DP Review:

The M8 is not an adapted M7, it is a totally new camera with a new body (albeit one that bears all the usual M trademarks), a new viewfinder and a new sensor. Nor is it necessarily the end of the line for M film cameras; Leica is leaving that door open, for the moment at least.

Here.

Washington Post:

Wounded and locked in a harrowing gunfight deep in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountains, Navy SEAL Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson laid down covering fire so a teammate could escape — an act of heroism for which Axelson was yesterday posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the service’s second-highest medal.

Fighting nearby, Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz was also mortally wounded but stood his ground in a barrage of fire from 30 to 40 Taliban militiamen who surrounded his four-man SEAL reconnaissance team on June 28, 2005. For his “undaunted courage,” as described by the military, Dietz, 25, of Littleton, Colo., also posthumously received the Navy Cross yesterday in a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial.

Here.

On avait promis d’attendre jusqu’au 15 septembre, mais d’autres ayant déjà laché leurs infos et même une intéressante vidéo du Leica M8, nous considérerons que l’embargo est caduque… Voici donc notre prise en main en quasi exclusivité !

Here.

Zeiss:

Never before has the world of photography seen such a lens. Developed for long distance wildlife photography this supertele lens provides 21x magnification. In search of the highest imaginable image quality the client decided for 6×6 medium format and the Hasselblad 203 FE as the best camera he is aware of.

At 1700 mm focal length and a speed of f/4 this lens put requirements on optical glas, lens assembly and quality assurance methods, never before encountered in photo lens manufacture. This 256 kg behemoth also required Carl Zeiss to develop totally new ways of operating a telephoto lens, including servo controlled aiming and focusing.

Here.

The most hilarious training video out there, from Gamecrazy. Especially whenever Zelda Scott is onscreen.
Joystiq:

Who is Zelda Scott? The on-the-floor correspondent helping Croft and Payne talk to the GameCrazy employees presented. She must think she has some grasp on pop culture. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite phrases:

  • “They can’t hate on our used games.”
  • “Bomb-diggity!”
  • “Gail is getting extremely jiggy with it by going for the MVP.”
  • Give it up G-Unit, you showed some mad skills there.”
  • “Krunk!”
  • “Tru dat, girl. [To Croft and Payne] Homeslices?”
  • “Bling Bling!”

… and that’s just a sampler.

Gametrailers:

Here.

The New Yorker:

In 2002, Abu Musab al-Suri, in his hideout in Iran, began  writing his defining work, “Call for Worldwide Islamic Resistance,” which is sixteen hundred pages long and was published on the Internet in December, 2004. Didactic and repetitive, but also ruthlessly candid, the book dissects the  faults of the jihadi movement and lays out a plan for the future of the struggle. The goal, he  writes, is “to bring about the largest number of  human and material casualties possible for  America and its allies.” He specifically targets  Jews, “Westerners in general,” the members of  the NATO alliance, Russia, China, atheists,  pagans, and hypocrites, as well as “any type of  external enemy.” (The proliferation of  adversaries mirrors Al Qaeda’s hatred of all other ideologies.
And yet, at the same time, he bitterly blames Al Qaeda for dragging the entire jihadi movement into an unequal battle that it is likely to lose. Unlike most jihadi theorists, Suri acknowledges the setback caused by September 11th. He laments the demise of the Taliban, which he and other Salafi jihadis considered the modern world’s only true Islamic government. America’s “war on terror,” he complains, doesn’t discriminate between Al Qaeda adherents and Muslims in general. “Many loyal Muslims,” he writes, believe that the September 11th attacks “justified the American assault and have given it a legitimate rationale for reoccupying the Islamic world.” But Suri goes on to argue that America’s plans for international domination were already evident “in the likes of Nixon and Kissinger,” and that this agenda would have been pursued without the provocation of September 11th.

