The Transparent Display Edges Closer to Reality as MIT Student Confines Light in a Thin Slab of Photonic Crystal

Tue August 26, 2014

The transparent display in many SciFi movies and TV shows (including Extant) looks really cool. The problem has always been that light escapes the transparent glass. Recently, MIT graduate student Wade Hsu and colleagues have shown that they are now able to confine light in the surface of a photonic crystal slab and thus design a transparent display using nanoparticles.

We can take a piece of glass which is originally transparent and put in nanoparticles that only scatter a particular, narrow bandwidth of light. Light in the visible spectrum is made of many different wavelengths from 300 nanometers to 750 nanometers. If we have such a structure, then most of the light can pass through, so it is still transparent, but if we project light of that particular narrow bandwidth, light can be scattered strongly as if it were hitting a regular screen. -Wade Hsu

Read the whole article at: MIT

Editor’s note: Pair this transparent display with the transparent solar cell and you could have a truly interesting product.


#TimsDark Experiment: Canadian Tim Hortons Coffee Shop Where Servers Wear Infrared Goggles and Customers Drink In Complete Darkness

Mon August 25, 2014

I hope US fast food firm Burger King (BK) knows what it is getting into with the purchase of Canadian iconic Tim Hortons coffee shops. The young execs at BK better realize that this is not a shop that you buy and then drop when you have no need of it anymore: it could well ignite the simmering resentment Canadians feel toward their neighbor (and best friend) to the south.

In one “experiment,” a Timmys was painted completely black outside and cloistered so it was pitch black inside — as in, you can see zilch.

Customers gingerly felt their way inside as servers wearing infrared goggles directed them to the counter, took their orders and served them their order of Double-Double. Apparently, the extreme darkness heightened their sense of taste and a great-tasting coffee was elevated to even greater heights of flavor.

Of course, if you believe this was an actual store with actual customers, there’s still a bridge for sale somewhere…


Parks and Forests Through The Seasons Contest for 10 Years of Age & Older: Submit Photos by Noon Sept.3, 2014

Mon August 25, 2014

This video presents “A Modern Legacy – Pennsylvania State Parks.”

  • A look at what Pennsylvania State Parks in the USA have to offer.

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF) invites everyone to enter the Parks and Forests Through the Seasons photo contest.

  • The contest will be judged by popular vote on PPFF’s Facebook page.
  • Each email address is able to vote one time.


PPFF’s mission is to promote and support the natural and cultural resources of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests through leadership in recreation, education, conservation and volunteerism.

All photos must be submitted by noon on September 3, 2014, for consideration.

  • The voting period will be from September 10 to September 17.
  • Photos must be submitted by the photographer. (No third party submissions.)
  • All photos must have been taken in a Pennsylvania state park or state forest.
    • A maximum of 3 photos per submitter will be accepted in any one category.

Note: only one prize will be awarded per person.

  • Should a photographer receive the most votes in more than one category, PPFF reserves the right to select from which category the prize will be awarded.
  • There are six different categories and three photographs from each category will be awarded a prize as follows:
    • The top vote-getter will be named People’s Choice in that category.
      • The top vote-getter in each category receives a $50 state park gift card.
    • Second prize in the category will likewise be chosen by popular vote.
      • The second place winner in each category receives a $25 state park gift card.
    • PPFF’s blue ribbon panel of experts (chosen solely at PPFF’s discretion) will select a Critics’ Choice in each category.
    • Once again this year, the top vote-getter among all submissions will be named the People’s Choice Best in Show and there will also be a Critics’ Choice Best in Show chosen from all submissions.
      • Both Best in Show winners (People’s Choice and Critics’ Choice) receive a $75 state park gift card.

Award winners will be featured in PPFF’s fall newsletter and may be included on PPFF’s website,  Facebook page and other electronic communications.

The six categories are:

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Articles, Press Releases

“Clean Air: A Basic Right” Exhibit: Photographers in Pictou County Can Submit Works by Sept.6, 2014

Sat August 23, 2014

This video presents “Northern Pulp Mill and Pictou, NS – July 27, 2014.”

