EPA grants California's Clean Air Act waiver

From the press release issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

EPA is granting California’s waiver request enabling the state to enforce its greenhouse gas emissions standards for new motor vehicles, beginning with the current model year. Using the law and science as its guide, EPA has taken this action to tackle air pollution and protect human health.

“This decision puts the law and science first. After review of the scientific findings, and another comprehensive round of public engagement, I have decided this is the appropriate course under the law,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson [left]. “This waiver is consistent with the Clean Air Act as it’s been used for the last 40 years and supports the prerogatives of the 13 states and the District of Columbia who have opted to follow California’s lead. More importantly, this decision reinforces the historic agreement on nationwide emissions standards developed by a broad coalition of industry, government and environmental stakeholders earlier this year.”

Although this resolution of the waiver dispute was expected and has a somewhat limited impact as the Obama administration brings federal standards in line with California ones, the dispute itself highlighted complex federalism issues at the heart of the Clean Air Act and efforts to regulate climate change. (Prior IntLawGrrls posts on California and climate change here, here, here, and here.) I have written about the dynamics of the waiver dispute as an example of what I term diagonal regulation (cross-cutting efforts that are simultaneously horizontal and vertical), and am currently working on an article attempting to operationalize the concept of diagonal regulation and explore its implications for the Obama administration through an in-depth analysis of motor vehicles emissions regulation.

(Cross-posted at Teaching Climate Change Law & Policy blog)

A blow to democracy & human rights

This week the armed forces of Honduras overthrew democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya (left), arresting him at home and bundling him off to Costa Rica in his pyjamas. The army then installed its own president, with the thin legal veneer of the Honduran Supreme Court's blessing. The Organization of American States, the Obama administration, and human rights groups protested and called for Zelaya's reinstatement.
The coup is a direct violation of the OAS's Santiago Commitment to Democracy and the Renewal of the Inter-American System. By adopting that Commitment during a 1991 meeting in Chile's capital, countries of the hemisphere established a mechanism for collective action in the case of a sudden or irregular interruption of the democratic political institutional process or of the legitimate exercise of power by the democratically elected government in any of the Organization's member states.
This commitment was reaffirmed in 2001, in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which requires the suspension from the OAS of states where elected governments have been found to be illegally overturned.
So why did the Honduran armed forces, backed by the legislature and the supreme court, take what they knew would be a much-criticized action? The U.S. press has stressed the attempt by President Zelaya to change the rules on re-election and the close ties between Venezuela and Honduras.
But that's only a small piece of the story.
The re-election effort was part of a larger package. Its centerpiece was a call for a popular referendum on whether or not to call a Constitutional Convention. Had the referendum, which was supported by labor, peasant, environmental, and human rights groups, passed, Honduras would have joined Latin American countries including Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia, that had rewritten their constitutions after a broad-based (more or less) constitutional rewriting process.
These processes have been tumultuous and highly controversial elsewhere. But on the positive side, they have:
► Broken existing political logjams and dysfunction;
► Established broad rights for indigenous communities; and
► Set the stage for institutional reforms to protect land and the environment and to give the government greater control over resource policies, especially mining and forest projects. These projects, many sponsored by U.S. and Canadian companies, have affected water and other resources and generated widespread local opposition.
Indeed, there are movements afoot in other countries, like Chile, to use upcoming elections to push for a constitutional convention to remake the Pinochet-era constitution there (not to mention efforts in California to call a constitutional convention to remake our own dysfunctional, gridlocked and almost-broke system of government!).
That's what was at stake in Honduras, and why the powers supporting the status quo were willing to brave international criticism to try to derail a new constitution-building initiative.

Feeling Germany's pain

'Every time we fail to preserve a site, we share the pain of the state party.'
So said Dr. María Jesús San Segundo (left), Spain's Ambassador to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (and an economics professor at Madrid's Universidad Carlos III), respecting UNESCO's decision to remove Dresden from its list of World Heritage Sites.
¿Por qué?
Because the city has decided to go ahead with building the Waldschlösschenbrücke, a 4-lane bridge that opponents maintain "would be a blot on the unique Elbe valley and is sited in a particularly sensitive spot, near the old city, from where it could be seen." The decision makes the state party in question -- Germany -- the 1st country in Europe and only the 2d in the world to be removed from the list.

On June 30

On this day in ...
1984 (25 years ago today), Lillian Hellman (right) died in Tisbury, Massachusetts. The playwright's best-known works include The Children's Hour (1934), The Little Foxes (1941), and Toys in the Attic (1959). Throughout her career, Hellman openly held left-wing political views and was active in the campaign against the growth of fascism in Europe. As a result, she was subpoenaed to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. Pressured to reveal the names of associates in the theater who might have Communist associations, she refused:
'To hurt innocent people whom I knew many years ago in order to save myself is, to me, inhuman and indecent and dishonorable. I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions, even though I long ago came to the conclusion that I was not a political person and could have no comfortable place in any political group.'
(credit for photo of paperback reissue of Hellman's 1969 memoir, An Unfinished Woman)
1992, Margaret Thatcher (below left) joined the House of Lords following the bestowal upon her of a life peerage. In 1959, Thatcher had been elected a Member of Parliament. She proceeded to become Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 and a member of the House of Commons from 1990 to 1992. (photo credit) Thatcher used her appointment to the House of Lords to continue to make her views heard, particularly on European issues. In 1992, Thatcher called for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to stop the Serbian assault on Goražde and Sarajevo as a means to end ethnic cleansing and to preserve the Bosnian state. She has also made a series of speeches criticizing the Maastricht Treaty.

