That Yasiel Puig — who can now be seen in paparazzi photographs, his arms around the shoulders of people like Jay Z — departed Cuba in a clandestine operation that involved a 50-kilometer swampland trek and a cigarette boat piloted by Zeta-affiliated gangsters speaks to a certain root absurdity in the ways of man.
The defection of Cuban players to the MLB: more fucked up than you can possibly imagine.
Video game composer George Sanger gave a community interview to Slashdot a little while ago. The whole thing is pretty cool (and long as heck, that man can talk for days), but I enjoyed this bit the most:
How did you get into the video game music business, and what advice would you have for aspiring artists looking to follow in your footsteps?
FAT: A good question—but do bear in mind: Anybody you ask that of has only gotten into the business approximately once.
I thought this was a really keen observation for any “how can I get into the X industry” question.
This year’s GaymerX2, the convention that celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community in games, will be the last largely due to the growing financial burden, the event’s organizers announced via its official Twitter account.
"We decided that we could no longer continue as a convention as the price of running a yearly convention downtown in San Francisco was just too high — we weren’t able to get the corporate sponsorship that we needed to make it something sustainable, and we were racking up huge amounts of debt to put this years con on," organizer Matt Conn told Polygon.
Pretty unfortunate. San Francisco is a hell of an expensive place.
I’m rather sad at the part where they weren’t able to get enough corporate sponsors interested in the convention.
As part of our continuing coverage of the 2014 Citizen Kane Comparison Fodder of the Year, Goat Simulator, here’s a review of the game by actual real life goat farmer Angelina Bellebuono:
The pasture goats do not seek to escape their fenced pasture confines, but they are insatiably curious. I honor that curiosity now by exploring with this Caprine Destructor. My keystroke skills are weak, but we master headbutting quickly. We practice on cars, exploding them from painted red into charred metal shells. We practice on barrels in a rhythm—headbutt, back up, go again. Headbutt, back up, go again.
I feel a little dirty for having so much fun. “Don’t tell,” I whisper to Goat, my enabler.
At the summit, Gwen Ifull of PBS NewsHour spoke with four folks on the topic of what the Act did and meant and represented:
SHIRLEY FRANKLIN, Former Mayor, Atlanta: Over the years, we have seen the explosion of political figures from all walks of life. And so it opened the door for people from all backgrounds, whether gay, lesbian, people from limited means.
There was a sense when I was growing up that you had to be from a certain side of the tracks in order to be an elected official. You had to be lucky to be an elected official. And with the passage of the Civil Rights Acts and the Voting Rights Act and all that that entailed, all of a sudden, a child like me could not be mayor of Atlanta when I was born, when I graduated from high school, when I graduated from college.
But, some years later, I had the opportunity because of the legislative initiatives, but also because of the shift in the cultural forms and the cultural traditions.
Political scientists Kyle Dropp, Joshua D. Kertzer, and Thomas Zeitzoff writing for The Washington Post:
On March 28-31, 2014, we asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans (fielded via Survey Sampling International Inc. (SSI), what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: In addition to measuring standard demographic characteristics and general foreign policy attitudes, we also asked our survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. We wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views. We found that only one out of six Americans can find Ukraine on a map, and that this lack of knowledge is related to preferences: The farther their guesses were from Ukraine’s actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene with military force.
I wonder how many polls are conducted just to call people dumb. It’s probably a lot.
NASA’s Earth Observatory reports that Niijima island, a volcano which broke through the ocean’s surface last November, has now merged with a nearby island that formed from a volcano which last erupted 40 years ago.
Niijima emerged about 500 meters (550 yards) from the older Nishinoshima in November. Now, according to observations taken at the end of March, they are one, measuring about a kilometer (six-tenths of a mile) across.
They’ve got some airborne and satellite photos showing the progress of the merging.
A 9-month-old Pakistani boy bawled as he was fingerprinted and booked in Lahore on an attempted murder charge after his family members allegedly threw bricks at police trying to collect an unpaid bill.
The ordeal started February 1 when several police officers and a bailiff went to a home hoping to get payment for a gas bill, said Atif Zulfikar Butt, a senior police official in Lahore.
A scuffle ensued, during which the infant’s father, one of his teenage sons and others in the residence severely injured some of the officials by tossing bricks their way, according to Butt.
How and why the baby was implicated was unclear,…
I love the journalism speak in that last sentence.
The production company behind American Chopper and Dirty Jobs has approached Toronto Mayor Rob about creating a reality show, The Globe and Mail has learned.
"I’m writing because I’m interested in speaking with you and Mayor Ford about the possibility of developing an unscripted television project together," an executive of the studio wrote to the mayor’s spokesman at the time, Amin Massoudi, in an e-mail obtained by The Globe.
Lindsey Bever on The Washington Post's Morning Mix:
After an official released the name on Wednesday of the alleged Fort Hood shooter, reporters found a man by the same name in Arizona. Some called his relatives for comment about his death. Some posted his photo with the story.
