Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yesterday I learned a couple things. Number 1: a "bit" is in reference to the number of shades that a computer is capable of displaying color in. For example if you have "red" being displayed in 16-bit there are 65, 536 shades of that red available. If it's 8-bit, there are only 256 shades of that red available. Why is this important to me? Because growing up my brother and I played the Sega Genesis and in raised silvery letters on the surface of the console was the mysterious phrase: 16-Bit. I've wondered what that meant for twenty years and now I know. So now when that skinny guy in a tunic kicks the stones and a blue orb floats out and he eats it and turns into a werewolf capable of shooting fireballs at the undead rising from ruins of ancient Greece, I know that there are 65, 536 possibilities to render the color of his eyes, and the whites of his eyes.

I could of looked the information up on Wikipedia but as you can see it's not all that helpful. People talking is helpful. You can see their lips moving and things come out of their mouths and bodies. Their hands move, they erase things with their fingers and when a students ask questions things come out like spit and sound and heat and words. So, 16-Bit and more, from supporting a digital photography class on Tuesday mornings. I also learned things like what the f-stop is on a camera, ISO, shutter speed, depth of field, "opening up", "closing down", and how this stuff actually impacts what a shot looks like. It made me want to take out my dad's old camera and put some film in it and there lies the problem: what would I take pictures of?

The second thing I learned yesterday I can't remember. But, something I learned last week about dyslexia, how research done in the last ten years has determined that dyslexia might actually be rooted in how our auditory systems processes sound, that certain people have trouble hearing certain sounds, and therefore the spelling and reading of words comes off as an unsolvable mystery, one where there aren't enough clues to make a confident guess. For some a big old psychological block pops up, where it seems like written language is magic, a logic beyond comprehension that leads to a certain hopelessness and a diagnosis, at the very best. All this because yesterday I lead three pronunciation workshops where we work on pulling apart how English and the American accent works. It's pretty interesting. Like how the most common vowel sound in American English is the 'uh' as in 'bus', or more commonly, "Uhhh. I don't know."