Posts Tagged ‘International’

Idaho gets the first International Dark-Sky Reserve in the United States

21 Dec

The United States has established its very first International Dark-Sky Reserve—one of 12 found around the globe, and now third largest in the world. The designation was granted to the Central Idaho Dark-Sky Reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), which says the region offers 3600km² / 1400mi² of “exceptional or distinguished quality of night sky, view of the stars and nocturnal environment.”

The Central Idaho Dark-Sky Reserve IDA designation is a milestone for American conservation, not only protecting wildlife in the region from the negative effects of artificial light, but also giving visitors from around the world another place to view the pure night sky.

The US reserve and its international designation is the by-product of about 20 years of policy and hard work by Idaho residents, businesses, and officials, according to the IDA. The collective worked to reduce artificial light in central Idaho and agreed to manage artificial light in the region henceforth.

The boundaries of the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve. Image from Idaho’s IDA application.

To get the special designation, Central Idaho land managers formed partnerships with IDA, committing to help preserve the quality of the pure, unadulterated nighttime environment. Ketchum, Idaho Mayor Nina Jonas talked about that, saying in a statement to the IDA:

This is the culmination of a lot of work, important policy decisions and commitment by so many to manage our light pollution. We’re pleased what this says about the commitment our communities have shown to protecting our environment and spectacular window to the universe.

Central Idaho didn’t only win an International Dark-Sky Reserve designation, though. IDA says it has granted this reserve its Gold Tier rating, meaning that the reserve offers one of the darkest night skies among all Dark-Sky Reserves. Information on the Central Idaho Dark-Sky Reserve, including a clear sky chart and map, are available here.

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New Ayesha Curry, Michael Mina San Francisco Hot Spot International Smoke, A Contemporary Take on Barbecue

20 Nov

International Smoke
International Smoke, San Francisco’s newest restaurant in the lobby of the Millennium Tower

International Smoke

Last night mrsth, the four kids and I had the opportunity to dine at San Francisco’s newest restaurant hot spot from celebrity chefs Ayesha Curry and Michael Mina, International Smoke. The restaurant is the latest lobby tenant in the great leaning tower of Millennium at 301 Mission Street in San Francisco’s SoMA district.

Only a week old, International Smoke is already solidly booked for months. The good news though is that they take walk ins at the bar and have several tables that can seat up to six in the bar. Before getting into my thoughts on the food, I will say that with a big family (six of us) one of my frequent disappointments is when too many diners are crammed into a small table at a bar. In the case of International Smoke this is not the case for their 6 tops. They are large, roomy and comfortably accommodated our large group. There are also several 4 tops in the bar and of course you can also dine seating at the bar itself. We luckily got the last table in the bar last night just before dinner service started at 5:30 pm.

The bar also has several televisions which can be viewed from almost every seat and which were appropriately tuned in last night to the Warriors 124-116 win over the Philadelphia 76ers during dinner.

Although barbecue features prominently on the International Smoke menu, it would be misleading to call it a “barbecue” restaurant. While definitely a place for carnivores, the barbecue has a more modern and international presentation and the menu also includes many non-barbecue offerings.

Many of the offerings are also fairly theatrical in nature, not quite what you’d find at say Edith’s down in Cabo San Lucas, but they incorporate smoke prominently to give you your fun little dinner show to go along with the food. In addition to serving two of our dishes (the smoked burrata and instant bacon) in glass encased smoke filled canisters, they prepare the Wagyu Shaking beef in a hot skillet tableside and use a cooking torch to caramelize the sugar while serving the ribs. It’s always nice to get a little extra pizzaz at the table when taking the kids out.

So let’s get into the cocktails and food.

I started off the evening with the Curry Up Now cocktail, because, well Steph Curry right? Plus I like bourbon. The drink is made with Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, Madras Curry, Amontillado Sherry, and Corazon Bitters. It was served in a beautiful Waterford crystal style tumbler over one of those giant ice cubes you get at fancy bars these days. Although I’m not sure that Steph drinks one of these things every day at cocktail hour, it was a well balanced, slightly sweet bourbon based cocktail and it worked just fine for me.

We also tried the Rhinestone Cowboy, made with Hangar One Kaffir Lime Vodka, Espolòn Blanco Tequila, and Coconut Calamansi, refreshing served over that nice soft crushed ice that you also find at fancy bars these days.

WAGYU SHAKING BEEF, International Smoke
International Smoke’s Wagyu Shaking Beef

International Smoke
International Smoke’s Wagyu Shaking Beef

Our first dish was the aforementioned Wagyu Shaking Beef, cooked in that black hot skillet tableside. It comes with lettuce and you make little lettuce wrap taco like things. This was a favorite. The beef was delicious, cooked slightly rare and very juicy. They added a marinade to the beef as it was cooking. It’s Wagyu so it’s bound to be tasty, but as expected for things labeled Wagyu, it’s also expensive and you wish you got a lot more of it. I would probably order this again, and probably again, and again.

Classic American Wedge, nternational Smoke

Smoked, Burrata, International Smoke

Next up was International Smoke’s take on an all time classic, the wedge salad. It’s prepared cut in half with everything served up on top. Again, a little small, but delicious and a beautifully balanced mixture of dressing, bacon, onions and tomatoes.

The burrata was served at the same time as the wedge and came in the previously described smoke filled canister. The aha moment comes as the canister lid is lifted and the smoke disappears into the air, leaving you with a very creamy piece of smoke flavored cheese. The brussel sprouts went well with the cheese and it was a nice bit of salad before getting into the meats.

We also ordered a mixed pickle jar which is a myriad of pickled vegetables. At $ 6 it felt like a bargain on the menu and if you like pickled veggies I’d recommend it. I liked the pickled onions the best.

Kalua Style, Instant Bacon, International Smoke
The big reveal, Kalua Style, Instant Bacon, International Smoke

Kalua Style, Instant Bacon, International Smoke
Kalua Style, Instant Bacon, International Smoke

The Kalua “Instant Bacon” is more like a pork bun than anything, served in another one of those smokey canisters with the big reveal — a very rich piece of pork served in a bun — again very tasty, but two to a plate a bit on the small side.

Smoked Pork Shoulder, International Smoke
Smoked Pork Shoulder, International Smoke

We tried two orders of the Trio Sampler smoked pork shoulder. This consisted of an American pulled pork slider, Cuban Mojo Tostones and Korean Scallion Crepes. The American pulled pork slider was the favorite (especially with the kids) but I liked the Cuban Mojo Tostones the best myself. I did not care for the Korean Scallion Crepes.

Double Duck Wings, International Smoke
Double Duck Wings, International Smoke

The double duck wings were up next. These were ok but my least favorite dish of the evening. They were pretty basic and a bit bland. The sauce they came in was tasty and interesting, but I would not order this again. We didn’t eat most of this dish and took it home with us in a box. I tried it again for breakfast this morning and it tasted a little better cold, but still not a favorite.

Smoked Pork Ribs, St. Louis Cut, International Smoke
Smoked Pork Ribs, St. Louis Cut, International Smoke

Up next was the main event, a full slab of the smoked pork ribs. As previously mentioned, they bring these out with a cooking torch and torch the sugar on the ribs right there tableside. As far as ribs go these were perfectly adequate but nothing spectacular. The ribs probably had too high a bar to live up to in my mind though. When I read “St. Louis Cut” on the menu the only thing I could think about from then on was how much I love the ribs at Pappy’s in St. Louis. Those juicy, beautiful bone dripping ribs at Pappys, or if not Pappy’s at least all of the great sauces at St. Louis’ latest downtown barbecue spot Sugarfire with one of the best neon signs ever.

International Smoke’s ribs were just fine, but they were not as good as what you’d get at the best spots in St. Louis, or Kansas City, or Texas or Alabama. Again, I’m spoiled having experienced some spectacular barbecue over the years though. I probably should have known San Francisco celebrity chefs would be no match for hardcore pitmasters who’ve been doing their thing for 30 years.

Along with the ribs we ordered the french fries, which were pretty much the same basic fries you’d get anywhere and three sides of the mac and cheese.

Smoked Rib Tip Mac and Cheese, International Smoke
Smoked Rib Tip Mac and Cheese, International Smoke

The mac and cheese was interesting — actually it was my favorite dish of the evening, but I’m a big mac and cheese fan. It’s served with rib tips and cornbread crumble on top. It was very good. I was very happy with this dish… but… would I rather have International Smoke’s mac and cheese or the buffalo chicken mac from Homeroom? See, again, it’s a high bar in my opinion, so while I was perfectly happy with this dish it was probably doomed from the start in my mind.

Anyways, there you have it. We ordered too much food for dinner so didn’t have room for dessert. Apparently my youngest daughter Kate was promised ice cream earlier in the day, however, so we stopped by Fenton’s on the way back home to pick up a half gallon of toasted almond. I’m sure International Smoke’s ice cream is probably just fine, but I doubt they hold a candle to Fentons. ?

More on International Smoke from Business Insider, SF Eater and the San Francisco Chronicle.

International Smoke
Bar at International Smoke

Curry Up Now, International Smoke
Curry Up Now cocktail

International Smoke
Front desk at International Smoke

Rhinestone Cowboy, International Smoke
Like a Rhinestone Cowboy

Mixed Pickle Jar, International Smoke
Pickles at International Smoke

French Fries, International Smoke
French Fries, International Smoke

Thomas Hawk Digital Connection

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Camera battery explosion causes chaos at Orlando International Airport

14 Nov
Photo by Ashim D’Silva

An exploding lithium-ion camera battery caused a panic at the Orlando International Airport on Friday, resulting in 24 flight cancellations as well as temporary chaos as a terminal was evacuated. Witnesses say the exploding battery made a sound similar to a gunshot, prompting people to flee the area.

Though frightening, the situation proved mostly harmless as officials discovered the source of the sound: a camera battery that had exploded inside of a traveler’s bag, which began smoking as a result. Orlando Police have since posted tweets advising the public that no shots were fired in the airport, but instead that “a lithium battery in a camera exploded in a bag … the bag was smoldering.” No one was hurt in the incident.

The incident follows a recent recommendation by the FAA that airlines ban passengers from checking devices with lithium-ion batteries in bags due to their volatility and the fire risk they pose, instead suggesting they pack them in their carry-on luggage.

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Ten Nikon D5 DSLRs will arrive at the International Space Station tomorrow

14 Nov

Back in August, NASA’s love affair with Nikon cameras made the news when the space agency ordered 53 unmodified Nikon D5 DSLRs that it would use on the International Space Station and for ‘training purposes’ here on Earth. Ten of those D5 cameras are scheduled to make it to the ISS this week.

Packed aboard the Orbital ATK OA-8 Space Station Cargo Resupply Mission that took off this Sunday at 7:19am Eastern time, and are scheduled to arrive at the ISS tomorrow morning around 4:50am (you can actually watch live coverage of the rendezvous on NASA TV starting at 3:15am).

Nikon tells us that NASA is “reusing Nikon lenses and accessories previously launch with the Nikon D4 and D2Xs cameras,” and are planning to keep the D5 cameras in circulation for 12-18 months. With any luck, the astronauts aboard the space station will use them to capture more images like these:

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NASA’s relationship with Nikon began in 1971, when the Nikon Photomic FTN (a modified Nikon F) went to the moon with the astronauts of Apollo 15. Fast forward to 2008, and NASA ordered its first digital cameras for use in space, a set of six Nikon D2XS DSLRs, followed by an order for 11 Nikon D3S cameras in 2009, 38 Nikon D4 DSLRs in 2013, and another 10 D4s in 2016.

The only question now, I suppose, is when is the Space Agency going to replace its glass? NASA’s latest order of Nikon glass was placed in 2010, when 64 NIKKOR lenses were delivered to the space agency. If astronaut photographers are anything like us Earth-bound folk, that means they’ve been drooling over ‘better’ lenses than they currently have since about… three days after they got those lenses.

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Balance of power in international relations pdf

04 Sep

Hooper also argues that this gendered lens requires a complete overhaul of traditional methods; athens and restoring a balance of power among Greek cities. Theory and Meta – is this effort to be? here gender refers not to the “biological” differences between men and women but the social constructs of masculine and feminine identity. While […]

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Posted in Equipment


Sony a7S II sends 4K video from the International Space Station to Earth

28 Jul

Last December a Japanese rocket brought cargo 249 miles above the Earth to the International Space Station. On that rocket was none other than a Sony Alpha a7S II, which was soon mounted on the outside of Japan’s KIBO module to take photos and videos of the mothership, so to speak.

