I’ve been running a month-long smartphone experiment. In a nutshell, I decided to see if a cheapish (£150) Android phone can do everything that an expensive (£1000) iPhone X does. So one month after putting my iPhone in a drawer, and beginning to use a Moto G4+ what have I discovered? Firstly, that the Android Operating System is much much better than it used to be. The Moto G4+ uses Android version 7.0 (aka Nougat as Google insist on using ridiculous names for version numbers) which is a huge leap forward compared to when I last used Android a few…
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(Bloomberg) — More than eight years since the birth of bitcoin, central banks around the world are increasingly recognizing the potential upsides and downsides of digital currencies. The guardians of the global economy have two sets of issues to address. First is what to do, if anything, about the emergence and growth of the private cryptocurrencies that are grabbing more and more attention — with bitcoin now sitting above $16,000 and futures trading this week heralding a new level of mainstream acceptance. The second question is whether to issue official versions. Following is an overview of how the world’s largest central…
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The Moza Air 3-Axis Stabilizer, by Gudsen, is a gimbal that really targets the mirrorless and small DSLR camera space. While its tech specs and weight limit of 5.5lbs give the impression of being able to squeeze a bigger camera onto it, this gimbal is designed for the GH5, Sony A7S, and Fujfilm XT2 (or a 7D shooter looking for more stability in their footage).
While it might be tempting to stick a small C200 package onto the gimbal, it would lead to the camera body hitting the control arms. However, that level of specialization is a good thing, as you aren't paying for hardware designed to carry an Alexa 65 on jobs involving the flying of a mirrorless rig. And mirrorless rigs are getting some increasingly amazing footage.
It's crazy to think about how much an editor needs to know how to do, because guess what, it's not all about cutting clips and adding music. It's about animating text, adjusting audio levels, and making all of those images look as good as you possibly can, which, of course, requires a pretty well-rounded understanding of your editing tools.
lf you want to learn a few little tricks that will affect your edit in a big way, Justin Odisho shares five really great techniques that will help you not only save time while editing, but also add a little flair to your videos. Check out his tutorial below:
It's easy to get caught up in the massive scale of an editing project that you completely forget how impactful the little adjustments can be. Adding a slight gaussian blur to your video clip can make your text really pop. A simple keyboard shortcut can make quick work of audio ducking. A subtle vignette can bring the attention back to your subject.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai formally announced his plan to kill net neutrality and other consumer protections today as he seeks to remove the classification of home and mobile internet service providers as utilities. Although we’ve been hearing about his intentions for months now, the announcement warrants a debunking of his reasoning for the move. Ahead of a vote that’s slated to take place on December 14, Pai noted that “broadband network investment dropped more than 5.6 percent—the first time a decline has happened outside of a recession.” He also pointed to the FCC’s onerous rules as being…
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Last night, word circulated on social media that HiFi Bar on Avenue A is closing.
HiFi was Brownie's from 1989 until 2002, when the concept changed a bit. The Voice called it "a quintessential neighborhood music staple in an era when any indie band with a guitar and a cheap band T-shirt to sell could get a record deal." Those bands included The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Strokes, and Death Cab for Cutie.
photo of Stuto by Robert Stolarik, for New York Times
The bar's co-owner Mike Stuto posted yesterday on his Facebook page:
"I (sorta) regret to inform you that my bar HiFi will be closing at the end of this calendar month, ending my 23 year tenure at 169 Avenue A. All parties booked before the end of the month will happen as planned. The story? Quite simply, the renovations we undertook a few years ago to reinvigorate the business were not successful in putting us back on a good financial footing. The generation of people who inhabit this neighborhood on weekends remain mostly indifferent to the place.... while I hoped that would help us have a broad appeal to the newbies, it turns out that it translated as utilitarian (aka boring) to their tastes."
He adds, "I want it to be clear that the building’s landlord is in no way to blame for this outcome." In this case, it wasn't the rent. It was the changing East Village.
In his memorial post last night, Alex Smith at Flaming Pablum noted, "the sting of [Stuto's] observation that the current denizens of the neighborhood are 'indifferent' to the character and legacy of HiFi/Brownie’s remains. Much like the Joe Strummer mural a few blocks to the south and a few other other fleeting signifiers, HiFi is ultimately a fading vestige of the sensibility of a vanished East Village."
As the Times put it in 2014, "Now that the East Village is filled with artisanal restaurants and upscale boutiques, HiFi is no longer just another dive but a tether to this neighborhood’s faded bohemia."
That tether has broken.
photo by Robert Stolarik, for New York Times
Back to the 2015 Voice article:
"Meanwhile, rents kept going up and the East Village continued to gentrify, and so the neighborhood clientele changed.
According to Stuto, the area went from bohemia and blue collar to something he never imagined would occur at his doorstep.
'You never saw someone with a jacket and a briefcase and tie coming out of an apartment in the morning when you were going to work. There were none of those,' Stuto said. 'I still remember the first time I saw one of those people in the neighborhood. The people who use the East Village as a destination today versus the people who used this neighborhood as a destination 20 years ago or more, they’re just different people.'"
It has been well-documented that popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum combined use more energy than Iceland, Syria and Jordan. The good news though, is that this is driving crypto-miners to use clean energy, lowering costs, helping the planet and even generating profit. Mining is the process by which new crypto coins are created. Unlike traditional money that is printed and distributed by the government, cryptocurrency doesn’t have a ‘central government’ per se. Instead, ‘miners’ use software to solve mathematical equations (known as hashes) which verify transactions. As an incentive, each miner receives a small amount of cryptocurrency in exchange;…
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For the past 11 years, we've been busy rummaging around the internet and adding courses to an ever-growing list of Free Online Courses, which now features 1,300 courses from top universities. Let's give you the quick overview: The list lets you download audio & video lectures from schools like Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford and Harvard. Generally, the courses can be accessed via YouTube, iTunes or university web sites, and you can listen to the lectures anytime, anywhere, on your computer or smart phone. We haven't done a precise calculation, but there's about 45,000 hours of free audio & video lectures here. Enough to keep you busy for a very long time.
Right now you’ll find 173 free philosophy courses, 92 free history courses, 128 free computer science courses, 81 free physics courses and 55 Free Literature Courses in the collection, and that’s just beginning to scratch the surface. You can peruse sections covering Astronomy, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Economics, Engineering, Math, Political Science, Psychology and Religion.
Here are some highlights from the complete list of Free Online Courses. We've added a few unconventional/vintage courses in the mix just to keep things interesting.
