Dave Bullock / eecue

photographer, programmer, husband,
photojournalist, caver, blogger, search and rescuer,
angeleno, foodie, hacker, nerd, geek, human

Death Valley Star Trails A Starry Night in Death Valley
Blog

Community Gardens and Why Downtown Needs One

Downtown needs more green space. We need more parks and we could really use a community garden.

Very few residents of downtown, if any, have yards. In our loft we have a dog run on the roof, but no place to grow fruits, vegetables or herbs. Our loft faces north and thus we get zero direct sunlight. Growing edible plants with natural light is thus impossible for us.

Most communities throughout Los Angeles have plots of land set aside for community gardening. Last Sunday, my lovely wife Penelope and I were on the West Side and stopped to watch the sunset at the lovely Ocean View Farms community garden.

I couldn't help to think that Downtown Los Angeles desperately needs something like Ocean View Farms. I don't see it coming to us any time soon, as we also need parks, but I can wish, right?

For now we'll just have to be happy with our guerilla garden!

Sunset From Ocean View Farms

The sun sets into the sea in the background of this photo of the Ocean View Farms community garden.

Penelope and Sunset From Ocean View Farm

Penelope watches the sunset outside of the Ocean View Farms community garden near Santa Monica.

Click here to see more photos of the Ocean View Farms community garden.

Blog

USC Medical Training Center

Last year I shot a gallery at USC which covered the use of robots for Iraq combat medic training. As I've mentioned before, I love robots.

Here is the intro I wrote for the Heal a Robot, Go to War gallery on Wired.com:

As of last week, 4,000 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq. While a grim statistic, the number would be much higher without the well-trained medical staff deployed to combat service. Before their tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, many corpsmen, doctors and nurses are trained at specialized facilities with elaborate combat-zone simulations, which include sound effects and realistic robot patients.

The Navy Trauma Training Center, located at the University of Southern California Surgical Skills department, is one of only three training centers in the United States. It is adjacent to the Los Angeles County Hospital, which has the busiest trauma ward in the city, treating about two-dozen gunshot and trauma wounds every day. While this real-world experience is invaluable to enlisted medics, a collection of programmable robots are able to tailor their symptoms and reactions to specific scenarios that doctors will encounter in combat zones.

Here are some of those photos from the gallery. If you want to see them in all their full-resolution glory, click here.

Inside a METI Human Patient Simulator

Dr. DJ Green Holding an IV Bag of Fake B

CyberKnife Radiation Oncology Robot at U

Click here to see the rest of the USC Medical photo gallery.

Sunset From Ocean View Farms Penelope and Sunset From Ocean View Farm Sunset From Ocean View Farms
Blog

Nellis AFB Solar Farm

Not every gallery I shoot for Wired.com makes the cut. Last year during my PMA coverage, I took a short detour to Nellis AFB to take photos of their gigantic solar farm. Until now, the photos were never published.

The solar power farm at Nellis is the largest in North America. Thousands of solar panels glisten in the sun, gathering energy to help run the Air Force Base. It is quite a sight to see.

Clearly our country needs more green energy infrastructure. I predict in the next few years we will see hundreds if not thousands of solar farms like this cropping up all over our nation.

I also think that using nanotechnology, researchers will soon make a solar panel that doubles or triples the efficiency of current photovoltaics. Personally I think this will happen at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute, about which I have done several stories for Wired.com.

CnSI has brought together the top scientists and researchers from almost every department at UCLA. They are collaborating on nanotechnology in a brand new, super-high-tech facility. Keep your eye on CnSI for a wide array of nanotech breakthroughs in the next few years.

Back to Nellis, here are a few selections from the Nellis AFB Solar Farm shoot:

Solar Panels at Nellis AFB

Snow-covered mountains in the background are framed by an array of photovoltaic panels in this never-before-published shot from the Nellis AFB Solar Farm.

Mitsubishi Melsec FX3U-16M

The brains of the solar tracker control are exposed in this shot from 2008.

Sun Shining Through a Solar Panel

The sun peeks through a solar panel at Nellis AFB.

To see the rest of the Nellis AFB Solar Farm photos click here.

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Discount I-Sobot or How to Get Robots Cheap

I love robots. I especially love buying robots at a discount. Discount robots rock.

A couple years ago I found a Robosapien II on eBay by saving a search for "broken robosapien". I bought the robot for a tenth of its retail cost and when it arrived I found that it merely had a loose wire in the controller.

