In re: Columbus looking to join European Union?

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Well aside from all the reasons it couldn’t actually happen, I thought this was kinda a funny post on the Columbus Underground, the comments get into the proper legal arguments of why this wouldn’t actually be possible, but its always okay to dream right.

See “Should Columbus join the European Union?

In re: New(ish) camera

For a long time I’ve been looking to move into the DSLR world of photography, as I have long since given up on film, despite having some nice film cameras and opted to use point and shoot digitals for the expanded abilities and ease of digital photos. Well no more, this week I got a refurbished Nikon D50, after doing lots of research into the pros/cons of the D50 and the newer D40 which replaced it (and some think is worse in some aspects – better in others) The D50 is the entry level SLR in Nikons lineup, but gives plenty of room for amateurs to let loose and tweak their shots in fully manual modes.

With the new camera I hope to start doing better closeup photography, including food photography. So far in the short time i’ve spent with the camera I’ve been amazed at what it is capable of. I’ll post a few sample shots I’ve taken, although the closeups were done w/out a tripod (next on my list) so they aren’t as good as I’d like (I used a larger aperture then I would have on the tripod but wanted to avoid camera shake). In case your curious about the lighting, it is not ideal and it is my dining room lap, covered in a piece of tissue paper and a desk lap using a CFL bulb, also with tissue paper serving as a diffuser, again not ideal. The background is an infinity board that I picked up, but could easily be duplicated with some poster board propped up behind with something to make a sweeping arc.


Top left to bottom right: Figurine (FL) & Woodford Reserve , 2007 Kentucky Derby Bottle, Wood Carving, Maximon (Guatemala), Argentine Coin

In re: New look for in re?

Normally I don’t blog about the blog (unlike Jim Rome, the number one topic on In re: isn’t in re) The loyal reader(s) however may have noticed a change in the look the other day, which I must admit I did not set-out to do, but after clicking around on the themes page I ended up leaving it the way it is currently looking. When I switched to wordpress.com there were only a few themes available and slowly they have added some more, most of which appeal to those with tastes different then myself, so at least for a little bit its gonna be green.

Update: Trying out another one, the first green/blue theme seems to have a lot of bugs in it when placing photos.  So it might be back to good old gray pretty soon .

In re: Economist addresses the issue, even if we won’t

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The Economist, a publication I strive to read religiously, often puts forth opinions I agree with (it is a British conservative publication, which puts it somewhere in our center, although they often have more liberal stances on the environment etc then we have) Either-way, if your looking to get a good opinion on the tragedy in Virginia I’d recommend grabbing this weeks issue (comes out Thursdays, I get it in Monday’s mail) below is this weeks preview from the editor:

“Dear reader,
There are plenty of dangerous products—illegal drugs, fast cars and alcohol for instance—where The Economist advocates a much more liberal approach than the American government takes. Guns are an exception. In the wake of the massacre at Virginia Tech, virtually none of America’s politicians mentioned gun control—except quickly to rule it out. We think this is a tragic mistake, and make the case for a proper debate about guns on our cover….”

John Micklethwait
John Micklethwait
Editor in Chief

In re: Handgun ban? not likely…

images2.jpgEvents like those at VA Tech usually get people talking about the laws concerning guns, although at this point its unclear what arguments will emerge (some have already blamed gun laws for not allowing students guns to defend themselves with), what is clear already is that the guns used in the shootings were legally purchased in Virginia, which has some of the weakest gun control laws in the Union and apparently the ammo types used wouldn’t have been legal under the now expired Brady Bill. I will only briefly stand on my soap box and repeat what I’ve long believed, that handguns should be illegal in the US. I know that this isn’t something that would get me elected and puts me in debates from time to time with my gun loving friends, but basically the way I see it there is absolutely no reason to justify ordinary citizens having handguns.

“The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), an activist group, counts 41 school shootings in America since 1996, which have claimed 110 lives, including those in Virginia this week. IANSA also looks at school shootings in 80 other countries. Culling from media reports, they count only 14 school gun killings outside America in the same period. Putting aside the Beslan massacre in Russia—committed by an organised terrorist group—school shootings in all those countries claimed just 59 victims.

