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Comment: Attribution of blame and psychology class (Score 1) 559

by petershank (#43854689) Attached to: Criminal Complaint Filed Against Facebook After Girl's Death

The discussions reminded of an exercise we went through in a college psychology class, in which a story is told about a woman who was killed, and the students in the class must rank the culpability of all of the characters in the story. I googled "psychology class story about who is responsible for murder of woman on ferry".

The first google result was an academic paper about how that exercise is used and interpreted by some psychology professor somewhere.
The second google result was Mark Zuckerberg's wikipedia page. I wonder if that would have happened before the news of this suicide had come out.

Comment: Re:In a nutshell: (Score 1) 725

by petershank (#38519108) Attached to: Christmas Always On Sunday? Researchers Propose New Calendar

Unlike in some countries, the US Constitution does not allow for National Holidays that are binding on everybody, or even binding on state governments. We have Federal Holidays, which are specifically binding only on employees of Federal agencies. Private businesses (and the State govts) are not obligated to close, or grant any sort of day off (or pay benefits) on Federal Holidays, though almost all choose to do so.

Comment: Re:Wait, what? (Score 2) 376

by petershank (#36951304) Attached to: Massachusetts Lottery Broken

during "rolldown week," the expected return of playing the game is positive. This is just as true for people who spend $3 as for people who spend $300,000.

The article said otherwise:

Mark Kon, a professor of math and statistics at Boston University, calculated that a bettor buying even $10,000 worth of tickets would run a significant risk of losing more than they won during the July rolldown week. But someone who invested $100,000 in Cash WinFall tickets had a 72 percent chance of winning

Microsoft

Microsoft Reportedly Working On TV Service For Xbox 360 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the path-to-a-unified-entertainment-box dept.
tekgoblin writes "It seems that Microsoft may be in talks with media companies to license TV shows and movies for a new streaming service. With the addition of ESPN to the Xbox 360 over Xbox Live, Microsoft may be in a position to do the same for different content providers and charge a subscription fee for them separately. The idea is to better personalize content and only pay for what you want to watch instead of paying cable companies for all the channels you don't watch. Microsoft is looking into duplicating what they have done with ESPN to include channels such as Showtime or HBO and possibly Disney."
Image

The World's Smallest Legible Font 280

Posted by samzenpus
from the because-he-can dept.
hasanabbas1987 writes "From the article: 'Well 'technically' they aren't the smallest fonts in the world as if they were you wouldn't be able to read even a single letter, but, you should be able to read the entire paragraph in the picture given above... we did. A Computer science professor called Ken Perlin designed these tiny fonts and you can fit 500 reasonable words in a resolution of 320 x 240 space. There are at the moment the smallest legible fonts in the world.'"
Media

1928 Time Traveler Caught On Film? 685

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-hate-time-travel-stories dept.
Many of you have submitted a story about Irish filmmaker George Clarke, who claims to have found a person using a cellphone in the "unused footage" section of the DVD The Circus, a Charlie Chaplin movie filmed in 1928. To me the bigger mystery is how someone who appears to be the offspring of Ram-Man and The Penguin got into a movie in the first place, especially if they were talking to a little metal box on set. Watch the video and decide for yourself.
Movies

The Home-Built Dark Knight Batmobile 87

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-the-little-jokers-to-school dept.
ElectricSteve writes "RM Auctions recently declared James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 to be 'the world's most famous car,' but there's no doubt that there is another contender for that title — the Batmobile. One thing that muddies the waters a bit is the fact that the term 'Batmobile' actually describes at least three different vehicles: the modified Lincoln Futura concept car from the '60s TV series, the vaguely Corvette-shaped 1989-and-beyond movie cars, and now the car from the most recent two movies, the military-spec Tumbler. Michigan-based movie props artist Bob Dullam really likes the Tumbler, so he did what any of us would do in his position — he built one of his own from scratch."
Image

New York To Spend $27.5 Million Uncapitalizing Street Signs 322

Posted by samzenpus
from the beware-the-big-letters dept.
250,000 street signs in New York City feature street names in capital letters only, which is not the national standard. Having no other issues on the table, The New York City Department of Transportation has decided to fix the problem and put up proper signs featuring both capital and lower-case letters at a cost of $27.5 million. The Transportation Department hopes to have the job completed by 2018 with 11,000 of the most important improperly capitaled signs fixed by the end of the year. Catastrophe averted.

Comment: Re:It should be: 4+3+2=x+2 (Solve for x) (Score 2, Interesting) 1268

by petershank (#33245148) Attached to: US Students Struggle With Understanding of the 'Equal' Sign

Yes, my 3rd grader is given that kind of problem, but with a longish underscore instead of the parentheses. Sometimes it's a box, but the underscore is better, because it's a familiar holdover from learning to read, where a drawing of a feline is accompanied by "__at" and they're told to fill in the blank. I agree that using parentheses would be as poor a choice as "()at" when you want them to produce the three letter synonym for feline.

The mathematical pedagogy is fine; they're trying to develop numeracy (numeric literacy) by instilling the idea that there's more than one way to "express" 7, but they don't (yet) want to muddy the waters more by mixing letters and numbers and using phrases like "solve for"

Image

Man Put On "No-Fly List" While In Air To NYC 300

Posted by samzenpus
from the beware-the-list-refresh dept.
An unnamed man flying from Nigeria to New York City found out he was added to a no-fly list somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean, when the plane stopped to refuel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Officials won't say what he did or why he was added to the list after he had already boarded a flight. He was not immediately charged with a crime and Customs and Border Protection will only say that he is a "potential person of interest." From the article: "The man, a citizen of Gambia, was not on the no-fly list when he boarded the aircraft in Dakar, Senegal, said a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly."
Image

Seinfeld's Good Samaritan Law Now Reality? 735

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-that-there-is-anything-wrong-with-that dept.
e3m4n writes "The fictitious 'good samaritan' law from the final episode of Seinfeld (the one that landed them in jail for a year) appears to be headed toward reality for California residents after the house passed this bill. There are some differences, such as direct action is not required, but the concept of guilt by association for not doing the right thing is still on the face of the bill."
Image

Trapped Girls Call For Help On Facebook 380

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-my-are-you-in-danger-quiz dept.
definate writes "Two teenage girls (aged 10 and 12) found themselves trapped/lost in a stormwater drain in Adelaide, South Australia. The interesting point of this article that makes it Slashdot worthy, is that although the teenage girls had mobile phones, instead of calling for help using 000 (Australia's 911 number), they decided to notify people through Facebook. My guess is it was something along the lines of 'Jane Doe is like totally trapped in a stormwater drain, really need help, OMG!'. Luckily a young friend of the girls was online at the time and was able to call the proper authorities."

Comment: Re:Already have wireless power.... (Score 0) 184

by petershank (#28426121) Attached to: Intel Demos Wireless "Resonant" Recharging

....it's called 'using batteries'

With this form of wireless power, you don't have to remember to replace the batteries, and you don't have to interrupt the device from working while the batteries are being replaced.

....With wireless power, would each device need some kind of special wireless receiver/transformer?

Yes, just like wireless phones, which each need a special wireless receiver/transformer.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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