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Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-R: Is this not a work of art?

Panasonic DMC-TZ30 Compact Camera

Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-R: Is this not a work of art?

Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-R: Is this not a work of art?

I’m afraid my old TZ7 (which replaced my earlier TZ5 due to my clumsiness) has now had to be replaced with the new TZ30. The reason?  At some unknown moment, my usual dollard-ish clumsiness put a scratch on the lens…..  the whole recent trip to Australia is marred (to my eyes at least) by a fuzzy mark off-centre at 2 o’clock.

I wanted the red one as it’s a beautiful thing indeed.  In fact, I hunted to get one at a good price within a reasonable time-scale, but have settled for the black one for cost and because I can get it now!..  (The Panasonic DMC-TZ30EB-K).

Iggy Pop, October 25, 1977 at the State Theatr...

Gratuitous photo of Iggy Pop from October 25, 1977 at the State Theatre, Minneapolis, MN (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s now on the way so watch this space for my opinions and results later!!.  I’m extremely hopeful due to the reviews I’ve read.

I’ve waited and have passed over the TZ20 and other incarnations due to unfavourable comments and lack of substantial change in their features.  Now, the TZ30 has tipped the balance for me.  The GPS feature introduced with the TZ10 hasn’t had much interest to me, but maybe this’ll change all that!

Specification Highlights for me are:

  • The 20x optical zoom (naturally) in a body that’s less obtrusive than my current TZ7.
  • Better ISO performance – reputed to be very good at low light down to ISO800.
  • Better burst mode shooting.  It’s supposed to be 10 fps whereas my TZ7 only does about three….  I have some stop-action movie ideas that I started with my old Fuji FinePix F30 that I’d like to continue and expand upon.  The F30 did reasonable frames per second whereas the TZ7 is just too slow for the effects I want.
  • Semi-automatic panorama shooting.  Much better than the old manual stitch mode….
  • Rapid autofocus (AF) – reputed to be 1/10 second.  Combine this with burst mode and nature and sport shots should be great with at least one being on the button.

The info on the Panasonic site is here, though what it doesn’t mention is that the TZ30 battery is also used in the TZ7, which is a bonus for me!  I even have a spare already!  WaHaY!

Specification Gotchas:

The only one I’ve spotted that directly affects my expectations is that in burst mode, the auto-focus is fixed once the burst starts, at 10fps.  However, to counter this the feature is more variable than I’m used to in that with burst mode set to 5fps autofocus and zoom work concurrently!  This definitely needs playing with!

My Standard Expectations:

  • Minimal blue/purple casts or fringing at high contrast edges.
  • Wonderful summer shots with vibrant colour.
  • Much better focus changing in video zooming.

My Quantum Leap Hopes:

  • The same or better sound quality that the F30 and TZ7 delivered.  Both produced full non-clipped audio sound at rock concerts!  The TZ7 does it in stereo.  (see my Iggy Pop video below, discussed in this post, Iggy at Hammersmith).
  • Much, much faster autofocus and burst shooting than I’m used to.  This includes the continuous autofocus & zoom at 5fps mentioned earlier.
  • Much better auto-focus on video zoom especially and pictures generally.  I’m hoping the intelligence of the thing has been re-jigged……    To explain…….

The tendency on my TZ7 is to focus on the near-field whether it’s bright or dark. Yet I want it to focus on what the human eye drifts to, i.e., bright objects.  On the TZ7 I’ve had to use human intervention to override the camera expectations….
The video below shows this.

For me the prime purpose of a compact camera is to get the best shot possible as fast as possible.

At the Stooges concert at Hammersmith below, I’d waited for ages and then suddenly the band came on and kicked off immediately! There was no time to prime the focus because I knew I’d miss some performance, so I had to make allowances for the camera deficiencies by pulling back zoom and trying to get autofocus on the bright areas by field drifting.
Ideally, I should have asked Mr Pop to restart his concert so that I could stop the video, auto-focussing on maximum zoom to distance and then restarting the video before he kicked off again.  ;-)  Obviously that wasn’t going to happen so I did the best I could without missing any of the performance of my historic bête noire idol.
As it was, my guess was right, even to continuing filming without a break, because against all rumours and knowledge that the Raw Power album was to be played in order, it wasn’t!              Search & Destroy immediately followed Raw Power.
 

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Now You See it, Now You Don’t!

Is Nuclear power Safe?

  • Watch how the politicians duck and dive.
  • Watch how they pick and choose which bits of ‘science’ to believe!
Gymnasium at Pripyat

Abandoned for 100 Years

Last week, smiley Alan Johnson fell out with serious Professor Nutt because the professor said some factual scientific things, things proven by statistics and analysis to have an overwhelming degree of proof.  This was that drinking alcohol and smoking is far more dangerous than cannabis and ecstasy pills.  See dont-shoot-the-messenger-if-you-dont-like-the-message and associated links.