- A History of Philosophy in 81 Video Lectures: From Ancient Greece to Modern Times - Free Online Video - Arthur Holmes, Wheaton College
- A Romp Through Ethics for Complete Beginners - Various Formats – Marianne Talbot, Oxford University
- Against All Odds: Inside Statistics – Free Online Video – Pardis Sabeti, Harvard
- Ancient Greek History - Free Online Video - Free iTunes Audio - Free iTunes Video - Course Materials - Donald Kagan, Yale
- Creative Reading and Writing by William S. Burroughs - Free Online Audio - Naropa University
- Critical Reasoning for Beginners - Free iTunes Video – Free iTunes Audio – Free Online Video & Audio – Marianne Talbot, Oxford
- Deep Learning - Free Online Video - Vincent Vanhoucke, Google
- Developing iOS 10 Apps with Swift - Free iTunes Video - Paul Hegarty, Stanford
- Edible Education 101 – Free Online Video – Michael Pollan, UC Berkeley
- Financial Markets - Free Online Video - Free iTunes Audio - Free iTunes Video - Course Materials - Robert Shiller, Yale
- Growing Up in the Universe – Free Online Video – Richard Dawkins, Oxford
- The Habitable Planet: A Systems Approach to Environmental Science – Free Online Video - Harvard/Smithsonian
- Harvard's Introductory Computer Science Course - Free Online Course - David Malan, Harvard
- Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner – Various Formats – Wai Chee Dimock, Yale
- Heidegger’s Being & Time – Free Online Audio - Hubert Dreyfus, UC Berkeley
- How to Listen to Music - Various Formats - Craig Wright, Yale
- Human Behavioral Biology – Various Formats – Robert Sapolsky, Stanford
- Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) – Free Online Video - Christine Hayes, Yale.
- Invitation to World Literature – Free Online Video - David Damrosch, Harvard
- Lectures on Digital Photography - Free Online Video - Marc Levoy, Stanford/Google
- Philosophy of Language – Free Online Audio – John Searle, UC Berkeley
- Physics for Future Presidents – Free Online Video – Richard Muller, UC Berkeley
- Quantum Electrodynamics – Free Online Video - Richard Feynman, Presented at University of Auckland
- Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter - Free Online Video - Free iTunes Video - Course Info - Team taught, Harvard
- Shakespeare After All: The Later Plays – Free Online Video – Marjorie Garber, Harvard
- Speak Italian with Your Mouth Full - Various Formats - MIT, Dr. Paola Rebusco
- The American Novel Since 1945 – Various Formats – Amy Hungerford, Yale
- The Central Philosophy of Tibet - Free Online Audio – Robert Thurman, Columbia University
- The Character of Physical Law (1964) - Free Online Video - Richard Feynman, Cornell
- The Hobbit – Free iTunes Video – More – Corey Olsen, Washington College
- The Tempest - Free Online Audio - Allen Ginsberg, Naropa
- Walter Kaufmann Lectures on Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre - Free Online Audio
The complete list of courses can be accessed here: 1,300 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.
A Master List of 1,300 Free Courses From Top Universities: 45,000 Hours of Audio/Video Lectures is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooks, Free Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.
For an increasing number of creators of all levels, the cameras we carry in our pockets are a source of practice, inspiration and networking with other like-minded creators. These days, we are all mobile videographers, mobile photographers and there have never been better or more powerful tools at our fingertips. In my case, my smartphone has been my primary creative tool for the past year. Here are my 9 must-have photo and video apps.
These are not just randomly chosen photo and video apps that make a good clickbait listicle. These are apps I use and rely on every day to create high-quality stills and video consistently with just a smartphone.
Improving Your Skills With Photo and Video Apps
Why spend so much time on a smartphone when you’ve got “proper” cameras? There’s one simple reason why these photo and video apps can make you a better cinematographer and photographer: your smartphone is always within reach. All it takes is a second to take out your phone and act on a moment of inspiration. The ability to edit images and experiment with color and tone quickly and create professional polished results opens up ideas and inspiration. It’s also a lot of fun.
Let’s take a closer look at these photo and video apps.
What it’s good for: Multitrack video editing on your iPhone and iPad. Very active development, features expanding quickly.
LumaFusion is the only app on this list that I’ve been using for less than six months. Just as FiLMiC Pro opened my eyes to mobile video, LumaFusion has opened my eyes to the possibility of a real post-production workflow on a tablet or smartphone. Just as with FiLMiC, it turned my skepticism around completely.
LumaFusion is a full-featured multi-track video editor for mobile journalists, mobile filmmakers and producers on the go. They are updating it with useful new features and capabilities on a regular basis, really pushing what is possible on a mobile platform.
• 3 video/audio tracks for photos, videos, titles and graphics.
• 3 additional audio tracks for narration, music and sound effects.
• Insert and overwrite editing and trimming.
• Professional editing features including slip-trim and anchored clips help keep your project in perfect sync, and make B-rolls, PIPs and split-screens easier than ever.
• Dozens of transitions including dissolves, slides, pushes, wipes and specialty transitions like flash and zoom blur.
• Select different UI layouts to focus on editing, media management and playback at any time.
• Quickly import multiple media files from Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive.
• Download media stored in iCloud Photo Library directly to the app.
• View detailed information and metadata about your media.
• Rename, add notes, color-tag and pre-trim clips in the library.
It’s worth also mentioning LumaFX and LumaClip. LumaFX gives you some basic layer based compositing and color correction on your iOS device. LumaClip allows you to retime, reverse, and edit the size, position, rotation, and aspect ratio of your video clips. I haven’t played with these at all, but if they are anything like LumaFusion, they are worth checking out.
Available from App Store for $19.99
FiLMiC Pro (iOS & Android)
FiLMiC Pro v6 LOG curve option
What it’s good for: Shooting things with your smartphone that will put many pro video cameras to shame.
This is an app that needs no introduction from me, so I won’t go into it in a huge amount of detail. I’ve been writing about it and shooting with it for almost a year. FiLMiC Pro single-handedly converted me from a high-end RED / ARRI snob and mobile video skeptic into a mobile video believer. I’m still a bit of a RED / ARRI snob, but the difference is now I only see untapped potential when I consider where professional video on mobile platforms is heading.
There are others: Mavis is another popular pro video camera app, but FiLMiC has been the one that’s stuck with me.
There’s plenty to read about FiLMiC Pro below.
Pro Camera (iOS)
What it’s good for: As the name suggests, pro camera gives you lots of control for great-looking photos from your smartphone.
Pro Camera is the first app I ever bought from the Apple App Store. I had just unboxed my first ever iPhone 5 (which I still have, still working fine) and while I knew from playing with video recording that video was a total write-off on this phone (for me at least), I was impressed with the photos I could shoot. Pro Camera gave me all the manual control I wanted when shooting stills with the iPhone. It’s still one of the best, and has stuck with me through the iPhone SE, and now 7 Plus.
Get Pro Camera from the App Store for $4.99
Lenka (iOS & Android)
What it’s good for: Instant monochrome beauty shots, no editing needed.
If you’ve got a love for black and white imagery, you will love Lenka. It’s a dedicated monochrome camera app which also seems to use more of the image sensor than the default iPhone camera app (not sure about Android devices), giving you a slightly wider than normal field of view. It’s great for architectural photos, urban exploration and street photography, especially where there’s a lot of contrast in the scene or particularly moody lighting.
