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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.


Archive for August, 2009

Sony eBook readers compared to some other readers (Part 2)… This is a continuation of the previous post and deals with some of the other readers on the market. This is a rapidly developing scene that needs to be closely monitored… What do you think?

Sony eBook reader – Part II 

One of my favorite features of the Kindle is that it gives the user free Whispernet wireless coverage in the USA by Sprint’s 3G high speed network. You can look up things right from your Kindle, download magazines, newspapers, and blogs besides the e-books. And you can download practically instantly any of the NY Times best sellers. You can download music to listen to while you’re reading. Even audiobooks. The Amazon Kindle library has approximately 240,000 books. Since the Sony e-reader doesn’t have wireless capability, the extent of the available library is affected and it just doesn’t have on-the-go capability.

More info on the new Sony eBook reader (Part 1)… This article compares the Kindle 1 with the mid-line eBook reader. Take a look at this post as well as the next one… What do you think?

Sony e-Book reader – Part 1 by Philadelphia Gadgets Examiner, June Reich 

I have the original Kindle and love it but I wanted to learn about the Sony e-Book reader. I’m always curious about the gadgets that I don’t have! So, the Sony Touch Edition has a 6-inch touchscreen and costs $299. There’s also the Reader Pocket Edition which is a basic e-reader with a 5-inch screen that sells for $199.

Will all education go online? Is that a good thing? I don’t think so. There are a lot of students who need the face-to-face contact with a teacher, especially for some subjects. Yes, online learning will save money, but it is hard to conceive that schools will not be needed at all. I suggest that all of you out there who are concerned about health care, you probably need to carefully consider whether schools are justified as baby sitters to take care of kids while parents are freed for other activities… What do you think?

What is the Future of Teaching? 

According to the New York Times Bits blog, a recent study funded by the US Department of Education (PDF) found that on the whole, online learning environments actually led to higher tested performance than face-to-face learning environments. “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction,” concluded the report’s authors in their key findings.

Move over Snow White, Marvel comics are here… Disney has purchased the comic book publisher to go along with Pixar. It will be interesting to see what comes together with this acquisition. What do you think?

Why Disney Bought Marvel | Newsweek Business 

Finally, Snow White can ditch those seven dwarfs for some tough guys–Spider-Man, Iron Man and the X-Men. Dopey, Grumpy, Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Sleepy got some new competition today as Disney announced a $4 billion deal to acquire Marvel Comics. But Disney’s princesses can live on in their fantasy world without fear of any of Marvel’s 5,000 tough characters. There’s a simple reason they’ll coexist peacefully: Bob Iger, who began his tenure as Disney CEO with the acquisition of Pixar, knows his way around the world of animation. “We believe that adding Marvel to Disney’s unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation,” he said in announcing the transaction.

Who would have guessed that this experiment would work so well? Probably nobody, after all it was funded by the Defense Dept. and when have they backed successful projects, especially 40 years ago. It took NASA, to put a man on the moon, not the military. But, that first ‘router’ installed at UCLA and a few other west coast sites worked the first time! And it was funded by ARPA… Will wonders never cease…

The Internet About to Turn 40, Last Seen With a Blonde in a Red Corvette 

It’s impossible to set an exact date for the birth of the Internet. You could say that it was born when the first two nodes of the ARPANET were connected between UCLA and SRI International in Menlo Park, California, on October 29th, 1969. Or you could say that it all began when Len Kleinrock and his team at UCLA transferred some data between two computers on September 2nd that same year.

The truth is about to be revealed… Many of those criticizing the Obama health care plan are making good sounding arguments, but not always based on reality. This article attempts to expose some of the ways that opponents, especially the very vocal opponents, are using to try to ‘scare’ the general populace. Yes, there may be some problems, but let’s really look at what is needed, not at the ‘straw man’ being preached…

The Top 5 Lies About Obama’s Health Care Reform | Newsweek Health 

To the credit of opponents of health-care reform, the lies and exaggerations they’re spreading are not made up out of whole cloth—which makes the misinformation that much more credible. Instead, because opponents demand that everyone within earshot (or e-mail range) look, say, “at page 425 of the House bill!,” the lies take on a patina of credibility. Take the claim in one chain e-mail that the government will have electronic access to everyone’s bank account, implying that the Feds will rob you blind. The 1,017-page bill passed by the House Ways and Means Committee does call for electronic fund transfers—but from insurers to doctors and other providers. There is zero provision to include patients in any such system. Five other myths that won’t die:

by Gerald Boerner

“a courageous fighter for working families; a voice for the elderly; a champion of all who have been left out, or locked out, of America’s promise.”
— Carolyn Kennedy, Lawyer, Author and Daughter of a President

Bonus: Thought for the Day… “One of the greatest gifts my brother and I received from my mother was her love of literature and language. With their boundless energy, libraries open the door to these worlds and so many others. I urge young and old alike to embrace all that libraries have to offer.”
— Carolyn Kennedy, Lawyer, Author and Daughter of a President

Bonus: Thought for the Day… “When others were unwilling to do so, each man recognized a moral obligation to speak out against policies he believed were misguided and contrary to our national interest. Representative Murtha broke ranks with our nation’s political and military leadership to call for the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq.”
— Carolyn Kennedy, Lawyer, Author and Daughter of a President

Caroline_Kennedy Caroline Bouvier Kennedy  is an American author and attorney. She is a member of the influential Kennedy family and the only surviving child of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.Through a spokeswoman, Kennedy said that she supports legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, is pro-choice, is a strong supporter of gun control, and favors restoring the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004. She believes the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) should be looked at again, supports the federal bailout of American automakers, and says she "opposed the Iraq War from the beginning."

