The Big Think

November 7, 2007

Brothers

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 7:12 pm

November 07, 2007

“I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John’s Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome. A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from ‘Chosen’ Company 2-12 Cavalry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John’s, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope. The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. ‘Thank you, thank you,’ the people were saying. One man said, ‘Thank you for peace.’ Another man, a Muslim, said ‘All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.’ The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers.”

Michael Yon

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Michael Yon is an independent reporter in Iraq being supported totally by the online community. He is bringing stories and images that the mainstream media can’t or won’t communicate. He’s doing an amazing job of not only telling some real stories that wouldn’t otherwise get told, but of embarrassing a national media that is orders-of-magnitude better connected and funded but somehow can’t seem to find good news.

link and paragraph via instapundit.

Sketchup

Filed under: Mad Science,Telescope — jasony @ 4:27 pm

I’m a huge fan of Google Sketchup. I’ve been using it since before Google bought it and was ecstatic when Google made the previously $700 version free for anyone. There’s still a “pro” version but it pretty much only adds esoteric functions like output to 3D printers and CAM program drivers.

I used Sketchup to design my studio and got to know the program pretty well (LOTS of trial and error), but whenever I go back to it there is a lot of frustration as I relearn various little things about the program. I’m not a designer my trade and have very little in the way of artistic talent, so any program that can help me translate my ideas into good looking and accurate 3d models is a boon. Unfortunately, even the best 3d program has got to be powerful enough to do useful work, and that power comes at a price. Things get technical and hard to grasp quickly in a 3d program, and using one only occasionally like I do means that when I do go back I end up spending a lot of frustrating time relearning the same things.

Well, there’s now a great new book for people just like me: Google Sketchup for Dummies. I’m adding it to my wishlist (since Christmas is so close!) if you’re looking for ideas. The best part of the book is that the author has posted 62 how-to videos to go along with the book. The vids are free on YouTube, but there’s much more in the book itself. I think this is a great idea for future authors. Way to use technology to extend the usefulness of your product!

In related news, I’m homing in on the general design of the telescope and will be using Sketchup to make a mockup of it sometime soon. I’ll post screenshots (or the file if you have the free Sketchup program) soon.

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