(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘United States of America

“Thou hast set all the borders of the earth…” but then humans marked them…

Fifty states, fifty welcome signs.

(“Thou hast set all the borders of the earth…”  Psalms 74:17)

As we gas up and hit the road to collect ’em all, we might recall that it was on this date in 1777 that the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution– and the Stars and Stripes was adopted as the flag of the United States of America for maritime purposes.  While Congress reserved the right to adopt a different design for the nation’s ensign, it never did; rather it just added stars to the original thirteen for each new state in the Union.

The resolution specified “that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation”– but it did not specify the layout of the stars.  Consequently there were several early versions, for instance:

The “Betsy Ross” flag

The Bennington flag

In 1795, the number of stars and stripes was increased to 15 (reflecting the entry of Kentucky and Vermont).  It was about this flag the Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”– and the dye was cast.

The “Anthem” flag

Happy Flag Day!

The eyes have it…

From 10,000 Words (“where journalism and technology meet”), a look at “10 News photos that took retouching too far“:

Many news photographs are Photoshopped here and there to increase clarity or to optimize for print or online display. But there have been several instances where retouching has been pushed too far, changing the original intent or accuracy of the photo.

Among the before-and-after examples:

From USA Today

and this, from the Toledo Blade:

Read the back-stories, and check out the other eight, here.

In many newsrooms it is unethical to pass off a retouched photo as reality. Ideally, retouching of a news photograph should be limited to basic exposure and color correction, cropping, resizing, or conversion to grayscale. Any Photoshopping that alters the meaning of the original photo should be labeled as a “news illustration” in the caption so the viewer understands the photo has been altered.

Retouching may seem innocent, but can have a profound effect on the way we remember an event, according to a 2007 study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology.

“Any media that employ digitally doctored photographs will have a stronger effect than merely influencing our opinion – by tampering with our malleable memory, they may ultimately change the way we recall history,” said researcher Dario Sacchi.

For more on the ethics of news photography, check out the National Press Photographers Association’s code of ethics.

As we reconsider the evidence of our own eyes, we might recall that on this date in 1775, via a resolution submitted to the Continental Congress by Richard Henry Lee, the “United Colonies” of America (which had it’s own currency; c.f. the $2 note below) changed it’s name to the “United States” — a masterstroke of re-branding.

source

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