Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our Lousy Media

Consider this series of screenshots (via Shawn in comments):

There was an interesting report released this week.
But if you watched Fox, you wouldn't know.
To be fair and balanced, NPR isn't doing any better.
Nothing new here, either.
Elsewhere, there's a fair amount of chatter.
Why is this important, you wonder?
Because the end of the controversy isn't being reported like the beginning.
The false accusations against the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit were widely reported, even in less biased news organizations, despite the evidence being thin.
But the final proof that they were false, and that the observational record that underlies the theory of anthropogenic climate change is solid, is absent from the airwaves so far.

Controversy sells.

Denouement doesn't .

But by not reporting both equally, our media creates false impressions.
And it's one of the reasons our media sucks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No School like the New School

One of the perennial issues politicians and the media like to take up is How Our Failing Schools Are Failing.  Oh noes!  The problem is, it's not true.  America remains, in aggregate, a well-educated country.  The actual problem is that a subset of public primary and secondary schools are failing miserably, mainly those in poor areas where parents fail their own kids in ways that schools can't entirely fix.  But it's useful to the agenda of the far right for them to say that public schools writ large are failing, and our lousy media dutifully repeats the charge.

Now, of course and obviously, even the parts of the public school system that are doing well can be improved.  One of the ways I believe American schools can be improved is by changing the curriculum to better reflect today's society.  I'm not sure how the six subject curriculum that middle and high schools have traditionally offered began, but the fact that the school day lasted roughly six hours suggests that it happened largely by default.  And it really wasn't six subjects; it was four plus two.  The big four were primary language (English in the US), math, social studies, and science.  The two were health and physical education (through 10th grade) along with one and then two electives of whatever else students or parents or local school board wants.  Sometimes it was a foreign language, sometimes arts, sometimes a second science, and so on.  But having only one or two slots available for all the other things a student might learn just wasn't enough.  Because of this, most high schools have moved to a seven period day so students have more opportunities for electives.

Seven periods still isn't enough, however.  I don't say that simply because I think "one louder" would automatically be better.  Instead, I believe that schools should teach a curriculum of eight subjects, all treated equally1 (at least through 10th grade), because there are eight subject groups that students need to learn.  Those would be the first four listed above, plus health and physical education, a second language, the arts, and technology.  Briefly, here's why each is important.
  • Primary language  - A student should be proficient in the primary language of the country in which they live.  This may or may not be the same as a student's home language, and in some places in some countries may be different from the local or regional language.2  Given the complexity of modern life, a person needs to be able to function in the language of most legal and economic transactions where they live, and anything less than proficiency puts them at a disadvantage.  The literature of the primary languages is also a major component of a country's cultural heritage, and a student should be aware of it.
  • Mathematics - Basic math is very useful in everyday life, and higher math is a necessary skill for large number of disciplines.3
  • Physical sciences - The individual sciences and the scientific method in general are far better at describing the Earth we live on than anything else humans have thought of before.  The sciences also provide the basis for many technologies and industries.
  • Social studies - It is not possible to understand a society without having at least some understanding of how it developed.  History teaches that.  Other classes in the category are more focused on how societies function and compare today.  Taken together they enable a person to understand the governance and politics of their country.
  • Health and physical education - Children need to be active for the sake of their health, and because they usually have the urge to be.  They also need to have a basic understanding of their own physiology in order to better maintain their health as they get older.
  • Second language - Globalization means that people in one country often interact with those in or from another, and knowing a second language enables a person to interact on more equal terms with people with at least one foreign country.  Minor benefits of a second language shown by some studies are improvement in first language learning, and in general cognitive ability.
  • Technology - Humans use a variety of technologies, both low and high, in their everyday life.  Everybody should have a basic understanding of things like how oil is refined, a house is constructed, electricity is generated, a computer is programmed, and so on.  Having a general understanding enables a person to better interact with the technologies and make decisions about them.
  • Fine arts - The arts are usually neglected once a student is ready to do something more than paint with their fingers or play a triangle.  But because visual arts and music are important parts of a country's culture, and many people derive a great amount of pleasure in taking part in them, they should be taught as much any other subject.
Moving to an eight subject curriculum would have a number of practical implications.  The first is that the daily bell schedule would need to be adjusted.  The simplest solution, which would be to jam more class periods into the same amount of time, isn't a good one because of the overhead imposed by class changes.  It is a fact of life that students require a few minutes to settle down after the bell rings, and get restless a few minutes before.  And the intermission, or break, can't be reduced below 5 minutes, or even 10 minutes in really big schools, simply because it takes a certain amount of time to walk from one classroom to another.  Those two factors coupled with an eight-period day would mean that a significant portion of each day would consist of non-productive time.  Instead of eight periods, schools would need to use either a 1+4 or an A/B system.  The 1+4 system has one day of short classes combined with four days with four long periods periods each.  Under the plan, a student would have one set of subjects on Tuesday and Thursday, and another on Wednesday and Friday, plus all subjects on Monday.  An A/B system simply alternates four long periods periods, which results in a pattern that repeats every two weeks.4  The 1+4 arrangement does have one day that has more non-productive time, but some systems see that day as useful for tests and other tasks that would break up a longer day.

