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Peter Thiel's Lawyer Wants To Silence Reporting On Trump's Hair ( 301

An anonymous reader writes: Follow the report that Gawker has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after facing multiple lawsuits funded by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, it's being reported that Thiel's lawyer, Charles J. Harder, is threatening to sue Gawker for reporting on the company that made Donald Trump's hair, claiming copyright prohibits Gawker from republishing his threat. He sent the company a letter on behalf of Edward Ivari, the owner of the company Gawker suggests may be behind Trump's hair. Gawker said it was sent a six-page letter that claims the story "was 'false and defamatory,' invaded Ivari's privacy, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, and committed 'tortious interference' with Ivari's business relations." Gawker reporter Ashley Feinberg suggested in a lengthy Gawker story that Trump secretly underwent Ivari International's $60,000 "microcylinder intervention" treatment, with the company's offices located on the 25th floor of Trump Tower. Gawker called Ivari's claims "ridiculous," and noted that the statements at issue were pulled from his own publicity materials and from public records of a 2001 lawsuit against the company.

Comment Re:Given Distance (Score 1) 339

Dark matter doesn't interact visibily with light or matter. Comets or "random space debris" will not cause consistent 20% dimming.

And yet it's still equally likely, since as the original article, and several posters have pointed out, the whole "it was aliens! Dyson sphere!" thing would be causing large emissions in the IR area, which are not present.

Also, the term "dark matter" is not just applied to exotic invisible space matter, but also to clouds of gas and dust that are just too cold to emit any light (hence, dark). Random space debris in large enough concentrations, oort cloud distortions from another star (the small red dwarf about 130 billion km out that the article mentions) are again a possible cause.

The problems with the majority of these ideas (including the dyson sphere/swarm/...) is that most of them would be showing additional signs like glowing brightly in IR, which is just not present.

Also, the dimming is not a consistent 20% - it's changing frequently, and not in a smooth or repeating pattern. (which would suggest a planet or other orbital body) If anything, what makes it interesting is that it's not consistent, but it keeps happening.

Comment Re:Given Distance (Score 1) 339

Well, since it's 1500 light years away, that means what we're seeing is from 1500 years ago. Yes, more than likely, if there was anyone alive at that location when what we're seeing happened, they're probably dead by now. Of course, it's just as possible that we're seeing the star in question being blocked off by comets, clouds of dark matter, or other random space debris.

Comment Re:Last sentence (Score 4, Funny) 228

Seems a bit condescending, why wouldn't a girl be able to do this?

Er... the last sentence was "What's of particular interest is the study's author is a 17-year-old high school student from Ohio." - the "interesting" part is that they're a highschool student and 17 years old, with a published scientific paper to their name. The summary doesn't even mention that they're a girl, you'd have to go and read the article to find that out.

Reading the article... what kind of first post-er are you?

Comment Re:Hard to take sides (Score 1) 355

What I'd do in that case is fail the ones who were (by his admission) already failing anyways. In a room with only a bit over 30 students (which is what this guy had), if you can't get people to settle down and shut up during class, that's your own fault. After the first midterm, you should be able to call each and every one of them by name. This is from experience. The classes I taught varied between 38 and 275 students, and in the 38 student class, I knew who each and every one of them was by mid-semester, including the two who only showed up for midterms. Saying things like "Dave, if you turned off the video game and payed attention in class, you might actually pass the next midterm" gets the laptop switched off fast in a room that small. In the 275 student class, I knew the names of all of the top students, and all of the problem students, and when kicking someone out for being disruptive, always used their name to do so - it points out to them that they're not anonymous, and they're not getting away with anything.

Comment Re:Hard to take sides (Score 1) 355

"Investigated and overturned as without merit" doesn't mean cheating didn't occur in that instance.

Very true, but back when I was teaching, every instance of cheating that I bothered reporting was upheld by the administration, and in one case resulted in a deportation. The ones I didn't bother reporting were because their cheating led to them failing anyways. (In one case, five times, with two mandatory one-year academic suspensions in-between. The sixth time he was in the class, I forced him to sit where he couldn't see any other students during the exams, and took his phone away - he got 80%. He knew the answers, he just wasn't willing to read his own @#%* test paper.) Well designed and set up exams and assignments tend to make cheating range between "more difficult than it's worth", and "likely to cause you to fail". And even then, failing a whole class, including students you've admitted don't deserve it, as revenge against a few (or even several) cheaters is inappropriate.

Comment Re:Hard to take sides (Score 3, Interesting) 355

Well, we can eliminate possibility two right off the bat, since the prof admitted in an interview that some of the students in the class were actually good students and doing well academically, and he failed them all anyways.

Also, other details skipped in the top-linked article: The class size is somewhere just above 30 (likely less than 40), the prof is non-tenured, at least one of his cheating accusations was already investigated and overturned as without merit, and there apparently multiple complaints about him from past students already.

Comment Re:Hard to take sides (Score 5, Informative) 355

From the articles I've read about it, the prof even admits that some of the class were honest, hard working, and doing well academically in the class. He threw a temper tantrum because some of the other students were mean to him, and failed all of them, good and bad.

Also, at least one of his cheating allegations was investigated and overturned by their university's administration. This sounds mostly like sour grapes.

I taught at a university for about ten years before moving off to private industry (sessional prof jobs pay poorly) and I've run into almost every behavior he complained about in the article and more, but never even once would I have considered punishing the students who were actually showing up and doing the work for the behavior of the ones who don't.

This guy picked the wrong way to deal with his problems, and the university administration is right to overturn his grading. Especially since he even admits that not all of the students deserved it. The USA is full of lawyer-happy lawsuit maniacs, and this is a situation where the university would be absolutely buried in litigation, which it would rightfully lose, if they didn't overturn it and assign grades based on academic performance.

Comment Re:These guys call me every few months... (Score 1) 229

1. Just tell them you only have Linux, they'll hang up immediately.

I tried that when they called me many years ago (back when windows XP was new... and they had the same recorded opening message back then) and the guy on the phone told me that no I didn't, my computer was a Microsoft Windows Computer, because that is what everyone has. He literally would not believe me that I wasn't using Windows. He actually got angry with me. It was kinda funny really.

Comment Re:Funny thing... (Score 3, Interesting) 229

Another good trick to use is to pretend you're trying to follow their instructions, and that it's just not working.

Tell them your virus scanner is giving you alerts, they'll think you're a really good target. If your phone has a 'mute' option, ask them to hold on for a second because you've got another call. Come back within a minute or two, and if they're still there, lead them on again. Never let on that you aren't actually following their instructions, never let on that you know it's a scam. As long as they think they've got you hooked, they'll keep trying. As soon as you reveal that you're not buying into their lines, they'll cut bait and look for someone else to scam.

That's the big difference between the major scammers like this, and the ordinary telemarketers who just want to sell you things you don't need while you're trying to eat dinner - the scammers are allowed to hang up. The regular telemarketers aren't, and you can spend an hour telling them all about the coffee cup sitting on your desk.

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