Why Deep Space Nine and Voyager May Never Get the HD Remaster They Deserve   ◆

Even though I’m not a huge Star Trek fan, I loved Deep Space Nine and mostly enjoyed Voyager. This interview with Robert Meyer Burnett, who was deeply involved in The Next Generation and Enterprise Blu-Ray sets
reads like a detective novel, and caused me much stress.

Unlike TNG, which shot both all of their live-action and all of their model photography on 35mm film, which made scanning the original elements possible, both DS9 and Voyager made extensive use of CGI for their visual effects, especially in the later seasons. Those visual effects were rendered in standard NTSC resolution, with a maximum of 525 scan lines of resolution per second, split between two interlaced video fields of 262.5 scan lines running at 60 fields per second. So, the original resolution remains far, far below what audiences used to today’s HD, and now UHD resolutions, are accustomed to. These VFX could be upscaled 5x, but they’d have no detail. The Starship Defiant would look like a fuzzy, grey blob.

The bottom line, kids: work at the highest resolution you can, for as long as you can. And keep your originals.

National Handwriting Day Quiz   ◆

Time:

The following interactive tests your handwriting by challenging you to draw cursive letters on the screen and comparing them to the standard version that was taught in elementary schools for decades.

I failed miserably.

I Made My Wife a Drink

My lovely wife came home feeling stressed from work. She really needed a drink and asked me to make her one. Her only requirements were “sweet” and “whiskey”.

Challenge accepted.

After taking a look around at my collection of stuff, I settled on the bottle of Galliano I had sitting around doing nothing. It’s a sweet Italian liquor that has a root-beer-y, vanilla-y, slightly anise-y flavor. It’s also bright yellow.

After some consideration, I decided to pair it with Bourbon, Woodford Reserve to be precise.

I thought adding some orange flavor might round things out. I poured in some orange juice, but after tasting it, realized that tarted up too much, and needed some taming. Grand Mariner to the rescue!

The wife  was pleased.

Mission Accomplished!

Instructions

Fill a coupe with ice and water. Set aside.

In a mixing glass half-filled with ice, add

  • 1 ounce of Woodford Reserve Bourbon

  • 1 ounce of Galliano

  • 1/4 ounce of orange juice

  • 1/4 ounce of Grand Mariner

  • 2 dashes of Regans’ No. 6 Orange Bitters

  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Stir vigorously for 20 – 30 seconds.

Dump the ice and water from the coupe, then strain the cocktail into it, and serve.

Dose of Sunshine cocktail.
I’m calling this Dose of Sunshine. Hit me up on Twitter (@jasonian) and let me know what you think.

The State Department’s entire senior administrative team just resigned   ◆

Josh Rogin in The Washington Post:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.

Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy and three of his top officials. It’s not clear if they resigned on their own, or if they were pushed out.

“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” said David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry. “Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”

Regardless of whether they chose to leave or not, it’s a statement on the Trump administration. Either these career officers couldn’t bear to work under Trump (and he was unable to convince them otherwise), or Trump decided he didn’t want (or need?) their expertise.

Either way, their departure leaves the State Department worse off, and U.S. diplomats less safe.

Moving to New Zealand from USA   ◆

AKA “The Trump Escape Plan”.

(I spent two weeks a couple of winters ago traveling through New Zealand. It’s quite beautiful and the people are lovely.)

“Tipping is ‘one of the biggest hoaxes pulled on an entire culture'”   ◆

Danny Meyer, founder of the Shake Shack burger chain:

“Tipping is actually one of the biggest hoaxes pulled on an entire culture, the American culture,” Meyer said. “The restaurant industry, as well as the Pullman train car industry, successfully petitioned the United States government to make a dispensation for our industries that we would not pay our servers. But it wasn’t considered slavery because we would ask our customers to pay tips.

“Therefore, no one could say they were being enslaved,” Meyer added. “And no surprise, most of the people who were working in service professional jobs and restaurants and Pullman train cars were African American.”

Whoa.

Realizing Black Male Success   ◆

R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy, writing for Ebony about “a comprehensive study of Black males who have excelled at college and beyond”:

The overwhelming majority of stories and studies that are concerned with Black males, from cradle to the grave, tend to look at what’s “wrong.” This type of approach is known as a deficit model because it assumes there is something wrong and often assumes that the problem lies within Black males. Deficit approaches usually pay lip service to social inequalities like poor schools, disproportionate policing, and an unstable job market. Yet these theories tend to suggest that once Black men get their act together, they can have the same access and opportunities as other Americans. This approach does little, if anything, to move Black men from the lower ranks of American society.

The CSREE study begins with an alternative perspective – a strength based approach. Rather than document ad nauseam what ensnares Black male mobility, the report asks what do Black males, their communities, and their schools do to ensure success? From this approach we see not just what is going right but how to expand these practices so more can excel.

Why the Election of 9 Black Female Judges in Alabama Matters   ◆

Lindsay Peoples, writing for The Cut:

In an unprecedented event, nine black women were elected as circuit and district judges in Jefferson County, Alabama, this November. For a predominantly Republican state, the Democratic sweep came as a surprise, as Alabama is one of the few states that judges still have to run on party lines to get elected.

Remarkable, not just for the fact that it happened in Alabama, but also that in 2017, it’s a story at all to have black women judges.

As one judge notes,

There’s never been an African-American woman on either the Alabama Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court, so if President-elect Trump wants to invite me to do so, it would be a great honor. But I’m afraid that’s a bit far off in our nation’s history. Maybe I’ll be wrong; hopefully I’ll be wrong. But that’s where we are.