Well, it turns out you can take a photo with a Nikon D3500 triggered by a Raspberry Pi if you use a program called gphoto2. Unfortunately, with the D3500 and only the D3500, it hangs with the first photo, but will take a second one. All other DSLRs work fine with gphoto2. It's a known bug.
There is a Windows program out there called digiCamControl that works extremely well at DSLR control. Not only will it take photos and download them to your computer, but you can set it to do time-lapse. It will also record video, if your camera allows it, which my Artillery Piece does. Best of all, you can view your camera's preview screen on your computer and use that for manual focus before you shoot.
Combining digiCamControl with my new Microsoft SurfaceBook makes a devastating pair, particularly for astronomy photos. digiCamControl even has astronomy-optimized settings.
A whole bunch of problems just got solved.
Now here's the toad in the soup. If I use the Artillery Piece to shoot time-lapse movies with 1 photo per second over an hour, that's 3600 shutter clicks. I looked up the MTBF for the Nikon 3500 and I got varying numbers from 50,000 to 500,000. There was a consensus around 150,000. This means that a single time-lapse session would use up roughly 2.5% of my camera's life. As much fun as time-lapse videos are, they're not worth pounding my best camera into the ground.
I ordered another webcam, one that takes 1080p video, to connect to my Raspberry Pi3 as a portable time-lapse system. The Pi uses so little current that my portable USB charger will run it for days and days and days. I think we're good there. In the meantime, there are experiments to be run with digiCamControl and video capture. We're going to get rain today, so the sky should provide some drama. Results tomorrow.
Kids In Cages, Kids In School
As we all know, it's racist to force teachers to go back to school. It's also racist to put kids in cages, but not to put them in mesh-wire-housing or whatever the cringing lapdogs in the press are calling it these days. Some right-wing sites are honking a new study that suggests 3,000,000 American children have simply fallen off the radar when it comes to school. They haven't used the distance learning at all.
Note: Most Catholic schools have been back in session since the Fall without many problems. It looks like there are some advantages to be a papist who denies SCIENCE!
Political advantages aren't the issue for me. I started thinking about what a lost school year or two means to the workforce of the future, the one that will be picking cotton and singing spirituals as they pay off our debts. Dittos for the effects of the anti-racist policies that have eliminated homework and testing in some of our school districts. Those young adults won't be nearly as capable and won't be able to produce as much value as their predecessors.
It's beginning to dawn on me that when the currency crisis comes, the real question won't be the crisis itself, but the recovery. With a less-capable workforce, the recovery might be slower, longer and have a lower final GDP.
While it's fun to make short-term political points out of our public education industry's lack of industriousness, the long-term question is how to bounce back from a debt default.