As striking are the overall rates of violent death by handguns in America. The country is filled with 200m guns, half the world’s privately-owned total.” (See The Economist: Guns in America: After the Massacre)

I know about the constitution, and the ‘right to bear arms’ but my little argument against that stems on the advances in weaponry since the drafters penned the almighty 2nd (“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” (see Wikipedia) there is also the more common textual argument that is frequently made by some scholars that drafters were only referring to military usage of weapons – there is strong argument the bear arms was a term of art that specifically means military). Anyway, what my argument is that no framer could have understood the possibility that one person could enter a building and kill so many people, in their day and age you might get at most a few shots (inaccurate shots most likely as well) before needing to slowly reload, never would it be imagined that individuals would be able to rampage on such a scale.

So why ban handguns? Well, they have only one purpose as I see it, killing people. If you want to defend your house, use a shotgun, but I don’t think its appropriate to walk the streets strapped with a gun (Ohio thinks differently) but if you want to fend off attackers, behold the wonders of mace. In England where handguns are illegal (Britain has a minimum five-year sentence for possession of an illegal firearm) the main threat for robbery is mace and those carrying cash to armored cars have that as their man concern, wearing masks to protect themselves – although there are major arguments against the handgun ban, it is clear they reduce greatly death “Handguns are completely illegal in Britain, which recorded only 46 homicides involving firearms all of last year. By contrast there were 579 gun homicides last year in New York City alone.” (AP)

There is a good article in the Times (UK) about the debate following the VA Tech shootings, the argument that if only students had been armed they would have been able to defend themselves (just one more thing to put in my bag for class?) and the counter arguments. I recommend it – see “Tragedy will not decide gun control debate “

“It is one thing to defend gun rights when the sentimental image of the pioneer still has some truth, if only in the north woods of the Appalachians. It is another when the pioneers have carved up the country into small suburban lots and cannot escape the neighbours.”

In re: Colleges come together to support VA Tech

Across the country colleges are coming together to support and pray for VA Tech, OSU yesterday had what I thought was a good way to honor the tragedy by having the chimes of “Orton Hall, on the Oval…play[ed] the Virginia Tech alma mater in memory of those individuals who lost their lives Monday on the campus of Virginia Tech University.”  To see more on what other Ohio colleges were doing see here

In re: Tragedy

n2318678125_36514.jpgThere isn’t much I can add to the massacre at Virginia Tech where at least 32 students were murdered by a classmate yesterday. I learned the news at work and was numbed by the numbers and the horror. I still remember 9/11 and my feelings on that frightful day and possibly because of that I turned to my undergraduate colleges website, also a Virginia public school to learn how they were dealing with the tragedy.

Unfortunately I don’t think there really is a good way to prevent these types of senseless, crazy, random, acts of horror. While reports are now coming out about the supposed killers writings, attitude in classes, etc. it is really just too much to think that we will be able to pick out ahead of time those who are merely suffering from a tough saga in their life and those who will do the unthinkable. Inevitably people will talk security, the problems with VTs response to the mornings shootings, VAs gun laws, but the reality is that if someone sets out to do this, we unfortunately are going to have a difficult time stopping them.

I found an interesting article on Slate that looked ahead to what media criticism will likely be forthcoming and looks at the difficulty in reporting on tragedy, why our media goes into full force on them, especially for senseless tragedy…

“A commuter jet falls out of the sky in Indiana, killing 32 people. It’s a big story, but reporters don’t fan out across the land to collect the sorrows of the surviving families. The topic doesn’t fill the entire news hole. But if a student slays 32 young innocents, the press goes into overtime. Why should only the latter calamity rise to the level of a national obsession?

Because not all random, tragic deaths are equally horrifying. We handle accidental deaths by blaming fate, and then eventually make our peace. But murders committed at random discompose us at a primal level. They rob us of the false sense of security we use each night to tuck our children in to sleep.” -Slate ‘In Praise of Insensitive Reporters: We’d hate them even more if they didn’t overcover the VT story

The other aspect of the story that is extremely interesting (and that Slate also wrote upon)is the way ‘new media’ that being the internet, blogs, facebook, myspace, etc. were involved in the development of the story.  Some students put out early coverage of the events on their online journals, becoming the primary early sources and leading journalists to pounce upon their posts, seeking interviews and comments from these folks.  In the comments of one such journal posters blasted the journalists who sought to exploit the situation, but one poster pointed out the rare opportunity to report from inside an event.  “Sitting in his dorm room, Bryce experienced a new kind of 15 minutes: writing in what had yesterday been a near-private journal and had now become a soapbox to the world. He was willing to talk to the media. But other students were not—after their entries were discovered, they rapidly set their journals and MySpace pages to friends-only.” (see here for story)

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