Lenka is a simple and straightforward camera app with a minimalistic approach to creating great-looking monochrome images with a pleasing tonal range that is beyond simply desaturating a color image. No presets or post editing tools, just great black and white at the click of a button. When you can’t be bothered to edit, and just want a great looking instant monochrome shot, you can’t get better than Lenka.
Adobe Lightroom (iOS & Android)
What it’s good for: Great mobile workflow tool if you use Lightroom on your desktop and have an active Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Very useful even if you don’t.
If you use Lightroom on desktop, it’s a no brainer to have it on your tablet or phone. Available for iPhone, iPad and iPad Pro as well as Android devices, the mobile version provides a surprising amount of functionality. It won’t replace or match Lightroom on your PC or Mac, but does give you some core tools for editing and manipulation on the go. It’s most useful when connected to your Adobe Creative Cloud account allowing you to automatically sync your images with other devices and Lightroom on your desktop.
Once you have imported images, you can flag and rate them just as you would in Lightroom on desktop and all metadata syncs with the images over the cloud. You can crop, rotate and straighten your images, apply presets, and edit a wide range of image parameters.
Some of the more advanced features include curves for highlights, lights, darks and shadows, vignette, split toning, dehaze and lens corrections. Selective editing using radial or linear selections takes things further but is only available if you’re signed into Creative Cloud with an active subscription.
Snapseed (iOS & Android)
What it’s good for: All-round full-featured free image editing. Beginner or pro, everyone needs Snapseed.
Snapseed is Google’s free mobile image editing platform. It offers up a wide range of editing tools, most of which you’ll find in other apps such as Lightroom for mobile and VSCO. However, you don’t have anything restricted behind a subscription. There’s really nothing missing from Snapseed when it comes to fundamental image editing and it’s free: this is Snapseed’s strength and I see it on the phone of every mobile photography enthusiast I meet.
Snapseed includes a range of filters, each with editable parameters. Some are more subtle than others and you can be as subtle or extreme as you’d like. I prefer VSCO for applying and controlling looks, but you may want to check out what Snapseed includes by default.
VSCO (iOS & Android)
What it’s good for: Serious mobile photography, an artist’s tool. Well worth the annual subscription to the new VSCO X studio.
VSCO has enjoyed the appreciation of a more professional breed of mobile photographers. VSCO has gone further than just developing an app; it has created a community of artists. VSCO has managed to make the idea of preset filters more palatable (and actually useful) to photographers by developing a very wide range of high-quality editable looks which are not gimmicky and tasteless like many others. Many are accurate simulations of much-loved film stocks and chemical processing techniques, and not simply gaudy, over saturated Instagram filters.
VSCO presents its toolset in a elegant package which is enjoyable to use and spend the kind of time necessary to create an image to a professional standard.
Of course it’s not all about simulating film stocks and adding film grain. VSCO also provides the same image editing tools that you’d expect including exposure, contrast, crop and rotate, X and Y skew, sharpening, clarity, saturation, highlight and shadow control, temperature, tint, skin tones, vignette, grain, fade, and both shadow and highlight tint.
VSCO X Studio
VSCO X is an annual subscription giving you access to all VSCO presets as well as various member-only presets and tools. It goes without saying that these are some of the best presets to have. If you want to dial in a perfect Kodak Ektar 100 or Ilford HP5 Plus look, the subscription is well worth it.
VSCO X Exclusive Member Film X Presets:
- Kodak Portra 160 (KP1)
- Kodak Portra 400 (KP4)
- Kodak Tri-X (KX4)
- Fuji Pro 400H (FP4)
- Kodak Portra 800 (KP8)
- Fuji Pro 800Z (FP8)
- Kodak Ektar 100 (KE1)
- Ilford HP5 Plus (IH5)
- Fuji 160C (FP1)
- Fuji 160S (FP2)
- Kodak TMAX 3200 (Coming Soon)
Film X includes new interactive tools which model the effects of exposure and scanning to analog film, taking things way further than any other image editing app.
Altogether, VSCO is a comprehensive studio for creating beautiful images. Many times I’ve seen images on Instagram that I thought for sure were scanned from 35mm negative, which were actually just digital images processed in VSCO.
If you love the film look, VSCO is the tool for you, and when done well, you’re hard pressed to tell. Shoot, edit, print and you’re ready for the walls of any fine art gallery.
Carbon B&W Studio (iOS)
What it’s good for: Black and white for snobs. Seriously though, a full and comprehensive monochrome studio capable of respectable high-end results.
Carbon B&W Studio is a well-featured dedicated black and white image editing app which is clothed in a beautiful but perhaps slightly pretentious and self-adulating façade. I don’t know, it appeals to me, but opening the app I do feel the need to work in revered silence as if I’m alone in some marble-floored Italian gallery.
The toolset is really good and reminds me a little of VSCO in terms of workflow within the app, but with more hand holding. Once you have imported a image, Carbon guides you to first crop your image before hitting “next”, which takes you into the editor. The tools are divided into four tabs which comprise editing tools, filters, texture and borders. Editing tools are your standard brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, warmth, exposure, vignette, tilt-shift, highlights and shadows, gamma and hue.
Carbon’s filters are where things get quite interesting. There are a huge number of black and white presets, each named after a major world city, which helps you to remember your favorites. There are no bad choices here, but different presets suit different types of image, especially in terms of contrast ratio and tone of the source image. There are also duotone presets, and old photo presets.
A nice feature of Carbon is a collection of light leaks which can be found under the texture tab. Not to be overused, but there are both color and black and white light leaks which can really add some interest and character to an image. There is grain and dust, grunge, bokeh and color fog. I won’t touch much of this, as I draw certain lines personally when it comes to image manipulation, but each to his (or her) own. The light leaks I found to be surprisingly fun, and the film grain is similar to that in VSCO, but I can’t imagine using the bokeh effects (I like my real bokeh… call me a bokeh snob, I don’t care), and I’ll never use the color fog effects either.
If you’ve bought the unlimited package, you’ll have everything unlocked, otherwise you can purchase various filter packages in the app. One criticism I’ve read about Carbon is that the app annoyingly prompts you to buy these packages every time you attempt to click on something which is not enabled. The easy solution is just to pay up from the beginning and unlock everything. This also automatically gives you all future packs, and no annoying prompts to buy anything else.
A couple of annoying things with Carbon is you can’t layer effects. I can’t apply grain from the grain and dust collection, and then also a light leak, I have to choose one or the other. Also when you first import an image, you are prompted to crop, but there is no rotate to straighten an image. Maybe one of the developers reads this and that changes in a future update.
Get Carbon from the App Store for free. Filter packs are $3.99 each or $19.99 to unlock all filter packs.
TPE (iOS & Android)
What it’s good for: Knowing where the sun and moon will be before you mission to a location to shoot.
The Photographer’s Ephemeris may be a mouthful to say, but it’s a must-have app for anyone who plans their outdoor natural light shoots in specific locations. Valuable to photographers and cinematographers alike, TPE provides all the information you could wish for and more.
