Adam's Antics

May 28, 2012

¿Happy? Memorial Day

Filed under: General Antics,Photography,Wandt-NYC — Adam Scott Wandt @ 9:30 am

NYC Red, White, and Blue: A Memorial Weekend Skyline

¿Happy? Memorial Day

A few hours ago someone said to me, “Happy Memorial Day!”  But is it really a “happy” day?

Memorial Day has its origins in Decoration Day, first celebrated during the Civil War in the 1860s to commemorate fallen soldiers.  It was not declared an official federal holiday until 1967.  Memorial Day is supposed to be a day to remember the men and women who died defending our Nation…

We celebrate with barbecues, heavy drinking, and totally awesome sales, which in my opinion, have nothing to do with remembering and paying tribute to fallen soldiers.

Memorial Day is one example of a great American holiday gone wrong. I don’t know whether commercialization or ignorance is to blame.

What I do know is that it feels wrong to me to spend Memorial Day drinking, partying at the beach, and shopping for the best deal on a new car or shoes.  I am not going to chastise those who choose to spend their day this way, but please remember why you have the day off to do so.

Hundreds of thousands of men and women have sacrificed their lives so you can have your Budweiser and BBQ Chicken.  So next time you want to say “Happy Memorial Day” to someone, stop and remind yourself what Memorial Day is really about.


NYC Red, White, and Blue: A Memorial Weekend Skyline (5/27/12) New York City, NY, USA. Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Sigma EF 15mm Fisheye. ISO 100. 15mm f/2.8 1.3s
© Adam Scott Wandt.

Twitter: @Prof_Wandt


May 27, 2012

Fleet Week 2012: Parade of Ships. BAE Guayas (Ecuador)

Filed under: Photography,Wandt-NYC — Adam Scott Wandt @ 6:37 pm

Fleet Week 2012: Parade of Ships. BAE Guayas (Ecuador)

Fleet Week 2012: Parade of Ships. BAE Guayas (Ecuador) (5/24/12) New York City, NY, USA. Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Canon EF 100-400mm. ISO 100. 400mm f/16 1/160. © Adam Scott Wandt.

BAE Guayas (Ecuador). Length Overall:  257’;  Draft:  15’4”. GUAYAS was built in Bilbao, Spain in 1976.  She sails for the Ecuadorian Naval Academy, teaching practical seamanship and navigation skills to naval cadets.

Twitter: @Prof_Wandt

May 19, 2012

Lloyd Sealy Library, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York

Filed under: Photography,Wandt-NYC — Adam Scott Wandt @ 8:00 pm

Lloyd Sealy Library, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York.


The Lloyd Sealy Library, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York, CUNY. New York, New York, USA. (02/7/12). Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L. ISO 100, 100mm, f/4.5, 1/100. © Adam Scott Wandt. Twitter: @Prof_Wandt


May 17, 2012

The Intersection of Architecture, History, & Technology. The Apple Store, Grand Central Terminal.

Filed under: Photography,Wandt-NYC — Adam Scott Wandt @ 9:53 am

The Intersection of Architecture, History & Technology. The Apple Store, Grand Central Terminal, New York City


The Intersection of Architecture, History & Technology. The Apple Store, Grand Central Terminal, New York City. Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Canon EF 24-105mm. ISO 100. 24mm f/8 1/100.

© Adam Scott Wandt.  Twitter: @Prof_Wandt


May 14, 2012

Marriage = Man + Woman ?

Filed under: General Antics,Law — Adam Scott Wandt @ 8:45 am

As far back as I can remember, I have always defined “marriage” as “man + woman.” While I am not (and never was) homophobic, and always felt that homosexuals should have the same civil liberties as everyone else, my natural instincts told me that homosexuals did not qualify for marriage simply because it did not fit my mathematical definition.

However, I did support gay rights, domestic partnerships and civil unions, and felt that states not allowing those were violating individuals’ civil liberties. Even through law school, as my appreciation for the law and civil rights matured, I still felt that marriage equaled man + woman. It probably didn’t help that I was a registered and active Republican and felt a strong party alliance.

In Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the United States Supreme Court held that the “separate but equal” concept in education was inherently unequal, overturning the long-respected legal precedent of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). This same theory is now presenting itself as to gay marriage: Can a separate system allowing for “marriage” between men and women, and “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships” between two men or two women, be equal? Oddly enough, I was able to test this theory myself.