(Prior June 30 posts are here and here.)

Sigma DP2, edelläkävijä

Sigma oli ensimmäinen valmistaja, joka toi markkinoille monen kaipaaman pikkukameran, jossa on iso kenno ja hyvä kuvanlaatu. Tästä pitää heti kättelyssä antaa pisteet.

Sigma DP2 on alkuperäisestä DP1-mallista paranneltu versio ja eroaa vuonna 2006 esitellystä DP1:stä myös objektiivin osalta. DP1 oli varustettu laajakulmalla ja DP2 kuvaa lähes normaalilla polttovälillä, joka vastaa kinokameran 40 millistä kuvakulmaltaan.

Sigma käyttää ainoana valmistaja Foveon kennoa, jonka toiminnasta on hyvä selitys täällä enkä siksi ala sitä tässä yksityskohtaisesti selittelemään. Foveon toimii erittäin hienosti kohteissa, joissa yksi väri hallitsee kuvaa.

Tavallisen Bayer-kennon kuva huononee normiaiheesta, jos kuvassa on pääasiassa esim. punaista väriä. Kennossa kun vain osa pikseleistä on herkkiä punaiselle, niin kameran prosessori joutuu arvaamaan tavallista isomman osan kuvan yksityiskohdista.

Sigman kenno on hieman APS-C kokoa pienempi, mutta 4/3 kokoa suurempi. Foveonissa pikseleitä ei ole yhtä tiheässä kuin Bayer-kennossa ja siksi kuvan koko jää nykymittapuun mukaan vaatimattomaksi. Sigma DP2:n kuvassa on 2460 x 1760 pikseliä, joka tarkoittaa n. 4,6 megapikseliä.

Sigma puhuu 14,6 megapikselin kamerasta, mutta se kuulostaa hieman hassulta, kun kuva kuitenkin on vain n. 4,6 megapikseliä.

Pikselieiden lukumäärä ei merkitse lopputuloksen kannalta ollenkaan niin paljon kuin mainoksissa annetaan ymmärtää, mutta joissakin tapauksissa pikseleitä kuitenkin tarvitaan paljon. Monet kuvatoimistot haluavat tietyn kokoisen kuvan, jota ei ole suurennettu jälkeenpäin. Rajaaminen voi olla joskus tarpeellista ja silloin on kiva, jos rajaamisen jälkeenkin on vielä jotain jäljellä.

Sigman käyttöliittymä on hieman sekava eikä noudata aivan samoja kaavoja kuin valtavirran kamerat. Kokeilukamerassa ei tullut käyttöohjetta mukana, joten käyttöliittymän selkeys tuli korostetusti esiin. Omistaja-asteella tämä ei tietenkään haittaa, mutta satunnaista käyttäjää hieman.

Kameran takaseinässä olevat painonapit ovat rungon sävyyn mustia ja pienet symbolit napeissa ovat myös mustia, josta seuraa, että symboleita ei nappien päistä erota. Tämänkin oppii omistajana, mutta silti seikka ihmetyttää.

Sigmaa on moitittu monessakin testissä hitaaksi, joka ei ole aivan turhaa kritiikkiä. Sigma ei kuitenkaan ole aivan toivoton, mutta kieltämättä monessa tilanteessa toivoisi kameralta hieman nopeampaa reagointia.

Toisaalta taas, kun muistelee menneitä, niin kaikki nykyajan digikamerat ovat käytännössä vähintään yhtä nopeita kuin vastaavanlaiset filmiajan sukulaisensa. Kuvasin pitkästä aikaa Olympus XA:lla, joka on aivan mainio ja erittäin pieni filmikamera, mutta käsiviritteisenä XA:n sarjakuvausnopeus ei ole kovin kummoinen.

Kaikki on suhteellista, mutta tämän päivän standardeilla mitattuna Sigma DP2 on hieman hitaanpuoleinen. Myös käynnistyminen tapahtuu laiskasti ja kestää hieman liian kauan.

Tarkennus on luotettava, mutta hidas ja luovuttaa yllättävän helposti hämärässä, jos tarkentaminen ei heti onnistu. Onneksi etäisyyden voi asettaa näppärästi myös käsin, sillä näytölle tulee asteikko, jolla peukalopyörylällä asetettava etäisyys näkyy. Hyvä toiminto, jonka toivoisi myös muihin vastaaviin kameroihin.

Sigman 24,2 mm f/2.8 objektiivi on kerrassaan loistava. Tämän kuvakulmaltaan kinarin 40 millistä vastaavan kakkulan piirto ja kontrastintoisto ovat mitä parhaimmat eikä kromaattisia aberraatioita juuri näy. Himmentäminen vaikuttaa käytännössä vain syväterävyyteen, sillä toisto on hyvä jo täydellä aukolla. Pienillä aukoilla diffraktio eli valon taipuminen tuo pehmeyttä mukaan, mutta tämä ei ole objektiivin vika, vaan fysikaalinen ilmiö.