The second implication is that the school year would need to be extended.  If the annual calendar was kept the same, dividing the day (virtually) into eight blocks instead of six would reduce the amount of time spent on each subject - unless the school day was made drastically longer.  However, I don't see why the current standard of 9000 minutes (nominal) of instruction annually for each subject should be considered necessary or optimal.  At the same time, if all other things are equal, less time spent on a subject means less learned about a subject.  Increasing the school year by 20 days to 200 would keep the reduction in time to less than 10%, when combined with a slightly longer day.  I think an expansion of the amount of real teaching time that would come from using a bell schedule with bigger blocks would make up for the rest.5

The third implication of moving to eight subjects, which follows from the previous two, is that more teachers would have to be hired.  Assuming they get one free period per day, it would take about 11% more teachers for the same number of students.  Teachers would also want a pay increase, because their annual classroom time would go up.  Since teacher pay is their largest expense, school systems would see a big rise in costs.  I think the extra spending would be worthwhile, because the changes leading to the increase would cause incomes to rise for everybody, especially at the lower end.

This is a graphical summary of the curriculum changes detailed above.  (The specific class names aren't important for this post, so don't get hung up on them.)  It also adds in two other issues not directly linked to expanding the curriculum.  One is that the age where specific subject matter teaching starts should be decreased.  I don't think there is any bright line on when that should happen, but I think it's definitely before 7th grade, which is the typical point in much of the US.  Note that I'm not saying the eight subjects shouldn't be taught in lower primary, just that the point at which subjects are taught by subject-matter experts should be at a younger age than is now the case.

The other new issue is vocational education.  Most of the time discussion of secondary education excludes everyone not on a college track, which amounted to 45% of the people who left high school in 2009.  This includes dropouts, along with those who do graduate but don't attend either a two-year or four-year college right away.6  There are vocational programs for some students, but clearly it's not sufficient.  And more vocational training is needed because a strictly academic model doesn't teach many skills that are immediately useful in the jobs that people with no experience and only a high-school education are likely to take.

However, increasing the number of students on a vocational track would have problems.  The main one is the potential for both explicit and unintentional discrimination.  I don't know of an easy, mechanical way of solving that issue, but it does exist and should be acknowledged.  There would also be logistical issues due to the need for specialized teaching facilities for most vocations.  The exact solution to that depends on the nature of the school district and the economy in the surrounding region, and I'm not going to try to address all of the potential arrangements here.

Regardless of who is placed in each one, the split between the academic and vocational tracks should start in the 11th grade.  I think making the decision sooner would yield more poor outcomes, because students would have not had enough time to develop their interests and academic abilities. On the other hand, while pushing it back a year would be less bad, that would force non-academically inclined students to spend a year in classes that they won't really benefit from.  Academic classes wouldn't be completely eliminated from the vocational track in this model, however.  Even after 10th grade, there are still some subjects that every student should take, and that can't be taught to younger students because of complexity.

None the changes I propose above are radical, though taken together they are significant.  A truly revolutionary change would be to end secondary education at age 16, and move students into a system of "colleges" similar to what Québec has.  The American junior colleges (aka community colleges) aren't quite the same, as many of the programs they offer replicate the first two years of a four-year degree.  In Québec, attending a college is a prerequisite for entering a university, but baccalaureate programs are typically only three years long.  The four-level system has some merits, but at this point I don't see them as being so great that they would be worth disrupting the current education system to the degree that would be necessary to implement the new third layer.