Now, this week, Ed Milliband has taken the opposite approach and said:

Nuclear power is safe, says Ed Miliband

So, despite there being three major accidents involving nuclear power, he says it’s safe!  In actual fact, he said this:

“I do understand the anxieties that there are because there have been concerns about nuclear power.”    “I think it is right that we go ahead with this. It has a good safety record. There is no evidence that people’s fears about nuclear are grounded, in my view.”

The trouble with this, is that a nuclear accident isn’t the same as a car crash, it isn’t at all like a train crash or a plane crash.  It actually isn’t anything like an earthquake or tsunami, natural hazards that many have to live with.

Hinkley Point

Hinkley Point Power Station

In a nutshell, if Hinkley Point Power Station down the road from me goes up in a similar fashion to Chernobyl, because of the prevailing wind, most of England will be uninhabitable and we’ll all have to go to Scotland!

The Three Close Shaves

In order, there was Windscale when I was a child and was exposed to Strontium in the milk which had to be chucked away for months.  The records show that this was a really close shave for us in Britain and Scandinavia – only half an hour away from a worse-than-Chernobyl disaster!

Then we had Three-Mile Island, another skin of the teeth episode but this time by the Americans.

Then there was Chernobyl which has left a 100 mile square piece of Russia uninhabitable and left sheep inedible thousands of miles away in Britain for years.  If the Chernobyl event had been here, as I say, all the Midlands would’ve needed evacuating.  As it is, Russia is very, very big, and they’ve room to move…..  We don’t.  It’s a little island.  Full of jobs-worth’s and idiots, by the sound of it.

Belief

Subway to Nowhere

Subway to Nowhere

Q. So which scientist is Milliband believing?  Which scientist says it’s “safe”?

Q. What evidence is Milliband ignoring that leads him to think people’s fears are “ungrounded”, as he says?

A. The evidence of his head in the sand, that’s what!

In this case he is using the infrequent bad events and calling them safe because they don’t happen often.  And because we’ve been very, very lucky; that’s all.

The stats show something different, because there are only about a couple of hundred nuclear plants across the globe!  Three have gone up!!!  For me, this is piss-poor odds and I don’t wish the lottery-like risks, especially when there are a host of other alternatives.

Lovelock

relax...

Relax

James Lovelock said some years ago that nuclear power was inevitable in order to have a controllable and civilised future.

He’s a clever man, but that doesn’t mean he’s always correct.

In his same speech (on TV some years ago), he said that an incident killing about 1 million people every 100 years was almost inevitable, but comparing it to road transport, or to dying from an overheating world, or the natural cancers we’d get anyway,  then many more would die in the same period….

That’s statistics and that’s a scientist speaking.  It’s the balance of probabilities and the the certainty of proof expressed in numbers.

However, it does not make it right and it does not make it something to which we should aspire.

Obstacles

Mr. & Mrs. Pump

Vested interests

There has to be a better way – and there is.  There are a pot of technologies available, especially when the economies of scale in mass manufacture are taken into account.  I don’t mean battery cars, the biggest red herring ever.  But there ARE a host of solutions and the biggest obstacles are:

  • Vested interests – oil companies and the politicians and businessmen that are attached.
  • Lack of belief – we people can do anything we set our minds to – even splitting the atom and making global war with it!
  • Stasis in Innovation – a host of tools are already available but people are scared and no-one wants to take the first step…

But look at it this way.  If all houses and industrial premises are forced by law to be covered with low cost film photovoltaic cells, how much electricity will we have and how many people MIGHT get hurt if a roof collapses?

A. A lot of electric and not many people!

Surely, something like this is worth trying rather than putting a host of concrete death stars on our doorsteps?

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Humphrey Hawksley and the Chip Fat Conundrum

Humphrey Hawksley in an article on today’s BBC News website has reported the (blindingly obvious, some might say) results of a 25-year American study into the effects of air pollution (specifically vehicle and industrial) on life expectancy.

City air pollution ‘shortens life’

Basically, it’s bad!

I live next to an A-class road, busy with holiday makers on this warm bank holiday day off to the West Country.  I know it’s bad!  They all pass my house.

The article is very well written except for right at the end, where somehow Hawksley has been suckered into a ‘trend’ sort of spiel.  Either that, or some young office bod, equally blinded by the ‘trend’, has amended his copy.

Specifically, it’s the very last paragraphs which go;

Over the next generation, however, it’s expected that pollution, especially that created by dangerous diesel particles, will be cut dramatically.   Standard filters are now being fitted to buses. Bio-fuels and cleaner energy in general, brought about by climate change pressures, will make the air safer.

I’ve emphasised the offending words.  While notionally appearing good, this is far, far, from the case.  Bio-fuels, mostly sold as vegetable oils (a.k.a. chip fat) in this country, are just as particulate polluting as diesel.  They chuck out exactly the same CO2 and the other stuff as well.  To state the obvious, burning them in the same way as diesel fuel will cut life expectancy in the same way.  It’s only the use of filters that improves things.