Kuvanlaatu on Sigmassa erittäin hyvä. Kuva on terävä ja sävyt ovat miellyttävän pehmeät. Kamera tosin tekee todella platkua jälkeä perusasetuksilla ja kuvat tarvitsevat jälkikäsittelyä näyttääkseen kunnollisilta värien puolesta. Enkä todellakaan ole ylikylläisten värien ystävä. Kuvasin ainoastaan raakakuvia, jotka kehittelin Adobe Lightroomissa.

Sigman kuvat näyttävät aivan hyviltä vedostettuna 30 x 40 cm kokoisisksi, mutta aavistus pehmeyttä näkyy, kun oikein läheltä katsoo. Normaalilta katseluetäisyydeltä kuvat ovat hyvännäköisiä.

Foveon-kennon tekniikka vaikuttaa hyvältä, mutta uusissa Bayer-kennoissa on niin paljon enemmän pikseleitä ja prosessorien arvauskyky hyvä, että Sigman kennon mahdollinen paremmuus kuvanlaadussa hieman katoaa vähiin pikseleihin.

Kuvatiedostot sen sijaan eivät ole aivan pieniä, sillä raakakuvan koko on n. 12 megaa, joka on samaa sarjaa esim. Nikon D700 kanssa. Isolle muistikortille on käyttöä Sigmassa.

Sigma on pokkarin kokoinen ja siinä suhteessa ainutlaatuinen kamera varustettuna isohkolla kennolla ja hyvällä optiikalla. Sigma DP2 ei ole kaikkien makuun, mutta jos pieni pikselimäärä ei hirvitä, niin oikein käytettynä Sigmalla voi tehdä aivan eri näköistä jälkeä kuin peruspokkarilla.

Aivan äskettäin esitelty Olympus E-P1 on hieman Sigmaa kalliimpi, mutta saattaa monelle olla houkuttelevampi vaihtoehto vaihto-objektiiveilla ja hyvällä käytettävyydellä. Sigma DP2 maksaa vajaat 700 euroa ostopaikasta riippuen.

Yllä vielä muutama Sigmalla kuvaamani otos, jotka kaikki on kuvattu raakana ja vedostettu Lightroomissa. Teknistä tietoa Sigmasta löytyy täältä ja täältä.

Guest Blogger: Michelle Oberman

It is a distinct pleasure to introduce my friend and Santa Clara Law colleague Michelle Oberman (left) as a guest blogger.
Michelle has a background in public health, and her research focuses on legal and ethical issues relating to adolescence, sexuality, pregnancy, and motherhood. In recent years, she has written about statutory rape, postpartum mental health issues and the law, filicide, substance abuse by pregnant women, and the fiduciary obligations of health care providers to their patients. In addition to teaching in the area of Health Law, Michelle teaches Criminal Law and Contracts.
In 2008 she co-authored When Mothers Kill: Interviews From Prison, depicted below right, with Dr. Cheryl L. Meyer, Professor of Professional Psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Their work won the Outstanding Book Award that year from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. According to the ACJS,
The book was excellent and captured both the concrete circumstances and the complex morality of the women…

In her guest post below, Michelle recounts some of what she and I learned on our recent research trip to Costa Rica in connection with Santa Clara's summer program at the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Heartfelt welcome!

Rosita's Legacy

(Many thanks to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute this guest post.)

As my colleague, IntLawGrrl Beth Van Schaack, and I recently made the rounds of various women’s groups during our research trip to Costa Rica, attempting to get a sense of whether and how the world of international human rights might be employed to help to mobilize those working on behalf of women’s status in Central America, everyone spoke of “la Rosita.” They did so as if her case had happened only yesterday. In fact, it had been six years since the then-nine-year-old girl was found to be pregnant and was refused an abortion by the Costa Rican government’s health service on the grounds that the pregnancy did not threaten her life.
Rosita’s story is layered, and has unfolded over the interceding years in ways that are at once horrific and mundane.
In Costa Rica, doctors, lawyers and health advocates invoke it to illustrate any number of problems plaguing women’s autonomy in their region of the world. (One of her drawings, entitled "Rosita sad," is at left.) Rosita’s mother brought her daughter to the doctor when the girl began complaining of stomach pain. It took several days before they realized she was just over three months pregnant. When she was transferred to San José for care, doctors put her in the obstetrical ward of the women’s hospital rather than in the children’s hospital.
Somehow, the media learned of Rosita’s pregnancy, which allegedly resulted from her having been raped by an acquaintance. Costa Rican law permits therapeutic abortions when the pregnancy poses a danger to a woman’s life or physical health. Perhaps the publicity around her case shaped her doctors’ decision that Rosita did not qualify for such an exception to the general ban on abortion.
With the help of local activists, the family returned to their home state, Nicaragua, where three doctors verified, in accordance with the law at that time, that the pregnancy was in fact life-threatening. Rosita obtained an abortion, but by then, her case had become a cause célèbre around the world. Filmmakers made an award-winning documentary (trailer) telling of her plight. Narrated in part by Rosita's mother and stepfather (right), the film expresses the hope that the abortion had been a way to permit her to resume her childhood.
Meanwhile, anti-abortion advocates vowed to tighten the laws that had permitted her to obtain a legal abortion. Daniel Ortega was elected president of Nicaragua on a platform supporting a complete ban on abortion. In 2006, Nicaragua became one of 4 countries in the world to ban abortion under all circumstances, including when pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the mother.
In late 2005, Rosita, still a child, became pregnant again. This time she carried her baby to term, and DNA testing determined that Rosita had been impregnated by her stepfather. It is now widely accepted that he caused her earlier pregnancy as well. In November 2007, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Today, Rosita and her baby live in state custody.
The women with whom Beth and I spoke in Costa Rica were on the front line of the struggle to improve women’s lives in their country and in their region of the world. Each spoke of Rosita’s case, and yet her story only emerged in bits and pieces:
► Another recounted the manner in which Rosita’s mother’s initial ambivalence about abortion, coupled with the media attention the case received, left the doctors with no real alternative but to deny the abortion.
No one spoke about the manner in which Rosa initially became pregnant. No one talked about the fact that she became a mother two years later, while still a child. No one mentioned that the law had not managed to protect Rosa from her abuser.
Instead, we spoke of the grey space beneath the law in which girls and women presently struggle to find a safe path to walk through their lives. It became clear that the law is only part of what circumscribes women’s status in their country, as in our own. To speak of rights was to tell only a half-truth. And yet, to ignore rights language altogether was to invite in the resignation that accompanies oppression. It was to feel shamed and humiliated, rather than simply afraid.

On June 29

On this day in ...
1974 (35 years ago today), Isabel Martínez de Perón (right) was sworn in as the 1st woman President of Argentina. (photo credit) The previous President, her husband, Juan Perón, had delegated responsibility to her due to weak health; he died 2 days later. At 43 the youngest Latin American head of state at the time, she inherited a political and economic crisis. Her presidency lasted until 1976, when she was overthrown in a bloodless coup by a military junta. In January 2007, she was arrested under suspicion of having links to right-wing death squads that had abducted and murdered political opponents during her rule.
1861, Elizabeth Barrett Browning (left), among the most prominent poets of the Victorian era, died in Florence, Italy, 55 years after her birth in England. (image credit) During the 19th century no women poet was held in higher esteem in both the United States and England than she. Her poetry had an immense impact on the work of the American poet Emily Dickinson. American poet Edgar Allan Poe similarly was inspired by the Briton's poem Lady Geraldine's Courtship (1844), borrowing its meter for his own The Raven (1845). Barrett Browning's loathing of social injustices -- such as the slave trade in America, the oppression of the Italians by the Austrians, child labor in the mines and mills of England, and the restrictions placed upon women -- is manifested in many of her poems, including Casa Guidi Windows (1851) and Aurora Leigh (1857).

Prior June 29 posts are here and here.)

Päivän kuvat

Tänään on ollut niin komea päivä, että kirjoittaminen ei ole oikein maistunut, joten Sigma DP2-juttu tulee alkuviikosta. Tässä kuitenkin Sigmalla kuvattuja kuvia.

Politics of the Veil bis

In his speech before the full French parliament on June 22, President Nicolas Sarkozy said
[the burqa] is not a religious problem, it is a problem of women's freedom and dignity. It is a sign of subjugation. . . . the burqa is not welcome in France.
Neither President Sarkozy nor the French government seem to have read either Beth Van Schaack's great post from last year, or the book that inspired its title, The Politics of the Veil (2007) by Joan Wallach Scott. As Beth mentioned, the French passed a law in 2004 banning the wearing of "ostentatious religious symbols" in public schools. The two arguments supporting the law were the French concept of laïcité, or separation of church & state, and the need to protect young women from being forced to wear fundamentalist religious garb. The law has the disparate effect it was designed to have on Muslim girls, who are forbidden to wear headscarves to school, and also affects Sikh boys. (In fact, many of Muslim parents also request that their daughters be excused from biology classes and mixed-sex swimming classes, for example. So while the law is limited to clothing, the underlying issue of mixing religion and public school is not.) Since most Orthodox Jewish children go to private schools, they are not affected by the 2004 law, which would? should? forbid boys wearing yamalkes, but perhaps not girls wearing tights, long sleeves and long skirts even on the hottest, muggiest days. They and other wearers of ostentious religious garb will also be unaffected by a new law President Sarkozy's government may table to ban the burqa (at least if it is imposed).
As I posted last August, France has denied citizenship to at least one woman on the grounds that she wears a niqab (face veil), which the Conseil d'État (supreme administrative court) considers incompatible with the essential values of the French community, notably with the principle of equality of the sexes. If the government actually does pass a law banning both the burqa (full body garment combined with hijab (head covering) and niqab (face veil)) and the niqab, it too will be upheld on the grounds that here in France, we prize dignity and transparency. It is argued that torturers and executioners cover their faces, that we can't have unidentifiable people picking up children from school, that we can't accept this obvious sign of female enslavement. Will forcing the few women who wear them (5% of France's Muslim population) to stay inside forever or move to a Muslim country save them from enslavement or give them dignity?

