Posts Tagged ‘air’

Death of the Dust Trombone: Canon Replaces Legendary 100-400mm Telephoto Lens – Good-Bye Push-Pull Zoom

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Canon’s aging beast, the Clinton-era EF 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L IS USM lens is no more – after 16 years of production, it’s being replaced by the EF 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L IS USM II, a more conventional design. 

Here are some “dust trombones*” right here, back about a decade ago, all extended to the 400mm telephoto setting, the better to see the Blue Angels over Fort Mason, my dear:

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Click to expand

The thing about the old lens is that it offered IMAGE STABILIZATION (IS) plus an “ULTRASONIC” MOTOR (USM) (for fast auto-focus) in the same package. At the time, Nikon couldn’t keep up, so it would make you choose betwixt one feature or the other, if you were lucky. Nikon lost a lot of customers during the Aughts for just this reason.

Read all about it.

I’m sure the updated lens will be better (and of course, lots pricier) in most respects.

Adieu, push-pull lens.

*Pull it in fast enough and you can feel the breeze on your face, since all that air inside needs to go somewhere…

Master with Student in Golden Gate Park – One In Very Good Shape and the Other Trying to Get In Very Good Shape

Friday, July 25th, 2014

I’ll tell you, Gentle Reader, I’ve lived in this town longer than you, but I’ve never witnessed people exercising by holding their arms up like Sutro Tower until just recently.

(My best guess is this is something to do with the Bollywood Dance Workout – Slumdog.)

And then there’s was this ritual – passersby were gawking:

I’m thinking the number one requirement to be an aerobics instructor or personal trainer is being in very good shape and, actually, I don’t know if there are any other requirements – maybe just being in very good shape yourself is all that’s necessary…

Aviation Writer James Fallows Commits the MSM Blunder of the Year with “Don’t Blame Malaysia Airlines” in the NYT

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Hoo boy: “Don’t Blame Malaysia Airlines

“Was this disaster somehow the airline’s fault? The answer is no — but to understand why, you have to look at the complex realities of modern commercial aviation.”

My isn’t this a touch patronizing? Well, obviously the primary fault is with the crew and commanders of the Gadfly missile system used to shoot down the plane. But Malaysian Air Systems is partially to blame for its negligent operation.

“Malaysia Airlines, already world famous because of the still-missing flight MH370, appears to have been following all normal safety rules.”

Is anybody suggesting that this flight was somehow illegal? I don’t think so. So talking about Malaysian following the “rules” is pointless.

“…explicit prohibitions are critical, because the entire aviation system works on the premise that unless airspace is marked as off-limits, it is presumptively safe and legal for flight.

OK again, Jimmy, the flight was unsafe but legal. Nobody’s suggesting that the flight was not legal.

“…when they crossed this zone at 33,000 feet, they were neither cutting it razor-close nor bending the rules, but doing what many other airlines had done, in a way they assumed was both legal and safe.”

Again, Jimmy, why are you harping on what’s “legal” to make your point that Malaysian wasn’t negligent? It’s as if the New York Times has turned into the Public Relations arm of Malaysian Air Systems or the government of Malaysia.

All right, it’s time to review. Here’s a partial list of airlines that were specifically avoiding this part of eastern Ukraine before the shootdown:

Asiana Airlines

Korean Air Lines  

China Airlines

Air France

British Airways

Air Berlin [Germany's second-largest airline]

The operators of these airlines would have been able to fly over eastern Ukraine legally, but they chose not to. Why’s that, Jimmy? Why would these airlines spend more on kerosene for no reason?

Mr. Fallows continues in The Atlantic:

Somehow I suspect that if it had been a Lufthansa plane that was attacked, there would be fewer starting-point assumptions that the carrier had somehow been cutting corners at the cost of its passengers’ safety. 

This sounds like it came straight from Malaysian Airlines, this racism (or whatever) argument he’s pushing. In any event, corner-cutting at the expense of passenger safety is exactly what occurred here.

And here’s the stinger:

“If a government or rogue faction shoots down a commercial plane, is that really an “air safety issue?” 

Well, hell yes it is, Jimmy. It’s exactly an air safety issue. That’s why all those airlines cited above, plus others, were avoiding the area. For safety.

