the Name of the Head of the Family, the number of 2. Free White males of 16 years and upward, 3. Free White males under 16 years, 4. Free White females, 5. All other free persons and 6. Slaves. Thanks to Ancestry.com for the scanned census:

The 2010 census by comparison asks 10 questions on 6 pages. 1. How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010? 2. Were there any additional people staying here April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1? 3. Is this house, apartment, or mobile home: owned with mortgage, owned without mortgage, rented, occupied without rent? 4. What is your telephone number? 5. Please provide information for each person living here. Start with a person here who owns or rents this house, apartment, or mobile home. If the owner or renter lives somewhere else, start with any adult living here. This will be Person 1. What is Person 1’s name? 6. What is Person 1’s sex? 7. What is Person 1’s age and Date of Birth? 8. Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin? 9. What is Person 1’s race? 10. Does Person 1 sometimes live or stay somewhere else? Here is a copy of the 2010 form (pdf version).

Enjoy

Dany

April 5, 2010 4:52 pm Posted by | art, books, clips, crazy celebs, DC, dvd, health, Law, medicine, photography, politics, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment

Dove Evolution – Perfect Beauty of a Photoshoot After Some Photoshop Magic

It was been a dirty little secret for years that magazines and advertisers were digitally editing their photos for touching up the finished product, to make the beautiful, ravishing. This is nothing new, for years the movie industry was using trickery like placing Vasoline and stockings over lenses to “soften” the look of their female stars, but it feels like this practice has been placed into overdrive

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, well, this Dove Evolution is 75 second video that is worth millions, putting these dirty little secrets of “the industry” into the bright light of day.

For an even better concrete example, take a look at photos from a 2008 Campari ad campaign with raven haired beauty Jessica Alba (below), the image on the left is before Photoshop, on the right the post-Photoshop version. If the industry thinks this gorgeous celebrity needs all these massive photo touch-ups, what chance do regular girls around the world have to build their self esteem?

Thanks to Skinny vs Curvy for the above pics.

Enjoy

Dany

*Update 10/7/2009* Thanks to the talented Dave, I got another good example of how much goes into the Photoshopping of already beautiful women from the Washington Post:

Aisha Tyler Before:

Aisha Tyler After:

**Update 2009-1-29 – Here is another story from Boing Boing on this issue and here is what happened when Rachel Maddow saw that same story. Here’s the pic:

October 7, 2009 10:33 am Posted by | clips, magazines, movies, photography, software, technology, tv | Leave a comment

Access-A-Ride Bus Burns to the Ground in Manhattan on 76th and Lexington Ave Today

*Updated 11pm 2009-06-02* As I was walking to the subway this morning around 8am in Manhattan, I noticed that on 76th st and Lexington avenue an Access-A-Ride paratransit bus had caught fire and had COMPLETELY burned to a cinder. You can click here to see the google streetview of the street where this burned bus was located. I’ve now posted a bunch of pictures I took while at the scene of the actual bus all a cinder, but  I still cannot find any news stories about this fire online.

Dany

June 2, 2009 9:04 am Posted by | New York, NYC, photography, travel | Leave a comment

Grenada at Late Sunset in April

I had to take a break to share this wonderful panorama I took of tonight’s sunset, I wish I had caught it a bit earlier while the sun was still visible in the sky, but I’ll try and get a better version soon.

Enjoy

Dany

April 6, 2009 10:50 pm Posted by | art, Grenada, photography | Leave a comment