On June 28

On this day in ...
2004 (5 years ago today), the United States resumed direct diplomatic ties with Libya (flag at left) when it reopened a U.S. Liaison Office in the capital city of Tripoli. In December 1979, staff members had been withdrawn after a mob attacked and set fire to the U.S. embassy; the United States declared Libya a "state sponsor of terrorism." Relations between the 2 countries remained poor for decades. In 2003, Libya "accepted responsibility for the actions of its officials, renounced terrorism and arranged for payment of appropriate compensation for the families of the victims" of the bombings of a Berlin discotheque and two airliners, and also announced its decision to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs. (image credit)
1969 (40 years ago today), a police raid in the early morning hours at the Stonewall Inn (right) in New York's Greenwich Village touched off the Stonewall riots, frequently cited as the first instance in U.S. history when gays and lesbians fought back against the persecution of homosexuals. Stonewall, in turn, sparked the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world. Today, gay pride events are held annually worldwide toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots. (photo credit)

(Prior June 28 posts are here and here.)

Go On! Constance Baker Motley Symposium

(Go On! is an occasional item on symposia of interest) Professor Marilyn Ford advises readers to save the date 18 September 2009 for a symposium in tribute to the Honorable Constance Baker Motley (below right), an IntLawGrrls transnational foremother thanks to our own Amy Senier. (photo credit)
Senior U.S. District Court Judge Baker Motley (1921-2005) was, and is, a giant of the U.S. civil rights movement and legal profession. According to her autobiography, Equal Justice Under Law (1999), Baker Motley was galvanized to take action against racism early in life. (IntLawGrrls posts here.)
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, to immigrants from the Caribbean island of Nevis, Constance Baker was denied access to local public recreation areas as a teenager. She set out to become a civil rights attorney despite the many economic, racial, and gender barriers ahead of her.
Baker attended Fisk University and earned degrees from New York University and Columbia Law School. Judge Baker Motley was the first African-American woman appointed to the U.S. federal judiciary, the first African-American woman New York State Senator, and the first woman to serve as Manhattan Borough President.
The young Constance Baker is said to have shown her mother a “For Colored Persons Only” sign she had pulled down from a wall. She wryly noted that it had been reasonable for her to do so since the sign was evidently “for” people of color. She proceeded to break it in half, vowing to work against racial segregation and discrimination. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg described Judge Baker Motley’s subsequent trailblazing career in a 2005 tribute, “Human Rights Hero”.
Co-sponsored by Quinnipiac University School of Law and by Yale Law School, the event, “Constance Baker Motley: A Symposium on Her Life and Work,” will take place on Quinnipiac’s campus.
Scheduled panelists include leading civil rights scholars, lawyers, judges, historians, and journalists such as Lani Guinier, Elaine Jones, Drew S. Days, James B. Farmer, William E. Forbath, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Charles J. Ogletree, and Juan Williams. For registration information contact Professor Ford with a cc to Lauren Carolla at Lauren.Carolla@quinnipiac.edu .
It's great to see a true human rights hero being recognized in this way.

Tamron 70 - 200 mm toisen kerran

Olen kirjoittanut tästä objektiivista jo aikaisemmin, mutta minulla on ollut jonkin aikaa käytössäni eri yksilö kuin se, josta aiemmin kirjoitin. Edellisessä jutussani ihmettelin, että perustuuko objektiivin tarkennus tietyissä olosuhteissa enemmän arvaukseen kuin nykyteknologiaan.

Tämä nyt kokeilemani kappale toimii huomattavasti paremmin kuin ensimmäinen. Tarkennus on hyvinkin tarkka ja luotettava lähietäisyyksillä, eli noin alle 10 metriä. Kaukaisempiin kohteisiin tarkennus ei ole aivan yhtä luotettava, mutta kuitenkin aivan eri maailmasta kuin aikaisemman kokeilukappaleeni.

Muuten kaikki edellisessä jutussa kirjoittamani pitää edelleen paikkansa. Tamron on optisesti hyvälaatuinen ja myös mekaanisesti aivan kelpolailla kokoon laitettu. Mukana tuleva vastavalosuoja on riittävän pitkä ja suojaa kannattaa myös pitää paikallaan kuvatessa. Ei sillä, että Tamron olisi jotenkin yliherkkä vastavalolle, mutta kaikki objektiivit, joissa on iso etulinssi tuppaavat kärsimään vastavalosta.

Yhteenvetona voisi sanoa, että sitä saa mistä maksaa. Tamronin pahin heikkous on tarkennuksen lievä epäluotettavuus kaukana oleviin kohteisiin. Tamronin kanssa kyllä pärjää, mutta tarkennuksen kanssa pitää olla tarkkana ja tiedostaa tämä ominaisuus.

Pitkällä esim. 200 mm polttovälillä kuvatessa syväterävyys voi olla erittäin pieni suhteellisen kaukaisessakin kohteessa aukolla f/2.8, joten kannattaa ensin varmistua omasta kuvaustekniikasta ennen kuin syyttää objektiivia.

Toisaalta taas optinen suorituskyky on hyvällä mallilla hintaan nähden ja siksi valinta ja ostopäätöksen teko ei ole välttämättä helppo.