TPE is a map-centric sun and moon calculator which lets you see exactly how light will fall on land, day or night, for any location on Earth on any date. There is a free web-based version with the free desktop web app.
Advanced features include visual sun and moon search, automatic time zone and elevation detection, correction for atmospheric refraction and height above the horizon. You can also determine when the sun or moon will be visible behind hills and mountains.
These are nine of my most used photo and video apps to create great-looking moving and still images on my phone. What other apps do you use? Let us know in the comments below.
The post 9 Must-Have Photo and Video Apps For The Mobile Creator appeared first on cinema5D.
In this letter to the editor, a reader from California, Kathleen Streeter, questions whether or not young people are learning the skills they need through our public education system to become informed and engaged voters. To answer her, we reached out to Alex Robins, a social science high school teacher in San Rafael, California to get his perspective.
To the Editor,
I am a 75-year-old retired banker. I have always tried to be informed and have never failed to vote in an election, local or national. When I went to school there was something called the “Constitution test” that we had to pass in the eighth grade or you didn’t advance. I learned about our history and how our democracy was formed and how precious it is. It was made very clear to me that being informed and voting is critical to the survival of our our way of life and our country.
MORE ON Letters to the Editor
BY Bill Moyers and Bernard Weisberger | March 8, 2017
Last night I listened to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) give a speech at the Brookings Institution, and he covered the whole current political “disaster” eloquently. One thing stood out for me: Schiff made the point that civics should be a part of our children’s education from kindergarten through high school.
How can we expect to be a population that lives up to the responsibility of living in a democracy if more than 70 percent of our population cannot name the three branches of government, to say nothing of what they are for?
We are in real trouble with Betsy DeVos in charge of education. If we are going to have an impact, we need to have a free and effective public education system that reaches all of our children and teaches them how critical it is to be an informed and consistent voter.
— Kathleen Streeter, Livermore, California
The state of political and civic life in our country certainly feels quite tenuous at the moment. You bring up many cogent points about education, engagement and democratic norms.
I am a government, world history and English teacher in San Rafael, California, and I can tell you that despite this, the will and determination of much of our youth is strong. It may be hard to tell at times due to the little space they are given in the public sphere. Certainly there is some general apathy in young people today, but I would argue no more than in previous generations.
What can seem like inaction on the surface (voting numbers, political presence, government knowledge) doesn’t take into account the intellect, experience and bravery these kids show in understanding alternative perspectives, conversing about deeper political topics and standing up for injustice locally and around the country. Much of this engagement goes on in the classroom and in the wilds of the internet: on Reddit threads, Instagram posts and Twitter replies.
I watch students engage with politics and civic life every day. They constantly debate topics ranging from the relevance of the Electoral College (Lose it! Undemocratic!) to police brutality (Accountability? Body cameras?) and from constitutional slavery to the merits of originalism versus “living constitutionalism” for our Supreme Court justices. They use a variety of sources as well as personal experiences to relate these hefty concepts and topics to their own lives and the world around them.
In drafting an answer to your letter, I thought their input and reflection on the issues you present would be informative and help you understand some student perspectives on these pressing topics. I asked three students their thoughts on why young people might struggle to engage in civic life. Here are some of their responses:
- “So many students feel that voters (and older people generally) only think of themselves and their interests rather than considering the impact their decisions have on others.”
- “The larger systems in this country don’t seem to focus on young people’s issues as they have less monetary and political capital.”
- “People of color don’t tend to vote or pay attention to civic life because the system has ignored and belittled their experiences throughout our country’s history.”
Along with my students’ concerns, I believe there are some important ways to engage with young people that can help our society become more empathetic, engaged and civil.
First, we can give all people the benefit of the doubt. Different voices are valuable in a democracy, yet our partisan politics have created an “us versus them” mentality. By giving legitimacy to differing perspectives (on both sides of the aisle), we can start to find empathy in the many different American experiences of our citizens.
Second, we can focus on positive change. As an educator, it can be easy to fall into a “doom and gloom” attitude about inaction in politics or the rigidity of history. However, there are so many ways in which grass-roots organizations and movements have created incremental change in our country. Democracy is slow but effective. By focusing on the means rather than the ends, we encourage student buy-in.
Finally, we can be more inclusive in our conversations about young people. They know that society thinks they don’t care; this doesn’t make them want to care. We need to talk about issues they are affected by. If we want them to engage in discussions on expanded Medicare and tax reform, we need to talk about student loans and Affirmative Action. By offering them a seat at the table, they will be willing to sit.
Regarding your point on the future of public education, it is certainly at a crossroads. Here in California, we have an immense teacher shortage. Yet teachers and critical thinking are essential parts of how we must look ahead to the future. With accessibility to information through new technology, there is a belief that teaching will become easier; just grab an iPad and learning is at your fingertips. However without a facilitator to guide students on their paths to learning, fake news and misinformation can seep into students’ answers and understanding of the world. We need great, highly valued teachers to take up the cause and fight for our students.
A more free-thinking, thoughtful and skeptical population will lead to a truer democracy and a more civil society.
— Alex Robins, San Rafael, California
If you’re a serious reader of our website and have something you would like to say, Bill would like to hear from you. We’ll choose letters on an occasional basis as they seem relevant to an issue we have been following. Please keep your letter to a reasonable length. Email us at yourturn [at] billmoyers [dot] com.
The post Are Young People Getting the Education They Need to Engage in Political Life? appeared first on BillMoyers.com.
In a 50-to-48 vote along party lines, the U.S. Senate decided to kill FCC rules blocking your ISP from selling your browsing history to the advertising industry without permission. Should the change pass the House, as is expected, the likes of Comcast and Verizon will be able to make money disclosing what you buy, where you browse, and what you search from your own home, all without asking permission.
In an immediate signal that the vote will only benefit monied corporate interests and not the roughly 70 percent of Americans with a home broadband connection, the Internet & Television Association trade group gloated over their congressional victory:
“We appreciate today’s Senate action to repeal unwarranted FCC rules that deny consumers consistent privacy protection online and violate competitive neutrality. … Our industry remains committed to offering services that protect the privacy and security of the personal information of our customers. We support this step towards reversing the FCC’s misguided approach and look forward to restoring a consistent approach to online privacy protection that consumers want and deserve.”
It’s unclear how the broadband industry could be “committed” to user privacy while backing regulatory changes that would permit the sale of users’ private data. NCTA spokesperson Joy Sims returned a request for comment and explanation with a link to an unrelated section of the NCTA website. The Electronic Frontier Foundation decried the vote as putting “ISP profits over your privacy” and a potential “crushing loss for online privacy”:
ISPs act as gatekeepers to the Internet, giving them incredible access to records of what you do online. They shouldn’t be able to profit off of the information about what you search for, read about, purchase, and more without your consent.
