Monday, August 31, 2009

"Bones:" Archaeology's 3D Imaging Technique

Okay, it’s not quite what you might expect if you’re a fan of  the provocative, squint Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) and her holographic reconstruction of dead bodies on Fox Television’s “Bones” TV Series, but the use of 3D imaging in a process called Photogrammetry is defining  new dimensions in archaeological research and conservation, allowing us to view and, "walk around," the object in a three dimensional perspective.
Photogrammetry is the technique of using laser photography to record minuscule data from sites where hand drawings and regular photography could never capture.  Together with remote sensing, aerial archeology, and laser surveying, our observation of architectural structures and historical artifacts has greatly evolved into a capability of reconstructing an object to the finest detail, never before seen , for study.

From Article Photos
Organized by CIPA, the Comite International de la Photogramm├ętrie Architecturale, in 1995, a group has been established under the heading of Working Group 5, "Photogrammetry and Archaeology." The goal of the group is to make archaeologists and photogrammetrists aware of technology that’ll greatly improve analysis and conservation of historical artifacts and structures, while also broadening the understanding of the current limitations.  According to the Photogrammetry and Archaeology website, the terms are:
  • To identify trends in photogrammetric developments that have application in archaeology.
  • To document current applications of photogrammetry in archaeology.
  • To promote the use of appropriate photogrammetric procedures in archaeology.
  • To spread this information to organizations and individuals through an active program of liaison between CIPA and these organizations.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy: Death of a legacy

I woke up this morning to the news that Edward M Kennedy, known prominently as "Ted" Kennedy,  Democratic Senator of Massachusetts, died Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009, of brain cancer.  Ted was the last of four brothers from the Kennedy clan, all of whom had led a prominent career in politics.  The oldest of the four brothers, Joseph Kennedy, Jr., was expected to become the next president when his sudden death during WWII brought an end to that dream.  And the assassinations of both John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy left the nation distressed and outraged, as I remember all too well.  Now as the last of the Kennedy children has died at the age of 77, he leaves behind a legacy of significant contributions to our American political system.  Both Republican and Democratic parties came together to memorialize Senator Kennedy.  The first Republican voice to speak out was Nancy Reagan as she said, "...Ronnie and Ted could always find common ground, and they had great respect for one another. In recent years...I found ...him an ally and a dear friend. I will miss him."  The Newsvine reported "California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose wife, Maria Shriver, was Kennedy's niece, said in a statement: 'He was known to the world as the Lion of the Senate, a champion of social justice, and a political icon. Most importantly, he was the rock of our family: a loving husband, father, brother and uncle.'"  Ted Kennedy's death comes just two weeks after Schwarzenegger's wife's mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, died at the age of 88. reported President Barak Obama  as stating '“An important chapter in our history has come to an end.  Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States senator of our time. For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.'” 

Ted Kennedy was responsible for successful and historical legislation on such issues as health care, voting rights, minimum wage and education.  I know that despite differences in the party system, Ted Kennedy will be missed and honored, as his brothers had been, for his timeless service to the American legislation. 

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Wife, Me, and Pickles

No, I’m not talking about the Vlasic pickles marketed by a Groucho Marx emulating stork.   Nor, am I talking about Guss’s World Famous Pickles, a store who’s pickles became the staple of New York’s lower East Side Pickle district.  And I’m not referring to your basic garden variety pickles sitting beside the mustard and relish in the garnish isle at HEB.  I’m talking about the delightfully satirical relationship between Earl and Opal, the Pickles comic strip written by Brian Crane.  This  older married couple is an enigmatic recreation of my wife, Cara, and my relationship.  Every day we laugh hardily at a comic’s all too familiar reflection on our marriage.  It seems Earl and Opal eerily captures exactly the mood and discussion between my wife and myself so much so that I thought it necessary to examine the comic as a possible conspiracy.

pickles 1

Of course there is no conspiracy.  The light-hearted jabbing between Earl and Opal is a respectful representation of older married life at its very basic nature.  But the comic is not just a glimpse at the relationship between the married couple, but also captures each individual’s mood and humor.  In the comic below Earl expresses himself so well by saying he’s O.A.O.  Any person over 50 knows this feeling and will immediately see himself through Earl’s eyes.

pickles 2

The best Pickles comics are the ones that humorously depict the inside jokes that occur between older married couples.  When I saw this frame I immediately related to the jabbing between Earl and Opal.  As I relate to Earl’s old crony spirit, Cara is empathetic to Opal’s frustration; her comment to the cartoon below was “Earl’s really in trouble now.” pickles 3

Brian Crane captures the mood and humor so well that it’s evident he must have an intimate connection with each of the characters in the strip.  I encourage any married couple over 50 to read Pickles and see if doesn’t relate to them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cream Cheese, Tabasco Sauce, and Popcorn Shrimp Dip

My wife, Cara, and I were preparing a variety of snacks to set out on the deck for some friends who were going to drop by one evening, when I remembered a snack I used to crave for days on end one summer years ago. Pushing back a cold Fat Tire I was drinking at the time, I rummaged through the kitchen fridge to see if I had the ingredients for it.  All that I needed was here; chipotle flavored cream cheese, popcorn shrimp, tobasco sauce, grape tomatoes, and paprika. I had Club Crackers and Triskets in the cabinet, so I was set to go. Geez, this dip went back to the 80's, but if it was good then, it surely had to be good today.

I set up the ingredients - still a few hours before our friends were to arrive so plenty of time to chill the dip before our gathering. The dip is so good it's a wonder I dropped the idea of it so many years ago, and the original recipe is so simple that it's just not worth fooling with.


16 oz. softened chipotle flavored cream cheese.   ingredients

1 cup popcorn shrimp or crab meat, chopped.

Dash of paprika

1 cup grape tomatoes, chopped.

Splash of Tabasco sauce

Dash of Parsley

Stir the cream cheese until soft.  Mix in the popcorn shrimp or crab meat and grape tomatoes.  Splash in a little tobasco sauce (be careful, too much will ruin the flavor) and the paprika and blend well.  Pour contents into a serving dish and sprinkle with parsley.

Chill for about 2 hours. Serve with Club Crackers or Triskets, or your own favorite cracker.

As expected the dip was a success.  We sat around on the deck with the Cream Cheese dip, a spinach dip, and a hot cheddar cheese dip, a bucket of crackers, and the Fat Tire.  The conversation flowed till around midnight. 

Give it a try and see what you think.