Moth Monday: Creamsicle Moth

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Here’s one I just found at San Joaquin yesterday, so the ID’s still a little hesitant; but I think it’s Hodges#4866, Abegesta reluctalis. Could also be a similar species in the genus. Thanks to Maury J. Heiman for the ID.

Light orange and white striped moth

This picture is quite a bit larger than life size. The moth itself was less than a centimeter.

Tamron Update

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

I was reading Arthur Morris’s blog today when I noticed that he was shooting with wildly different settings than I was. He seemed to be using a wide open aperture, and a relatively high 400 ISO even in sunlight, while relying on the camera to eliminate grain. This let him shoot with shutter speeds as fast as 1/2000 of a second. He had much better lenses than I did, but I still thought it might be worth a try, so I took a quick spin around the ponds at Mason Park in the late afternoon and see how this did. My lens would only open up to f/6.3 at 300mm–his could get as wide as f/4–but it did make a big difference as seen in this photo of a Western Bluebird:

Western Bluebird
Tamron 28-300 Di VC on an EOS 50D body, ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/2000s


Irvine Graffiti

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

I didn’t realize how much I missed New York graffiti until I actually saw some this weekend on the “ampitheater” in Mason Park:


Irvine is such an antiseptic and boring town. It needs more of this. It’s not like anyone was using that wall for anything else.

Moth Monday: A New Species for Orange County

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Lately I’ve been turning on my 2nd floor balcony light in the evening after dark to see what shows up. This was a particularly active individual that was crawling around the walls. It’s about the size of a large ant.

Leucogoniella californica, Hodges 1848

This is just one of several new moths I’ve tallied without evening stepping outside my front door. It doesn’t seem to have previously been recorded in Orange County, and this may the the first BugGuide record.

Newspaper Suicide

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

I am not yet convinced that newspapers are doomed. I am however convince that the inbred bluebloods running major American newspapers will kill their companies. Latest example: I’m reading an interesting article at the Washington Post about the future of newspapers no less. I decide to link to it from one of my sites with the title and the URL and the source, and suggest people go read it. So I try to go back to the first page of the article and I’m hit with a fucking registration page! Why the hell should I have to waste my time typing in yet another fake name and address, and letting them track what I read? What exactly do they expect to gain by this?

I can tell you what they lost: a few hundred extra page views and a few ad clicks that would have made them some money. Not a lot of money I’m sure, but more than enough to cover the miniscule marginal cost of the extra page views. Get enough page views and maybe they can actually cover their fixed costs and start showing a profit on the newspaper for the first time in lord only knows how long. (The Washington Post company did show a profit this quarter, but only because of non-newspaper businesses like Stanley Kaplan, which is apparently now more than half their revenue. Yes, you thought the Washington Post is a newspaper, but really it’s just a corporate shell for test preparation.)

The New York and L.A. Times are just as bad. Half the time I don’t even follow links to those sites because I can never tell when they’re going to show me the article and when they’re just going to block me with a pointless login page. They complain about bloggers stealing their content, but they actively chase potential readers away from their own sites. When your business model is ads (the only business model that has ever worked for newspapers) you don’t try to keep people from looking at your ads. Nor do you reject people who are attempting to boost your circulation. Bloggers know this. New media knows this. Hell, anyone under the age of 40 knows this! Who doesn’t know this? Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. and Katharine Weymouth to name two. In a world that wasn’t based on nepotistic dynasties, these dinosaurs would be lucky to have a job running the local Penny Saver.

The Internet is over 30 years old. The Web is almost 20. Isn’t it about time newspapers hired someone to run them who actually understands the world we live in? Unfortunately given the shareholder-hostile preferred stock plans at the major media empires, this seems unlikely. When new media writes the final obituaries for the Times and the Posts of the world, the cause of death won’t be listed as the Internet. It will be nothing less than sheer managerial incompetence.