Descriptive Camera

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but this… umm… “interesting” Descriptive Camera suggests that it’s probably nearer twenty.

The Descriptive Camera works a lot like a regular camera—point it at subject and press the shutter button to capture the scene. However, instead of producing an image, this prototype outputs a text description of the scene.

Wait. What?

Yes. There’s no picture here, just a brief description of what the picture would look like. So how does it work?

The technology at the core of the Descriptive Camera is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk API. It allows a developer to submit Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) for workers on the internet to complete. The developer sets the guidelines for each task and designs the interface for the worker to submit their results. The developer also sets the price they’re willing to pay for the successful completion of each task. An approval and reputation system ensures that workers are incented to deliver acceptable results.

Each “picture” costs $1.25 to “develop” and the process typically takes around 6 minutes.
The inventor, Matt Richardson, suggests that being able to file data about the contents of a photograph would be useful in searching, filtering and cross-referencing our photo collections. This rather clumsy (but still clever and innovative) system explores the possibilities of what being able to capture this data in this in the future might mean.


“Deathstar” – that’s the title of the latest blog post on (previously featured on 6000 miles… here). In this episode, our hero ventures deep into the heart of the enemy base (is this right? – Ed.) and finds himself in a space not unlike the one in which Luke Skywalker fought Darth Vader in whatever Star Wars film that was that they fought in.

Much as that fight made for thrilling viewing, so does the photography here, including this absolute gem which for me invokes some of that lightsaber action:

We’re not actually told what sort of building this is, only that:

Descending the access shaft and opening the door to the inner chamber here … is a sobering thing. There’s a subtlety to its shape that suggests a silent eruption of power; to stand beneath is to stare at a torus of cascading alien concrete.

One can only hope that they have sufficiently protected the reactor core this time around…

Earth from the ISS

Or rather, in this case, the ISS from Atlantis, via TriggerPit.

Earth from the ISS: Like a scene from Star Wars – an X-wing approaches

Kepler on the horizon. Backdropped by Earth’s horizon and the blackness of space, European Space Agency’s (ESA)
“Johannes Kepler” Automated Transfer Vehicle-2 (ATV-2) begins its relative separation from the International Space Station.
The ATV-2 undocked from the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module at 10:46 a.m. (EDT) on June 20, 2011.
Earth from ISS photo credit NASA.

More amazing photos here.

Thanks Nickster.

Brisbane: The Span

Those of you who got in touch regarding this post and the incredible photography on the Silent UK site (there were a lot of you) may also be interested in this blog from a similar individual in Australia.

Today’s post showcases the Story Bridge in Brisbane:

There’s plenty more where that came from as well, including (in my humble opinion, anyway) some particularly amazing snaps here and here.



Proboscine readers may recall this post about Silent UK, in which I remarked:

I must say, I’ve never really though of trespass as a hobby before and I can’t bring myself to agree with it. I can, however, appreciate some of the fantastic photographic results and the images of otherwise secret history that their naughtiness generates.

And I stand by all of that. But I was still somehow saddened to read today that the protagonists recently got nabbed and of the decision which that has forced upon them:

Regardless of the punishment I am to receive, the irrevocable damage has been done, the confidence built over six years gone. Now even the thought of entering the Underground I have spent the past four years of my life wandering, makes me sick to my stomach. I never want to go through that again, unfortunately the only way to completely avoid this, is to stop. The effect this has had on my life, my studies and even my career has been unbearable. Even as I write this I realise it’s not over, no guarantees that it will end when I next answer bail.

However, they’ve decided to go out with a bang, publishing an account of a recent outing to St Paul’s Cathedral and some absolutely incredible pictures taken while they were there.

And thus, it would appear that Silent UK will not be updated from here on in. I just hope that they keep the site up anyway as some of the photographic work on there is absolutely stunning.