Archive for September 28th, 2011

September 28, 2011

Ugly Law

ugly bag

From the late 1860s until the 1970s, several American cities had ugly laws making it illegal for persons with ‘unsightly or disgusting’ disabilities to appear in public. Some of these laws were called Unsightly Beggar Ordinances. The goal of these laws was seemingly to preserve the quality of life for the community, similar in spirit to current homeowners association regulations and by-laws: ‘No person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object or improper person to be allowed in or on the public ways or other public places in this city, or shall therein or thereon expose himself to public view, under a penalty of not less than one dollar nor more than fifty dollars for each offense.’

Many states’ ugly laws were not repealed until the mid 1970s. Omaha repealed its Ugly Law in 1967. Columbus withdrew its in 1972. Chicago was the last to repeal its Ugly Law as late as 1974. The recantation of Ugly Laws were tied to the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 where certain rights were granted to people with disabilities: ‘Individuals with disabilities are a discrete and insular minority who have been faced with restrictions and limitations, subjected to a history of purposeful unequal treatment, and relegated to a position of political powerlessness in our society, based on characteristics that are beyond the control of such individuals and resulting from stereotypic assumptions not truly indicative of the individual ability of such individuals to participate in, and contribute to, society.’

September 28, 2011

Statue of Responsibility

Gary Lee Price

The Statue of Responsibility is a proposed structure to be built on the West Coast of the United States. The prototype, sculpted by project artist Gary Lee Price, consists of a pair of clasped hands oriented vertically, symbolizing the responsibility that comes with liberty. The person who suggested the statue was scholar Viktor Frankl in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning.’ He recommended ‘that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast should be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.’ His thought was that ‘Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.’

The project is being managed by the non-profit foundation. The project has progressed slowly, but in 2010, the Utah state legislature unanimously declared their support for the project and declared Utah (Mr. Price’s home state) the Birthplace of the Statue of Responsibility. The statue foundation would like to build it in one of five cities: Long Beach, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Seattle.

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September 28, 2011

Morphing

black or white

Morphing is a special effect in motion pictures and animations that changes (or morphs) one image into another through a seamless transition. Most often it is used to depict one person turning into another through technological means or as part of a fantasy or surreal sequence. Traditionally such a depiction would be achieved through cross-fading techniques on film. Since the early 1990s, this has been replaced by computer software to create more realistic transitions.

Though the 1986 movie ‘The Golden Child’ implemented very crude morphing effects from animal to human and back, the first movie to employ detailed morphing was ‘Willow,’ in 1988. A similar process was used a year later in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ to create Walter Donovan’s gruesome demise. Both effects were created by Industrial Light and Magic using grid warping techniques developed by Tom Brigham and Doug Smythe.

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