Last year when the I-Sobot was announced I wanted one, but the price was just too high for me to justify. I-Sobots are amazing little robots with a dozen servos that allow them to dance, do kung-fu, somersaults and much more. After watching a few videos showing their capabilities I knew I had to have one.

I saved a search on ebay right then for "broken i-sobot". A few months later that search came up with some matches. I bought two of them, figuring I could use the parts from one to fix the other.

As it turned out one of them just needed to be adjusted. So that was a working I-Sobot for about one tenth the retail cost. Win.

The other I-Sobot worked for the most part, but had some strange errors which I think were related to the processor. Either way, one working I-Sobot, and one semi-working I-Sobot made me happy enough.

If you're in to fixing things and don't mind taking a chance with a broken robot, I highly recommend searching for broken robots on eBay. In all likelihood the bot won't be broken or will just need minor adjustments.

I-Sobots

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My 2008 Reading List

I have always loved reading. Sadly in the past decade I haven't set aside time to read on a regular basis. This all changed in 2008.

I made it one of my daily goals to read get in bed by 10pm and read for an hour before falling asleep. I accomplished that goal more times than not last year. In doing so I read 21 books.

As you will see in the list below, I read mostly non-fiction. This year I'm changing it up a little bit. I am reading one work of fiction and one non-fiction in parallel. I try and switch back and forth each night, but I've really been hooked on PHP 5 Objects, Patterns and Practices. I guess that says something about me that I find it more interesting than the other book I'm reading: The Vicar of Wakefield.

Here is an un-ordered list of the books I read last year, I likely forgot a few, but you get the idea:

  • An Empire of Their Own - After rediscovering my faith and interest in Judaism I starting reading everything I possibly could about it. This book, although not specifically about Judaism, covers the immigrant Jews who created Hollywood. Great read if you're interested in Jews, the motion picture industry or both.
  • Fast Food Nation - My wife read this book a few years ago and stopped eating beef and fowl that wasn't free-range, organic and grass-fed. I finally got around to reading it and I no longer eat beef or poultry that wasn't raised the way animals were intended to live: on an open range, eating grass and being happy. If you read this book you'll understand why. Basically, feeding herbivores meat, blood and guts from other animals or of their same species, is a horribly disgusting practice that has a wide range of frightening ramifications.
  • The Clarinet and Clarinet Playing - Last year I picked up the clarinet again and decided to learn a bit more about it. This book had amazing reviews on Amazon and they were spot on. I will likely read this book every year or two.
  • The Wicked Son - This book is part of the Nextbook series. I decided to read it because my Temple decided to start a book club. I enjoyed the book and I will actually be re-reading it so it's fresh in my head for the discussions.
  • History of the Jews of Los Angeles - This is a great book from the 1970s about the history of... ok you get the idea. Great read.
  • The Elements of Journalism - A very interesting and informative discussion about bias and public perception of the media.
  • The Artful Edit - This book has helped me immensely. I recommend it for any writer, aspiring or otherwise.
  • The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law - This book is mostly a dictionary reference on accepted spellings of common people, places and things. There is also some good stuff about the law included.
  • Photojournalism Sixth Edition - This is the best book I've ever read about Photojournalism. Amazing. I have both the 5th and 6th editions.
  • Ansel Adams' The Camera - This should be required reading for any photographer.
  • Ansel Adams' The Negative - This is also great reading, although obviously somewhat dated and becoming more and more obsolete.
  • Ansel Adams' The Print - [See previous comment]
  • The Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism - This book has become almost too dated to be worth reading. I'm guessing the AP is working on a new edition if they haven't already released one.
  • How to Photograph Absolutely Everything - This book was pretty good, I would recommend it for beginning photographers.
  • The Pragmatic Programmer - This is a wonderful book. I'm going to re-read this one soon.
  • Treasure Island - This was the only tome of fiction I read last year. It's an awesome book and a quick and enjoyable read.
  • Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills - I re-read this last year. Filled with great tips for mountaineering, it is critical knowledge for me when it comes to Search and Rescue.
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism - Despite this series derogatory name, this book was actually really insightful and informative. Keep in mind though that it was written by an Orthodox rabbi so a large portion of it doesn't apply to people like myself who are Reform Jews. It was still very interesting to read.
  • The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays - This children's book was actually quite informative and fun to read.
  • The Associate Press Guide to News Writing - This nice short read helped me improve my news-writing tremendously. If you write any type of news, or even blog, you should definitely pick this one up.
  • Getting Things Done - I believe this was the second or third time I've read this book. As I mentioned before, this one changed my life.
  • What's Your Poo Telling You - This was one of my birthday presents from Penelope. A great little book about poops.