The EFF further warned that without the FCC protections, ISPs would not only be able to commodify your browser history, but “[hijack] their customers’ search queries and [redirect] them to a place customers hadn’t asked for” and “inject ads into your traffic based on your browsing history.” Should Republicans succeed in dismantling the Obama-era rules through this action sponsored by Sen. Jeff Flake, the FCC would be barred from ever reestablishing such consumer protections in the future.
The post Senate Republicans Just Sold You Out to Advertisers appeared first on The Intercept.
If in fact Trump Tower was wiretapped during the 2016 presidential campaign, as President Trump claimed in several tweets Saturday morning, he can do much more than say so on twitter: Presidents have the power to declassify anything at any time, so Trump could immediately make public any government records of such surveillance.
What Trump is saying seems to be a garbled version of previous reporting by the BBC, among other news outlets.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
According to a report in the BBC, citing unnamed sources, a joint government task force was formed in spring of 2016 to look into an intelligence report from a foreign government that Russian money was somehow coming into the U.S. presidential race. In June the Department of Justice, part of the task force, asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court for a warrant to intercept electronic communications by two Russian banks.
However, the BBC’s report says, the FISA court turned the application down.. The Justice Department then asked again in July with a more narrowly drawn request, which was again turned down. Justice then made a third request for a warrant on October 15, which was granted.
None of this involves wiretapping Trump Tower. However, it is possible that Trump picked that up from a Breitbart article that in turn relied on a Heat Street piece that claimed the warrant was issued because of evidence of links between a “private server in Donald Trump’s Trump Tower” and a Russian bank. In fact, the server in question, set up by a marketing company hired by Trump, was physically located in Philadelphia.
Barack Obama’s spokesman responded to Trump’s tweets by saying that “neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.” Notably, this statement does not deny that someone in the Obama administration ordered surveillance of Trump Tower, simply that the White House did not – which isn’t meaningful, since in a properly functioning executive branch the Justice Department would make that decision on its own without White House interference.
So what does all this mean?
The most likely explanation is that there was never any wiretapping of Trump Tower – or as Trump put it in another tweet, “my phones” — but the FISA court did allow surveillance of the Philadelphia server and the Justice Department ultimately decided there was nothing to it.
Or perhaps the Justice Department decided there was something to it and is still investigating it.
Or perhaps there were FISA court warrants but for surveillance of people around Trump that had nothing to do with the Philadelphia server and the Russian bank.
Or perhaps Trump never read the Breitbart article but instead learned there was significant surveillance of Trump Tower in the way you’d expect a president would, from the massive intelligence apparatus he commands.
Or perhaps Trump has simply gotten all of this wrong.
Whatever the case, Trump has the power to clarify it and everything else about the Russia story right now by declassifying whatever surveillance records exist of contacts between people in his orbit and Russia. If he and his associates did nothing wrong, he has every incentive to do so as soon as possible.
The White House press office did not immediately respond to requests to comment on whether Trump will use his declassification power regarding his tweeted claims. It’s previously ignored repeated questions about whether he will use it regarding the general issue of contacts between Russia and his campaign.
Interestingly, there has in fact been significant government surveillance involving a presidential campaign in the past, although it’s unlikely Trump will want to remind America of it.
During the 1968 contest between Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon, President Lyndon Johnson was attempting to negotiate a peace deal to end the Vietnam War.
Nixon was worried that if this happened just before the election it would help Humphrey, who was Johnson’s vice president. Recently discovered notes by one of Nixon’s top campaign aides show that Nixon asked him to “monkey wrench” the peace talks. Via Anna Chennault, a top Republican fundraiser, the Nixon campaign sent messages to the government of South Vietnam not to go along with Johnson’s plans.
Johnson knew that this was happening at the time, and believed that it constituted “treason.” He ordered the FBI to wiretap the embassy of South Vietnam in Washington, which picked up Ambassador Bui Diem communicating with Chennault. (Presidents could and did directly order wiretaps prior to the establishment of the FISA court in 1978 to prevent executive branch abuses of its surveillance power.) The FBI also began conducting general surveillance of Chennault.
Johnson and several top officials, including Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, struggled with what to do in a fascinating phone call on November 4, 1968, the day before the election.
Johnson speaks of not wanting to be “a McCarthy” and worries about the certainty that “we’ll be charged with trying to interfere with the election.”
Rusk also equivocates, telling Johnson that “I do not believe that any president can make any use of interceptions or telephone taps in any way that would involve politics. The moment we cross over that divide we are in a different kind of society. … We get a lot of information through these special channels that we don’t make public. For example, some of the malfeasances of senators and congressmen and other people. … I think that we must continue to respect the classification of that kind of material.”
Clifford chimes in with another concern: that Americans just couldn’t endure learning how the world actually works. “I think,” Clifford frets, “that some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story, and then possibly to have a certain individual elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubts that I would think it would be inimical to our country’s interests.”
In the end, Johnson decided not to reveal what he knew about Nixon’s shocking subterfuge.
The next day Nixon narrowly beat Humphrey. During Nixon’s time in office, 20,000 more U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese died before the war finally ended.
The fact that Nixon did ally with a foreign government for advantage in a presidential election certainly doesn’t mean that Trump did the same. However, it does mean that U.S. politicians are capable of doing that – and that past presidents have used wiretaps to track the actions of their political adversaries.
Top photo: U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he walks on the South Lawn after he returned to the White House March 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump has returned from his trip to visit the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier in Newport News, Virginia.
The post If Trump Tower Was Wiretapped, Trump Can Declassify That Right Now appeared first on The Intercept.
“Both of us are widowers. We met last year at a dance for seniors. He treats me so much better than my husband ever did. My husband treated me like a stray dog. He used to beat me. He’d get angry, and yell, and break things. He’d always say that I’d never meet someone else. But this man is different. He always tells me that he loves me. He always wants to be with me. He makes me feel like a princess.”
(São Paulo, Brazil)
“My first tattoo said: “I Hate.” I tattooed over it a long time ago. I was twenty-one when I got it. It was a very self-destructive period of my life. I’d dropped out of college. My girlfriend had just left me for an older guy. I’d gotten a Mohawk and was doing a lot of slam dancing. I felt like everyone in the family was disappointed with me. My dad was a very successful attorney. My brother was a diplomat. So I rebelled against everything and decided that I was going to live the whole ‘poetry lifestyle.’ I lived in the desert for a couple years. Then I came to New York and tried to survive as a poet. I ended up working as a freak in the Coney Island Side Show. But after fifteen years, even that became like any other job. It was the exact same thing every day. Only the audience changed. I still haven’t figured out what I was trying to escape. There’s no such thing as a true outsider. We all have to breathe. We all have to eat. We all have to work. I wanted to run away from everything but I ran into myself. I’m still a middle class, intellectual kid from the suburbs.”
The end of the year is a time for reflection. We all have ups and downs, but a recent study suggests you’ll be happier if you keep your walk down memory lane focused on a few specific types of memories.
Donald Trump is right — the U.S. voting system is totally rigged!