Unfortunately, my proposal won't be considered, and not only because I'm just some blogger on the internet that nobody reads.  As in a lot of other policy areas, the current discussion about schools is just irrational.  Not only is the very real problem of educating poor students not being addressed, we're instead talking about how teachers' unions are supposedly ruining everything.  Until we actually talk about the actual problems the country faces, we'll never make the changes we really need to make.

1.  Potentially schools could offer a curriculum of eight subjects with unequal treatment, but that would make scheduling much harder.  It would also put the less emphasized subjects at greater risk of being cut completely for budgetary reasons.
2.  Language instruction is a touchy issue in many countries, especially where there are long-established minority language regions.  The political outcome is usually either to teach the regional language as a second language, or to teach the full curriculum in the regional language.  In the US, where there are a lot of students who are recent immigrants, bilingual education in all of the home languages would be a logistical problem.  The solution has been to give extra English language instruction for a couple of years, which often isn't enough for older students.
3.  Specific classes aren't too important for this post, but I firmly believe that both statistics and accounting should be taught in high school, and to non-technical students they would be much more useful than advanced abstract math such as calculus.  Adding statistics and accounting means every student would have at least one math classes every year until they graduate.
4.  An example of a four-class day would be: 4x85 minutes of classes, plus 3x5 minutes for breaks, plus 30 minutes for lunch, plus 5 minutes for home room, for a total of 390 minutes.  An example of an eight-class day would be: 8x40 minutes of classes, plus 7x5 minutes for breaks, plus 30 minutes for lunch, plus 5 minutes for home room, for a total of 390 minutes.  An example of a traditional day would be: 6x50 minutes of classes, plus 5x5 minutes for breaks, plus 30 minutes for lunch, plus 5 minutes for home room, for a total of 360 minutes.
5.  The percentage depends which of the two schedules is used.  The 1+4 system yields 210 minutes per week per class (40+85+85), and the A/B system yields (on average) 212.5 minutes per week per class (85+85+85/2).  Multiplying those counts by 40, then dividing by 9000 returns 93.3% and 94.4% of the traditional arrangement of 5 periods of 50 minutes per week per class for 36 weeks.
6.  Cumulative enrollment of each annual cohort goes up over time to about 60% because some people delay attending college for various reasons, and others change their mind about attending after being in the workforce.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Long, Long Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

.. a star shone.  Lots of them, in fact.  And somewhat more recently, some people have made it their career to look at them.  That's not a bad choice, if you can hack the math.  However, as science has progressed, the number of sites where cutting-edge research can be done has shrunk, especially at the optical wavelength.  Because the Earth's atmosphere is opaque to much of the electromagnetic spectrum, including light to some degree, telescopes are best located at high-elevation sites.  A site should also be dry, have stable air, and be upwind from large land masses so that the amount of aerosols is lower.  And finally, a site should not have a lot of light pollution.  Those factors limit the number of premier sites for optical astronomy to three, which are northern Chile, the island of La Palma in the Atlantic, and the islands of Hawai'i and Maui in the Pacific.  Southern California would be included in that list, but the megalopolis of LOSSAN gives off too much light pollution.  So the best sites in the US are farther from the coast, in Arizona and New Mexico.  Western Morocco, Namibia, and Baja California are being looked at for potential locations by more observatories as other good sites fill up, but for now they remain mostly undeveloped.

All that is by of way introducing my latest maps, which are of major astronomical observatories in North America and in South America.  Both maps contain all of the "research-class" telescopes that I have found on the net.  Included are all optical (which includes near-UV and infrared) telescopes over 1.0m (40"), many optical telescopes down to about 0.4m depending on location, a number of project-dedicated optical telescopes, most solar telescopes, and most radio telescopes.  Not included are telescopes primarily used for teaching, historic telescopes, telescopes at science museums and planetariums, telescopes used by amateurs for minor planet discovery, and indirect observing projects such as neutrino and cosmic ray observatories.  There's nothing wrong with those instruments, or their purposes.  But either they aren't used for research that will contribute to the body of astronomical knowledge, or they can't image distinct sources.  As always, I have tried to be as thorough as possible, but there are certainly a few inaccuracies.  And since I don't speak Spanish or Portuguese, the South American map is undoubtedly incomplete.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Galaxy-class Assholes

This really takes the cake, a Nobel, several Olympic Gold medals, and as many Peabodys as O'Reilly thinks he has won:
“Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager. “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people."

