Tuesday, January 27, 2004  [!]
At the Library of Congress [via boingBoing]

These interviews, conducted between 1932 and 1975, capture the recollections of twenty-three identifiable people born between 1823 and the early 1860s and known to have been former slaves. Several of the people interviewed were centenarians, the oldest being 130 at the time of the interview. The almost seven hours of recordings were made in nine Southern states and provide an important glimpse of what life was like for slaves and freedmen. The former slaves discuss how they felt about slavery, slaveholders, how slaves were coerced, their families, and, of course, freedom. It is important to keep in mind, however, that all of those interviewed spoke sixty or more years after the end of their enslavement, and it is their full lives, rather than their lives during slavery, that are reflected in their words.

I've been doing a bit of research into matters of oral history. Been ripping MP3s from the audio CDs I made from interviewing my grandfather (originally recorded on cassette tapes). Great to see the conversion of old analog audio into digital (and downloadable) form (Real Audio and MP3).

1/27/04; 3:04:40 PM | Storytelling | Discuss | # | |

Yesterday, during the news briefing , I heard an astonishing figure from Jim Bell, imaging scientist - 20 megapixel. Thanks go to Chris Ledwith, who sent an email with this pointer to this Space.com/MSNBC article; he said Bell must've meant 20 1-megapixel cameras.

According to the article, the cameras are 1-megapixel. There are fewer actual sensors, but each one is larger, making it more light sensitive.

A Sony DSC-F717, with a street price of around $600, has 5.2 million sensors (or 5 megapixels) on a chip that is 8.8 by 6.6 millimeters (or .35 by .26 inches). The Pancam has just a million sensors spread across a chip that's 12 by 12 millimeters nearly a half-inch square.

Each tiny Pancam sensor, measured in microns, is nearly four times as big as those on the Sony.

In the consumer market, which Dalsa [the company that made the sensors ] does not target, 5-megapixel cameras often use the same size CCD as a 3-megapixel camera. More pixels are simply crammed onto the same-size chip.

"The pixels themselves get smaller," Myles said. "This has an impact on image quality."

Why? For one thing, smaller pixels are less light-sensitive.

Also, the lens quality might not support the additional pixels. As the receptors get smaller, a higher quality lens is needed to properly focus light onto each pixel. So where each pixel ought to capture different light information say perhaps a subtle shading change on the subject's cheek the same information can get spread across several pixels after passing through a lower quality lens. [Read More]

I have re-read my account (and, more importantly, Asa's account) of the press briefing. In the larger context, Jim Bell spoke of 20 cameras, 18 now functioning (the descent cameras are now face down in the dirt). All rightie. Got it. "We've got 20 megapixel cameras" doesn't mean a twentymegapixel camera, but 20 cameras, each a megapixel.

1/27/04; 12:59:56 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |

Complete list of Oscar nominees. Having watched lots of the documentary and extra features for Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, I'm rooting for Peter Jackson et. al.

1/27/04; 11:59:35 AM | Art | Discuss | # | |