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Archive for December, 2018

In an MIT Technology Review website article titled “The day I tasted climate change” James Temple describes the rather grim reality of living in a region where wildfires are becoming more and more frequent.

Climate change doesn’t ignite wildfires, but it’s intensifying the hot, dry summer conditions that have helped fuel some of California’s deadliest and most destructive fires in recent years.

I’ve long understood that the dangers of global warming are real and rising. I’ve seen its power firsthand in the form of receding glaciers, dried lake beds, and Sierra tree stands taken down by bark beetles.

This is the first time, though, that I smelled and tasted it in my home.

In 2016 we had a short vacation on the island Madeira. Although the wildfires there had already been put out weeks before our arrival, we could still smell the soot and the burned landscape… and that was enough to scare us of being close to such fires.

James Temple is much more knowledgeable on climate change than me, and his conclusion reads as a dire warning, unfortunately:

When I started writing seriously about climate change a little more than five years ago, the dangers largely seemed distant and abstract. Without realizing it, most of this time I’ve carried along an assumption that we will somehow, eventually, confront the problem in a meaningful way. We don’t have a choice. So sooner or later, we’ll do the right thing.

But after two years closely reporting and writing on clean energy technologies here, it has slowly dawned on me that, well, maybe not. While we absolutely could accomplish much of the necessary transformation with existing or emerging technologies, the sheer scale of the overhaul required and the depth of the entrenched interests may add up to insurmountable levels of inertia.

While I’m still remaining optimistic about humanity’s ability to cope, a little voice in the back of my head now questions that optimism…

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From I wish it weren’t a Republican versus Democrat thing”: Wildfire photographer Stuart Palley on climate change and California’s devastating blazes:

“We see [climate change] happening, but unfortunately the political leadership, even when they acknowledge it, aren’t acknowledging the reasons why it’s happening. And it’s getting to the point where I’ve gone from thinking that I want to document what’s going on to being frankly terrified that after only six years working on this project I’ve seen the changes starting to accelerate”

The Sand Fire burns in the Angeles National Forest Saturday July 23rd, 2016 under triple digit heat. The fire had burned 20,000 acres by Saturday evening and was 10% contained as firefighters battled low humidity, shifting wind, and high temperatures. An unknown number of structures were lost. Click on the picture to read the whole article on DP Review

We can only hope that 2019 brings real solutions to the problems that are already reshaping our world.

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I do have a Facebook account, but I don’t use it – not even to spy on my children. So I wonder: is this just an interesting experiment, or the start of something big?

At Basecamp, we’ve decided to go Facebook Free from today. If you’d like to join, either today, tomorrow or next year, just comment on this post, and we’ll highlight credible pledges for all to see. You’re also free to use the 100% Facebook Free badge that we’ve released under Creative Commons (CA BY-SA 4.0) and have it link back to this page.


Anyway, since I don not use FB (or Instagram, for that matter) in a professional context, you could say I’m “Facebook Free” as well. Hi there, DHH!

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Samsung is fast this time: the December Security Update is available to Galaxy S7 devices in Belgium. Let’s call it an early Christmas gift ;-)

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To Boldly Go…

A few days ago, Voyager 2 did what Voyager 1 did a few years ago: to boldly go where no Man has gone before! If ever there was a moment to quote Star Trek, this is it.

Click here to see NASA’s video about this event

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A month ago, I linked to a BoingBoing post about the puzzles of Tim Klein. Nothing fancy, just my way of remembering some of the wonderful creations that reach my computer over the Web.

As it turns out, that BoingBoing post was the start of a “viral infection”: Tim Klein’s puzzles went all around the world. Even more interesting: Rusty Blazenhof, author of the original post, has tracked the chronology of “going viral” for this post – spreading out via blogs, but mostly through Facebook and Twitter (of course!).

Click the image to go to Tim Klein’s portfolio

If you haven’t seen Tim’s work, don’t hesitate to click the image above. You may want to exercise patience if you’re thinking about acquiring one of them: you’re not alone, thanks to the Internet!

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As an amateur photographer, I care much about the image quality of my camera. That’s one of the reasons I switched cameras so often once they replaced film with chips: starting with Nikon Coolpix E885 and CP5400 over a series of Nikon D’s (70, 80 90, 7000, 5500, 5600) up to my current Panasonic Lumix G80 and GX9. Naturally, I also wanted a decent camera in my smartphone, although my phone was never meant to replace my camera. Even when just going to work, I always carry what I call a real but “general purpose” camera with me, be it the Fujifilm X20 or the GX9: you never know what you’ll see while traveling ;-)

There’s been a lot of talk about the quality of the latest smartphone cameras: is two cameras better than one? Is three better than two? Do you need more pixels or would it better to have bigger sensors and separate lenses? Is the Google Pixel 3 a better camera than the latest iPhones? And so on…

What is the best smartphone camera of 2018? Well, the answer is simple, if you believe Youtuber & Video Producer Marques Brownlee. He ran a competition on Twitter; he called it “The Blind Smartphone Camera Test“. Conclusion: forget about the “best” smartphone camera (technically speaking), social media consumers just care about pictures that are bright enough. For the full report, head over to Youtube:

This much is clear to me: if you’re just posting images to Instagram, you don’t need to have the best smartphone. Personally, I’ll stick to real cameras, thank you.

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