Nikonkuvaajalla valinta on melko selvä, Tamron maksaa esim. TopShotissa 797 euroa ja Nikkor 70 - 200 f/2.8 VR 2367 euroa. Nikkorissa on kuvanvakaaja, mutta harrastajalle hinta on kova. Ammattilainen valitsee Nikkorin, mutta harrastaja päätynee Tamroniin.

Canonkuvaaja on pahemman valinnan edessä. Samassa kaupassa Canon 70 - 200 mm f/2.8 ilman vakaajaa maksaa 1367 euroa, joka on miltei kaksi kertaa Tamronin hinta, mutta silti monen harrastajankin tavoitettavissa. Vakaajamalli Canonista onkin jo yli 2000 euroa ja siis ammattiluokkaa. Kiintoisa vaihtoehto sen sijaan on Canon 70 - 200 mm f/4 ilman vakaajaa hintaan 697 euroa. Viimeksi mainittu on optisesti erinomainen, pienikokoinen ja tarkennuksen kanssa tuskin tulee isompia ongelmia.

Ei muuta kuin pähkäilemään.

Yllä muutama kuva Tamronilla ja Nikon D3x kameralla kuvattuna. Alin kuva on täysikokoinen osarajaus toiseksi alimmasta kuvasta 200 mm polttovälillä täydellä aukolla f/2.8. Kuten näkyy Tamron on parhaimmillaan erittäin hyvä, sillä D3x ei anna anteeksi huonoa objektiivia. Kuva on raakafileestä Lightroomilla vedostettu ja terävöitys oli oletusarvoissa. Suljinaika oli 1/250 s. ja ISO 360.

An end to universal jurisdiction?

(Thanks to IntLawGrrls for giving me this opportunity to contribute another guest post.)

El Congreso de los Disputados (left), Spain's lower house of Parliament, has passed a bill that would limit the reach of universal jurisdiction and profoundly restrict Spain's ability to prosecute serious human rights crimes. (The legislative push was mentioned in this prior IntLawGrrls post.) The bill, available in English translation here, will go before the Spanish Senate for a final vote in the fall.
As is well known, the Spanish universal jurisdiction law was used to pursue former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998. Since then, the law has allowed Spanish courts to stand as a last resort for victims who cannot find justice at home:
► Using this law, Spanish courts have issued warrants for top Rwandan leaders and convicted an Argentine official for "dirty war" killings.
► The law also forms the basis for the Guatemala Genocide Case and the 1989 Jesuits Massacre Case in El Salvador, both now being litigated by the Center for Justice & Accountability, the San Francisco-based nongovernmental organization for which I am Executive Director.
As detailed here, the bill is flawed, yet there may well be constructive means by which the Spanish legislature can clarify the application of the universal jurisdiction law. For instance, the proposed bill correctly adds crimes against humanity to the list of admissible crimes. But the amendment will do nothing to streamline the legal process or to weed out spurious claims from the many legitimate human rights cases that have been brought. Worse still, this amendment may close the doors of Spanish justice to thousands of survivors of human rights abuses. This bill should not become law.
We'll continue to work with the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España, and other partners around the world, to oppose this legislation as it stands and to seek reforms that will protect this powerful tool for human rights.

... and counting ...

(Occasional sobering thoughts.) With:
► bombings and other lethal violence on the increase in Iraq as the deadline nears for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the cities pursuant to a pact about which we've posted, and
► continuing concerns over civilian casualties in Afghanistan has just led the United States to restrict aerial strikes there,
here's the casualty count in the 5 weeks since our last post: Iraq Body Count reports that between 92,393 and 100,868 Iraqi women, children, and men have died in the conflict in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, representing an increase of between 463 and 503 deaths in the last 5 weeks. According to the U.S. Defense Department, 4,314 American servicemembers have been killed in Iraq. Total coalition fatalities: 4,632 persons. That's 18 servicemember deaths in the last 5 weeks. As was the case in our last post, all servicemember casualties in this period were Americans.
As for the conflict in Afghanistan, military casualties in Afghanistan stand at 712 Americans and 486 other coalition servicemembers. That's an increase of 26 and 21, respectively, in the last 5 weeks, and a total servicemember casualty count of 1,198.

A count of a different sort

Sharp-eyed readers will note that we've moved to our righthand column the timer respecting the nomination of IntLawGrrls guest/alumna Dawn Johnsen to be Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.
Day 173. Still counting.

On June 27

On this day in ...
1831, Marie-Sophie Germain (right), French mathematician best known for her work in number theory, died in Paris. (image credit) Germain began teaching herself mathematics using her father's library when she was 13. Her parents felt that her interest was inappropriate and did all that they could to discourage her, though they relented in the face of her determination. Under the pseudonym M. LeBlanc, Sophie submitted a paper on analysis to Professor Joseph-Louis Lagrange of the École Polytechnique. Its originality and insight made Lagrange look for its author. When he discovered "M. LeBlanc" was a woman, his respect for her work remained, and he became her sponsor and mathematical counselor. In 1804, Germain began corresponding with the German mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss, whom she showed her work on a math problem known as Fermat's Last Theorem. Her work, the concept of the Sophie Germain prime, is arguably her greatest contribution to mathematics. In 1815, she won the prize for her entry for the Institut de France’s elasticity competition. Partly as a result, the French Academy of Sciences welcomed her as the first woman attendee who was not a member's wife.
2001, the International Court of Justice (the seat of which is the Peace Palace at The Hague, left) ruled against the United States in its judgment in the LaGrand Case. U.S. authorities had been required under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, of which the United States is a state party, to inform the defendants, foreign nationals, of their right to receive consular assistance from their government at the time of their arrest. They failed to do so and proceeded to carry out sentencing. The ICJ ruled that the United States had violated international law, stating additionally, for the first time in its history, that provisional measures issued by the Court were legally binding. (photo credit)

(Prior June 27 posts are here and here.)

