Panoramic video makes it real

I’m the first to admit that I can fall prey to the “gee-whiz” factor of some new technology, but I’m as likely as anyone to be a skeptic when someone starts talking about game-changing. And if they mention “paradigm shift,” my eyes get all glazed over and my head swims. Usually, it’s all hype.

I saw something this morning that has game-changing potential. CNN has released panoramic video they shot in Haiti. While you’re watching the video play, you can click the screen and move your mouse around to look at anything in the image, 360 degrees. It’s a little like controlling the camera, except the camera has simply recorded the entire scene and you’re selecting exactly what you want to see.

For news events like the situation in Haiti, or looting and riots, or even a Presidential rally, the implications are obvious and clear: this is a seriously cool technology. But imagine the impact this could have on film making. How cool would it be to be able to control what you’re watching on the screen, essentially making a movie a completely individual experience? In fact, it could be different each time you watch…

The quality of the film isn’t up to snuff yet, but like all technologies, it will get there, and probably sooner than you think. Once that happens, we could, indeed, see a paradigm shift. (Man, I *really* hate that phrase.)

[See the panoramic video from Haiti]

Eight cardinal virtues from G. W. Carver

In 1922, George Washington Carver penned a thank you note to one of his students who had given him a fountain pen as a Christmas present. In the note, Carver offered hope “that each of you will rise to the full height of your possibilities” and suggested these eight cardinal virtues to help them do just that.

I think they certainly bear repeating.

Mr. L. Robinson

I wish to express to each member of the Senior class my deep appreciation for the fountain pen you so thoughtfully gave me.

This gift is characterized by simplicity and thoughtfulness, which I hope each of you will make the slogan of your lives.

I hope that each of you will rise to the full height of your possibilities, which means the possession of these eight cardinal virtues which constitutes a lady or a gentleman.

1st. Be clean both inside and outside.

2nd. Who neither looks up to the rich or down on the poor.

3rd. Who loses, if needs be, without squealing.

4th. Who wins without bragging.

5th. Who is always considerate of women, children and old people.

6th. Who is too brave to lie.

7th. Who is too generous to cheat.

8th. Who takes his share of the world and lets other people have theirs.

May God help you to carry out these eight cardinal virtues and peace and prosperity be yours through life.

Lovingly yours,

G. W. Carver

We need to remember our veterans and hear their stories

So many of our parents and grandparents have—and unfortunately some still do—sacrifice their innocence as human beings in struggles to defend our very morals and ideals. I believe that it is safe to say that most of us, at some point in our lives, have heard a tale of a soldier fighting for his or her life in a foreign country against an unfamiliar enemy. But the question is: How many of us have actually sat down and truly, completely listened to these soldiers and their personal accounts of the struggle?”

So begins the argument from Andrew Gabriel, author of A Diary of Hope: The True Story of an American Prisoner of War. This, his first book, was created as a remembrance to his grandfather, Frank Carollo, and the sacrifices that he, and so many others, were forced to make during World War II.

The basis of his point is something we should all take to heart: soldiers have fought and died for all of us throughout the history of our country. Their stories are more than footnotes in history books, they should part of the fabric or our collective conscious.

So today, I encourage you to download Andrew’s manifesto and spend a few moments reading it. Then I encourage you to take a few more minutes to do as he suggests: listen to these brave men and women as they recount their stories.

[Note: this also reminded me of a letter from Kurt Vonnegut to his parents that I read yesterday regarding his time as a POW. Fascinating stuff.]

Recycle your holiday cards and help St. Jude’s Ranch

This is a great idea; something we can all do to help that doesn’t require a lot of time, effort, or investment. (Thanks for the heads up, Nadine!)

You can recycle this year’s Christmas cards and help out some kids at the same time. The St. Jude’s Ranch is a home for abused and neglected children. To raise money for the home, the children turn the fronts of used greeting cards (Christmas, Hanukah, birthdays, anniversary, etc.) into new greeting cards which they sell.

So instead of tossing the cards you’ve received, send them on to the ranch. (I’m just sending the fronts…easier to mail, less postage. You’ll be contributing to a worthy charity and saving a few trees to boot.

Here’s the address or you can check out their website

They are accepting used, all-occasion cards from thru February 28, 2010

Mail donations to:

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Recycled Card Program
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005
877-977-SJRC (7572)

Extreme Shepherding

So, this is a slightly convoluted path, but I was reading about Google launching their new live search results feature. To see it in action, I went to the site and entered “Tiger Woods.” Yikes. Well, the live search worked, but the results were depressing to say the least. So then, while showing it to Michael, we decided to pick another top news item. To do this, we visited the top search trends page.

Looking at the top 40 searches in the last few hours opens a window into the soul of humanity. Unfortunately, this window doesn’t say much about us that’s very uplifting. But, there was this gem, lurking at number 30: Extreme Shepherding.

Well, there’s simply no way to avoid following that link. Here’s where it led: