Canon 5200mm f/14 lens

…really looks like a cannon. 😉

702f_12

This is the most mammoth camera lens I’ve ever seen, and has almost unbelievable specifications:

tv5200cat

From CanonFD.com:

  • Focal Length: 5150mm
  • Exposure Control: Light quantity is controlled with the use of built-in ND filters, corresponding to f/14, f/16, f/22, f/32
  • Minimum Object Distance: 120 meters (Approx 393 feet!)
  • Size: 500mm(wide) x 600mm(high) x 1890mm(deep) [20”x24”x75.6”]
  • Weight: 100kg (220 lbs) without stand.

Yes, this behemoth is 220 pounds! That fact alone is impressive enough, then add the fact that it is capable of taking photographs of objects 18 to 32 miles away!

And now, this bad boy is for sale on eBay, for the low, low price of $55,000.00.

I think the best part is the quote from the seller:

This is a very rare Canon 5200mm photographic lens – possibly one of only three ever built. THE largest & most powerful prime lens ever created for dedicated SLR use. Built in Japan it was purchased by a Chinese company & shipped to China where it has since had little use & is now for sale. The optics appear in perfect condition. It is my understanding that a customized SLR/DSLR/EF mount can be created/included by the team of optical engineers who presently look after the lens. Due to its large size, it may be better suited to astronomy applications. It takes two people to lift the lens. It could also be mounted on a customized truck or SUV. A large geared or motorized support head would be needed to get the most out it. The magnification of this lens is truly staggering. If mounted to a Canon XL series video camera for example, a reach of 1000x optical (at least) would be possible (approx 37,500mm). The lens could also be mounted to HD & cine cameras. Tracking the space shuttle would not be a problem. Perhaps it’s already been used for that purpose? – (Did I just say that??!) Manual focus of course. Yes rear drop-in filters can be used. With so few ever built Canon spent “squillions” on the R&D, not to mention the manufacturer of this lens. Original cost price?? – don’t even ask!! 😉 In all seriousness I can’t be accurate. The Canon factory picture shows the lens mounted to an SLR camera (circled in red) – this will further give you an idea of it’s size.

For a better idea of how powerful this lens is, take a look at the following example:

5200jr3

Thanks to the following sites for information on this magnificent lens!

Ryugyong Hotel (Pyongyang, DPRK)

Update: Check out the new construction on the hotel!

ryugyong-hotel-lg

In my continuing search for new and interesting articles due directly to my incredible fascination with North Korea (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea), I recently found an article in Esquire about the monstrous Ryugyong Hotel, a vacant skyscraper hotel that was originally meant to be a shining symbol of the prosperity of the DPRK but has sat empty and incomplete since construction ceased in 1992 (construction began in 1987).

According to Wikipedia,

The Ryugyong Hotel (Korean: 류경호텔)(or Ryu-Gyong Hotel or Yu-Kyung Hotel)[citation needed] is an unfinished concrete skyscraper. It is intended for use as a hotel in Sojang-dong, in the Potong-gang District of Pyongyang, North Korea. The hotel’s name comes from one of the historic names for Pyongyang: Ryugyong, or “capital of willows.” Its 105 stories rise to a height of 330 m (1,083 ft), and it contains 360,000 m² (3.9 million square feet) of floor space, making it the most prominent feature of the city’s skyline and by far the largest structure in the country. At one time, it would have been the world’s tallest hotel.[1] Esquire dubbed it “The Worst Building in the History of Mankind” and noted that the government of North Korea has airbrushed the building out of pictures. The Christian Science Monitor called it “one of the most expensive white elephants in history”.[2] Over the years, the skyscraper has earned such nicknames as the “Hotel of Doom,” “Phantom Hotel,” and “Phantom Pyramid.”[3] Construction began in 1987 and ceased in 1992, due to the government’s financial difficulties. The unfinished hotel remained untouched until April 2008, when construction resumed after being inactive 16 years.[4]

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryugyong_Hotel)

The Esquire article has a bit more scathing review of this enormous structure:

A picture doesn’t lie — the one-hundred-and-five-story Ryugyong Hotel is hideous, dominating the Pyongyang skyline like some twisted North Korean version of Cinderella’s castle. Not that you would be able to tell from the official government photos of the North Korean capital — the hotel is such an eyesore, the Communist regime routinely covers it up, airbrushing it to make it look like it’s open — or Photoshopping or cropping it out of pictures completely.