TV stations went to his home and asked his wife if she knew that Ivan Lopez had been shot and killed. He hadn’t. And his daughter, who was standing nearby, started to cry.
Desmond Butler, Jack Gillum, and Alberto Arce for the AP:
In July 2010, Joe McSpedon, a U.S. government official, flew to Barcelona to put the final touches on a secret plan to build a social media project aimed at undermining Cuba’s communist government.
McSpedon and his team of high-tech contractors had come in from Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Washington and Denver. Their mission: to launch a messaging network that could reach hundreds of thousands of Cubans.
Yup, we’re still doing stuff like this.
This is an AP feature report with tons of details by the way, you should definitely read this one.
A young researcher who shot to fame in scientific circles when she published an apparently radical and simple way to create stem cells has been found guilty of misconduct by a committee charged with investigating her work.
Haruko Obokata, at the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe, announced the breakthrough in January in two articles published in the scientific journal Nature, but the discovery was thrown into doubt after researchers elsewhere failed to replicate her work.
The ruling has not settled the debate over whether her breakthrough was real, though. In a bizarre twist in an already convoluted story, the committee’s ruling against Obokata came moments before an independent researcher claimed to have succeeded in making the cells using a slightly different procedure.
Never heard of her or her research before now. This is weird as heck.
After a leading contender dropped out of Ukraine’s presidential race on Saturday, the hopes of many Ukrainians and their Western supporters are now riding on a man known as the Willy Wonka of Ukraine, the billionaire owner of a chocolate candy company.
Petro Olekseyevich Poroshenko, 48, was the highest-profile Ukrainian industrialist to support the street protests that ousted President Viktor F. Yanukovych last month, and has for several weeks led in polls for the May 25 presidential election.
Mr. Poroshenko, also known as “the chocolate king” for his ownership of Roshen, the Ukrainian chocolate manufacturer, won notice during the antigovernment protests last month for climbing onto a backhoe to prevent an angry demonstrator from driving it into police lines.
Okay I get he makes chocolate and all but about that Willy Wonka thing does anyone actually call him th–
On Saturday evening a placard in English was being waved in the Maidan, the centre of the protest movement drove out the government of Viktor Yanukovych, declaring “Dream Team. Willy Wonka and Rocky.”
Rachel Abrams on The New York Times's DealBook blog:
The I.R.S. announced on Tuesday that it would treat Bitcoin, the computer-driven online money system, as property rather than currency for tax purposes, a move that forces users who have grown accustomed to operating under the government’s radar to deal with new tax issues and reporting requirements.
The industry had been expecting the government to come out with some sort of guidance on Bitcoin, so the announcement on Tuesday did not come as much of a surprise. But some users worry that treating it as an investment could discourage the use of Bitcoin as a payment method. If a user buys a product or service with Bitcoin, for example, the I.R.S. will expect the individual to calculate the change in value from the date the user acquired Bitcoin to the date it was spent. That would give the person a basis to calculate the gains — or losses — on what the I.R.S. is now calling property.
"People might just be tempted to hoard rather than spend, because as soon as they spend they would be liable to incur capital gains taxes," said Pamir Gelenbe, the co-founder of the CoinSummit conference and a partner at Hummingbird Ventures, a venture capital firm that recently invested in the online Bitcoin exchange Kraken.
Everyone’s going to keep track of their bitcoin transactions and report everything to the IRS now, right? Right? Hello? Why are you guys just staring at me?
In what could be a potentially landmark moment for collegiate athletics, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the Northwestern football players who are attempting to form a union on Wednesday. In its ruling, the NLRB said that the players had the right to form the first labor union in the history of college sports.
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA EAT IT
This was only a ruling by a regional director, so it’s going to be immediately appealed, but this is a tremendous and novel victory.
This piece I’m linking has some commentary by Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann, who weighs in on the scope of the ruling and the future.
Studies found more than 40 percent of Liberians suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder related to the country’s 14-year civil war. And they have nowhere to turn. Liberia has only one psychiatrist for four million people. It’s a staggering statistic, but experts say it’s not unique to Liberia.
SEAN MAYBERRY, StrongMinds: Ninety percent of the population in the developing world doesn’t have access to mental health services, 90 percent.
Given how bad the mental health care system is in the United States, it’s somewhat bleak to consider how much worse it might be in countries with less resources and development than us.
Mike DiGiovanna on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball beat for the Los Angeles Times:
Left-hander Hector Santiago came up with a new and peculiar way to cope with a rough outing Saturday.
After giving up six runs and five hits in five-plus innings of a triple-A game against Arizona in which his teammates made four errors behind him, Santiago drove straight from the Diamondbacks’ field in Scottsdale, Ariz., to his home in Goodyear, Ariz., bypassing the Angels’ complex in Tempe.