The Gender Dimensions of the Financial Crisis

As reported in the Economist, the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition has released a short report on the financial crisis' impact on global nutrition. The news is grim: the number of people living in extreme poverty increased by over 130 million globally between 2005 and 2008 and is expected to increase by 53 million more in 2009. Food prices rose dramatically in response to the financial crisis, such that the work needed to feed a family of five increased by 10 to 20% in 2008 -- that's an additional 10 hours per week or more for breadwinners who may already be working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Combined with increasing unemployment, meaning a larger family to support, it has become nearly impossible for many families to meet basic subsistence needs.
So, between 2003-2005 and 2007, 75 million people were pushed into hunger, the most rapid rate since records of world hunger started; estimates suggest that an additional 40 million people were pushed into hunger in 2008. In some regions, food expenditures may now constitute 60% of household income. Poor households respond by cutting back on "first the diversity and quality, and then the quantity and safety of diets" -- with mothers normally the first to sacrifice their nutritional needs. If these mothers are pregnant, undernutrition will increase maternal and child mortality, and cause irreversible damage to their children's health, including stunting, wasting, behavioral problems, and high blood pressure and heart disease.
The Standing Committee recommends that states respond to the financial crisis with cash transfers and social services for the poor, including nutrition supplements for mothers and young children and treatment of severe acute malnutrition, as well as nutrition education programs for pregnant and lactating women linked to local food production. The report concludes:
maternal and child undernutrition indicators should be among the principal evaluative yard sticks for measuring the success of government led efforts to contain the negative impact of the financial crisis. This is especially true where new funding efforts are concerned, such as the World Bank proposed Vulnerability Fund, which should give special priority to funding these nutrition actions as essential elements of social protection programmes aimed at [mitigating the] effects of the financial crisis. . .

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)

[T]he Court ... simply applies T.L.O. to declare unconstitutional a strip search of a 13-year-old honors student that was based on a groundless suspicion that she might behiding medicine in her underwear. This is, in essence, a case in which clearly established law meets clearly outrageous conduct. I have long believed that "‘[i]t does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights of some magnitude.’"

-- U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (above left), concurring in part and dissenting in part yesterday in Safford United School District #1 v. Redding (quoting his own 1985 concurrence/dissent in the case of New Jersey v. T.L.O.).
In the opinion Stevens, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (right), contended that their colleagues should have upheld a lower court's decision to let go forward the damages suit filed by the girl, an Arizona middle school student when searched in 2003. They failed to persuade the rest of the Court, however. Although 6 Justices agreed that the search violated the 4th Amendment, they ruled that this was not "clearly established" in 2003, so that school officials were immune from suit. (SCOTUSblog's Lyle Denniston explains that a prospective matter this ruling does expand student privacy somewhat.) The 9th Justice, Clarence Thomas, filed a concurrence/dissent inverse to that of Stevens and Ginsburg: Thomas agreed officials were immune, but disagreed that strip searching the teenager violated the Constitution.

On June 26

On this day in ...
1975, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (right) declared a state of emergency in India, granting herself extraordinary powers and launching a massive crackdown on civil liberties and political opposition. Her opponents had long made allegations that her party had indulged in electoral malpractice to win the 1971 elections. (image credit) After 1972, her popularity started decreasing due to mass poverty and corruption. By 1974, there was severe turmoil across India. In June 1975, a court found her guilty of electoral fraud, excessive election expenditure, and the use of government machinery and officials for party purposes. It ordered her removed from her seat in Parliament and banned from running for elections for an additional six years. Rather than face the charges, on this day Gandhi declared a state of emergency. Political foes were imprisoned, impending legislative assembly elections were indefinitely postponed, constitutional rights were abrogated, and the press was placed under strict censorship. With her approval, slum dwellings were ordered removed, and, in an attempt to curb India's growing population, a program of forced sterilization was initiated.
1949 (60 years ago today), Belgium (flag at left) lifted the restrictions on voting rights for women. Since 1919, all women who were not prostitutes could stand for election and vote in municipal elections; on this day in 1949, women were given the right to vote at all levels. Continued underrepresentation of women in parliament led to the introduction of the Smet-Tobback law in 1994, which forced parties to include no more than 2/3 of candidates of either sex on electoral lists. The rules were applied for the first time in the June 13, 1999 elections, leading to a virtual doubling of the number of women in the House.

(Prior June 26 posts are here and here.)

On Day 94, Senate confirms Koh

Laura Rozen of Foreign Policy's blog reports that the U.S. Senate just confirmed Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh as the State Department's Legal Adviser in a roll call vote of 62 to 35.
By IntLawGrrls' count, the vote came on the 94th day since Koh (right) was tapped to become State's top international lawyer. Not a moment too soon.
Heartfelt congratulations!