After moving to Manhattan with my girlfriend (now my wife), we decided to take advantage of the New York State Domestic Partnership law (section 4201 of the New York Public Health Law). We were not yet ready to be married, and were not even engaged, but my girlfriend was starting law school and her health insurance options were limited.

My girlfriend and I met all the legal criteria to register as domestic partners: we were New York residents, over 18, not married or related by blood, were in a “close and committed personal relationship,” lived together, nor in an existing Domestic Partnership or “registered as a member of another Domestic Partnership within the last six months.” We filled out an application, had it notarized, went to City Hall and paid a $35 fee, and voile!, we were domestic partners. The irony is that the law was created to provide homosexuals with the same rights and privileges of married couples, but was open to heterosexuals as well, because hey, the law cannot discriminate.

In the matter of a couple of minutes, my girlfriend and I had all of the same rights and privileges as a married couple while being able to dissolve the partnership with nothing more than a certified letter and a $27 fee. It crossed my mind that this was a superior alternative to marriage, because in case it didn’t work out, we would avoid the need to pay for expensive divorce lawyers.

My next stop was the Human Resources Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where I informed them that I was upgrading my healthcare policy to include my domestic partner. I felt like I was getting one over on the system. My girlfriend had access to the same wonderful healthcare policy that I had, and I could still easily walk away at any time with the stamp of a notary. We had all the same rights as a married couple… or so I thought.

As it turns out, the joke was on me. Not only did we not have all the same rights and privileges as a married couple, but due to an absurd IRS ruling, the value of the healthcare benefits my girlfriend received were being added to my W-2 as taxable income. In case this is not clicking in your head, there is a tax on being a gay couple (or at least, they don’t enjoy the same tax benefits as “real” married couples).

Crap! Separate but equal really is inherently unequal. By this time, I had graduated law school and my notions of civil rights had matured and I realized that something here was terribly wrong. I was conflicted. I still defined “marriage” as “man + woman,” but I also recognized the serious injustice that came with civil unions and domestic partnerships.

My brain immediately came up with a solution: the government needs to get out of the business of marriage. Why is government licensing (permitting) us to marry anyway? What is the compelling government interest here? Wasn’t marriage traditionally a religious concept? So who is government to tell us whether or not two people can be licensed (permitted) to get married? Doesn’t separation of church and state apply here?

I eventually married my girlfriend and being Jewish, we had a Rabbi perform the ceremony. Even though we were forced by the State of Florida (where we were married) to obtain a marriage license prior to the wedding, I absolutely forbid the Rabbi from making any reference to the State of Florida in our ceremony. (“By the power invested in me by the State of Florida, I now pronounce you husband and wife,” was omitted from our ceremony at my request.) Who the hell do the states think they are? I was standing under a Chuppah with a Rabbi and my almost wife, and the State of Florida was going to give us permission to marry? What are we – cars, real estate, am I her property?

So here I am, a recovering Republican (because today’s national level Republicans are just totally nuts); utterly confused by the concept of gay marriage; knowing that all men (and women) are created equal, endowed with certain unalienable rights, among them, the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and knowing that nothing in this world makes me as happy as my wife.

My brain still defines marriage with the mathematical equation of “man + woman,” but even more important to me is that we don’t deny homosexuals the same rights that I enjoy, including the right to marriage. Knowing that government will always stay involved, I see only one possible conclusion: states like Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia are doing what the Constitution requires them to by allowing same-sex marriages. Any other result is as disgusting as prohibiting blacks and whites from being in the same classroom. Gay marriage is not wrong – I am.

Gay people are just that… people. And unless we start treating them like people, we are no better than those that stood outside public schools with shotguns, staring down the National Guard, swearing on their lives they would never let a black child set foot in their white school.

My New Marriage Equation: Marriage = 1+1

May 10, 2012

NY High Court OKs viewing Child Porn

Filed under: Law — Adam Scott Wandt @ 7:45 am

In a rather disturbing example illustrating how courts don’t understand societal use and impact of computers and technology, it seems that the Court of Appeals of the State of New York (NY’s highest court) has held that it is perfectly legal to view child pornography on the Web (or at least non-convictable as possession), as long as the viewer does not pay for it or intentionally download a copy to a computer.

