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Phone-tographer

Published on February 21, 2013 by in Columns

Alfred Pleyer is a photographer.  As such, he owns cameras and lenses and filters and flashbulbs and tripods—valuable equipment costing thousands of dollars.  He lives in Austria, but travels the globe taking photographs for a living.

Pleyer has been shooting portraits and landscapes for thirty years.  He has perfected the art form; he knows all of the tips and tricks to capture a beautiful photograph.  He understands what makes a camera great, and knows how to unleash its full potential. Read more…

 
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The Rise Of Swatting

Published on January 31, 2013 by in Columns

A dangerous new trend appears to be gathering momentum in America, and if it doesn’t stop, someone is likely to get hurt.

In the past week, we have seen a pronounced uptick in the latest prank targeting Hollywood stars.  It’s called swatting—and it’s getting out of control.  (There have been at least three reported instances in the last couple weeks.)  Here’s how it works:

1.  A prankster calls 911 to report an imaginary crime at a celebrity’s house.
2.  A SWAT team is dispatched to deal with the imaginary emergency.
3.  The SWAT team surrounds the celebrity’s home, scaring the crap out of everyone present. Read more…

 
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The Information Age

Published on January 24, 2013 by in Columns

This is the information age—really.

Everything you could ever want to know is just a couple of clicks away.  From Princess Di’s birthday to detailed medical articles about neurosurgery, the world’s wealth of knowledge is at our fingertips.  It’s easy to forget that this is a very new phenomenon.

About twelve years ago, when the internet (as we know it) was still very young and access to it was substantially scarcer than it is today, I received a phone call late one night.  “What was Plessy v.Ferguson?”  My friend, as it turns out, wasn’t on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.”  A conversation with her co-workers had led to them rattling off all of the notable Supreme Court cases they could remember. Read more…

 
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Dig Deeper

Published on January 17, 2013 by in Columns

This week, as more serious people have been debating the ins and outs of reasonable gun control, my thoughts have been somewhere else.  As more responsible people have civilly discussed a rational approach to raising the debt ceiling, I’ve deliberately looked the other way.  As my fellow Americans were concerning themselves with this year’s flu virus, or the Golden Globes, or Lance Armstrong’s teary admissions to Oprah, or whether Chuck Hagel would be a good and honorable Secretary of Defense—well, I walked away.

So I won’t be tackling any of the great debates that our country is engaged in this week; it seems unlikely that I’d be able to sway many opinions, anyway.  Instead, I feel like sharing some of the cool things I’ve learned while neglecting my civic responsibility to help resolve the most pressing issues of the day.  Besides, you deserve a break from these national conversations—at least for a moment. Read more…

 
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