Kaikki ei ole glamouria

On kiva kertoa kuvausmatkoista kaukaisiin kohteisiin tai kuuluisista kuvauskohteista, mutta suuri osa valokuvaajan työstä on melko tavallista peruskuvaamista. Elämä ei vain ole kaiken aikaa loistoa ja glamouria, ei edes valokuvaajan elämä :-) Sitä paitsi näinä päivinä voi olla hienoa jo pelkästään se, että on töitä, joista maksetaan.

Nämä peruskuvaukset eivät ole mitenkään huonoja kuvauksia ja niissäkin vaaditaan ammattiaitoa, jotta lopputulos tyydyttää asiakasta. Oikeastaan näissä kuvauksissa on melko helppo tehdä virhearvio ja luulla, että homma on todellista helpompi.

Kuvasin alkuviikosta Alfa Lavalin toimeksiannosta pari tällaista peruskuvausta, joissa kohteena oli omakotitalon lämpökeskus, vai oliko se lämmönjakokeskus. No, ei kuitenkaan missään tapauksessa mitään kovin seksikkäältä kuulostavaa.

Aamulla menimme Helsingin Energian toimitaloon Kamppiin Suomen pääkaupunkiin. Täällä kuvasin näyttelytilassa olevan Sampo-nimisen laitteen.

Valaistuksena käytin kahta Elinchromen metri kertaa metri tasovaloa, jotka laitoin reproasentoon kohteen molemmin puolin. Kuvattava laite oli kapeassa tilassa, joten jouduin käyttämään melko lyhyttä n. 30 mm polttoväliä mahduttaakseni kohteen kokonaisuudessaan kuvaan.

Tämä homma oli ohi n. tunnissa ja sen jälkeen suuntasimme kohti Lahtea J-Steel nimiseen yritykseeen, joka valmistaa lämmönjakokeskuksia. Täällä toinen samanlainen laite odotti kuvaamista.

J-Steelin tiloissa, josta yllä olevat kuvat ovat, teippasimme valkoisen taustan varastohyllyyn ja nostimme kuvauskohteen taustan eteen. Valot ja niiden asettelu olivat aivan samat kuin aamullakin, mutta tilaa oli enemmän. Tämä iltapäivän kuvaus kesti hieman aamuista kauemmin, sillä kuvasin useita versioita parista eri kohteesta.

Kuvasin tuotekuvat Nikon D3x kameralla ja Nikkor 24 - 70 mm f/ 2.8 zoomilla. D3x on painava ja iso monsteri, mutta kuvanlaatua ei voi liikaa kehua. Toivottavasti saamme joskus D700:n kokoisen kameran, jossa on reilut 20 megapikseliä. Tarkoitan, että me Nikonkuvaajat, sillä Canonkuvaajilla sellainen jo on.

Introducing Jocelyn Wolf

Eagle-eyed IntLawGrrls readers will have noticed a new byline gracing many of our "On This Day" posts this month. It belongs to Jocelyn Wolf (right), whom we're proud to welcome as the inaugural IntLawGrrls Legal Intern.
A member of the Class of 2011 at my own home institution, the University of California, Davis, School of Law (Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall), Jocelyn has an avid interest in international law, policy, and practice. Whetting her appetite was a semester abroad at the National University of Ireland-Galway in fall 2007. There she studied European Communities law with Dr. Laurent Pech, Jean Monnet Lecturer in EU Law and a contributing editors of International Law Prof Blog. (Jocelyn reports that she was fortunate to have used the used the EU Law textbook for which IntLawGrrl guest/alumna Gráinne de Búrca is a co-author.) Soon after, in spring 2008, Jocelyn earned her B.A. in International Relations and Linguistics from the University of California at Davis. This past semester, she was my student in Constitutional Law.
Jocelyn has chosen to dedicate her work on the blog to Benazir Bhutto (below left), the subject of many earlier IntLawGrrls posts. The U.N. General Assembly bestowed upon Bhutto a U.N. Prize in the Field of Human Rights in December 2008, a year after death ended her campaign to lead her native Pakistan once again. As stated in a 2008 account of that award:

An ardent advocate for democracy and for the human rights of the most vulnerable sections of society, particularly women, children and minority rights, Ms. Bhutto was twice elected prime minister of Pakistan. After returning to Pakistan late last year following years in exile, Ms. Bhutto was assassinated in an attack in Rawalpindi.
Today Bhutto -- whose assassination is currently the subject of a 6-month U.N. inquiry -- joins other IntLawGrrls transnational foremothers in the list just below the "visiting from ..." map at right.
Heartfelt welcome!

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)

'I believe we are finally starting to turn the page on this extremely unfortunate chapter of recent history, with counter-terrorism measures starting to move back in to line with international human rights standards. ... But there is still much to do before the Guantanamo chapter is truly brought to a close.'
-- U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay (right) yesterday, in what the Washington Post called "her most detailed statement on U.S. detention policy" to date. The full statement, which alluded to the issues of interrogation, torture, accountability for complicit lawyers and doctors, and proposed "prolonged" detention without trial, is available here.

Bloggers Team