Bio-political musings

Much of the political process can be likened to auto-immune disorders: segments of the body politic hijacking the defensive organs of the society, such as police, to attack other elements of the body. In that way, a small and relatively weak group can dominate or exterminate larger groups in the competition for resources.

In the ideal society, that resource competition (socialism) is replaced with comparative advantage cooperation (capitalism). But that ideal society has no need of commissars, and that hurts the feelings of those sense of self-worth is predicated on being in control of others.

More musings on the same topic.

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Differences of detail level

I just tried comparing a full-frame 43MP Sony A7R3 and 135/1.8 Sigma lens bought for $1200 to a 16MP micro 4/3 Panasonic GM5 with an adapted FED 50/2.8 lens (E26m) obtained at a used book store for $4. Sony wins considerably on all counts other than size, which is to be expected. GM5 was obtained for the pocket camera role with a 20/1.7 lens.

5.6, ISO around 250. Click to expand to see the difference in detail.

135mm can be used almost directly into light sources. The 52mm, especially since it has wider coverage than needed, cannot — but its contrast improves greatly with a lens shade or a hand used as a gobo. Edge sharpness on the 52 falls off rapidly, even though only the center quarter of the lens area is used by micro 4/3 camera.

Conclusion: expensive modern lenses are better than cheap obsolete lenses. A real discovery, right? The purpose of my quest was to see if I could use the 52mm for stylizing 1930-1950s look in camera. The answer is “yes”, but focusing has to be done with great care. Even zoomed in, focus was difficult to obtain. The reason I was curious about the 52mm is that I started my photo learning on a FED camera with this or a very similar lens.

Compositions where detail isn’t critical look reasonably good.
Regular 20/1.7 in use. The detail is sharper, more even out to the corners, but the difference isn’t as much as I expected. The 20mm is half the size of the 52mm, supports AF and has much better contrast…at $270 and 60 years newer, that’s not surprising.
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More SHOT Show finds

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The reader

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The problem with socialism

And from this problem comes its corollary…giving up arms is a mistake free people can only make once.

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Catching up on SHOT Show news

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Firebird Targets Deliver Flash and Thunder: new on AllOutdoor

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Two new Keltec guns: new on Alloutdoor

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“Long guns in the mighty .45ACP”

Dillon Blue Press, page 79.

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Test photos of a new model.

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Catching up on movie reviews

Der Hauptmann (The Captain) is a recent German movie about the real-life deserter who impersonated an officer and ended up building a team of psychopathic underlings for murdering (mostly) prisoners. Excellent acting, good visuals, poor special effects.

The Homesman is sort of a Western, but a very unconventional one. Even stranger than Unforgiven, it’s well acted, beautifully filmed, and the story is anything but predictable. Highly recommended, as is Unforgiven.

Lawless is a pretty well acted and filmed gangster movie with a decent degree of realism to it. Special effects are realistic but rather tame when it comes to showing blood.

Dead in a Week or Your Money Back is a cute but eminently forgettable British comedy saved by charismatic actors.

Girl King tries but fails to make a convincing portrait of a very interesting historic character, Queen Christina of Sweden. Her Wikipedia entry is better than the movie.

April and the Extraordinary World is surprisingly good for a kids’ cartoon, mainly thanks to unorthodox world building with the alternative history forking in 1870. 

The Immigrant wins on the quality of acting, the unpredictable story and the excellent period atmosphere created. Recommended.

The most recent iteration of Mowgli flops badly, with the script diverging from the book and with cartoon characters of animals presented with humanoid features that make all of them look rather creepy. Avoid.

Riphagen, another movie based on a real historic fiend, is well done and acted despite minimal budget. Highly recommended.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a typical Coen Brothers movie: interesting in parts, uneven in pacing and storytelling. Worth watching once if you like Westerns.

The Road to Calvary is a much better adaptation of the book than the several previous attempts, and better than the book itself as well. Well worth watching for the excellent acting and a convoluted, detailed drama. 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society tried to be quaint but ended up formulaic despite an interesting premise and reasonably competent actors.

Run, Boy, Run is an epic biographical film presented from the perspective of a kid in WW2 Poland. Much like The Painted bird, it pulls no punches. Highly recommended.

Tulip Fever A 17th century setting populated by characters with entirely modern mindsets doesn’t come across credibly. Excellent lighting and visuals, but flawed storytelling.

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Vintage visions.

Safety on.

Winter is coming…it’s too cold to go commando!
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“Now is the winter of our well-wishing…”

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New textures added to the image library for designers.

Rope

Click for 1600px wide versions. As usual, higher resolution images are available on request.

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Portraits new and old.

2014 photos, just edited.

This week’s portraits.

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Cardboard targets and modular stands: new on AllOutdoor

Cardboard targets from the steel specialists.

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Winning attitude

Ten minutes after the three-day World Rimfire Challenge marksmanship event wrapped up, the skies opened up. Rain fell hard and fast, causing some flash flooding. As the event organizers were dismantling the camp, I noticed these two girls and a boy running around helping. All three were wet, muddy, tired and smiling. Turns out they volunteered to help and found tasks for themselves without any prompting by parents or event admins.

That kind of attitude is rare enough in adults, and is most commendable in kids. Skills may be acquired later, but attitude like this comes from the basic character. I know who I would want to work with in the future.

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Vintage portrait

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Vintage fashion

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Vicious enforcement of arbitrary laws.

The utterly illogical and pointless nature of the US gun laws can be illustrated with this simple example. Let’s take a gun owner who has an AR15 rifle.

An ordinary carbine with a 16 inch barrel.

Since barrels are available in different lengths, the owner pays a $200 excise tax to the BATF, waits 6-12 months and finally gets permission to use a barrel shorter than 16 inches. Here’s how a 14.5″ barrel looks on a rifle.┬áThe difference of 1.5″ inches is legally significant, though it makes only a minor impact on the actual performance and handling.

With the overall length of the rifle around 35 inches, 1.5 inch difference is pretty hard to tell.

Now, imagine that this person owns more two nearly identical AR15, one of them registered as a short-barreled rifle, and takes both to the range. For cleaning following the range time, both guns are disassembled.

If the owner accidentally puts the 16″ barrel on the registered lower and the 14.5″ barrel on the unregistered lower, he commits are felony “manufacturing of an unregistered short barreled rifle (SBR)” which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Note that there’s zero change in the actual functionality of the guns: the lower receivers are identical, and the upper receivers are still in possession of the same person who already paid for the “privilege” of using a shorter barrel.

The punishment for the accidental swapping of very similar uppers is harsher than most penalties for forcible rape, armed robbery and murder! How does that make any sense whatsoever?

 

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