800px_Caroline_and_Ted_Kennedy At the time of her father’s presidency she was a young child; after his assassination in 1963, her family settled in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where she attended school. Kennedy graduated from Radcliffe College and worked at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she met her future husband, exhibit designer Edwin Schlossberg. She went on to receive a law degree from Columbia Law School. Kennedy’s professional life has spanned law and politics as well as education and charitable work. She has also acted as a spokesperson for her family’s legacy and co-authored two books on civil liberties with Ellen Alderman.

Kennedy is an attorney, writer, and editor and serves on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations.

CarolinejournalistFrom 2002 through 2004, Kennedy worked as director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships for the New York City Department of Education. The three-day-a-week job paid her a salary of $1 and had the goal of raising private money for the New York City public schools. In that capacity, she helped raise more than $65 million for the city’s public schools. She currently serves as one of two vice chairs of the board of directors of The Fund for Public Schools, a public-private partnership founded in 2002 to attract private funding for public schools in New York City. She has also served on the board of trustees of Concord Academy, which she attended as a child.

Kennedy and other members of her family created the Profile in Courage Award in 1989. The award is given to a public official or officials whose actions demonstrate politically courageous leadership in the spirit of John F. Kennedy’s book, Profiles in Courage. In addition, Kennedy is president of the Kennedy Library Foundation and an adviser to the Harvard Institute of Politics, a living memorial to her father.

“Congressman John Murtha and Alberto Mora exemplify the kind of courage my father admired most. When others were unwilling to do so, each man recognized a moral obligation to speak out against policies he believed were misguided and contrary to our national interest. Representative Murtha broke ranks with our nation’s political and military leadership to call for the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq. Alberto Mora sacrificed an illustrious legal career in government to oppose a policy that condoned the torture and abuse of prisoners in violation of international law. Their courage has inspired others to follow their example, and our government is fortunate to have public servants with such integrity.”
— Carolyn Kennedy

[Biographical information is from the Wikipedia article on Carolyn Kennedy that can be found at: ]

by Gerald Boerner

“Truth is the objective of the Documentary attitude.” — Roy Stryker, Manager of the Farm Security Administration’s (FSA) Photographic Project

Bonus: Photographer’s Thought for the Day… “[…photographer needs] rectangular eyeballs and horse blinders to frame and focus the vision of what is seen.” — Roy Stryker, in Professional photographer’s survival guide by Charles E. Rotkin

Bonus: Photographer’s Thought for the Day… “The 270,000 pictures [of the Farm Security Administration] are called a great collection, perhaps the greatest ever assembled in the history of America. But I am not interested in adjectives. I am only interested in pictures.”  — Roy Stryker, in Great Images of the 20th Century : The Photographs That Define Our Times by Kelly Knauer (Editor), Inc Time

Roy_Stryker Roy Emerson Stryker was an American economist, government official, and photographer. He is most famous for heading the Information Division of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) during the Great Depression and launching the documentary photography movement of the FSA.

After serving in the infantry in World War I, Stryker went to Columbia University where he studied economics. He used his photography to illustrate his economics texts and lectures. At Columbia, he worked with Rexford Tugwell, and when Tugwell became part of the Resettlement Administration, Stryker followed him. Tugwell and Stryker refocused the attention of the Resettlement Administration to document the problems of the heartland, and in 1935 Stryker became the head of the Historical Section (Information Division) of the RA. The RA was renominated the Farm Security Administration, and Stryker set up the photodocumentary project.

613px-Farmer_walking_in_dust_storm2 Stryker’s greatest contribution to the FSA’s photographic project was as a manager. The photographers involved attested to the fact that Stryker was expert at getting good work out of them. He made sure that the photographers were well briefed on their assigned areas before being sent out, and he ensured that they were properly funded. Stryker also made sure that mainstream publications had access to FSA photographs. This both helped focus public attention on the plight of the rural poor and set up the commercial careers of his photographers. Overall, from 164,000 developed negatives some 77,000 different finished photographic prints were made for the press, plus 644 color images.

720px-US-FarmSecurityAdministration-Logo Photographers hired by Stryker for the FSA included: Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, John Vachon, Marion Post Wolcott, Russell Lee, Jack Delano, Gordon Parks, John Collier Jr, Carl Mydans, and Edwin and Louise Rosskam.

[Biographical information is from the Wikipedia article on Roy Stryker that can be found at: ]

Mixed feeling about the first day of school… Strange how differently we feel when we see out kids going off to Kindergarten vs. going off to college. Have you faced this dilemma? How did you handle it? Your kids? Share with us…

First Day of School_07

What was this photographer thinking? Is he nuts? Yes, there are paintings, sculptures and photographs of nudes found in most museums, but most would agree that having a nude model pose in a public gallery during public hours! Some combination of the photographer, the model, and/or the museum personnel who agreed to this ‘stunt’ should do some thinking before acting. Some of the comments are very appropriate. The watch word here is probably APPROPRIATENESS. Tell us what you think…

Art or obscenity? A nude model is arrested at the Met | Culture Monster | Los Angeles Times 
Source: latimesblogs.latimes…

Venus de Milo, Liberty leading the people, Lady Godiva … and next?

Nudity has been a staple of the visual arts since time began, but apparently the real thing is still too much for some people to handle.

On Wednesday, a 26-year-old model was arrested in New York after posing for a photo shoot at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Police said Kathleen Neill was posing naked for a photographer in full view of visitors at a gallery in the museum’s arms and armor department.