Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and software development
To follow-up on my previous post on the topic: my father is starting to publish excerpts from his book Science for the Curious Photographer on Luminous Landscape.
His first piece is titled The Quest for Good Photographs and How the Brain Perceives Images and it's one of my favorite parts.
By the way, he's still trying to figure out the best way to publish the book.
You may remember that my dad, Charles Johnson, was working on a book that explains the science behind photography, from "quantum mechanics to physiology and art appreciation." He's finished now and while he negotiates with publishers he is making a limited number of copies available on CD, mostly to his photographer friends.
The book is beautifully illustrated with color photographs, diagrams and lots of equations. Yes, I said equations; you'll need to brush up on your physics and calculus to really appreciate the entire work. I really enjoyed the first couple of chapters and the later chapter on appreciation of art in photography, but I have to admit, I haven't read the whole thing.
I'll try again when I have the printed edition
Speaking of science writing and making more science accessible to lay people, check out my Dad's article at Luminous Landscape where he explains Why Is My 50mm Lens Equivalent to 80mm on a 35mm Camera and Why Is There More Depth-of-Field? And check out the comment he received:
Nathan Myhrvold: I think that Charles Johnsonâs article on DOF and sensor issues is excellent and will inform the discussion of the relative merits of various sensors and cameras. It covers the basic optical facts very well. However, I think that there are some additional points that can help clarify the issue...
Yes, that Nathan Myhrvold. Apparently, he shares both Dad's love of nature photography and of physics. Dad was pretty happy to see such detailed and well-informed feedback. See what happens when you post interesting writing on-line? Cool things! and you might make an interesting new friend or two. Get a blog Dad.
When I'm under deadline pressure of any sort, I tend to stop blogging. That's the case this week. It's already Thursday and haven't written about the NC Science Blogging conference that I attended in Chapel Hill last weekend. Gotta fix that.
The NC Science Blogging conference was put together by the BlogTogether crew, the same group of Chapel Hill bloggers that organized PodcasterCon last year and BloggerCon the year before - Bora Zivkovic, Anton Zuiker, Brian Russell and others. Again they put together a wonderful un-conference and drew a crowd from up and down the east coast and beyond.
The days started with a Science Blogging 101 session by Bora himself. Next up was Hunt Willard, director of the Duke's Genome Sciences & Policy institute. He's not a blogger but he had good advice for science bloggers and stressed the importance of science writing, engaging the public and making science more accessible to lay people. Brian Russell posted audio of Hunt's entire talk. Popular science blogger Janet Stemwedel was up next. She talked about her personal experiences as a science blogger and also stressed the importance of engaging the public and making science more accessible. Here are her slides (PPT).
In the afternoon, I went to a session on blog illustration, which focused mostly on copyright issues. I was a little surprised to hear no mention of SVG and MathML. The last session I attended was devoted to helping the Museum of Life and Science (Durham, NC) figure out how to use blogs to engage and educate the public about nano-technologies (they've got an NSF grant to do things like that).
After the talks wrapped up a big crowd headed over to Carolina Brewery and Penang for dinner and I got a chance to hang out with the Chapel Hill blog mafia. That's something I always enjoy, plus I got to meet congressman Brad Miller again. All and all a great day. Thanks to the BlogTogether folks for putting it all together.
Update: I forgot to mention the blogs. If you'd like to read more about the conference, there's a big list of blogs and news stories about the Science Blogging conference on the BlogTogether site.