Snow shoveling time lapse

About 11 inches of snow at our house in Roanoke, Virginia for our second big snowstorm in 2010. My time lapse didn’t quite work out when I shoveled the first time Friday night, so this is from the second go-around of shoveling Saturday.

Three things I learned:

- Should’ve made the interval between shots less – maybe more like 10 seconds. I had it at 25 seconds.

- Might have been a good idea to shovel towards the camera, rather than away from it, just so my back isn’t to the camera all the time. My usual habit is to shovel towards the lawn, though.

- Could’ve adjusted the ISO and aperture so there was less shadow on me.

More snow photos at http://photos.jordanfifer.net

Song is “Snow (Hey Oh)” by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Some links I’m looking at: 10-29-09

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press // Arizona Supreme Court rules electronic data is public

  • “The Arizona Supreme Court today ruled that metadata – information about the history, tracking and management of an electronic document – is subject to the state’s public records law.”

Knoxville News Sentinel // FBI widens death-threats probe, subpoenas KNS online records

  • “The News Sentinel was served Monday with a federal grand jury subpoena for information related to a comment posted in September on its Web site, knoxnews.com. On the advice of corporate counsel, the newspaper turned over the information late Monday to FBI Special Agent Gregg Harmon.”

Another follow-up: news organizations report some false news

A follow-up to my previous post, CNN should be more cautious in breaking “news”:

The Associated Press has this story about how news outlets are increasingly rushing to report the news without verifying the facts first.

Aside from the “balloon boy” and Coast Guard non-shooting incidents which I mentioned in that previous post, the article also cites an example I wasn’t aware of:

A few days later in Washington, an official-looking press release from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced that the organization had reversed its position on climate change legislation.
Not so. It was an elaborate scam put on by members of the liberal activist group Yes Men, who were looking to draw attention to a policy stance with which it disagreed. Reuters moved a story based on the false press release, and both CNBC and Fox Business Network reported it — with the anchors correcting themselves mid-story upon learning it was false.

A few days later in Washington, an official-looking press release from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced that the organization had reversed its position on climate change legislation.

Not so. It was an elaborate scam put on by members of the liberal activist group Yes Men, who were looking to draw attention to a policy stance with which it disagreed. Reuters moved a story based on the false press release, and both CNBC and Fox Business Network reported it — with the anchors correcting themselves mid-story upon learning it was false.

News organizations cannot forget what their purpose is: to report the truth. They do everyone a disservice by rushing to report stories that have not been properly vetted.

CNN should be cautious in breaking “news”

UPDATE

Some links of interest:

END UPDATE

Balloon Boy’s Transfixing Effect On The Media

As the so-called “Balloon Boy” saga now unfolds as a confirmed hoax, I’m struck by the breaking news text messages I received from CNN Thursday when the network — and let’s be fair, much of the world — thought 6-year-old Falcon Heene was thousands of feet above Colorado in a flying balloon.

V.CNN BREAKING A 6-year-old climbed into a balloon-like experimental aircraft built by his parents and floated into the Colorado sky.

I noted that much of the world probably thought, too, that Falcon was in the balloon, but I suggest that the notion was only furthered by the nonstop coverage by networks like CNN. That’s not really my point, though.

CNN’s original text message didn’t use any phrases like “reportedly,” “apparently,” “thought to be,” or even “likely.” It stated the situation as fact.

When the craft later touched down in a field miles from the Heene’s home, CNN sent out this message:

V.CNN BREAKING A balloon-like experimental aircraft thought be [sic] carrying a 6-year-old Colorado boy has landed.

Here, they brought in (or attempted to, excusing their mistake) the phrase “thought to be.”

In examining CNN’s text messages, I think it’s important also to take a look at some of CNN’s other recent SMS’s. Most have been about things that can plainly be seen or do not necessarily need source verification — the Olympics going to Rio de Janeiro, NASA crashing a spacecraft into the moon, etc.

But other times, CNN provided appropriate attribution:

V.CNN BREAKING At least 1,100 peopled have died in Indonesia after two large earthquakes in as many days, U.N. humanitarian chief says.

This method should be used over their “Balloon Boy” approach, if for no other reason than to protect their own necks. If, after further verification, it turns out that the number was actually 4,000 people, CNN can then say, “Well, this is what an official source with knowledge of the situation was telling us.” But in the first method, CNN is providing the information as a statement of fact. The boy has floated into the Colorado sky.

You’ll remember that CNN received criticism for jumping the gun (no pun intended) when they erroneously reported that shots had been fired by the Coast Guard on the Potomac, when in fact the entire situation was a training exercise.

There, too, CNN began reporting by saying that, “Coast Guard fires 10 rounds at boat on Potomac River.” All it would have taken to be safe in that situation would have been to add in “reportedly” before “fires.”

Several other media outlets overdid their coverage of the “Balloon Boy” incident, and may have equally misstated the facts. I only receive CNN’s text messages and e-mails, though, so I only have a hard record of what they released. In researching this post, I did find similar overstatements:

  • The Associated Press’ raw video on YouTube reported that a boy, “climbed into a hot-air balloon aircraft and floated away.”
  • Fox News reported: “6-year-old boy trapped alone inside balloon.”
  • msnbc.com’s live feed from 9News in Denver said, “Homemade aircraft floats away with boy.”

Most of the networks updated their information eventually when word came in that Falcon was not on the craft, but that doesn’t change the fact that they reported news that simply was not true.

I use CNN as the main example because I know of at least one specific situation where they’ve misreported news before (see the Coast Guard story). But no doubt here many news outlets were too quick to report something that eventually turned out to be false.

News organizations need to be careful not to take reports of news at face value, if not to protect viewers and readers from inaccurate information, then to protect themselves from embarrassment.