Comes now aviation writer Christine Negroni to offer views contrary to that of flyboy fanboy James Fallows:

So while Malaysia is self-evidently correct it its statements; the airspace was open and hundreds flights between Europe and Asia were using it every day, it is a weak reply to a valid question of responsibility

Indeed.

Why James Fallows wants to shut down the conversation about the question of responsibility is a mystery to me…

Oh, Costco is Selling Apple Stuff Again: iPods and iPads with a Modest Discount of $15 Or So

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

One supposes the great Apple Costco Spat of Aught-Ten is over, seeing as you can walk right in to Costco #144 and score an iPod Touch or Nano or, soon enough, an iPad Air or Mini or whatnot.

Apparently Canadian Costcos are getting iPhones now but supplies will be spotty in the U.S. depending on region and carrier.

(The last time I bought an iPod at a Costco it was co-branded with HP, believe it or not.)

Or if you really want to save money, there’s always the Apple Refurbished Store.

Anyway, enjoy.

Samuel L Jackson Selfies Show Him Going from Glad to Sad on His Recent Trip to Beijing, China – Air Quality

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Here’s SLJ on a small, snake-free plane on his way to China:

“‘Bout to go wheels up from London to Beijing. Might have to get my slumber on!”

But when he got there, he was dissatisfied with the Air Quality (AQ) level:

“Even w/ lights, you can only see 2 1/2 blocks…maybe! AQ 312!!”

Poor SLJ!

The San Francisco Police Officers Association Puts Out a Bizarre Video Called “ASIANA AIR” – Here It Is

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Here it is, from the police union:

Who staged this cheesy recreation of the Asiana 214 crash landing?

And who chose the old-school narration style?

I don’t know what you’re doing, POA.

Certainly, the populace considers this PR campaign odd.

Oh well.

Oh and here’s the concomitant billboard - let’s strike a pose in front of a crashed jet?

There are a million ways of doing better than this, POA.

Asiana Air Crash Update – Reviewing KTVU TV’s “Sum Ting Wong” Fiasco from 2014 – TRIGGER WARNING: Speculation

Friday, January 24th, 2014

1. So KTVU, the way to make up for your error is to disclose what occurred, IMO. The way NOT to do it is to air “Success Makers*” featuring “Survivor” winner Yul Kwon interviewing other notable Korean Americans. This tit-for-tat, Black-Eye vs. Feather-in-the-Cap, yes-but-is-it-good-for-the-Jews accounting system is a big fat joke and everybody knows it. If you all want to air this kind of “aspirational” bullcrap at 7 AM on a Sunday morning, well then be my guest, but you don’t need to commit the U.S. Media Blunder of the Year 2013 first, right? One thing has nothing to do with the other, IRL. You can throw a bone to the Asian American Journalists Association whenever you want, right? Why connect the two?

2. OTOH, KTVU, if you want to go through the pretty much pointless process of sending out take-down notices hither and yon so that certain people, certain older, out of touch people, can see that you’re trying to placate them, well, at least that makes more sense than Success Makers.

3. So, KTVU, what happened? Your viewing public is confused. And rightly so, since you’re hiding your own story from them. Some think that you all got punked by another TV station as payback for all the crowing you were doing about your Asiana coverage up to that point. Others think that some low-level KTVU employee made a joke and then things got out of hand. But that’s not what I heard.

4. My theory. Some aviation buff from the Midwest, let’s say in Illinois or a neighboring state, posts on a regional forum that the names all the pilots have just been revealed: “Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk,” and “Bang Ding Ow.” This joke just sat out there for a day or so and then it started getting repeated on other boards and Twitter and the like. A retired pilot, somebody that KTVU had dealt with in the past, came across the names but didn’t get the joke. So he earnestly passed the names along to a contact at KTVU and that’s what got the ball rolling. Do you want a guess on who that person is? Well, my WAG is a former United Airlines pilot who’s now living in a leafy East Bay suburb. Someone who is older. He’s younger than my grandmother, who would not have gotten the joke either, but old enough to have grown up in a more sober-minded era. (That’s an era where a kind of blue-collar, single-income fam could actually afford to buy a Brady Bunch kind of house on an ironically-named street just before it massively appreciated.)