It’s not rigged against him, though. It’s rigged against people without much money, and people who are members of any number of minority groups.
Some of the rigging is by design, and dates all the way back to the Founding Fathers. Some of it is simply a byproduct of an economic system where the top 0.1 percent have almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Some falls somewhere in between.
Add it all up, and it constitutes a gigantic obstacle to regular people using their purported power to run our purported democracy.
Here are some of the ways in which the voting system is rigged, few of which are ever discussed in American elections — which some might say constitutes its own kind of rigging.
- You have to register to vote.
Between one-quarter and one-third of American adults, up to 50 million people, are eligible to vote but aren’t registered to vote.
That’s ridiculous. Why do American adults have to take a special, extra step to govern themselves?
Many other countries, including France, Italy, Chile, Israel, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, all register everyone to vote automatically. Not coincidentally, they have much higher voter turnout than we do.
The unregistered are younger, poorer and less white than registered voters. They’re also more likely to support progressive political policies, such as a higher minimum wage and a financial transactions tax.
The good news is that five states — Oregon, California, West Virginia, Vermont and Connecticut — now have near-automatic voter registration, and many other states are considering it. Hillary Clinton has called for the federal government to push all states to make it happen.
- Election Day is a work day
The less money and power you have, the harder it is to take time off from work to vote.
Many states now have early voting, but some do not. Even if you can vote early, the rules are different everywhere and often change. We should expand and standardize early voting but also, as Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed, make election day a national holiday.
A man checks in during early voting in Gaithersburg, Md.
Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
- Gerrymandering and geography
In 2012, a slight majority of Americans voted for a Democrat for their congressional representative. Nevertheless, 54 percent of the elected representatives were Republicans.
This was thanks to both gerrymandering and the tendency of Democratic voters to live in dense cities. Currently Republican state legislatures use computer software to pack Democratic voters into as few districts as possible, creating the characteristically bizarre gerrymandered shape. But computers can also be used to create districts that look “fair” — i.e., compact and contiguous — and these would still put Democrats at a disadvantage because Democrats have by choice packed themselves into a few small places.
This is a problem that may not have an easy answer. Gerrymandering is to some degree in the eye of the beholder. Cities are probably going to remain highly Democratic. Some people believe it would be best to turn states into “multimember districts,” so that if the state sends seven representatives to the House, everyone in the state would get seven votes and would choose their top seven candidates.
- Many felons can’t vote.
6.1 million Americans can’t vote this year because they’ve been convicted of a felony. 2.2 million of them are African American; in Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia more than 1 in 5 black adults can’t vote.
No other country works like this. The solution here is simple: As in France, Germany, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Peru, Poland and Romania, everyone should be eligible to vote, including those convicted of felonies and even those currently in prison.
- Voter suppression.
Paul Weyrich, one of the founders of today’s conservative movement, cheerfully explained in 1980 that “I don’t want everybody to vote. … Our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”
Republicans have taken this perspective to heart for decades, and are doing their best again in 2016 to reduce the number of people voting. Popular methods include purging voter rolls of eligible voters, reducing polling times and places, requiring photo ID to vote and voter intimidation.
- No Instant Runoff
Instant runoff voting, which was recently used in the London mayoral election, lets third-party supporters vote for their first choice without fear they’ll act as spoilers and help elect their least favorite candidate.
Here’s how it works: Voters rank as many candidates as they like in the order of their preference, from first to last. If a candidate gets a majority of first choice ballots, he or she wins. If not, the last place candidate is eliminated – and his or her votes are distributed to the candidates who were the second choice of the eliminated candidate’s supporters. And so on. (If this sounds confusing, a Minnesota Public Radio video explains it in a clever way using post-its.)
In terms of this election, a Jill Stein voter who loathes Trump and lives in a swing state can’t vote for Stein without helping Trump. With instant runoff voting, such a Stein supporter could rank Stein as his or her first choice, Clinton as his or her second, and Trump last or not at all.
There is a built-in bipartisan consensus against any such move, however, since it would weaken the two-party duopoly that runs U.S. politics.
- The Senate
The Senate hugely magnifies the power of small states. Deep red Wyoming, population 582,000, has two senators. So does deep blue California, with a population of 38.8 million, 66 times greater than Wyoming’s.
That is so rigged!
The Senate’s ability to slow or stop change is why it was created in the first place. As James Madison, the main author of the Constitution, put it in 1787: “Our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation” and “protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.” The Senate, Madison said, should be the part of the government designed to do this.
- You can’t vote for the Federal Reserve
The U.S. economy is like a car with two gas pedals and two brakes. Congress controls one of each, but the Federal Reserve controls the others.
Its seven governors are appointed by presidents to 14-year terms. Even worse, the Federal Open Market Committee, which controls interest rates, is made up of the seven governors plus five members who are presidents of the regional Federal Reserve Banks. The regional presidents are chosen in a process that’s largely controlled by banks.
- Corporate America is more powerful than politicians
As John Dewey, one of America’s most important pro-democracy philosophers, wrote in 1931, “politics is the shadow cast on society by big business.”
This could be seen most clearly in the 2008 Wall Street bailout. Not only did the biggest banks have the power to destroy the U.S. economy in a way no politicians ever could, they easily forced the entire political system to stop everything and give them what turned out to be trillions of dollars.
On a smaller scale, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump hope to slash the tax rate on multinational corporations even though I’m guessing this is not one of your top priorities.
A poll worker posts receipts from vote counting machines showing they have been properly prepared during early voting in Gaithersburg, Md.
Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Whew, that’s a long and depressing list. But don’t give up: That list used to be much, much longer, yet regular people have been successfully fighting to shrink it for 240 years. There’s no reason to believe we can’t make it shorter still or eventually eliminate it altogether.
So go vote! There’s a reason this list exists, which is that democracy is powerful and dangerous and lots of people want to limit it. Don’t let them.
The post Nine Ways the U.S. Voting System Is Rigged But Not Against Donald Trump appeared first on The Intercept.
When it comes to filmmaking, sound is one of those things that you can't afford to get wrong. In situations where your boom mic needs some backup, or just won't cut it at all, lavalier microphones are effective tools for recording audio as close to a subject as possible without being visible in the shot. The first thing you should know is that they're also called lavs, neck mics, lapel mics and clip mics. In this video by RocketJump Film School, you get to learn all of the important basics of using lav mics, so when you need one you can use it like a pro.
The video shows you what a lav mic is (as well as transmitters and receivers), common placement and concealment techniques, and how to monitor your audio. However, if you're up for a bit of a challenge and want to learn some more advanced lav mic concepts and techniques, we've got you covered.
A confidential, 120-page catalogue of spy equipment, originating from British defense firm Cobham and circulated to U.S. law enforcement, touts gear that can intercept wireless calls and text messages, locate people via their mobile phones, and jam cellular communications in a particular area.