Even by Communist standards, the 3,000-room hotel is hideously ugly, a series of three gray 328-foot long concrete wings shaped into a steep pyramid. With 75 degree sides that rise to an apex of 1,083 feet, the Hotel of Doom (also known as the Phantom Hotel and the Phantom Pyramid) isn’t the just the worst designed building in the world — it’s the worst-built building, too. In 1987, Baikdoosan Architects and Engineers put its first shovel into the ground and more than twenty years later, after North Korea poured more than two percent of its gross domestic product to building this monster, the hotel remains unoccupied, unopened, and unfinished.

(http://www.esquire.com/the-side/DESIGN/hotel-of-doom-012808)

But, since the Esquire article was posted, there has actually been construction activity, for the first time in 16 years!

SHENYANG, China, May 19 (Yonhap) — North Korea resumed the construction of a highrise hotel building in Pyongyang last month, which was suspended for nearly 20 years due to funding problems, informed sources here said Monday.

The construction of the luxury Ryugyong Hotel began in 1987 with French capital and technology for completion in 1992. The 105-story building has long been left uncompleted since early 1990s amid North Korea’s chronic economic problems.

“North Korean authorities restarted the construction of Ryugyong Hotel in April,” the sources said, quoting those who recently returned from trips to Pyongyang.

Orascom Telecom Holding of Egypt is North Korea’s partner for the construction, the sources said. “If completed, the hotel will be used as an accommodation for foreign investors and visitors, a business center and an international convention center among others,” a source said.

The 330-meter hotel is expected to be the world’s tallest when completed.

(http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2008/05/19/97/0401000000AEN20080519006900315F.HTML)

Now, given that the secretive country is notoriously restrictive to tourists (except during the Arirang Games), such an investment seems like an odd choice, but it looks like there’s another motive…

Traders in Shenyang, China with ties to Pyongyang say the North has now found that funding, partnering with Egypt’s Orascom Group. Orascom has publicized significant investment plans for North Korea in the last twelve months. Orascom Telecom Holding announced on January 30 of this year that it had been granted the first-ever commercial license to provide WCDMA 3G technology-based cellular service to North Korea, and put forth plans to invest 400 million USD to create a nationwide infrastructure.

This deal followed on the heals of Orascom’s first venture into DPRK investment, announced in mid July, 2007, when Orascom Construction Industries purchased a 50 percent stake in the North’s Sangwon Cement Factory near Pyongyang. This venture involved the injection of 115 million USD, which is being used to modernize the facility and increase production capacity from 2.5 million tons to 3 million tons per year.

(http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2008/05/19/orascom-completes-3g-test-call-in-north-korea/)

…which is another odd move, considering that citizens in the DPRK are not allowed to own cellular phones. Or maybe they will be allowed to?

Earlier this year, the company said that it expects to sign up an initial 100,000 subscribers when it launches its new GSM network in North Korea. Speaking on a conference call, CEO Naguib Sawiris said that the service would start in three main cities in the country and the company will then pause to assess the impact.

The company aims to spend an initial US$200 million on the network over the next twelve months, with US$100 per year for the two years after that.

(http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2008/05/19/orascom-completes-3g-test-call-in-north-korea/)

Whatever the case may be, this hotel fascinates the hell out of me. I’ll keep you readers posted, of course, as soon as I stumble upon more info. In the meantime, here’s a couple video “tours” of the hotel. 🙂

Wired Multimedia: Japan’s Hottest Celebrity Bloggers

Do you need any more info? 😉

shoko_nakagawa

If you go to Japan and tell people you’re a blogger, they might assume you’re a celebrity. While blogs are making incredible headway as a source of credible information in the United States, in Japan they are mostly thought of as high-profile diaries.