A very putrid and sickening day in Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada. This is far from an isolated occurence. In an interview with CBC, David MacKenzie, spokesperson for Northern Pulp readily admits that Northern Pulp is not in compliance with it’s regulatory emissions. This was not new information. The Nova Scotia Department of the environment allows stake holders to exceed limits if they have a plan and are working towards compliance. A Scrubber filter in the plant broke down in 2006. The Department of Environment says they were not aware until 2008. The precipitator on the recovery boilder has had issues since 2011. There have been two directives (in 2012 and early 2013) that the DOE has given Northern Pulp to come under compliance. Northern Pulp are working towards this and says this should be completed by spring 2015. In the mean time, emissions have ridiculously exceeded limits and Northern Pulp are setting records in production without fear of being shut down due to excessive particulate matter. Pictou County already has the highest levels when it comes to cancer mortality rate in Nova Scotia according to Government of Canada Stats.

Photo by Matt Gunning‎: Clean up the Pictou County Pulp Mill.

Photo by Matt Gunning‎: Clean up the Pictou County Pulp Mill.




Gerry Farrell, director of Palliative Care at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow and local photographer and Marianne Fraser, retired professional photographer, are organizing an exhibition of photography. They are seeking works by photographers who are affected, moved and/or inspired by the issue of toxic emissions of the Northern Pulp Mill in Pictou and the effects it has on health, the environment and the general wellbeing of the people in Pictou County.

The purpose of this exhibition is to raise awareness of the magnitude of the impact of the emissions of the Northern Pulp Mill on human life and the environment as a whole. With due consideration of the livelihood of its employees and the people who work in the sub industries, this exhibition seeks attention to the fact that the people in Pictou County and surrounding areas, can’t live any longer with the unacceptable toxic pollution that destroys their health, environment and community.

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Talk to Your Children About Sharing Personal Images and Videos on the Internet

Sat August 23, 2014

School is a little bit more than one week away and parents and their children are busy preparing their school supplies and wardrobe. Besides the requisite pencils, erasers and copybooks, today’s tech savvy children also carry smartphones, cameras, tablets and/or laptops. Snapchat, Facebook, and text messaging are standard communication tools for many students, who have no qualms sharing personal information, pictures and videos on the Internet.

While Canadian schoolchildren today may be more digitally savvy than their parents, their online activities may not always be safe and don’t always meet with parental approval. A McAfee study conducted earlier this year found 76 per cent of Canadian youth admit to hiding online behaviour from their parents and 56 per cent have visited websites or viewed videos their parents would disapprove of. More statistics from the survey are available at

For children today, the school experience can be far different from that of their parents, and they may think that parents do not understand their generation. With all the technology available to today’s students come new responsibilities for parents. To help bridge the gap between generations and start a conversation between parents and children, McAfee offers some tips parents can use to help protect their children:

  • Turn off GPS services – disabling GPS helps keep children invisible to strangers.
  • Enable privacy settings – this helps keep children’s personal information private.
  • Teach them what is inappropriate to share – many teens and tweens underestimate the danger of sharing contact information (e-mail addresses, phone numbers and home addresses) and personal images and videos.

Children may balk at these restrictions and it’s a perfect time to start a conversation about the importance of digital privacy. Probably the most important thing parents can do to protect their children (especially teens) is to keep communication lines open. This means to respect them, listen to them and support them. Starting the conversation with older children may not be easy but it will tell them that you are always there for them.

View the survey stats:

Press Releases

Manfrotto: New Pro Light Bag Collection for Photographers and Videographers

Fri August 22, 2014

This video demonstrates the Pro Light 3N1-25 PL camera backpack.

“Manfrotto delivers photographers and videographers light-weight, ergonomic, durable and reliable bags with the launch of the Manfrotto Pro Light collection. Utilizing innovative materials the Pro Light collection offers shutterbugs the capacity to carry large amount of gear, while providing maximum protection for equipment as well as proper weight distribution through the shoulders and back. The Pro Light includes 33 items divided into three cateogires: photo bags, video bags and accessories. Items include backpacks, holsters, cases, rolling organizers, camera straps and raincovers.”

For additional information about Manfrotto and its products, please visit or the Manfrotto brand page. To learn more about Gentec International, please visit and

Manfrotto: New Pro Light Bag Collection

Manfrotto: New Pro Light Bag Collection



 TORONTO, ON., August 22, 2014 – Gentec International, the exclusive Canadian distributor of Manfrotto photo and video products, announces the launch of the new Pro Light bag collection. Designed for photographers and videographers who require lightweight, intuitive, and ergonomic camera carrying solutions that are rugged, reliable, and easy to use.

