News and Views from Dave Wilson

News Commentary

Dean Kamen on Cultural Problems and Education

by on Sep.21, 2011, under Miscellaneous, News Commentary

I came across this interview with Dean Kamen today and reckoned it was worth sharing. If you’re an engineer, scientist or mathematician, get out there and become a role model to some of today’s kids!

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Photographers for Japan

by on Mar.16, 2011, under News Commentary, Photography

After last week’s terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan, a group of photographers and bloggers led by Oliver Fluck have decided to help out by donating print sale profits to aid in the recovery effort. I am joining this project so will be donating 100% of profits made from any print or merchandise sale via ImageKind, SmugMug or my photoblog between now and April 15th to the American Red Cross.

These sites offer various print sizes with costs from $3 for a greeting card up to $1000+ for a large canvas but there should be something there for every pocket. SmugMug also sells other items like fridge magnets, T-shirts, mouse pads and other similar gift items.

These other photographers are taking part in this effort:

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FIRST Robotics Competition 2010

by on Jan.09, 2010, under Computer, Miscellaneous, News Commentary

The game for this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition, “Breakaway”, has been announced and it looks like it should be a fun one! Teams now have a frantic 6 weeks to design, build and program their machines for the competition.

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Guatemala – Can you help?

by on Sep.25, 2009, under Miscellaneous, News Commentary

Kids on a rock

Kids on a rock, originally uploaded by DaveWilsonPhotography.

Guatemala has been much on my mind this week after reading about the terrible drought and resulting failure of the corn crop. Texas has just experienced one of its worst droughts on record but we can be extremely thankful that, even in the midst of such a natural calamity, we don’t generally end up going without dinner.

In the rural areas of Guatemala, where many of the people are subsistence farmers, things are very different. The failure of a corn crop results in no food for the winter months and, given agricultural workers pay, there is no extra money to buy corn from elsewhere.

In an attempt to help at least a little bit, Kathi Thomas, neighbour, friend and fellow Guatemala fundraiser, is organising a benefit concert at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin on November 22nd. It will feature child performers for the first hour and the wonderful Joe McDermott for the second hour. If you have kids and live anywhere in central Texas, you likely know Joe already but, if you don’t, I can tell you that he is definitely worth hearing – he is a children’s entertainer who has the unusual gift of being enjoyed by adults too.

If you’re not in or around Austin, there are other ways to help. Look out for local charities working in Central America and see what you can do to help. A donation of time or money would no doubt be greatly appreciated. If you are at your computer, the organisation I work with is delighted to receive donations and, from personal experience, I know that the money given goes directly to projects that help the neediest people in western Guatemala.

If you would like to see a bit more of what we do, the video below was produced for Sunday Schools to explain one of the programs that our partnership promotes.

Guatemala – Life Change from Dave Wilson on Vimeo.

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We’re Number 37 (US Healthcare Debate)

by on Sep.14, 2009, under News Commentary

Anyone following the brouhaha that passes as public debate over proposed healthcare reform may find this little music video rather amusing (in a scary kind of day).

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Time Lapse Helicopter Rescue

by on Apr.30, 2009, under News Commentary, Photography

I’ve been playing with the time-lapse video features of the Canon Powershot G9 recently so I was very interested in this wonderful video that appeared in various tweets recently. This is a superb example of time-lapse done very well. The use of a tilt-shift lens (or post processing?) creates a wonderful miniature feel. What do you think?

Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

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NYT Analyses the SuperBowl via Twitter

by on Feb.05, 2009, under News Commentary

I spent most of the SuperBowl either eating or frantically typing a steady stream of tweets on my iPhone. Apparently all this data was of use – the New York Times has produced a fascinating and rather well displayed analysis of the national Twitter action during the SuperBowl.

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Change is afoot at the White House

by on Jan.21, 2009, under News Commentary

No, not just the fact that we have a new President and administration. Take a look at the newly redesigned White House web site and you may be very pleasantly surprised to see that they have added a blog to the home page. It’s great to see that the way the Obama campaign used new media to gather and coordinate support appears to be being carried forward into their government style too.

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A New Start

by on Nov.07, 2008, under News Commentary

I’ve been in the US now for a little over 14 years and, for the last 7 or 8, have been thinking seriously about applying for citizenship. So far, it’s got as far as thinking but no further. Actually, I did start filling in the famous N400 form a couple of years ago but gave up at the question asking me to list every occasion I had left the country (with dates and destinations) since obtaining a Green Card but, regardless of the reason, I’ve still not got as far as mailing the form and associated US membership fee.

Part of my reticence is probably just laziness but a fair bit came down to my pondering the question of whether or not I would be happy to admit to my friends back in the UK that I was now a member of the US club. Could I be truly proud of the country that I was now an official citizen of? For the last 8 years, the answer to this question would have to be a resounding “No!”.

Don’t get me wrong – I love living here and the vast majority of the people here are wonderful, thoughtful, friendly, caring folks. The problem, however, is that the impression of a country is so often dominated by the actions of that country’s leadership. In this case, the last 8 years has been marked by war, isolationism, arrogance and all the kinds of foreign policy decisions that are ideal to earn a country a truly bad reputation in the eyes of the international community. Why would I want to be associated with that type of organisation?

This week, however, the N400 is once again on my desktop and I have promised Nikki that it will be filled in and mailed within a month. For the first time in a decade, I am once again optimistic about the country and its future. The election of Barack Obama has renewed my faith in the US people and left me sure that things are going to get a whole lot better than they have been. Yes, there are lots of challenges ahead but I truly feel that Obama is exactly the kind of person we need – intelligent, thoughtful, calm – to address those challenges including the one that worries me almost as much as the current financial meltdown, namely the increasing polarisation of the American people. I’m looking forward to January 20th, 2009 and a new start.

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