5. So then, the KTVU crew runs the names by a Chinese-American(?) woman who  doesn’t wonder why all the Korean pilots have Chinese-sounding names? (NB: If you don’t have a Kim, a Lee, or a Park in there, then something might very well be suspect.) And the news reader lady, who, after all is pretty much mindlessly reading the Teleprompter, pronounced one of the names as Fook instead of Fuck and boy aren’t we clever to not make that mistake

6. I’ll tell you, it’ll take a long time before a carrier like Asiana has four Chinese national pilots on one of its widebodies. OTOH, there were a heck of a lot of Chinese passengers on the Korean plane. Why’s that? Well, I’ll tell you, one of my former co-workers flew to South Korea last year just before the SFO disaster and this person specifically avoided using the two big Korean carriers even though it cost hundreds more to do so. Why? A strong mistrust of South Korean aviation safety. So, a Chinese carrier, Taiwanese, American? Sure, but not Asiana. One assumes that Asiana had pretty low fares in the summer of 2013…

7. So KTVU, as long as your happy, huh? You had a problem, you dealt with it, you fired some people, you paid off some settlement(s) for firing some people, you aired an aspirational TV show to several thousands of viewers and that’s that. What this all reminds me of is what the San Francisco Chronicle went through after it posted DIARY OF A SEX SLAVE, which was a major investment in time and money.** Boy, that one really hit the fan. After this similar kind of backlash, the Chron agreed not to syndicate the series, which prolly cost the Chron big bucks I’m guessing. Oh well.

8. Anyway, KTVU, that’s what some people might be thinking, but not saying. Try to focus on what’s correct, not what’s confirmed, you old MSM dinosaur you. The way you handled this mess is a bigger problem than the initial mess itself is what I’m saying. Go and sin no more. And I’ll tell you, the FAA / NTSB gets an A+ so far for the accident investigation. It’s like a WHAT WENT WRONG SO WE DON’T DO THIS AGAIN kind of thing. Why doesn’t KTVU do the same kind of thing so we can all benefit?

*”I’ll be hosting a special on KTVU tomorrow night after the 49ers-Seahawks game. The show is called “Success Makers” and I profile/interview four Asian American trailblazers, including Gideon Yu (president of the 49ers and former CFO of Facebook) and Daniel Dae Kim (star of Lost and Hawaii 5-0). Their stories are fascinating, and notwithstanding the painfully rusty host, the show is actually pretty eye-opening.”

**The problem was that the important parts were single-sourced. (“Typical college student?” Please.) IMO, that was the real prob with it. 

What It’s Like to Fly an Airbus A380 Super Jumbo Jet into SFO – Excellent Video – Multiple Angles

Friday, December 27th, 2013

See?

The “World’s Most Rodent-Packed Island” is in San Francisco – When Will We Let the Feds Kill the Mice on South Farallon?

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Here we go, from the USA Today from a few months back:

“Those suffering from musophobia would be wise to steer clear of the South Farallon Islands. The archipelago, which sits just 27 miles off San Francisco, is the most rodent-dense island in the world, with an average of 500 Eurasian house mice occupying each of its 120 acres (that’s 60,000 total).”

Now I’ll tell you, I have had it with these motherfucking mice on this motherfucking island.

So why don’t we finally get rid of them, like this:

South Farallon Islands Invasive House Mouse Eradication Project: Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement

(That’s posted on a either pro-mouse or anti-mouse website – I just can’t tell and don’t really care.)

A few years back, up in Alaska, the Feds killed off all the rats on Rat Island in the Rat Island Group:

THE RAT ISLAND RAT ERADICATION PROJECT: A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF NONTARGET MORTALITY - Final report issued December 2010

See? That was a huge success. Now the chopper pilots were nervous up there ’cause a big storm was coming so they wanted to bug out of there with a quickness so they didn’t follow their marching orders very well so more bald eagles died than was necessary. But they killed all the rats on Rat Island, hurray!

All we need to do is nothing. Then the feds can get off their asses and start killing all the mice.

“More study” is NOT needed.

That’s your update.

A relatively fog-free day in the Sunset District.

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Through the tinted glass of the ginourmous windows of Yelp-rated Sava Pool

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From a higher sperspective in the Twin Peaks area, on an exceptionally clear morning.

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Can you see the lighthouse on the top of South East Farallon Island?

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Noisy Canon 10D at 840mm, from Christmas Tree Point Road, a skosh more than 30 miles away…