“It’s an evolution of Japan’s diary culture,” which dates back to the 8th century, says Ichiro Kiyota, an editor at Gizmodo Japan. “Celebrities say things on blogs that they can’t tell the mainstream media, and we all read it so we can get to know them better.”

Japan’s celebrity bloggers run the gamut in terms of popularity and topics they write about, but they have several things in common: They’re good-looking, they’re geeky and they love to blog. Here are our 10 faves.

(continued via Gallery: Japan’s Hottest Celebrity Bloggers)

Super Nintendo Emulator SE

Just found out about this today – I was always curious as to how they developed games for the Super Nintendo…

emuse2

Super Nintendo Emulator SE

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Super Nintendo Emulator SE was a Nintendo-sponsored game development system for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was designed by Intelligent Systems, and sold only to licensed Nintendo development houses.

Physical views

The device is in the form of a large, rectangular metal box, approximately 18 inches high, and 12 inches wide, and 13 inches deep. The box is painted grey, and bears the marking “Emulator SE” on the front in grey.

The device has two controller ports at the bottom that are standard Super Nintendo Controller ports. The rear of the device featured two 50-pin SCSI interface designed to connect to a PC running MS-DOS. One of these ports came with a terminator. The rear of the device also has a port labeled “Multi-Out”, which is identical to the Multi-out port on a normal Super Nintendo.

Below that, it has an 8 position DIP switch. Because there is no known copy of the documentation of this machine, the function of the switches is unknown. Although it is possible the switch is used to set the SCSI ID of the device.

The units bear five-digit serial numbers.

The device is rated to consume 40 watts of power at 120v, and bears a 1991 copyright date. It uses a standard PC Power Cable.

Wikipedia article here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Nintendo_Emulator_SE

Some pictures here:
http://shiggsy.gbadev.org/unit.php?unit=22

More info here (from an owner of the system):
http://dforce3000.de/snes.html

WebUrbanist: Abandoned Cities, Places and Property

Great article from WebUrbanist about abandoned places and websites related to these abandonments…

amazing-abandonments

What is it about abandoned places, frozen in time, that makes them seem more real than any other representation of history we encounter? From individual structures to entire communities, abandonments large and small inspire the imagination and tell us things about the past in a visceral way. Capturing moments in time, deserted cities, towns, buildings and other abandoned property can be powerfully evocative. Many people break laws, trespass on private property and risk life and limb to explore and photograph abandoned places.

(continue reading at: Abandoned Cities, Places and Property | WebUrbanist)

Juche Girl

If you know me, or have read my blog in the past, you’re probably familiar with my fascination with North Korea (DPRK) and everything related to it. So, when I found the “Juche Girl” blog (http://juchegirl.blogspot.com/) today, I was ecstatic. Here’s a sample post from her blog:

Pervert Bush

I cry very much today because of Bush. Today my brother show me video of Bush who fly inside Germany country with his plane and make vicious sex attack from behind on poor downtrodden woman victim of US imperialism and now I’m scared Bush will fly into our home tonight and rape my mother TT.TT I hate Bush!
I hate Bush. Bush is such liar and pervert. I hope his plane fall out of the sky and he dies with face folded. >_<

And another…

Evil Bush strike more but Dear Leader is best


Bush oppress the poor downtrodden people of the world for his own sick twisting pleasure. My brother who is very smart show me picture of Bush who pick up handicap people in wheelchair and toss them on the ground for laughing like maniac with the vampire Cheney. >.<
Dear Leader never do that. Dear Leader make the handicap walk and the blind see. Dear Leader is always full of loving care for the people.
Once Dear Leader went for giving guidance to handicap hospital with one room full of people who had lost an arm or leg in accidents of construction sites building the great powerfull prosperous country. Dear Leader distributed arms and legs to who needed arms and legs and when Dear Leader had finished distributing arms and legs all the people who had missing arms and legs did not miss one arm or leg no longer! Bush can’t do that but Dear Leader can.

Wow. Just wow. I love it.

