The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

When speaking to your conspiracy-theory loving (Trump-supporting?) friends, it may help to keep the following in mind. It is a podcast / article about what motivates people to believe in conspiracy theories.

It may help you frame your response to be something different than “But, that’s stupid, here’s a pile of evidence from… everyone… that refutes what you are saying,”. Saying such things isn’t compelling to such people.

I highly recommend listening to the very long running podcast series, The Savvy Psychologist. It is very pleasant to listen to and they get right to the evidence-backed point. I listen on Stitcher.

Scanning 35 mm Slides

Megan has about 700 35 mm photographic slides from her family going back 50+ years. We’re going to scan them into the computer. Here are some thoughts on scanning…

Photo scanning appears to be a fully mature technology. I think this because some of the most legendary scanners were made around 2005-2010; units made by Nikon, Minolta, Hasselblad. They’re now mostly discontinued and those companies didn’t make new products to replace the old! 15 years of technology improvements has meant that 35 mm slides can be scanned by a cheaper device that still does a great job.

That’s not to say there isn’t “cheap crap” out there. We were wondering if a $160 Kodak Scanza or similar Wolverine wouldn’t do a good job and I came across several reviews that said, essentially “It’s good for quick, lo-fi scans but it is NOT for archival use!” Here’s a good review of the Scanza on the Analog Resurgance Youtube channel. High points: The film holders are crappy, the scanning adjustments are mediocre, the image quality is kinda crappy, it can scratch your film if you’re not careful, it doesn’t fix dust spots. But it’s easy to use and fast.

We looked to other options: is a photo scanning service recommended by a friend. $0.40/image with a technician cleaning each image up by hand. We almost went with them (and you may want to) but we wanted to keep our photos at home.

Local image scanning services. I hear Costco does image scanning, and there’s other local providers like this one. We were again hesitant to send the photos out of the house and the service I looked at was more expensive, in the $1.00/image range.

So I looked into getting a mid-priced slide scanner for home. I found mixed reviewds for flatbed scanners like the Epson V700. Some great reviews, some “moderate”. The main sticking point is that some say flatbed scanners don’t get the full range of colors. Maybe that’s true, maybe not.

Here’s some resources I found to evaluate scanners

And some tips on restoring photos: DIGITAL PHOTO RESTORATION

I saw several recommendations for Vuescan scanning software, people saying “Ditch the software it comes with, Vuescan works better and faster!” Though several reviews said the Silverfast software it came with worked fine.

I just ordered a Plustek Opticfilm 8200i SE tonight. I’ll tell you how it goes…

Dr. Zarkov! There’s no sun! It’s 8:24 in the morning, and there’s no sun!

“Dr. Zarkov! There’s no sun! It’s 8:24 in the morning, and there’s no sun!”

It’s very eerie outside. The news says that smoke from wildfires is being held at very high altitudes, obscuring the sun and making the world appear red. Sunrise was at 6:46am but, OMG, it’s 8:24 in the morning and there’s no sun!

(that’s a quote from the 1980 movie Flash Gordon)

Yesterday the weather report was for a second 95 degree day in a row. But instead of it being smokey and unbearably hot (Google’s forecast , it was cool and… apocalyptic. I’m very done with 2020.

I tried to take a photo of the effect by my camera… well, my camera didn’t believe the sky was the color the way it is. I color corrected these images to be close to correct. But it is, in fact, redder, darker and more apocalyptic.

Yes, I took these photos at 8:24 this morning.

Filters and Fans

To deal with the smoke in the air, I put a MERV 13 furnace filter on our forced-air system, sealed up the forced-air ducts with aluminum tape (great stuff!) and put a MERV 13 filter on a fan. It’s woring well!

I had noticed that the air coming out of the vents had a slight odor… certainly more odor than the air in the house in general. So I went under the house for a look. I lit a match and blew it out near the air intake: I saw the smoke being drawn into the system and my family immediately noticed the smell in the house! They shouldn’t have smelled it! There were 3 places where I found leaks:

  • in the air intake manifold in the house: I stuck my head into the intake and taped it up.
  • under the house where the air intake manifold is.
  • Where the ductwork goes into the furnace itself.

I used aluminum tape (not “duct tape!) to seal it up and it helped a LOT!

And Dave shared his “cheapo hepa pet dander filter” with me :-)