Archive for the ‘politics’ Category.

The evil CARB-compliant gas can

How Government Wrecked the Gas Can

“Hmmm, I just hate how slow these gas cans are these days,” he grumbled. “There’s no vent on them.”

That sound of frustration in this guy’s voice was strangely familiar, the grumble that comes when something that used to work but doesn’t work anymore, for some odd reason we can’t identify.

I’m pretty alert to such problems these days. Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice.

Long form birth certificate: Turn off image enhancement when you’re trying to make a point

When the White House tried to put the long form birth certificate controversy to bed, it should have exercised more care in scanning and publishing the image.

The PDF file it published was produced by some process that included image enhancement of most of the text. As a result, instead of containing a single simple color scan of the document, the PDF file contains a large color JFIF (JPEG) scan with text deemphasized, plus several separate monochrome bitmaps to fill in the text. That maximizes contrast and enhances readability, but it does raise questions about how much the file might have been edited.

The whitened areas in the color image still show some remnants of what was there previously.

It is left as an exercise for the reader what software would perform text enhancement by creating separate layers or subimages from the original scan. I certainly am curious. The PDF file’s properties state that it was produced on a Macintosh (probably “Print to PDF” from some scanning or editing program).

[I have been surprised to find little commentary on this problem with the image file. I thought I was to be the first, but I see that there is a less technical mention of this at now.]

If the White House really wants to competently put the controversy to rest, it should walk the piece of paper over to a scanner again, set to maximum resolution, minimum enhancement, select TIFF or PNG (both are lossless) as the output format, and publish that. Please!

See below for the subimages in the White House PDF.

The color subimage, extracted by hand with “vi” and rotated with jpegtran for your viewing pleasure

The monochrome subimages, extracted with pdfimages; you can do it with Adobe Acrobat, using “Advanced>Export All Images…” but that does some unwanted scaling