For those of you who have no idea what this is all about:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juche

…And the blog itself can be found here:

http://juchegirl.blogspot.com/

Burlington Cold War City

I’ve always been fascinated by urban exploration and abandoned/decommissioned buildings and structures (as evidenced by my category Fascinations\Urban Spelunking), so this article definitely piqued my interest:

burlington_bunker_600

If you thought The Greenbrier bunker was impressive wait till you see what the UK kept hidden under a small town in the UK.

A 35 acre subterranean Cold War City that lies 1000 feet beneath Corsham. Built in the late 50s this massive city complex was designed by Government personnel in the event of a nuclear strike. A former Bath stone quarry the city, code named Burlington, was to be the site of the main Emergency Government War Headquarters – the hub of the Country’s alternative seat of power outside London.
Over a kilometre in length, and boasting over 60 miles of roads. Blast proof and completely self-sufficient the secret underground site could accommodate up to 6,000 people, in complete isolation from the outside world, for up to three months.
An underground lake and treatment plant could provide all the drinking water needed whilst 12 huge tanks could store the fuel required to keep the four massive generators, in the underground power station, running for up to three months. And unlike most urban cities, above ground, the air within the complex could also be kept at a constant humidity and heated to around 20 degrees. The city was also equipped with the second largest telephone exchange in Britain, a BBC studio from which the PM could address the nation and an internal Lamson Tube system that could relay messages, using compressed air, throughout the complex.
Below are some photos of the unused facilities. It was maintained in working order until the late 1980’s until it was cut back to a staff of 4 and then decommissioned in December 2005.

The article quoted above can be found here:

And more information from the BBC can be found here:

Download Squad: Windows Steady State Bulletproofs Your System

This is well worth the read and download if you’re in IT or tend to your family’s computer(s) on occasion. (Probably more useful in the latter scenario, anyway.)

win-steady-state1

So you’re thinking, “Hey, I want to be totally irresponsible with my computer and load it up with crapware!” Really, isn’t everyone getting tired of having to be so stinking responsible on the Internet all the time? We certainly are. We’re ready for system protection that isn’t afraid of our reckless browsing, indiscriminate downloading, and general apathy towards good computer usage habits.

…Which is why we love Windows Steady State. It creates a cache file in which your operating system operates, meaning any harmful changes can be undone by simply emptying the cache. After downloading it’s a snap to install – just a few obligatory clicks and the usual EULA mumbo-jubmo and you’re set.

Our first test was pretty a pretty low-intensity workout. We surfed, bookmarked, set up a POP account and downloaded a few messages, and cluttered up the desktop with a dozen or so hilariously named folders. After issuing the old Windows – U – R we waited anxiously for the system to reboot.

There it was, just as it had been before – no trace of any of our activity. The desktop was still tidy, no favorites or emails were anywhere to be seen. So far so good, but let’s try some real abuse!Do your worst! Fire up Internet Explorer and go on a malicious web-surfing bender. Download rogue applications! Install 16 browser toolbars! Download obviously fake songs with Limwire! When you’re spent, reboot and check the results. To the dismay of Trojans everywhere, not a shred of your misdeeds will remain.

(more via Windows Steady State Bulletproofs Your System)

True-Color GIF Example

The mistaken belief that GIF has a limit of 256 colors probably comes from the way GIF was first used when it came out. In the late 1980’s, PC video cards generally supported no more than 256 colors. Image exchanges were becoming popular among BBS systems and the Internet and viewer programs were quickly produced. No one tried or needed to generate images with more than 256 colors since they could not be viewed on anything less than high priced graphics workstations. Programs that converted images to GIF worked up a number of methods to reduce the number of colors to 256 or fewer. Some actually did a very good job. GIF files were constructed with just a single image block, even though the GIF standard placed no limit on the number of blocks. Since there was no use for more than 256 colors, there was no use for more than one image block. This practice became effectively ingrained into the computer culture and eventually everyone “knew” that GIF supported no more than 256 colors. The fact is, the programs that generated GIF files supported no more than one image block, and thus didn’t have a means to deal with more than 256 colors. The top image shows that a GIF file really can have more than 256 colors.

(via http://phil.ipal.org/tc.html)