The catalogue was obtained by The Intercept as part of a large trove of documents originating within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where spokesperson Molly Best confirmed Cobham wares have been purchased but did not provide further information. The document provides a rare look at the wide range of electronic surveillance tactics used by police and militaries in the U.S. and abroad, offering equipment ranging from black boxes that can monitor an entire town’s cellular signals to microphones hidden in lighters and cameras hidden in trashcans. Markings date it to 2014.
Cobham, recently cited among several major British firms exporting surveillance technology to oppressive regimes, has counted police in the United States among its clients, Cobham spokesperson Greg Caires confirmed. The company spun off its “Tactical Communications and Surveillance” business into “Domo Tactical Communications” earlier this year, selling the entity to another company and presumably shifting many of those clients into it. Caires declined to comment further on the catalogue obtained by The Intercept or confirm its authenticity, but said it “looked authentic” to him.
“By design, these devices are indiscriminate and operate across a wide area where many people may be present,” said Richard Tynan, a technologist at Privacy International, of the gear in the Cobham catalogue. Such “indiscriminate surveillance systems that are not targeted in any way based on prior suspicion” are “the essence of mass surveillance,” he added.
The national controversy over military-grade spy gear trickling down to local police has largely focused on the “Stingray,” a single type of cellular spy box manufactured by a single company, Harris Corp. But the menu of options available to domestic law enforcement is enormous and poorly understood, mostly because of efforts by both manufacturers and their police clientele to suppress information about their functionality and use. What little we know about Stingrays has often been the result of hard-fought FOIA lawsuits or courtroom disclosures by the government. When the Wall Street Journal began reporting on the use of the Stingray in 2011, the FBI declined to comment on the grounds that even discussing the device’s existence could jeopardize its usefulness. The effort to pry out details about the tool is ongoing; just this past April, the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation prevailed in a federal court case, getting the government to admit it used a Stingray in Wisconsin.
Unsurprisingly, the Cobham catalogue describes itself as “proprietary and confidential” and demands that it “must be returned upon request.” Information about Cobham’s own suite of Stingray-style boxes is almost nonexistent on the web. But starting far down on Page 105 of the catalogue is a section titled “Cellular Surveillance,” wherein the U.K.-based manufacturer of defense and intelligence-oriented hardware lays out all the small wonders it sells for spying on people’s private conversations, whether they’re in Baghdad or Baltimore:
Tynan said Cobham’s cellular surveillance devices are, like the Stingray, standard “IMSI catchers,” deeply controversial equipment that can be used to create fake cellular networks and swallow up International Mobile Subscriber Identity fingerprints, calls, and texts. But he noted that such devices can operate on a vast scale:
The Cobham devices in this catalogue are standard interception devices with the ability to masquerade as 1-4 base stations simultaneously. This would allow it to pretend to be 4 different operators or 4 base stations from the same operator or any combination. These specifications allow for the interception of up to 4 calls at a time. The operational distance of these devices would be around 1-2 KM for 3G and significantly greater for 2G devices. Devices of this type can typically acquire the unique identifiers of handsets at a rate of 200 per minute.
Cobham also offers equipment capable of causing immense cellular blackouts and bulk data collection, including the “3G-N” — operated via laptop:
The mammoth “GSM-XPZ PV,” meanwhile, has a maximum output power of 50W, which would make it comparable to cellular antennae constructed by the likes of AT&T or Verizon. Anyone inside its radius (potentially miles from the box itself) could be subject to invisible surveillance.
The slimmer “GSM-XPZ HP Plus,” which appears to be operated via a handheld device, can “take control of target phones” and “create [an] exclusion zone to deny GSM network coverage,” the catalogue states.
Also noteworthy are two “direction finding units” — trackers used for following the location of someone’s smartphone (and presumably its user). One, named the “Evolve4-Hand Held Direction Finder,” actually allows a soldier or neighborhood police officer to carry a hidden antenna inside his clothing that he can use to track someone’s whereabouts:
Another, similar device uses a larger antenna that can be mounted onto any car — a design that raises an eyebrow for Wessler: “The low profile means that it is difficult to identify police use of the technology.”
This low-profile technology not only allows agents in a vehicle to track someone’s location via their mobile phone, but it is also “designed to work with any GSM manipulation,” presumably meaning cellular jamming and interception.
Tools for covert spying make up a large part of the catalogue, particularly in the audio and video surveillance sections, where sensors are hidden in everything from pocket knives and birdhouses to suspenders:
Elsewhere in the catalogue, Cobham boasts of a corporate history going back more than 70 years, brags about tripling in size since 1997, and talks about “clients and partners in over 100 countries.” Among the company’s stated goals are “to keep people safe and to improve communications.”
But the proliferation of spy tools like those sold by Cobham is actually eroding safety, according to Tynan. “As we move to a more connected world where cars, toys, fridges, and even implantable devices contain miniature cellphone technology, the capability to cause harm using one of these devices becomes ever greater,” he said. “It is unacceptable for our modern critical infrastructure to be so vulnerable to such interception,” and therefore “it is vital that the international standards that underpin our communications are built to the highest security standard possible.”
Correction, Sept. 2: The original version of this story misstated the relationship between Cobham and Domo Tactical Communications.
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The post Leaked Catalogue Reveals a Vast Array of Military Spy Gear Offered to U.S. Police appeared first on The Intercept.
If you want to add music to your projects (without getting flagged on YouTube and Facebook), check out Jukedeck. Instead of downloading random music that never seems to be a perfect fit, with JukeDeck you are able to customize the length, tempo, and set exact BPM to match your project perfectly. There's also an option for choosing when the music should Climax. So the music you create for sections of your project will have a proper intro and outro. Here's a quick demo.
Having a Facebook page is virtually essential for modern businesses, and now they might be able to reap some new benefits from it too. Facebook is rolling out two new sections to promote both goods and services that merchants sell on the platform. The Shop section lets businesses list products they’re selling, and allows customers to put in an offer through Messenger, while the Services lets them do the same for, well, services. You can list prices, along with a description and photos. The Shop section is only coming to Thailand, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, India, Argentina, and Taiwan…
This story continues at The Next Web
The majority of artists in the United States can’t afford to register their copyright with the US Copyright Office. While the internet makes it easier than ever to create and share works of art, it’s done little-to-nothing to help protect copyright and what few strides its made have largely benefited huge companies rather than smaller artists. Blockai wants to change all that by using the power of the blockchain to help you register and protect your work online. While copyright laws are still rather vague and corporate-centric, it’s not necessary for artists to register with the US Copyright Office to…
This story continues at The Next Web
It was the decapitated Charlie McCarthy doll heads that caught my eye. And the mannequin in the vest and Spartan helmet. I got closer and looked in through the plate-glass window.
It was like looking into one of those panoramic Easter eggs as a kid. A whole world opened up. And, seeing what I saw, my mood instantly lifted.
American flags. Antique clocks. JFK and RFK posters. A bigger than life-size bathing beauty cardboard cut-out. Pressed-tin ceiling above and wooden floorboards below. A long path leading to the back of the shop through dozens and dozens of old garment industry machines:
Gold Stampers, Wire Stitchers, Rossley Button Machines, Defiance Foot Presses, Schaefer Cementers, Clicker Blocks, Rubber Pads.
