Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for January 28th, 2023

A sixth installment of icicles

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On December 25th I spent nearly four hours photographing icicles hanging from a cliff in Great Hills Park just half a mile from home. In posts on December 28th, December 31st, January 8th, January 14th, and January 19th you’ve seen how I tried out various approaches, both with and without flash. Now here are some more views of icicles from that productive session.

To take the first picture, I deftly worked my way behind the icicles that were coming down from a limestone overhang. Aiming upward created the seeming convergence of the icicles toward the top.



For the second picture I also used flash.



The warm tones of the rocks and the pale blue of the ice in the picture above went well together.

The thin sheet of ice below was backlit by the sun’s rays. 



Similarly, it was sunlight that illuminated the icicles below.





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A hot topic in genetics over the past few years has been what’s known as gain-of-function research. The term refers to manipulating the DNA of a virus to make the virus more potent. On the positive side, researchers might figure out ways to combat the more-potent virus while it’s contained in a lab and before it or a similar naturally mutated strain could infect a population. There’s also potential danger in gain-of-function research: a malevolent organization or government might turn a manipulated virus into a weapon, especially if they could figure out ways to keep themselves exempt from the effects of the more-potent virus. And, despite precautions, there’s always the risk of an accident in which a more-potent virus escapes from a lab, infects the nearby population, and perhaps even spreads much more broadly. Some scientists believe that’s what happened in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Others disagree. We may never know because the Chinese government wasn’t forthcoming with the facts, and key evidence has long since disappeared.

I bring this up now in connection with an organization called Project Veritas (the second word in the name is Latin for ‘truth’). Project Veritas’s typical M.O (modus operandi, or ‘way of working’) is to send a disguised reporter with a hidden video camera to chat with a person who Project Veritas suspects is doing something nefarious. (Americans might be reminded of the long-running television show 60 Minutes, which has employed the same undercover technique on many occasions). The hope is that the interviewee, who doesn’t know the person engaging in a friendly chat is a reporter, will reveal information that would otherwise be kept from the public.

On January 25th Project Veritas released a 10-minute video compilation from its latest undercover investigation. The interviewee is identified as “Jordon Trishton Walker, Pfizer Director of Research and Development, Strategic Operations – mRNA Scientific Planner.” In the video, Walker speaks of “directed evolution,” which he says is different from gain-of-function research, but which the head of Project Veritas, James O’Keefe, believes might be a euphemism for it.

Check out the 10-minute video compilation and accompanying printed discussion about it and draw your own conclusions.

As a reminder, I believe it’s always good to be circumspect about what you read on the internet. I found an article on the substack site “Investigate Everything with Brian O’Shea” in which O’Shea reports the results of his efforts to confirm that the person shown in the video really is the person Project Veritas claims he is. You’re welcome to read that article as well.

And here are Newsweek’s cautions about the Project Veritas story.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 28, 2023 at 4:30 AM

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