Furthermore, bio-fuels have been totally discredited as a major fuel source by everyone except George Bush et al since the Bush era.  In simple terms (and ignoring the plus point that it’s a carbon-neutral fuel), there isn’t enough land area on the world to grow enough biomass to power the USA, let alone the rest of the world.  (see my earlier posting, fuel-costs-red-herrings for some further reading and links).  We must be ever-so-careful not to lump all the different ‘green’ technologies into one panacea and state things that are clearly proven to be bollox.

This isn’t to state that bio-fuels are all bad.  No, it’s just the current implementation of using food soya and palm oil monoculture to the detriment of the world’s forests and human food needs.  Using algae, for instance, in tanks covering the hot sunny deserts of America, Asia and Africa, could be a way of generating enough biomass for fuel usage once the problem of getting enough water into the desert is solved.  But that’s another issue.  The current mindset is bio-fuel oil and even batteries! (news this week is that Indian-owned Jaguar are getting >£300m of UK cash to develop an electric performance car- this should help the better off feel greener!)

To check out my thoughts on the unfeasability of batteries as motive power, check out another earlier post of mine, mini-e-an-enviromental-disaster-looms-from-muddled-thinking. In a nutshell, there’s only enough lithium in the Earth’s crust for 35 million cars.  Even with the recent newer ways of using lithium, getting 10 times that number wouldn’t provide enough vehicles to satisfy the current  demands for personal transportation.

The Jaguar and other similar developments show the peculiar macho-power mindset that governs decisions.  Most current, populist, trendy ideas are part of this dead-end mindset.   This is the blockage that must be removed, not people’s creativity.

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Panasonic Lumix TZ5 at Night

Panasonic Lumix TZ5A few test pictures using the “Starry Sky” setting on my Panasonic Lumix TZ5.  The pictures were done using a tripod at the three timer settings  that are inbuilt for that setting; 15s, 30s & 60s.    The sky was quite brightly lit due to some thin mist acting as a reflector for the urban lighting. Read the rest of this entry >>

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The Man Who Ate the World – by Frederik Pohl

Many moons ago I read the short story with the above title.

The Man Who Ate the World

The Man Who Ate the World

Although not one of Pohl’s best works, it has nevertheless left an obviously lasting impression on me. Written in the mid-fifties, it’s a future tale of consumerism gone mad.

  • In the tale, it’s illegal not to consume as much as possible.  The hero of the story takes this to extremes and eventually is consuming more than a city, but actually, the only thing he really desires is his teddy bear which was taken from him as a child.
  • He’s never grown up.
  • He lives to eat and consume to take away his torment.

There’s not much discourse about the story on the web.  Try here and here.  You can get old copies in the usual places, but try here.

The real World Now.

The story is a warning against swallowing up the world and it’s resources.  After all;

  • it is round,
  • we really are stuck on it
  • and can’t get off
  • so if we destroy it,
  • we’re knackered.

Now amazingly, the global downturn in the world’s economies (The Credit Crunch), has made everyone believe that the only way to happiness and good fortune is;

  • to spend like we all did previously over the last few years,
  • for governments to have massive infrastructure projects,
  • to return to a time of cheap money so we can all spend, spend, spend again, like there’s no tomorrow,
  • to drill for oil all over the place,
  • to have massive battery powered cars…

Pohl doesn’t look so daft now.  These are some of the headlines below taken from today’s Business news page of the BBC News website.  (Other sites say much the same thing – it’s just handy ).  Check them out and see that I’m right – the only possible future envisaged is one like before the Crunch, but with “safeguards”, whatever that means.

It’s like a mad panic to make anything as long as someone, somewhere has enough money to buy it and thus keep someone else in work.

No thought whatsoever is being paid to the notion that the “object” being made is a useless bad object that does nothing except give a job to someone.

We’ve a long way to go until we are safe on our world!

Also, early this morning, a few young protesters from Plane Stupid became national pariahs for daring to block Stanstead runway for a couple of hours as a demonstration against the profligate use of the Earth’s resources by air transport.

The most vocal complainers about the demo were those in the 20 quid Ryanair seats having a quick break to some foreign clime – exactly the most consumptive folk on the world!  Someone on the radio said the demonstrators should “have the book thrown at them” and be locked up for 10 years at least!

Many demonstrators are indeed still locked up without charge…  They could still be in the nick, perfectly legally, on 6 Jan 2009.  The fact we know they are locked up is a bonus.   The police are within their rights not to tell anyone, who has been locked up, or why, or where.  In fact, I can be locked up for asking.  And so could you!

The man who threatened their lives by attacking them with a snowplough went home without any bother.

https://youtu.be/TcC0Eo6MTVA   What a wonderful country we have.  :-?

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