He added that he was disappointed that members of Congress from New York, especially Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had not come out swinging for an industry that donates heavily to their campaigns. “They need to understand who their constituency is,” he said.
Most of us who talk about pitchforks, tumbrels, guillotines, and the like are joking.  There's not going to have another French Revolution, and the people who want something like to happen that are idiots.  Besides, the government has too much firepower, and employees too many people who actually get off on kicking people while they're down.  But assholes like the one quoted above prove that the Occupy Wall Street protesters have valid reasons to take on banksters.  Not only does he brazenly assert that American legislators should respond to campaign donations, not the voters, which should be enough to get everyone out on the street by itself.   But he also shows that Wall Street doesn't understand the American economy or the role of finance in it, and needs to be beaten down for that reason, too.  A large, continent-spanning country of 310 million people can't survive on a financial sector concentrated in one city.  Only very small countries (less than 1 million people) can.  Even Switzerland, which is basically synonymous with banking secrecy and profiting from illicit wealth, has a large and healthy manufacturing sector (albeit with a higher portion of luxury goods makers than most).  A big country like the United States has to be good at making stuff.  And it is, in some sectors - airplanes and software most notably.  The role of a financial sector in such a country should be to facilitate the rest of the economy.  Instead, Wall Street has taken to profiting from the decline of other manufacturing sectors, and from increasing inequality.  It has both fed and gotten wildly rich from the increasing amount of debt Americans have accumulated in order to maintain their way of life as their incomes have been squeezed.  OWS is an entirely legitimate response to the problem the US financial system poses for the vast majority of the citizens of the US.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Picture This and That: Look at Dat Glass Edition

Photographic lenses, or "glass" in photographer slang, are something a lot of first-time interchangeable lens camera buyers don't really think about when they make their purchase.  But they should.  In a previous post I said, "there is no point in buying a $1000 receiver and $400 pair of speakers" because bad speakers will degrade source material no matter how good the receiver is.  A better analogy would have been, "there is no point in buying a $2000 mixing board and plugging in $15 microphones" because cameras and lenses are visual recording instruments.  There may be times when a person would want to use a low-fidelity input device such as a cheap microphone or a plastic camera lens because of the effect it gives.  But the same effect can usually be done in processing (mixing or editing), whereas upgrading to a clean picture or recording is difficult or impossible.  Photographers usually aim to get the clearest image possible for that reason.

Below are my notes about lenses.

