links for 2010-08-02

  • Manchester Photographic will be open to the public on Friday 6 August and looks set to become the new home of photography in the city.
  • Created during World War II as a purely U.S. operation free of the perceived taint of European allies, the Pond existed for 13 years and was shrouded in secrecy for more than 50 years. It used sources that ranged from Nazi officials to Stalinists and, at one point, a French serial killer.

    It operated under the cover of multinational corporations, including American Express, Chase National Bank and Philips, the Dutch-based electronic giant. One of its top agents was a female American journalist.

  • What’s an average cyclist? According to the UK Department for Transport’s just-published National Travel Survey, it’s someone who uses their bike to make a quarter of all their trips.

    This everyman uses their bike for six journeys a week, totalling 17 miles and taking just over two hours. Back in 1995, he or she was only doing 13 miles and making just five trips.

    (tags: bike cycling)
  • This directory of para-states is not a list of terrorist organizations, and is not constructed to supplement or complement the list of terrorist organizations of the US Department of State. The guide intentionally casts a wide net, and includes both the nasty and nice.
  • Who cares if it's a fixed gear? Even though I enjoy coasting (on bikes and through life), thank you very much. Glow-in-the-dark + bikes = awesome.
    (tags: bike)
  • The Secret Intelligence Service, sometimes known as MI6, originated in 1909 as the Foreign Section of the Secret Service Bureau, under RNR Commander, later Captain, Sir Mansfield Cumming, which was responsible for gathering intelligence overseas. By 1922 Cumming's section had become a separate Service with the title SIS. Cumming signed himself 'C'; his successors have done so ever since.
    (tags: SIS research)
  • HDR or High Dynamic Range photography has recently become a popular style of digital post processing and there are now many simple to use software packages and photoshop plugins available that make the HDR effect easier to achieve than ever before. Unfortunately HDR imagery if wrongly executed has the capacity to look garish, amateur and can (in my personal opinion) make a bad image worse (typing “HDR photography” into google will provide a plethora of poorly taken digital photography given the HDR treatment). So is HDR is a tool of evil, sucking the life out of photo’s everywhere? Of course not! But like any tool, it has to be used correctly in order to yield pleasing results. This short tutorial aims to put right many HDR myths, and will also give you a good starting point in your HDR journey.
    (tags: photography)
  • Here’s bright spot in the news of the day: energy from new solar installations has, for the first time, become cheaper than energy from new nuclear plants, according to a new Duke University study. Thanks to cost-saving technologies and economies of scale, price can no longer be an excuse to invest in nuclear power rather than solar.
    (tags: energy solar)
  • Know what's great about fabricating your own ride? Being able to knowingly make something stupid. Case in point: Slim's Wheelie Van, a chopped 1964 Chevy G10 van with big-block Mopar power behind the rear axle. Yes, it does wheelies.
    (tags: CustomCars)
  • The futuristic-looking triple-bladed Sikorsky X2 helicopter just "unofficially" broke the helicopter speed record of 249 mph set in the 1980s by 9 mph — and they're trying to go faster.
    (tags: helicopter)