Monthly Archives: February 2013

Jordan Weissman makes the case for why Chicken McNuggets are a great argument against patent law.

How outdated cell phones are assisting infidelity in Japan.

A listing of associate lawyer salaries by city.

Four cities and two states/provinces that will pay you to move there.

Wired explains why Nintendo shouldn’t make iPhone games. I have a knock-off fake Mario game on my phone, though without the physical buttons it’s hard to use.

Arctic drilling is in for some renewed scrutiny. I’d be more amenable to the criticisms if it weren’t for the sense that most drilling just about everywhere is considered to be bad by the critics. That said, there do seem to be some institutional control problems here.

Noah Smith writes about how we can protect workers from the rise of automation. Really smart people tell me that we will never have to worry about the day… but I still have my concerns. And, as the article points out, it becomes a very big issue about who reaps the wealth from these enormous capital investments.

These places have to be seen to be believed. Even seeing the pictures, it’s still hard for me to believe. Seriously, give it a look.

According to Magen Cubed, Captain America is awesome because he’s liberal. To be fair, they had a couple of conservative Captain Americas once. They turned out to be, or turned into, villains. Insane villains at that.

I’ve been saying this a long time: A whole lot of the pressure on women to be skinny isn’t coming from men.

The problem with “make it legal and tax it” is that if you tax it enough, you get the black markets anyway. Dave Schuler collects some links suggesting that gangs are not as dependent on the drug trade as we might think.

A lot of people think that hospital readmissions are due to premature discharges. Actually, most of the time, readmission occurs for a new reason. Some are calling it “post-hospital syndrome.

Category: Newsroom

There is a growing divide in urban crime rates.

Boom! Crush!

The synchronicity of Google products really does make me with Google+ was more popular.

Apple products are apparently quite vulnerable to theft.

A leftist case for sports.

The Economist looks at the costs and benefits of air conditioning. If you read only one of these links, this is probably the one I would recommend.

Lauren Davis asks if Dune ruined science fiction novels.

A tourist’s guide to hell.

Cass Sunstein has a good piece looking at judicial voting patterns. I find it very illuminating that even among jurists, opinions are shaped by peer-environments.

If you like, hate, or are simply old enough to remember Richard Marx, you might enjoy this story.

This is made more interesting as my smartphone word-predict tries to figure out my writing patterns.

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Fransisco investigates the relationship between relative status and emotional well-being by looking at suicides (Warning: PDF)

As we tear down the gates of the gatekeepers, the question becomes how we find new music and books. PaidContent argues that online discovery is broken but can be fixed. The Domino Project endorses Kickstarter as a way of taking potentially successful books to publishers.

Category: Newsroom

I am coming around on the idea of Ubuntu smartphones, which are supposed to be coming in October. I’m not sure I will get one, but I’m a little worried that after I throw in my lot with Android, Ubuntu will get it right.

In other smartphone news, it’ll be interesting to see how the Kindle Phone does. Jose Gonzales calls it a sure thing, but I’m not so sure. The Kindle Fire succeeded in part because it was a tertiary device. It’s different to hand one’s phone over to Amazon. But it could well work out, especially if they subsidize the crap out of it.

Some interesting predictions on the future of air travel. One thing that will likely not come to pass is more airlines getting into the oil refinery business.

Maybe a solution to global warming is laziness. Richard Heinberg thinks we need to redesign our use of energy. Which, if that’s what we need to do… we’re doomed.

Big Coal may be in for some pain ahead, and for once it isn’t because of the Obama Administration.

A new report says that the Family and Medical Leave law is working. We were certainly glad to have it.

According to the Canadian Press, Mining companies that are getting visas for foreign employees are rejecting candidates with 30 years of experience.

I am inclined to criticize employers who expect perfectly qualified employees to roll up on their doorstep, and think that the notion that we have a shortage of skilled workers is built on this mentality. Dominic Giandomenico makes the opposing argument.

I disagree with Michael Calabrese. What is bring proposed here is actually much better than government-sponsored WiFi everywhere.

Maybe this is why Google wants us to use something other than passwords. (Seriously, an interesting article on James Fallows’s wife’s email being hacked.

The residential property in the ten most expensive London boroughs is now worth as much as all the housing in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined…”

Atlantic Wire looks at political types who tried to make it in Hollywood and succeeded or failed. The record for Democrats is mixed, but Republicans generally failed. There are remarks each side can make about that.

Florida has approved birth certificate with three parents. I still don’t fully understand why, given the lack of rights/responsibilities of the third parent.

Category: Newsroom

Russell Saunders explains why Connie Mariano should shut up about Chris Christie.

Dick Tracy watches are truly an idea whose time has come and kudos to Apple if they’re on top of it. There are “smartwatches” that talk to smartphones, and smartphones that go on your wrist, but there’s still work to do to get it right.

Remember the robber that accepted an offer of pizza for his family instead of robbing the place? Too nice a story to be true, I guess. He was lying.

Bitcasa touts infinite online storage. They have my attention.

Paging Ryan Noonan: A man who took his wife’s name was accused of fraud. It does seem to me that there ought to be documentation for both men and women to change their names, but if you’re going to give one a pass, so should you with the other.

If you like Chuck Klosterman or professional basketball, or if you’ve heard of Royce White, I recommend this article.

Fans of the movie Spaceballs will appreciate this.

The Obama Administration may be holding up the pipeline, but they have approved substantial offshore drilling leases.

UMass got a lot of early mentions for a possible invite to the Big East. Then we stopped hearing anything about it. Maybe this is why.

LibreOffice 4.0 is out! I’m still waiting to see what OpenOffice does with the code they got from IBM before I go all-in with Libre (except Access, which I just can’t quit).