In a decision that will be formally released at the end of this week, Judge Ciparick writes in the majority opinion in The People v James D. Kent  that detectives finding “cached Internet files” of child pornography on a defendant’s computer does not constitute possession of child pornography. The Court further “conclude[s] that merely viewing Web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement [of child pornography] within the meaning of our [NYS] Penal Law.” This would apply even in the case where the defendant browsed several child pornography pictures in a row, which were cached on the computer as internet files. (Caching is the process of automatically saving a copy of browsed website images to the computer, so that it can be quickly loaded the next time the user visits the same website).

The Defendant, Professor of Public Administration James D. Kent, of a Dutchess County College, was properly convicted on other counts of possessing child pornography on his work  computer that he had downloaded and saved to his “Documents” folder  (so justice was served). However, the precedent that was created in this case will, without a doubt, be exploited by future pedophiles who will use this legal loophole to safely view and build caches of child pornography without having to fear a criminal conviction for possession. It is more than possible for those interested in child pornography to build large caches of internet child pornography, without formally “downloading them.” Those caches could later be retrieved, shared and distributed without leaving any evidence that they were accessed.

I also think it is ridiculous in today’s digital age for someone as sophisticated as this defendent to claim that he was ignorant that images viewed on his computer were cached by the system. In 2012, I believe this is common knowledge.

The burden now lies with the NYS Legislature to draft and pass new legislation preventing people from exploiting this upsetting loophole, while protecting those who may accidentally stumble upon such disturbing contraband while innocently surfing the Web.

The soon to be released opinion in “The People v James D. Kent” can be found here:

Follow Professor Wandt on Twitter: @Prof_Wandt

May 8, 2012

“Let’s Make Sure History Never Forgets the Name: Enterprise.”

Filed under: Photography,Wandt-NYC — Adam Scott Wandt @ 10:10 am

“Let’s Make Sure History Never Forgets the Name: Enterprise.”

In my blog “Heroes,” I openly confessed to being a Trekkie. I have seen every episode, of every season, of every series, multiple times. I don’t actually consider Star Trek science fiction; I consider it a blueprint for the future of mankind.

So, it should not be a surprise that when NASA announced the space shuttle Enterprise would be flying over Manhattan, that I was determined to get the perfect photograph. This was made easier by the fact that the flight plan showed the Enterprise would in fact be flying right past my building… three times. It’s as if the cosmos were speaking directly to me and ensuring that I could get the perfect photograph. I heard the cosmos loud and clear and was willing to change my schedule in any way that was needed to capture the perfect photograph of this historic event.

The Enterprise was originally scheduled to make its fly-by on Monday, April 23, 2012. I adjusted my schedule so that I could camp out on the roof of my building all morning. Then, due to weather, the fly-by was cancelled. The same thing happened on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. Finally, on Friday, April 27, 2012, the Enterprise, atop a specially retrofitted Boeing 747, left Washington D.C. Dulles Airport en route to New York. I watched the Enterprise take off from Dulles live on, then started my countdown knowing it would take about 40 minutes for the Enterprise to arrive in New York City.

About 42 stories above street level, on the roof of my building, a small group of about 20 people gathered on a very windy morning to witness the event. Cameras, tripods, binoculars, iPads, iPhones, and videocameras abounded. It was cold and windy, but no one cared. Everyone was there to witness the end of an era of space travel. It did not matter to anyone that the Enterprise never actually flew in space; all that mattered was that it was the Enterprise and that in the next few minutes it would be within our reach. Finally, the moment came…

Looking South towards One World Trade Center, someone shouted, “There it is!” With my 400mm lens up to my eye, I confirmed the unmistakeable site of a space shuttle riding atop a jumbo jet. “That’s it for sure,” I exclaimed. Moments later, the Enterprise was flying North along the Hudson River at less than 1,000 feet, headed straight towards me. I snapped away and held my breath as the Enterprise flew just a few hundred feet in front of me. It seemed I could reach out and touch it… or hit it with a spitball.

About 10 minutes later, after turning around at the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Enterprise flew South along the Hudson directly in front of my building a second time! The only thing louder than the howling wind were the sounds of the cameras clicking away. I was surprised at how quiet the jumbo jet was flying past. The Enterprise vanished over lower Manhattan, only to reappear traveling Northwest over New Jersey. I noticed for the first time it was accompanied by what appeared to be a single F-18 Hornet (a fighter jet). I thought to myself how odd it was that the Enterprise was escorted by a single fighter jet; don’t these things fly in pairs?