 Manfrotto has utilized the most innovative materials to construct the new Pro Light collection. In addition to offering the capacity to carry a large amount of gear, these bags are also the lightest in the Manfrotto range. Incorporating Manfrotto’s Camera Protection System (CPS) these bags have been engineered to guarantee maximum protection for your equipment. The Advanced Harness System, foam harness straps and removable waist straps ensures that Pro Light bags are extremely comfortable to carry.

The Pro Light range includes a total of 33 items divided into three categories: photo bags (8 backpacks, 4 holsters), video bags (2 backpacks, 4 cases, 3 rolling organizers for lighting equipment), and accessories (1 camera strap, 4 camera raincovers, 7 video raincovers).

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Four Photographers are Finalists for Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2014: Vote Until 11:59 P.M. on Oct. 27, 2014

Fri August 22, 2014

This is an update to these previous blogs:

Aimia and  Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) recently announced the four international finalists for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2014:

  • David Hartt (Canada);
  • Elad Lassry (Israel/USA);
  • Nandipha Mntambo (South Africa); and
  • Lisa Oppenheim (USA).

Help us choose the $50,000 Winner

View the Art

Art is all about perspective. What’s yours?
View art from four international photographers and vote for what moves you to help award our $50,000 Prize.

We’d love to get your perspective on which one of these extraordinary artists should receive this year’s $50,000 Prize. You don’t have to be a curator to have your say; you just have to consider the work through the lens of an art lover.

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Nikon D810 Digital SLR Advisory: Free-of-Charge Service for Cameras Affected by Noise (Bright Spots)

Thu August 21, 2014

D810 Service Advisory

To users of the Nikon D810 digital SLR camera

Thank you for choosing Nikon for your imaging needs.

We have received a few reports from some users of the Nikon D810 digital SLR camera indicating that noise (bright spots) are sometimes noticeable in long exposures, and in some images captured at an Image area setting of 1.2× (30×20).

After looking into the matter, we have determined that some noise (bright spots) may on occasion be noticeable when shooting long exposures, and in images captured at an Image area setting of 1.2× (30×20).

Nikon service centers will service these cameras that have already been purchased as needed free of charge to the customer. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused.

Identifying affected products

To check whether or not your camera is one of those affected by this issue, please click the Affected Product Serial Numbers link below and enter your D810’s serial number as instructed. Your camera’s serial number will be checked against those of affected products. If your camera is one of those affected, you will be forwarded to additional instructions. If your camera is not one of those affected, you may continue using your camera without concern for this issue.

Check Your Serial Number

Featured Site

#LoveYourLines Celebrates Real Women, Real Bodies

Tue August 19, 2014

We’ve all owed our existence (on a large part) thanks to the nine months spent growing safely in our mother’s tummy. That bulge to her tummy does something to her skin: it stretches it and, when you are finally out of there and into the world, leaves stretch marks behind. These stretch marks are your mom’s battle scars, so to speak, and proof of what mothers all over the world are willing to go through to bring the most precious cargo into the world: you. That’s how nature is and that’s something to be proud of. She is. Are you?

#LoveYourLines is an instagram site that was started by two moms who decided to shine a light on this issue because it became one when a mother’s bikini body with stretch marks clearly visible was publicly shamed on social media. They thought, Surely, this is something to be ashamed of and hidden from public view. Women (and men) around the world came to that mother’s defense and #LoveYourLines was born.

“#LoveYourLines is a social media photo campaign to help showcase the beauty of the female body. This account is curated by two mommas hoping to make a difference in the world of the female body image. To submit your photos please email All women of different shapes, sizes and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to submit. Photos submitted should be taken against a plain background. We can’t wait to see your love lines!”

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Press Releases

Sony α5100 Compact Interchangeable Lens Camera Features α6000’s Fast Hybrid AF system

Mon August 18, 2014

The new Sony α5100 claims to be “the world’s smallest interchangeable-lens digital camera that boasts a big APS-C sensor plus a built-in flash and Wi-Fi.” It incorporates the α6000’s blazing Fast Hybrid AF system with 179 phase detection points and features a 180° tiltable touch enabled LCD Monitor.