If you just stole an iPhone from someone else, it’s not a particularly good idea to call the cops when someone steals it from you.

According to the Daily Mail, the NHS in the UK is going after your data.

Automation may not take away jobs, but they will suppress wages. This is one of the things that makes me skeptical of trade restrictions to boost domestic employment and wages. There are very often going to be other options.

Category: Newsroom

Some businesses are looking to fix our sleeping habits. I’m a big fan of employee nap rooms. That my wife’s hospital didn’t have one for on-call docs was always baffling to me.

If this is Google, I once worked for the anti-google. Google tries to find ways to make its employees happy. My former employer tried to find employees who would be happy in its oppressive atmosphere.

I pass on a lot of links about alternative housing. Here’s one on alternative hoteling!

Graphic novels rule, books drool. People retain more information from graphic novels than typical books.

Slate explainer tackles the question of whether states can exile people. Actually, I know someone who was exiled from Arizona.

You can always count of Dave Schuler for sober analysis. On the bright side, he has a post on how we can cut health care costs without lowering payments or reducing services.

This is pretty cool. A phone for your smartphone. I really hope that the future of smartphones includes modularization. They need to get everything talking to everything else. In addition to smartphones-as-car-keys, I want an Android fridge.

Apparently, back in the 80’s in fear of a Sam’s Club’s arrival, Oklahoma passed a law requiring a six-percent profit margin.

Why comment trolls suck.

I’m about as pro-resource-exploitation as you can get whenever the economics warrant it, but I will admit that this makes me uneasy.

Google is hoping that we will trust our personal information to a USB drive. Speaking of passwords, when I read this post at Dustbury I was thinking “Hey, that guy had the exact same problem I had!” Then I realized that “this guy” was me.

The neat story of how a guy filmed a movie as Disney World on the sly.

Farhad Manjoo is singing the same old tired song about the death of the PC. Bring able to do 80% of PC functionality is enough to use the tablet on the go, but heaven help is if, as a culture, we simply forgo the other 20%. Meanwhile, Rob Enderle hits the mark.

Category: Newsroom

Dr. Phi gives us a glimpse into government IT.

I link to this article of a fire in Chicago because you have to see the picture. It’s far out.

The USPS sent Laura Northrup’s package 1,688 miles out of its way. I had a package from the east coast sent to me in the mountain west that, for some reason, went through Hawaii.

XXfactor takes exception to GQ separating out Indian and Asian women from its “Hottest Women List.” It seems to me that you can just as easily chalk this up to “Yay diversity!” rather than get irate. The follow-up on modeling specification is a good point, though.

Apparently, the magic number for an economy is $8,500. Once average purchasing power reaches that number, political extremism and populist promises start losing their appeal.

The few remaining ninjas out there are financially struggling.

How Newegg fought back against a patent troll and saved the online shopping cart.

McDonald’s, meetMcWorld!

It really is annoying that all-in-ones won’t let you scan images if you are out of ink. Apparently there is a bypass for my Canon, though. Cool.

I’ve never understood tail-bobbing. Tails are awesome!

How much does Yelp help businesses that get positive reviews? It turns out to be significant.

Researchers are looking at the Facebook pages of people that commit suicide to see if they can identify warning signs.

Category: Newsroom

An assistant football coach of the Texas Longhorns had sex with a UT student at the 2009 Fiesta Bowl:

In separate statements released Friday night, Dodds and Applewhite called the incident a one-time occurrence. [UT Athletic Director Deloss] Dodds said it happened during activities related to the 2009 Fiesta Bowl, when [UT Offensive Coordinator] Applewhite was UT’s assistant head coach and running backs coach.

Dodds said he learned of the incident later that month, and that Applewhite admitted his “inappropriate conduct.” Applewhite “fully accepted his discipline, including counseling,” Dodds said.

“Several years ago, I made a regretful decision resulting in behavior that was totally inappropriate,” Applewhite said in his statement. “It was a one-time occurrence and was a personal matter. Shortly after it occurred, I discussed the situation with DeLoss Dodds. I was upfront and took full responsibility for my actions. This is and was resolved four years ago with the university.

The university may have had reason to make this belated disclosure:

Last month, Bev Kearney, the women’s track coach at the University of Texas, resigned over an affair with “an adult student-athlete” in 2002. Was the African-American, gay, woman forced out over a consensual affair while the white male football coach (who was also a star football player at the school) received preferential treatment? In Applewhite’s case, the affair was not with an athlete, but there may have still been a supervisory role. It will be interesting to see how Texas spins this.

It seems to me the central question is whether or not there was a supervisory role (and if there was, what was the nature of it). That, to my mind, is a critical difference between the two incidents. I could be convinced that Applewhite should have been fired for his transgression (UT is reviewing the policy). The case that Kearney shouldn’t have been fired is much more difficult to make. Even at the professional level, where there is a much more ambiguous power relationship between coach and player and the players are older, that is a fireable offense under any reasonable handbook. Such things are almost certain to cause instability within the team the coach was hired to lead.

In the Applewhite case, I can really see it going either way. It seems inappropriate for anybody who is even technically a sorta-member of faculty to be sleeping with students. It also sets a bad standard for the student athletes and their conduct (how they handle the attention and adulation they receive, if of course we care about such things). It can be hard enough to get coaches to crack down on inappropriate (or illegal) personal conduct without coaches having inappropriate relations with students ten years their junior. On the other hand, it’s consensual and there is very little to indicate that their was sufficient power differential to cause concern for coercion.

One suspects that the Applewhite case is one of those things that is going to depend heavily on factors unrelated to the allegation. Which means that someone more prominent like Applewhite stays, while a lesser-known figure would be quietly dispatched.

Category: Downtown, School