If you're interested in what I'm reading, click here to see my Good Reads profile. I'd love to hear what you're reading, so please post a comment below or link up with me on Good Reads.

Blog

My Top 10 Wired Galleries From 2008

Last year I shot 26 galleries for Wired.com. Although we're well into the new year and past the usual top-ten retrospective period, I've put together a collection of my ten favorite shoots from 2008.

I really enjoy shooting for Wired, mostly due to the fact that I'm a huge nerd and love technology and science. I'm looking forward to shooting many more cool locations, labs and lairs this year.

So without further ado, here they are, my top ten favorite Wired.com galleries from 2008:

As I mentioned yesterday, I am going through all my Wired.com assignment archives and uploading my favorite shots, including never-before-published out-takes, in full resolution on flickr and my gallery. Here are a few shots from my tour of Paul Bellan's Plasma Lab at Caltech:

Plasma Vacuum Chamber

A high-speed camera peers into the vacuum chamber, awaiting plasma to form.

A View Through A Lens

A lens magnifies the view inside the vacuum chamber at the Bellan Plasma lab at Caltech.

Auna Moser Fires The Plasma

Caltech graduate student fires a charge of electricity into the vacuum chamber, creating plasma in the process.

Click here to see the rest of the Plasma Lab shots.

I-Sobots I-Sobot Remote Control I-Sobots and Remote Controls I-Sobots
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One Wilshire Meet-Me-Room and My First Internet

I got my first internet access account in 1992 when I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Believe it or not, the internet has changed somewhat in the past 17 years.

These days everyone and their grandmother, literally, has internet access. Getting online is as easy as turning on your smartphone or plugging your computer into your cable modem. In 1992 it wasn't quite so easy.

My first account was from a company called Studio X. It was a SLIP account and gave me access to all kinds of great search engines running on university servers. These search engines weren't quite like gooogle. WAIS, Archie and Veronica used Gopher to search FTP sites, mailing lists, and more all over the world.

My SLIP account was text based and required me to set up a painful little application called Winsock. Back then, Windows (which I no longer use as a Desktop platform) did not have a TCP/IP stack. In other words, Windows didn't know how to get onto the internet like it does now. Installing the cumbersome and buggy Winsock fixed this problem.

Once I was on the internet (back then it was capitalized: Internet) I found tons of interesting documents to read. I began to learn about various subjects the knowledge of which would later provide me the income I depend on to survive. The Internet was amazing. The internet is amazing.

One Wilshire Meet-Me-Room

Last year I took a tour of One Wilshire for a Wired.com gallery I shot. One Wilshire is an amazing place that has always fascinated me. Here is how I described it:

In the bowels of the world's most densely populated Meet-Me room -- a room where over 260 ISPs connect their networks to each other -- a phalanx of cabling spills out of its containers and silently pumps the world's information to your computer screen. One tends to think of the internet as a redundant system of remote carriers peppered throughout the world, but in order for the net to function the carriers have to physically connect somewhere. For the Pacific Rim, the main connection point is the One Wilshire building in downtown Los Angeles.

If this facility went down, most of California and parts of the rest of the world would not be able to connect to the internet. Tour one of the web's largest nerve centers, hidden in an otherwise nondescript office building.

I'm slowly going through my archives of Wired.com shoots and posting them on my blog/flickr in full resolution for your viewing pleasure. Here are a few selections from the shoot:

One Wilshire Meet-Me-Room Cable Monster

A giant twisting mass of cables spills out of an over-stuffed cable tray in the Meet-Me-Room at One Wilshire.

One Wilshire Antennas

The roof of One Wilshire is covered with antennas of various sizes and shapes.

Technician Working in One Wilshire Meet-

A technician works to untangle the mess in the Meet-Me-Room at One Wilshire in this shot from 2008.

Click here to view the other 21 photos from my One Wilshire Tour. Stay tuned for more cool photos from my Wired adventures.

Big Round Rock Sun Peeking Through the Rocks Penelope in the Background Balanced Rock Artificial Wall Big Balanced Rock Geology Tour Road Cholla Cacti Ore Mill Old Generator Room Shipping Containers Rusty Tracks and Tanks Rocks and Sky Joshua Tree National Park From Gold Crow