Nonja the Orangutan Tagged a Photo Of You On Facebook

This photo was taken by Nonja. She is an orangutan. Like many of us, she is interested in keeping her friends up to date on what she's up to in her pen at the Schönbrunn zoo in Austria. She takes and immediately uploads photos to Facebook with her specially modified Samsung ST-1000 point-and-shoot (it dispenses raisins!).

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New Virtual-Reality Forensic Technique Maps Out 3-D Crime Scene From a Single Photo

It's a scene familiar from a plethora of TV shows and movies: the crime scene photographer, carefully stalking around a taped-off area, meticulously documenting each piece of evidence as they lie beneath neon markers, noting the precise placement of each item as he snaps away. Well, thanks to a new procedure developed by Spanish scientists, that crime scene photographer is going to have a lot less work on his hands.

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Cassini Spacecraft Snaps Highest-Res Images of Saturn's Enceladus Moon

On Saturday, the Cassini spacecraft conducted a flyby of Saturn's sixth-largest moon, Enceladus, snapping some rather breathtaking photos along the way. The flyby, whose purpose was to gather the highest-resolution photos ever of the moon's southern polar region and to thermally map the "tiger stripe" terrain there, gathered some stunning images including some of the geyser-like plumes Cassini discovered on the moon's surface during previous flybys.

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The Dubai Airshow As Seen From Orbit

Dubai Airshow 2009 :  courtesy GeoEye (See it bigger!)
Our friend the GeoEye-1 satellite, which tirelessly photographs the world at half-meter resolution from its constant orbit, swung by the Dubai Airport the other day and took this snap of the Dubai Airshow, in progress this week.

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Amazing Aerial Photos from a Homemade Gas-Powered Paraglider

The Waw an Namus volcanic crater, Libya:  George Steinmetz, via National Geographic
National Geographic has published a beautiful gallery of aerial photos of the Sahara, shot by George Steinmetz. Steinmetz shoots his pictures while soaring above the Earth on a gasoline-powered paraglider he built himself.

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Why Astrophotography Is Worth the Trouble

(And the at-times-disappointing results)

Mixed Results: My first attempt at Jupiter [left] demonstrates why it's a tricky first target--the brightness of the planet against the darkness of space casts a wide dynamic range for the novice to capture. But it's possible, as a photo taken with the same camera provided by the SBIG folks shows [right].  Eric Adams/SBIG
Astrophotography is hard. Astronomically hard. Everything has to be perfect. Your telescope, with camera attached, must track your target in precise synchronization with the rotation of the Earth. It can't shake. It can't even vibrate. You have to nail your camera's exposure settings or you'll be rewarded with an incoherent mess. Your targets are often so dim you can't even see them until after the image has been made, so focusing is a nightmare.

So why try? Because it makes the entities floating in the vastness of the universe much more real than any Hubble wallpaper on your computer desktop can.

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Wellcome Awards: The Most Stunning Medical Images of 2009

Aspirin crystals:  M I Walker, Wellcome Images

Every year, a panel of judges at London's Wellcome Collection of medical photographs selects the best of the year's acquisitions. This striking collection, reproduced here, represents the best medical images of the year.

The 19 images cover a wide variety of subjects and techniques, from the above picture of aspirin crystals to a picture of a seed taken with an electron microscope.

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Creators of CCDs and Fiber Optics Win 2009 Nobel Prize In Physics

We live in a world designed by Charles K. Kao, Willard S. Boyle, and George E. Smith. Their work on the physics of light made possible the fiber optic cables carrying this web page to your phone, and the digital camera on the other side. And on December 10th, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden will award them the Nobel Prize in physics for their work.

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A Prototype Camera that Punches Out Images

And perhaps one day, it will even see the light of retail day

Regardless of whether you’re a weekend happy snapper or professional photographer, the habit of taking pictures can become quite expensive. While the purchase of a particular camera can prove to be a once-off fee, the post-photography costs can easily start to add up.

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How to Give Your Car Its Very Own $300 Google Street View Photo Rig

Google is reported to have spent millions of dollars on its Street View project. Roy Ragsdale, a student at West Point, has done a pretty nice job of putting together a portable panorama camera setup that includes GPS and Google Earth file output for under $300, using exclusively open source tools.

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Canadian Hobbyists Capture Amateur HD Video From Near-Space

HD Video From the Edge of Space:  BEAR
In the continuing saga of curious humans sending high-altitude balloons to the edge of space with cameras strapped to them, a group hailing from Edmonton have one-upped those thrifty MIT kids and their $150 space photo rig, albeit at greater expense: their Canon Vixia HD camcorder sent up on a hydrogen balloon has captured what is probably the world's first amateur HD video from near-space.

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French Government May Require Labelling of Digitally Altered Photos

In the hope of combating anorexia, 50 members of the French Assembly have proposed a bill that would require magazines to label any portraits that have been digitally altered. They claim that slimmed-down pics of celebs lead to anorexia in young women looking to attain unrealistic body sizes.

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Algorithm Generates a Virtual Rome in 3D from 150,000 Flickr Users' Photos

Dubrovnik in 3-D:  University of Washington
They came, they saw, they took pictures. And thanks to them -- about 150,000 Flickr users -- a team of computer scientists built Rome in a day.

Using nearly half a million Flickr photos of Rome, Venice, and the Croatian coastal city of Dubrovnik, a team of computer scientists at the University of Washington's Graphics and Imaging Laboratory assembled digital models of the three cities in 3-D.

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ESO's Zoomable 0.8 Gigapixel Panoramic Image of the Milky Way

Milky Way Panorama: Taken with a Nikon D3, 1,200 images and over 120 hours of collective exposure time went into this composite panorama of the Milky Way, as seen from Earth.  ESO/S. Brunier
The universe may be too big too big to wrap one’s mind around, but the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere has succeeded in distilling the entire Milky Way Galaxy into one breathtaking cosmic image. ESO’s Gigagalaxy Zoom project has released a stunning 360-degree panorama of the cosmos surrounding earth as seen with the unaided eye from one of the darkest places on earth.

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Man Ray Meets Mr. Wizard in Sugimoto's "Lightning Fields" Photos

Hiroshi Sugimoto is one of the most interesting photographers working today--his meditative sea- and landscapes, done with long exposures on large-format black and white film, present nature in a austerity that borders on abstraction. Now he's taken his look at the natural world one step further by enlisting the help of a 40,000 volt Van de Graaff generator to apply voltage directly to the film, capturing electricity's wild patterns in the process.

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