Mounting a camera to a space station isn’t like putting a GoPro on your handlebars – the a7S II is enclosed in a specially designed aluminum housing with a radiator to keep it at a comfortable temperature in the vacuum of space. It’s mounted on a two-axis gimbal so, unlike prior cameras on the ISS, it’s not constantly looking straight down. The camera itself is basically the same as what you could buy off the shelf, and has an FE 28-135 F4 G OSS power zoom lens attached.

Head on over to Sony’s website to learn more about why the company’s high-sensitivity full-frame camera was chosen and how it all works. You can also find additional 4K videos to enjoy.

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You can now explore the International Space Station in Google Street View

20 Jul
Cupola Observation Module, Image: Google

Thomas Pesquet, an astronaut with the European Space Agency (ESA) spent 6 months on board of the International Space Station (ISS). During his time in space he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images of the space station’s interiors and unique images of the Earth seen from space.

As a result you can now explore the ISS and have a look at the blue planet from space using Google Street View.

US Laboratory Module, Image: Google

In his post on the Google Blog Thomas provides a little insight into the the picture capturing process in space: “Because of the particular constraints of living and working in space, it wasn’t possible to collect Street View using Google’s usual methods. Instead, the Street View team worked with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to design a gravity-free method of collecting the imagery using DSLR cameras and equipment already on the ISS. Then I collected still photos in space, that were sent down to Earth where they were stitched together to create panoramic 360 degree imagery of the ISS.”

More information and images are available in Thomas Pesquet’s article “Welcome to Outer Space View” on the Google Blog.

Joint Airlock (Quest), Image: Google

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Celebrate International Dark Sky Week with a night sky time-lapse

29 Apr

A few months ago we featured the work of astrophotographer Matt Dieterich, whose iconic photo of star trails over Mt. Rainier was selected for a special series of U.S. postage stamps commemorating the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service. If you haven’t seen those photos, you should definitely check them out.

In honor of International Dark Sky Week, Dieterich has just released a time-lapse video called Pacific Northwest Nights, using photos shot while working at Mt. Rainier National Park. Of course, we love it because it highlights places in our own backyard, but even if you’ve never been to our part of the world it’s a beautiful video, and a reminder of why dark skies matter.

If you pay close attention at 0:50 and 2:45 you can even see the glow of headlamps as climbers ascend Mt. Rainier. You can find more of Dieterich’s work at his website and on Instagram.

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This 4K video tour of the International Space Station is probably as close as you’ll get to being an astronaut

02 Nov

Halloween’s not over yet – NASA has released a 4K treat. The 18 minute UHD video features a fly-through of the International Space Station. Get out your headphones, flip into full-screen mode and pretend your dreams of becoming an astronaut have finally come true.

Related: NASA astronaut Jeff Williams showcases ISS photography equipment

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3rd annual International Drone Photography Contest winners announced

09 Jul

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Dronestagram has announced the winners of its third annual International Drone Photography Contest. Three winners were selected in each of the following categories: ‘Travel,’ ‘Sports Adventure,’ and ‘Nature Wildlife.’ According to National Geographic, which was one of the contest’s sponsors, Dronestagram received 5900 entries from photographers across 28 countries.

The Dronestagram contest seeks out the best photographs taken with a drone, and deliberately looks for images that couldn’t have been taken any other way. According to Dronestagram marketing and development head Guillaume Jarret who spoke with Nat Geo, ‘A great drone picture is a picture that you immediately identify as a drone photo. It is taken at a low altitude, near the target of the picture.’

The winners are:

Travel category: 

  • 1st place: Francesco Cattuto’s “Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Umbria, Italy”
  • 2nd place: Todd Kennedy’s “Cable Beach”
  • 3rd place: Karolis Janulis’ “Summer camp of Gran Canaria”

Sports Adventure category:

  • 1st place: maxseigal’s “Moab Rock Climbing”
  • 2nd place: losmanesdeldrone’s “Complejo Acuático Norte de Santander”
  • 3rd place: High Angle Shot’s “Chugach Mountain Range, Alaska”

Nature Wildlife category:

  • 1st place: mbernholdt’s “Kalbyris forest Denmark”
  • 2nd place: Szabolcs Ignacz’s “Swarm of sheep”
  • 3rd place: Jonathan Payet’s “Piton de la fournaise, Volcano”

Via: Dronestagram

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