Moreover, the American attack on Afghanistan was not really aimed at capturing or killing bin Laden; its true goal was to sweep away the Taliban and eliminate the rule of Islamic law.
In Suri’s view, the underground terrorist movement—that is, Al Qaeda and its sleeper cells—is defunct. This approach was “a failure on all fronts,” because of its inability to achieve military victory or to rally the Muslim people to its cause. He proposes that the next stage of jihad will be characterized by terrorism created by individuals or small autonomous groups (what he terms “leaderless resistance”), which will wear down the enemy and prepare the ground for the far more ambitious aim of waging war on “open fronts”—an outright struggle for territory. He explains, “Without confrontation in the field and seizing control of the land, we cannot establish a state, which is the strategic goal of the resistance.”

Here.

Wooster Collective:

Families visiting Disneyland on their holiday this week saw a life-size Guantanamo bay inmate standing inside the Rocky Mountain Railroad ride at Disneyland in Anaheim California.

The sculpture, consisting of an inflatable doll dressed in an orange jumpsuit with its hands and feet manacled remained in place for one and a half hours before Disneyland’s security staff shut down the ride and removed it amid fears over public safety.

Here.

Journal of a Photographer:

The stories that you can find above are only some examples of multimedia journalism. Some of them are more advanced than others, some use photography together with audio narratives, some are combined with video some might only use ambient sound. As I wrote in the beginning, this form of storytelling is becoming more important and widespread. But not only that, it is really exciting!
I do not think that multimedia features will replace the traditional publishing ways for photojournalists and I don’t see the combination of still photography and audio as a threat to classical photojournalism. I see it as an additional way to show your work, to give a better understanding of the story you want to tell, to add more layers to it, to give your subject a voice and last but not least reach a much broader audience with the work you do. Oh yeah, this can be so powerful!

Here.

NYT on Mastadon:

This time the story line is land beasts. In the lyrics, one encounters a sasquatch with a Cyclops eye, called a Cysquatch. (You hear him on one track: it is Mr. Dailor, his voice distorted by a ring modulator.) A tribe of birch-tree men patrols a forest near the mountaintop. Blood-sucking flies are involved. Deep in the mountain is the Grail-like Crystal Skull, whose magical powers the traveler especially needs at the summit because there is an angry Ice God up there.

The story ideas, as well as the riffs, came together jointly: “Blood Mountain” is a strong record by a powerful band nearing an ideal of cohesion.

Here.

Wooster Collective:

“Little hand-painted people, left in London to fend for themselves.”

Here.

Washington Post:

Intelligence officials think that bin Laden is hiding in the northern reaches of the autonomous tribal region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. This calculation is based largely on a lack of activity elsewhere and on other intelligence, including a videotape, obtained exclusively by the CIA and not previously reported, that shows bin Laden walking on a trail toward Pakistan at the end of the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, when U.S. forces came close but failed to capture him.

Many factors have combined in the five years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to make the pursuit more difficult. They include the lack of CIA access to people close to al-Qaeda’s inner circle; Pakistan’s unwillingness to pursue him; the reemergence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; the strength of the Iraqi insurgency, which has depleted U.S. military and intelligence resources; and the U.S. government’s own disorganization.

Here.

Featuring the work of Jesse Lefkowitz, Paul blow, MAKESHFT, Guillaumit, Meredith Edlow, Travis Lampe, Matt Mallams, Jeff Marmorstone, Barto, and Corpicrudi.

Here.

Washington Post:

Baghdad’s morgue almost tripled its count for violent deaths in Iraq’s capital during August from 550 to 1,536, authorities said Thursday, appearing to erase most of what U.S. generals and Iraqi leaders had touted as evidence of progress in a major security operation to restore order in the capital.

Separately, the Health Ministry confirmed Thursday that it planned to construct two new branch morgues in Baghdad and add doctors and refrigerator units to raise capacity to as many as 250 corpses a day.

Here.

