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Pygmy pachyderms passing, possibly pesticide poisoning. Pending proof, palm product plantation probable

Posted on February 14th, 2013 at 18:32 by John Sinteur in category: News


Malaysian wildlife officials say 14 dead pygmy elephants were found last month in the wilds of Sabah Province, apparently poisoned by chemicals used by farmers to keep pests from eating the palm fruit grown on plantations that blanket vast swaths of the countryside.

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  1. Man won’t rest until all other species are extinct. Only the rats and roaches will outlive us.

  2. Perishing population in peril postulate plausible. Prerequisite: people purchasing Palmolive.

Students boycott final to challenge professor’s grading policy (and get As)

Posted on February 14th, 2013 at 18:22 by John Sinteur in category: News


Since he started teaching at Johns Hopkins University in 2005, Professor Peter Fröhlich has maintained a grading curve in which each class’s highest grade on the final counts as an A, with all other scores adjusted accordingly. So if a midterm is worth 40 points, and the highest actual score is 36 points, “that person gets 100 percent and everybody else gets a percentage relative to it,” said Fröhlich.

This approach, Fröhlich said, is the “most predictable and consistent way” of comparing students’ work to their peers’, and it worked well.

At least it did until the end of the fall term at Hopkins, that is.

As the semester ended in December, students in Fröhlich’s “Intermediate Programming”, “Computer Science Fundamentals,” and “Introduction to Programming for Scientists and Engineers” classes decided to test the limits of the policy, and collectively planned to boycott the final. Because they all did, a zero was the highest score in each of the three classes, which, by the rules of Fröhlich’s curve, meant every student received an A.


Although Fröhlich conceded that he did not include such a “loophole” in the policy “with the goal of students exploiting it,” he decided to honor it after the boycott.

Despite awarding As to all the students who participated in the boycott, the experience has led Fröhlich to alter his long-held grading policy.

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A Most Peculiar Test Drive

Posted on February 14th, 2013 at 14:55 by John Sinteur in category: News


To date, hundreds of journalists have test driven the Model S in every scenario you can imagine. The car has been driven through Death Valley (the hottest place on Earth) in the middle of summer and on a track of pure ice in a Minnesota winter. It has traveled over 600 miles in a day from the snowcapped peaks of Tahoe to Los Angeles, which made the very first use of the Supercharger network, and moreover by no lesser person than another reporter from The New York Times. Yet, somehow John Broder “discovered” a problem and was unavoidably left stranded on the road. Or was he?

After a negative experience several years ago with Top Gear, a popular automotive show, where they pretended that our car ran out of energy and had to be pushed back to the garage, we always carefully data log media drives. While the vast majority of journalists are honest, some believe the facts shouldn’t get in the way of a salacious story. In the case of Top Gear, they had literally written the script before they even received the car (we happened to find a copy of the script on a table while the car was being “tested”). Our car never even had a chance.

The logs show again that our Model S never had a chance with John Broder. In the case with Top Gear, their legal defense was that they never actually said it broke down, they just implied that it could and then filmed themselves pushing what viewers did not realize was a perfectly functional car. In Mr. Broder’s case, he simply did not accurately capture what happened and worked very hard to force our car to stop running.

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  1. John Broder has posted an interesting reply to Elton Musk. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/that-tesla-data-what-it-says-and-what-it-doesnt/

  2. Smart move by CNN: they are repeating the test

Alan Friedman’s Astonishing HD Photographs of the Sun Shot from his Own Backyard

Posted on February 14th, 2013 at 14:40 by Paul Jay in category: Great Picture


Alan Friedman is a fascinating guy. By day he’s a maker of greeting cards and a lover ofhats, but in his spare time he’s a self-proclaimed space cowboy who points a telescope skyward from his backyard in downtown Buffalo, directly into the light of the sun. Using special filters attached to his camera Friedman captures some of the most lovely details of the Sun’s roiling surface. The raw images are colorless and often blurry requiring numerous hours of coloring, adjusting and finessing to tease out the finest details, the results of which hardly resemble what I imagine the 10-million degree surface of Sun might look like. Instead Friedman’s photos appear almost calm and serene, perhaps an entire planet of fluffy clouds or cotton candy. From his artist statement:

My photographs comprise a solar diary, portraits of a moment in the life of our local star. Most are captured from my backyard in Buffalo, NY. Using a small telescope and narrow band filters I can capture details in high resolution and record movements in the solar atmosphere that change over hours and sometimes minutes. The raw material for my work is black and white and often blurry. As I prepare the pictures, color is applied and tonality is adjusted to better render the features. It is photojournalism of a sort. The portraits are real, not painted. Aesthetic decisions are made with respect for accuracy as well as for the power of the image.

Although the photos above are amazing, Friedman offers extremely high-resolution views of his work on his Tumblr and you can pick up some prints over on Photo-Eye. He also recently gave a TEDx Talk. (via geocentrismo)

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  1. Amazing, thanks for that!

Adobe CEO refuses to answer Australian pricing questions

Posted on February 14th, 2013 at 14:35 by John Sinteur in category: Foyer of Ennui (just short of the Hall of Shame)


In a press conference in Sydney today, Adobe chief executive Shantanu Narayen refused to answer questions about how the company can justify charging Australians up to $1,400 more for its traditional software than US residents, instead pushing his view that Adobe’s Creative Cloud software, which is broadly harmonised with US pricing, is the future for customers.

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Terrifying Video of ‘Chris Dorner’ Gun Battle Caught On Video

Posted on February 14th, 2013 at 9:07 by John Sinteur in category: News

From another angle:


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  1. Explain to me why, if this is the way it is, we even *need* drone strikes on US citizens?

  2. They’re lucky he had 2 wallets and 2 ID’s. 1 one them fireproof.

Happy Valentine!

Posted on February 14th, 2013 at 8:54 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


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