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Spring Fever 2014: Bits & Pieces

The creation of this class of academic migrant workers — “paid an average of $2,000-$3,000 per class, with few to no benefits,” Arik Greenberg of PBS points out — profits the post-secondary education industry enormously, by making it a buyers’ market for teaching jobs as well as by ensuring that grateful, easily replaceable adjuncts aware of their precarious positions within that system will not likely rock the boat in any way. [...]

“Gremlyns of Light”: A Memoir

Photonic impaction, the problem with lenses created by the accumulation over time of stray photons, afflicts lens instruments other than cameras. While the problem is well-known among astronomers (related, perhaps, to the still-hypothetical photon belt), it does not occur ― save in rare cases ― in the field of microscopy. Simply put, lenses pointed up appear prone to impaction, while lenses pointed down generally do not. [...]

Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (13)

We know that the police used MK-9 ― because the citizen-journalism stills and videos of the events of November 18, 2011 at UC Davis document it. But how did these cops get their hands on military-grade pepper spray that they were not authorized to carry or trained to use, and that their department had no authority to purchase or supply to its officers? [...]

Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (12)

Were it not for all that still and video documentation, in the late afternoon of November 18, 2011 we’d have found ourselves in a protesters’-word-vs.-police-officers’-word situation, with the cops’ version most likely prevailing in the absence of hard evidence to the contrary. And, since the protesters would probably not have the ability to differentiate between MK-4 and MK-9, Pike and his “troops,” as he liked to militarize them semantically, would only have had to rustle up a few cans of authorized MK-4 while hiding the MK-9 in order to appear to have followed the rules. I doubt that it would have lasted more than two news cycles. [...]

Birthday Musings 12/19/13

I start to feel like the last man standing in my section of the field. Many of those who started writing about photography as critics around the time I did or over the next decade have pretty much stopped, some of them quite a while back: Andy Grundberg, Vicki Goldberg, Chuck Hagen, Ben Lifson, Shelley Rice, Max Kozloff, Sally Eauclaire, Tony Bannon, Ingrid Sischy, others. [...]