Basic terminology - these are some frequently used terms.
  • Extension tube - mounts between a body and lens to decrease the focal length
  • Fast - a lens with a large maximum aperture, generally considered to be f/1.4 to f/2.8 depending on the type of lens, but exotic (read: expensive) lenses can be faster
  • Filter - blocks a certain portion of incoming light from passing through it; generally screws onto the end of the lens, but some lenses have a filter tray near the middle of the lens barrel
  • Fisheye - a lens with a very wide field of view and exaggerated distortion
  • Fixed-focus - typically used only on very low-end cameras
  • Kit - a lens that comes with the camera, often a 28-85mm zoom
  • Macro - a lens that allows for close-up work, with minimal magnification
  • Macro filter - not a filter; mounts on the end of lens to allow close-up work
  • Portrait - a slightly long-focus lens, with a focal length of 85mm to 105mm
  • Prime - fixed focal-length lens
  • Standard or normal - a lens that gives a field of view similar to the human eye, typically 50mm for 35mm cameras, with a range from 40mm to 55mm
  • Teleconverter - mounts between a body and lens to increase the focal length
  • Telephoto - a long-focus lens that enlarges distant subjects, with a focal length of 105mm or greater
  • Teleside converter - mounts on the front of a lens to increase the focal length
  • Tilt-shift or perspective control - specialty lens used by professionals
  • Wide-angle - a lens that allows for a greater field of view, with a focal length of 35mm or less
  • Zoom - a variable focal length lens
OEM manufactures - Lenses from camera manufacturers are generally considered to be, on average, better than the third party manufacturers.  None make lenses for any mount but their own, but the lenses can sometimes be re-used with an adapter.
OEM/Third-party manufacturers - both of these companies make their own cameras and lenses, like the ones above.  In the case of Leica, which is widely considered to be the best lens maker in the world, its lenses are often used on other cameras via an adapter.  Sigma started out as a third-party manufacturer, and usually is considered the best.  It recently created its own line of DSLRs with the unique Foveon sensor.
  • Leica - S mount and M mount lenses
  • Sigma - SA mount lenses, plus it is one of the "big three" third-party makers
Third-party manufacturers - these companies make lenses with a variety of mounts.  The lenses are mostly manual focus because until recently the OEM companies did not released the electrical specifications for their lens mounts.  Some companies have reverse-engineered electrical specifications, with mixed results.
  • Tokina - one of the "big three" third-party makers
  • Tamron - one of the "big three" third-party makers
  • Samyang - Korean manufacturer that makes lenses for a lot of rebranders
  • Zeiss - high-end lenses
  • Schneider - tilt-shift lenses
  • Hartblei - tilt-shift lenses
  • Arax - tilt-shift and fisheye lenses
  • Voigtländer - Cosina makes lenses under this name
  • LZOS - Russia company selling two fisheyes
  • KMZ - Russia company with several lenses, usually branded Zenitar
  • Belomo - Belorussian company with several lenses
  • Kowa - makes only one telephoto lens that can also be used as a sighting scope
  • Noktor - fast (large aperture) lens made for SLR Magic
  • Rodenstock, Schneider, Fujinon, and Nikon are the main large-format lens manufacturers
  • Congo, Osaka, Cooke Optics, and perhaps other very low volume manufacturers also make large format lenses
Third-party rebranders - these companies generally just re-badge lenses designed and built by other companies.
  • Vivitar - for a long time this was the largest rebrander in the US.  It sometimes even had its own lens designs made by others.  It seems to have stopped making lenses, though they are still available from some retailer
  • Rokinon - lenses mostly seem to be Samyang
  • Promaster - Wolf Camera "house" brand
  • Pro Optic - may be Adorama "house" brand; lenses mostly seem to be Samyang
  • Bower - may be B&H "house" brand; lenses mostly seem to be Samyang
  • Quantary - Ritz Camera "house" brand
  • Phoenix - Samyang captive brand
  • Opteka - may be 47th Street Photo "house" brand; lenses mostly seem to be Samyang
  • Kenko - Tokina lenses are sometimes sold under this captive brand
  • and probably others around the world; historically there have been hundreds of such brands 
  • Sinar, Linhof, and Caltar apparently rebrand large-format lenses
Specialty and novelty manufacturers - several companies offer lenses that create certain retro or low-fidelity effects, or that have limited appeal for some reason.
MSC lenses - this is a chart of lenses available, or announced and likely to appear, for mirrorless system cameras as of October 2011.  It contains all lenses with a native physical mount, though some are not electrically compatible and thus have to be manually controlled.  The Micro Four-Thirds mount has the most lenses available, though a lot of them are rough duplicates because there are two companies making cameras for the mount.  However, at any particular focal length, one of the lenses may be a better than the other, so it is worth looking at the reviews for both brands.  I think it's unlikely that there will ever be any quality third-party lenses for the Q mount, and perhaps the CX mount as well, because of the small sensor size.  On the other hand, the E mount will eventually attract several third-party makers because the NEX platform is likely to be moderately successful, and Sony has offered to license the electrical specification for the mount.  Samsung seems to have realized that as a very minor player, one of the ways it could get more attention is to field a large array of lenses for the NX mount in short order, which it has.  Focal distances are listed both at the native crop factor and as 35mm-equivalent.