Had I tumbled back through time? How could something so pure, so untouched still be permitted in the homogenized, stultified Manhattan of today? What delightful madness was this?
The lights were on, but the door was locked.
"This is our flag, be proud of it!" reads a sign on the door, below a "Back In" notice that doesn't indicate how many minutes will pass before they'll be back in. I waited around a bit, not wanting to stop looking. Eventually, I had to go, but vowed to return.
When I went back a few weeks later, it was the same scene: lights on and no one in sight.
I pushed the door. It opened with the tinkling of a bell.
I walked inside, unsure that I should be there, and tried to commit as much as I could to memory. The place smelled of age, of sweetly rotting paper, like a library. I breathed it in.
A silver-haired man emerged from a back door and came directly towards me, dressed all in black, his spine stiffly upright, his shoes shuffling.
"The door was open?" he said, indicating that it was not meant to be. "What can I do for you?"
"I'm admiring your shop," I said.
"Why? It's a dirty stinkin' hole!"
"You shoulda seen it 60 years ago. It was a machine shop."
He ushered me to the door, adding, "Now we don't do nothin'."
"Nothin'! When you're old, you'll understand. When you're married, you'll understand. In the morning, you kiss the wife goodbye and say, 'Seeya later, Sweetie, I'm off to work!'"
"So you don't do anything here? You don't sell anything, fix anything? You just do nothing?"
"Come back when you're 60 and I'll tell you all about it!"
He closed to the door behind me, locked it, and shuffled back down the long path to the back room where he does nothing all day. A man who just wants to be left alone in his dirty, stinkin', beautiful museum of a machine shop.
The site 14to42 says Master Cutting Table has been here since the early 1960s. It is run by a man named Arnold. A writer at Manhattan Sideways ventured in to the place one time. She reported:
"Asked what he does here, Arnold replied: 'nothing.' Asked why he comes in, then: 'I don’t want to stay at home. I love my wife of over sixty years, but sometimes you just have to get away.' Having invested in property in New York when it was not as astronomically expensive, Arnold now owns this building and has the luxury of using it as a 'day home.' He is holding out against selling to developers bent on transforming the space. 'I’ll let my kids make that mistake,' he says. 'You can walk with a straight backbone knowing you own property in New York. It’s a marvelous feeling.'"
The engineers over there have done some incredible things, first with the tack sharp APS-C 18-35mm f/1.8, and now with the new APS-C 50-100mm f/1.8. The new 50-100mm f/1.8 — which will come in Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sigma SA mounts — joins the rest of Sigma's high-performing Art lens lineup, and is listed at $1,100. In addition, they've announced another new APS-C lens for their mirrorless line, the 30mm F1.4 DC DN, which will be available in Sony E and MFT mounts, and is listed at $340. Lastly, the previously leaked E-Mount adapter, MC-11, has also been announced, and will cost $250. Unfortunately it seems that it will only work with Sigma lenses out of the gate.
All three of these will be available in the next month or two.
Charlie Mom Chinese restaurant has been in the Village since 1983. This coming Wednesday, August 26, will be its last day.
Why is it closing? I called to ask. "Rent going too high."
photo via Mitch Broder's NY
In 2011, Eater paid a visit to Charlie Mom.
"It's the sort of Chinese restaurant that was once seen in abundance in New York," wrote Robert Simonson, "the kind that makes cocktails and offers choices from Column A and Column B, and a Peking Duck meal for $19.95."
He continued, "Who comes here? I asked my waiter. 'Old man. Old woman,' he said with halting English and stunning frankness. I looked around. My eyes confirmed his blunt assessment. Nearly everyone was old. Very old. They talked of ailments and pensions."
photo: Daniel Krieger, via Eater
So another place that caters to older folks is getting the boot. Once again, it's not a lack of business. It's not because "people" don't eat Chinese food anymore. It's the rent. It's the rent. It's the rent.
Have a last meal at Charlie Mom between now and Wednesday at 464 6th Avenue near 11th Street. And if you want to the city to put a stop to these insane rent increases, join #SaveNYC and support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act.
This guy would never party with the Wall Street Journal set.
As someone who routinely backs out of parties that I don’t want to go to (not yours, of course: I was really sick that time!), I couldn’t be more sympathetic to the fact that Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray didn’t attend last night’s Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I mean, sure, it sounds like it could be kind of fun, and being among the first people to see what Rihanna is wearing is a real privilege that shouldn’t be taken for granted. But, you know that Rihanna’s outfit will be all over the place online within seconds of her arrival, and if you stay home and hang out in your bed, occasionally checking the fashionable arrivals, complete with snarky commentary on Twitter, then you also get to avoid awkward conversations with whoever Anna Wintour deigned to seat next to you. Win-win-win-win-win infinity. But if you do the comfortable, relatable thing of skipping a gala? Well, then New York’s ultra-rich are going to whine about you to the Wall Street Journal just like the entitled babies they are.
In what might be the best PR move that he didn’t have to pay for, de Blasio was called out in the Journal for the fact that unlike his billionaire predecessor, Mike Bloomberg, the new mayor has literally no interest in attending most of the city’s high-profile society extravaganzas. This is the second year in a row that the de Blasios have declined to attend the Costume Institute Gala, and even though McCray had a conflict—she was being honored by the non-profit group, The Child Mind Institute—it is clearly impossible to some people that anyone would choose to go to some little non-profit event, rather than the society event of the year.
And as you can imagine, the super-wealthy are not taking this type of snub lightly. The Journal speaks to Peggy Siegal, “a New York City event publicist who orchestrates high-profile parties,” who says de Blasio clearly has “disdain for the striving, successful New Yorkers and I have been told by insiders that he always listens to his wife, who also has disdain for the accomplished… They obviously do not relate to New Yorkers who socially network to support charities. They have made themselves socially irrelevant. It is a major shortcoming not to mingle with all classes.”
Yes, those terrible, commie de Blasios need to reassess their priorities and spend more time at parties where they can rub elbows with billionaires. How dare they.
In fact, though, it’s gotten so bad that it isn’t just a case of the de Blasios not attending these parties—now, they’re sometimes not even invited:
Organizers for New Yorkers for Children, a charity that benefits the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, said it would include Ms. McCray on future event mailing lists. A spokeswoman for the New York Botanical Garden said public officials weren’t invited to its Conservatory Ball.
Joking aside, attendance by political figures at these types of events are usually centered around getting money from deep-pocketed potential donors, money which the city could obviously use. Base and gross as that might seem, it’s just politics as usual, and as a life-long politician, de Blasio knows that. However the fact that the city’s wealthiest are so miffed by the de Blasios lack of interest in their society parties that they would punish the city by not donating as much as they have in the past? The city that has become their virtual playground? Well, that’s a lot grosser than anything de Blasio has done so far.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen