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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Artists Must Prove it’s not Porn

Painters and photographers will no longer be able to rely on a defence of artistic merit under an overhaul of child pornography laws in  Australia. Nearly two years after police raided Melbourne artist Bill Henson’s contentious exhibition, the Government will legislate to force artists to account for their works. A ‘working party’ set up by the Government in the wake of the May, 2008, controversy over Henson’s child exhibits has recommended the artistic-merit defence be struck out.

As much as I despise child pornography and those who would produce it or in any way exploit a child, I loath more those who would demand that those facing charges ‘prove’ their ‘innocence’, and equally loath those who would repress art under a moralistic dogma of puritanism last seen amongst the nazi’s.

The report also recommends the introduction of laws making it easier for police to investigate child pornography and for juries and court staff to participate in trials for these offences. This suggestion follows concern within the legal fraternity of the impact that the viewing of child pornography evidence has on jury members, many of whom find the process distressing.

The working party has recommended the law be changed so jury members, prosecutors and court staff are able to view only a sample of images during the trial process.

The assumption is the jury will be shown images and told to assume that there are far worse images, which is somewhat similar to the ‘terrorism’ charges where individuals in this civil liberty stricken nation can be charged and not be told what they’re being charged with, going as far as even refusing to tell the judge what the charges are.

Here I was thinking we voted out the neo-conservative lobby. Besides, what IS art and what IS porn? Can porn be art? Can art be porn? Something tells me the answer to those questions is ‘whichever yields the most convictions’ given that the Australian justice system’s prosecution works on a conviction quota for it’s budget.

Chairman Rudd and his Glorious Workers Party has once again shown us that we don’t have bipartisan politics, but both parties are batshit insane hardline right wingers. As much as I hate talking about politics, and don’t assume I’m a lefty, I’m quite solidly centrist as a civil libertarian.

Art, Painting, Photography

So, I’ve been putting off painting for a very long time now, although I rationalise it with the fact the global financial crisis has put people into a position where consumption of arts is at an all time low. I am however trying to force myself to get back into it, and I’ll be sharing my progress with you folks as I go. My art will be located at my other site, and yes I’m totally blowing my identity here, but I’ll be throwing stuff up on http://lexwinter.com as I get motivated. I’ve also been toying with the idea of releasing a (limited) fashion line, mostly things I’ve found horribly lacking out there.

By that I mean accessories for men, custom jeans that don’t make you look like you’ve shat your pants, and other random eye candy stuff I find myself looking for but unable to find.

Anyway, this is just a random rant and in part committing myself to having to produce something now or be laffed at by my readers. So feel free to peer pressure me. <3

Posted: December 29th, 2009
Categories: general
Tags: , , ,
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Digitising the New York Times

CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart and was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas Hopper and John Langford of Carnegie Mellon University, who developed the CAPTCHA programme. To us mere mortals it often appears as hemetic arabic language font, so heavily distorted even humans can’t read it. However they’ve gone a step further, and whilst I may be slow on picking up on this I noticed the ‘easier’ CAPTCHA code to read looks like old type font, and sure enough it is!

CAPTCHA is a program developed by that can tell whether its user is a human or a computer. CAPTCHAs are used by many websites to prevent abuse from “bots,” or automated programs usually written to generate spam. No computer program can read distorted text as well as humans can, so bots cannot navigate sites protected by CAPTCHAs.

About 200 million CAPTCHAs are solved by humans around the world every day. In each case, roughly ten seconds of human time are being spent. Individually, that’s not a lot of time, but in aggregate these little puzzles consume more than 150,000 hours of work each day. What if we could make positive use of this human effort? reCAPTCHA does exactly that by channeling the effort spent solving CAPTCHAs online into “reading” books.

In an attempt to archive human knowledge digitally archive materials, multiple projects are currently digitizing physical books that were written before the computer age. The book pages are being scanned as images, and then transformed into text using “Optical Character Recognition” (OCR). Whilst images are readable by humans the text isn’t searchable and cannot be indexed, also file size is compromised as images are much larger and harder to store.

reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. More specifically, each word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is placed on an image and used as a CAPTCHA. This is possible because most OCR programs alert you when a word cannot be read correctly.

I was sold by this point and thought it absolutely novel and twee, but I couldn’t help but wonder how they know what we’re entering is correct. The gimmick is, one of the words is a control word, already known and intentionally seeded back and usually from the same source as the second word, the project assumes that you have entered it correctly and saves the word after enough people have entered the same word in the same fashion and assumes it is correct with higher confidence.

The only downside to this project is that at present they’re digitizing old editions of the New York Times, which isn’t of much benefit to mankind as a whole IMHO, but such is life. If you’re REALLY bored, you can click here to answer reCAPTCHA’s just to contribute to the project.

More by von Ahn

Matchin’ is a covert experiment in artificial intelligence. Every time players agree on a picture, it’s tagged as prettier. Von Ahn, a 28-year-old professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, will put the game online this summer, and as thousands of people play it, his database of 100,000 photos will be imbued with something quintessentially human: an aesthetic sensibility, encoded as a ranking of attractiveness.

The game basically tricks humans into teaching computers what constitutes prettiness. If enough people play Matchin’ — and von Ahn’s previous games have garnered millions of play-hours — it could eventually rate the appeal of every image on the Internet. Google could incorporate the ratings into its search engine, so you could search specifically for “beautiful” pictures of houses, people, or landscapes.

“People are good at figuring out what’s attractive, and computers are good at quickly searching and finding,” von Ahn says. “You put them together, and bang!”

This is “human computation,” the art of using massive groups of networked human minds to solve problems that computers cannot. Ask a machine to point to a picture of a bird or pick out a particular voice in a crowd, and it usually fails. But even the most dim-witted human can do this easily. Von Ahn has realized that our normal view of the human-computer relationship can be inverted. Most of us assume computers make people smarter. He sees people as a way to make computers smarter.

Odds are you’ve already benefited from von Ahn’s work. Like when you type in one of those stretched and skewed words before getting access to a Yahoo email account or the Ticketmaster store. That’s a Captcha, which von Ahn developed in 2000 to thwart spambots. Or there’s von Ahn’s picture-labeling games, which have lured thousands of bored Web surfers into tagging 300,000 photos online — doing it so effectively that Google bought his idea last year to improve its Image Search engine.

Above excerpt from Wired Magazine (16.07) For Certain Tasks, the Cortex Still Beats the CPU by Clive Thompson

Posted: December 15th, 2009
Categories: general, news, technology
Tags: , , ,
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Norway Spiral, Sky Phenomena

A true UFO was spotted in the early hours of the 9th of November, 2009 in Norway. What started off as a blue light soaring up from behind a mountain stopped mid-air, quickly morphing into a giant spiral white spiral on the end of a concaved cone of light, bending far more than a cone of light should in on itself then hung in the sky for about ten to twelve minutes, depending on the eyewitnesses’ account. It then disappeared completely. It was filmed by dozens of people from different angles, with one piece of footage zooming in to the end of the cone of blue light, depicting what appears to be a large plume of red hued smoke similar to that of a very lage bush fire.

Different responses have occured, with various special interest groups offering vague explainations from atmospheric phenomena to large hadron collider paranoia through to a ‘failed icbm test by the Russians’, the latter usually coming with the caveat that it was from an ‘anonymous source within the Russian military’ (see: bullshit).

Other less outlandish theories even dabble in the fourth dimensional cross-over, a natural worm hole opening, through to a micro galaxy collision with our atmosphere, the latter of which often cites the vacuous hole left behind as a mini black hole after the micro galaxy collapsed in on itself, shedding it’s orbiting mass.

The mainstream media has run with the ‘runaway rocket’ story far too swiftly and buried it pretty fast, as a google search will yield as far as very little material being out there on it outside of batshit insane conspiracy theorist sites. Thankfully a lot of Norwegians upped their footage to YouTube so we’re inundated with footage but very few reasonable sources are willing to talk or comment about it.

Any and all of the potential explanations, regardless how outlandish, may be possibilities, but all I’m going to do right now is show you some photos and some video and let you make up your own minds, please comment if you find this interesting.

Images: –









Videos: –

Potential explainations: –

Mystery as spiral blue light display hovers above Norway | Mail Online

Spiral UFO puts Norway in a spin | The Sun |News

Awesomely bizarre light show freaks out Norway | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazi…

Giant Mysterious Spiral Takes Over the Skies of Norway – Giant Spiral – Gizmodo

Forza 3 Garage

Added a Forza Garage to my pages on this blog so bored people can keep up with my shiny cars. Some of them have custom paint jobs, some don’t. If you want a copy of any custom jobs I’ve done just let me know and I’ll stock them in my Forza storefront as a free sale item.

RS3 [765]

S [677]
2007 FORD GT500

A [598]

B [488]

C [424]

Posted: December 3rd, 2009
Categories: forza, games, general
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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UK Photographers Lose Rights …

Why wouldn’t someone in a public office invite scrutiny? What’s that line (or logical fallacy rather) the police and government use when they take away our rights, “you’ve got nothing to fear if you’ve got nothing to hide” or something? 🙂

It’s now a criminal offence to take photos of law enforcement in the UK, talk about a police state – Click here for more.


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