BBC, via Boing-Boing:

Banksy has replaced Hilton’s CD with his own remixes and given them titles such as Why am I Famous?, What Have I Done? and What Am I For?

He has also changed pictures of her on the CD sleeve to show the US socialite topless and with a dog’s head.

A spokeswoman for Banksy said he had doctored 500 copies of her debut album Paris in 48 record shops across the UK.

She told the BBC News website: “He switched the CDs in store, so he took the old ones out and put his version in.”

Here.

Photos (NSFW): Here.

Video: Here.

NYT:

I have experienced nearly all of these threats firsthand. In May 2004, a Canadian journalist and I were seized by insurgents inside Falluja. I was able to convince our captors that the Canadian, who spoke no Arabic, was not a Westerner but my older brother, and that he had suffered a stroke that left him unable to speak.

A month later, National Public Radio sent me to Najaf to report on a protest against the fighting between the Americans and the Mahdi Army. Iraqi police officers handcuffed me, beat me and dragged me into the main government building. The governor’s deputy released me on the condition that I not take Mr. Sadr’s side in my reporting.

The Mahdi Army then arrested me that September, in the Sadr City slum of northeastern Baghdad. I had been reporting from the hospital, where I was interviewing injured civilians. The militia men took me to a mosque, where a very young sheik questioned me. I lied about my employer, which was still National Public Radio, saying instead that I worked for a German station. He told me that I had better not be a spy, or else. My identity papers were copied and returned to me.

Here.

International Crisis Group:

Eight actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated in August 2006, according to the new issue of CrisisWatch,* released today. Sri Lanka saw full-scale military clashes in eastern and northern regions kill hundreds and displace some 200,000. Sudan’s Darfur region continued its slide, with the government launching a new offensive and the World Food Programme estimating that 500,000 people are now cut off from emergency food aid. After security forces killed a key Balochistan leader, Pakistan experienced violent protests and province-wide strikes. International tensions over nuclear programs in both Iran and North Korea worsened. The situation also deteriorated in Burundi, Kuril Islands/Northern Territories (Russia/Japan) and the Taiwan Strait.

Four conflict situations showed improvement in August 2006. Following 34 days of war between Israel and Hizbollah, a UN-brokered ceasefire commenced on 14 August. In Uganda, the government and rebel Lord’s Resistance Army signed a truce, though significant barriers to peace remain. The situation also improved in Angola and Togo.

For September 2006, CrisisWatch identifies Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan as Conflict Risk Alerts, or situations at particular risk of new or significantly escalated conflict in the coming month. A Conflict Resolution Opportunity has been identified for Uganda.

Here.

NYT:

This spring and summer, the slow and methodical siege of this southern provincial capital intensified. The Taliban and their allies set up road checkpoints, burned 20 trucks and slowed the flow of supplies to reconstruction projects. All told, in surrounding Helmand Province, five teachers, one judge and scores of police officers have been killed. Dozens of schools and courts have been shuttered, according to Afghan officials.

“Our government is weak,” said Fowzea Olomi, a local women’s rights advocate whose driver was shot dead in May and who fears she is next. “Anarchy has come.”

Here.

NYT:

IF P. T. Barnum had hired Breughel or Bosch to paint sideshow banners, they might have resembled the art of Joe Coleman. Obsessively depicting a grim moral universe of transgression and retribution, Mr. Coleman paints grotesque images of murderers and victims, freaks and monsters, disease, depravity and perversities of every kind.

In his painstakingly detailed paintings, Charles Manson leers, JonBenet Ramsey pouts, pinheads dance, drunkards lie with poxied whores, and corpses display their wounds like obscene stigmata. Drug addicts loll in ruined cityscapes under boiling H-bomb skies, 1930’s gangsters grin on their way to the gallows, and Mr. Coleman and his wife, Whitney Ward, reign over the apocalypse, enthroned on the head of a giant Satan. In a startlingly prophetic vision of his from 2000, the twin towers burn.
Here.

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