After flying northwest over New Jersey, the Enterprise turned east towards Manhattan and crossed Manhattan just north of my building. It disappeared behind the skyscrapers and headed to its destination, John F. Kennedy Airport.  I ran to the east side of my building hoping to capture one last photograph of the Enterprise flying between the skyscrapers. However, to my dismay, the Enterprise did not reappear. But the story is not over yet…
I look forward to June when the Enterprise is brought to the Intrepid on a barge and is lifted by crane onto the flight deck. What is so spectacular about this story is that I have the perfect view of the Intrepid from my apartment, so day and night, rain or shine (but not severe fog), I will be able to see the Enterprise staring back at me. It serves as a reminder of the dreams of space travel I often have that I fully believe will be realized one day.

So, in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard… “Let’s Make Sure History Never Forgets the Name: Enterprise.”

The Space Shuttle Enterprise atop NASA’s Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Over the Hudson River. (4/27/12) New York, NY, USA. Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Canon EF 100-400mm. ISO 200. 400mm f/8 1/1000. © Adam Scott Wandt.

Here is a second photograph taken that morning:

The Space Shuttle Enterprise atop NASA’s Boeing 747 Flying Past One World Trade Center

The Space Shuttle Enterprise atop NASA’s Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Flying Past One World Trade Center – The Freedom Tower. (4/27/12) New York City, NY, USA. Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Canon EF 100-400mm. ISO 200. 400mm f/8 1/1000. © Adam Scott Wandt.

See Adam Scott Wandt’s other NYC photography at Wandt-NYC

Twitter: @Prof_Wandt

May 5, 2012

Pre Perigree Moon Over NYC

Filed under: Photography,Wandt-NYC — Adam Scott Wandt @ 11:42 pm

Pre Perigree Moon Over NYC.

Pre Perigree Moon Over NYC. (5/5/12) New York City, NY, USA. Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Canon EF 100-400mm. ISO 200. 400mm f/5.6 1/125. © Adam Scott Wandt.

See Adam Scott Wandt’s other NYC photography at Wandt-NYC

Twitter: @Prof_Wandt


Filed under: General Antics — Adam Scott Wandt @ 1:28 pm


As far back as I can remember, my personal heroes have been scientists – physicists or astrophysicists to be exact. While most kids grow up admiring sports stars, politicians, civil rights activists, movie stars, or “dad,” I grew up reading about and admiring men like Einstein, Copernicus and Kepler. As an adult, I have read most of Stephen Hawking’s works. I am impressed by his ability to explain the complexities of space, time and the universe in simple terms that most people can understand.

I have speculated as to why these people are my heroes… Maybe it’s because I am related to famous astronomer Sir William Herschel, who discovered Uranus, Titania, Oberron, and Infrared Radiation… Maybe it’s because these men can answer questions for me that others cannot… Maybe it’s because I grew up glued to the TV, watching Star Trek: The Next Generation (Jean Luke Picard is absolutely my favorite fictional hero).

Today, I have a new hero. A man who is much closer to me, in both space and time, than Herschel, Einstein, Copernicus, Kepler or even Hawking could ever be. Actually, I used to live only a few blocks from his office.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist and the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History. He is the host of NOVA’s scienceNOW on PBS and a frequent guest on popular shows such as The Daily Show. Dr. Tyson is becoming very active on Facebook and Twitter, has a wicked sense of humor, and often communicates with his fans.

Like Hawking, Dr. Tyson has the ability to explain complex concepts in simple language that is easy to understand. Better yet, he has an engaging personality and sense of humor that keeps me very interested in his activities. Best yet, he is a true New Yorker – born in Manhattan, raised in the Bronx, and educated at Columbia.

I have just started reading Dr. Tyson’s latest book, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier (2012). I actually stopped reading the biography of Steve Jobs halfway through to start Space Chronicles, which most people who know me would find unbelievable.

Check out Dr. Tyson – watch some of his interviews, read some of his work, watch on November 3 when he hosts SNL… I bet you will be as fascinated with him as I am.

May 4, 2012

Adam’s Antics: Genesis

Filed under: General Antics — Adam Scott Wandt @ 10:49 pm

Welcome to Adam’s Antics. I have created this blog to share my comments and ideas on issues and topics of interest to me, and maybe to you. I hope you find this forum interesting.


(I may even share some of my photography)



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