Main features:

  • Fast Hybrid AF with huge 179 focal plane phase-detection AF points for reliable tracking autofocus plus touch focussing and touch shutter release
  • Large, sensitive 24.3 megapixel APS-C size Exmor™ CMOS sensor and powerful BIONZ X™ processor for superb image quality
  • New 180° tiltable touch enabled LCD Monitor
  • Shoot cinematic Full HD movies with tracking Fast Hybrid AF
  • Expand your shooting fun with a host of downloadable PlayMemories Camera Apps™ to expand your creative possibilities
  • One-touch image and movie sharing with Wi-Fi/NFC


Sony Debuts Ultra-Compact α5100 Interchangeable Lens Camera with Impressive Autofocus

New Mirrorless Camera Features Remarkable AF speed and tracking, 24 MP APS-C Size Sensor, BIONZ X™ Processor and more

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 17, 2014 – Sony Electronics has today introduced the stylish new α5100 camera, a new model packing pro-quality AF performance and image quality into a portable, lightweight package.

The speedy new camera (model ILCE-5100) features the same Fast Hybrid AF system as the acclaimed α6000 model, which allows it to acquire focus in as little as 0.07 seconds1. It also shares the α6000’s image sensor – a 24.3 MP APS-C Exmor™ CMOS sensor – and powerful BIONZ X processor.  This impressive combination of hardware ensures that the camera can capture still images and full HD videos in sharp focus with incredible detail.

Unique to the new α5100 is its extremely compact design, placing it among the smallest and lightest interchangeable lens cameras in market today.

“Sony continues to innovate in the mirrorless camera space, offering products that are not only smaller and lighter than competitive DSLRs, but that consistently outperform them,” said Neal Manowitz, director of the interchangeable lens camera business at Sony.  “The new α5100 is a primary example, offering world-class AF speed and performance in a palm-sized body at a great price.  It’s powerful enough to satisfy the most experienced DSLR shooters, yet not too intimidating for the casual weekend photographer.”

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2014-08-18 Sony α5100 Press Release

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Contests 2014 Photo Contest: Entries to Be Uploaded by 3 P.M. (EST), Nov.28

Sat August 16, 2014

This video presents “Smithsonian photo contest winners revealed.”

“Smithsonian magazine and place a Smithsonian lens on the world, looking at the topics and subject matters researched, studied and exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution — science, history, art, popular culture and innovation — and chronicling them every day for our diverse readership.”

The 12th Annual Photo Contest is now open to photographers ages 18 and over.

Don’t forget:

  • All entries must be uploaded by 3:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, Friday, November 28, 2014.


The Smithsonian will award eight prizes, as follows:

Continue Reading »

Featured Site

Cosmic Flower Unfolding

Fri August 15, 2014

© Ben Ridgway

© Ben Ridgway

Ben Ridgway is an Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California, USA. He also spent years as a 3D artist in the video game industry and helped to create games for Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft console systems. He has been making experimental animations since 1992.

His “Cosmic Flower Unfolding” has garnered praises in many venues. He describes it as “a constant flow of emerging and dissolving oceanic, futuristic, and mandala forms. It is a tribute to abstraction, its connection to the inner space we inhabit and how it can be externalized.

Cosmic Flower Unfolding from Ben Ridgway on Vimeo.

One day while meditating I tried to visualize in my mind’s eye how I might be able to animate a flower unfolding made up of glowing, pulsating shapes. When I did this I spontaneously saw a face made up of intricate glowing shapes that glowed like neon. The face was inhaling and exhaling at the same time and seemed to represent the exchange of energy and life that we experience through human existence. Every time I thought about making a film, this experience would come back to me, beckoning me to translate it into a moving image.

At the time I had been studying the illustrations of Ernest Haeckel and was planning on doing a homage to his work at some point. The marriage of oceanic motifs inspired by Haeckel mixed with the flower idea excited me and became the driving inspiration for the film. Ernest Haeckel is famous for his incredibly intricate renditions of animals and sea creatures. Many of his images exhibit noticeable symmetry both through individual forms and overall composition. To me, he uncovered the divine in his work through masterfully transforming mundane life forms into idealized artistic interpretations of those forms.

Visit our Featured Site: Ben Ridgway.

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