MountBrandNameTypeAFFD MinFD MaxEq. MinEq. Max
CXNikonNikkor 10mm f/2.8 Wide
CXNikonNikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6Standard
CXNikonNikkor VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD-zoom Super
CXNikonNikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 Telephoto
ERokinon8mm Ultra wide Angle f/3.5 Fisheye LensFisheye
ESony16mm f/2.8
wide-Angle Lens
ESony18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom LensStandard
ESony18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Zoom LensSuper
ESonyCarl Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 LensWide
ESony30mm f/3.5 Macro LensNormal
ESony50mm f/1.8 Telephoto LensTelephoto primeYes50507575
ESony55-210mm Zoom LensTelephoto
ENoktorHyperPrime 50mm f/0.95Telephoto primeNo50507575
mFTPanasonicLumix G Vario 7-14mm F4.0 Asph.Wide
mFTSamyang7.5mm 1:3.5 UMC Fisheye MFTFisheye
mFTPanasonicLumix G Fisheye 8mm F3.5 Fisheye
mFTOlympusM.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6Wide
mFTOlympusM.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm F2.0 Wide
mFTPanasonicLumix G 14mm F2.5 Asph. Wide
mFTOlympusM.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6Standard
mFTOlympusM.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 IIStandard
mFTOlympusM.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II RStandard
mFTPanasonicLumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 Asph. Mega O.I.S.Standard
mFTPanasonicLumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 Asph. Power O.I.S.Standard
mFTPanasonicLumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 Asph. Mega O.I.S.Standard
mFTPanasonicLumix G Vario HD 14-140mm F4.0-5.8 Asph. Mega O.I.SSuper
mFTOlympusM.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm F4.0-5.6Super
mFTOlympusM.Zuiko Digital 17mm F2.8 Wide
mFTPanasonicLumix G 20mm F1.7 Asph. Wide
mFTPanasonicLeica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 Asph. Normal
mFTVoigtlanderNokton 25mm F0.95Normal
mFTOlympusM.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4.0-5.6Telephoto
mFTOlympusM.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4.0-5.6 RTelephoto
mFTOlympusM.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Telephoto primeYes45459090
mFTPanasonicLeica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 Asph. Mega O.I.S.Telephoto primeYes45459090
mFTPanasonicLumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm F4.0-5.6 Asph. Power O.I.S.Telephoto
mFTPanasonicLumix G Vario 45-200mm F4.0-5.6 Mega O.I.STelephoto
mFTNoktorHyperPrime 50mm f/0.95Telephoto primeNo5050100100
mFTOlympusM.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7Telephoto
mFTPanasonicLumix G Vario 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 Mega O.I.STelephoto
NXSamyang8mm F3.5 Fisheye Fisheye
NXSamyang14mm F2.8 IF ED MC Aspherical Wide
NXSamsung16mm F2.4 PancakeWide
NXSamsung16-80mm F3.5-4.5 OIS Standard
NXSamsung18-55mm Portrait Lens Standard
NXSamsungCompact 18-55mm Zoom Lens Standard
NXSamsung18-200mm Multi-Purpose Lens Super
NXSamsung20mm NX Pancake LensWide
NXSamsungUltra Compact 20-50mm Zoom Lens Standard
NXSamyang24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC Wide
NXSamsung30mm NX Pancake Lens Normal
NXSamyang35mm F1.4 AS UMC Normal
NXSamsung50-200mm Telephoto Zoom Lens Telephoto
NXSamsung50-200mm NX Telephoto OIS Lens Telephoto
NXSamsung60mm F2.8 Macro ED OIS SSATelephoto primeYes60609090
NXSamsung85mm F1.4 ED SSATelephoto primeYes8585128128
NXSamyang85mm F1.4 Aspherical IF Telephoto primeNo8585128128
QPentaxFish-Eye 3.2mm f/5.6Fisheye
zoom 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5
QPentaxToy Lens
wide 6.3mm f/7.1
QPentaxStandard Prime 8.5mm f/1.9 AL [IF]Normal
QPentaxToy Lens Telephoto 18mm f/8Specialty


Praise FSM and pass the stuffing.  Okay, there may be as many as 150 directly-employed US troops left, along with 5,000 or more indirectly employed troops and 11,000 other people at the US "embassy" in Baghdad, but the US will officially stop occupying at least one country this year.

After over eight years and nine months, George Bush's entirely unnecessary war will finally end.