Santiago, whose next start will come in Dodger Stadium on Thursday night, pulled into his driveway, went to his backyard and “jumped into my swimming pool with my uniform on,” he said. “I wanted to wash that game away.”
Leaving a hair at a crime scene could one day be as damning as leaving a photograph of your face. Researchers have developed a computer program that can create a crude three-dimensional (3D) model of a face from a DNA sample.
There’s still a whole lot we don’t know about how our genes end up making us who we are, so the team went about it the only way we know how: with a mountain of statistics applied to genomes and facial scans.
Reardon also talks about a Chinese team doing much the same work.
Answers in Genesis (the organization that brought you the Creation Museum) is demanding some airtime on Cosmos, the Neil deGrasse Tyson reboot of the classic Carl Sagan science series currently airing on Fox. Their argument? Basically, it’s that the science program is not balanced without the inclusion of their religious beliefs. Although this will never happen — Tyson has personally ruled out debating Creationists on the issue of evolution — it’s just the latest example of how the show is worrying a particular set of evangelical Christians in the US.
"Do they do any interviews with scientists themselves," Janet Mefferd asked Danny Faulkner of Answers In Genesis on Thursday, "and do they ever give creationists some time?" Faulkner responded that "Creationists aren’t even on the radar screen for them, they wouldn’t even consider us plausible at all."
Colin and I have watched the first two episodes together and are tentatively enjoying the show, the second episode more than the first, but we both have some major reservations about the production (especially the sound design).
A man who tried to make off with a suitcase full of costumes and props used by the all-male revue “Thunder From Down Under” fired a shot at the head of one member of the Australian group before being subdued, Las Vegas police said Wednesday.
The thief pulled a .44-caliber Magnum handgun before another cast member jostled his hand, police said in an arrest report that provided a dramatic account of the behind-the-scenes fight Tuesday evening at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino.
The bullet struck a wall, the gun fell to the floor, and six well-muscled members of the revue held the man until security arrived, the report said.
I wonder if the arrest report really did state in those words that the men in the revue were “well-muscled.”
I mean, it’s not factually incorrect. Just maybe not entirely relevant to the matter at hand.
Google Christopher Viatafa and with no digging at all you’ll find he’s wanted by San Leandro police. That’s exactly what the 27-year-old Palo Alto man discovered this month.
The first result of his search led to the Northern California’s Most Wanted website, where his picture appeared along with the charges he’s facing, authorities said Friday. Accused of doing wrong, authorities said Viatafa then did what was right: He turned himself in to police.
Tennessee must recognize the legal same-sex marriages of three couples who wed in other states, a federal judge in Nashville ruled on Friday in a limited decision that echoed a similar case in neighboring Kentucky.
"At this point, all signs indicate that, in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs’ marriages will be placed on an equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and that proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history," [Judge Aleta] Trauger wrote in the decision.
They now have an Indiegogo campaign, not to fund development or anything, but rather to fundraise for people who can’t afford one:
Last fall, Lift Labs introduced Liftware to help people whose hand tremor gets in the way of simple tasks like eating. We started shipping Liftware in December, and we’ve been blown away by the positive response from both Liftware users and the community.
This March, in honor of Essential Tremor awareness month, we are introducing the Lift Labs March Match Tremor Campaign. Through the month of March, you can buy a Liftware (or part of a Liftware device) for someone in need through Indiegogo. Lift Labs will match your contributions, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000.
In a sharply worded letter Wednesday, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee told the group that oversees the domain name system it should not approve the ending .sucks for use in websites.
[Sen. Jay] Rockefeller noted that three companies have applied to be the operator of .sucks — and called it “little more than a predatory shakedown scheme.”
Such a suffix, he said, is designed to “force large corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and even individuals, to pay ongoing fees to prevent seeing the phrase ‘sucks’ appended to their names on the Internet.”
Jenn Harris on The Los Angeles Times's Daily Dish blog:
Police are investigating an incident involving a Tampa, Fla., family who reported having hallucinations after eating meat found to be tainted with LSD last week.
After eating the meat last Monday, Ronnie became ill, and shortly after, Rosado and her husband were hospitalized. The two daughters, 6 and 7, said they experienced hallucinations. The family was released from the hospital later in the week.
In a cosmic first, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the disintegration of an asteroid in deep space.
Astronomers have seen comets break apart as they near the sun, but they’d never witnessed anything similar in an asteroid in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter — until now. Hubble images show that the asteroid, known as P/2013 R3, has fragmented into as many as 10 pieces.
… scientists think P/2013 R3’s fragmentation is driven by something called the Yarkovsky-O’Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) effect, which describes how sunlight can cause an object’s rotation rate to increase over time.
Trevor Graff and John Eligon for The New York Times:
Kansas’s highest court ruled on Friday that funding disparities between school districts violated the state’s Constitution and ordered the Legislature to bridge the gap, setting the stage for a messy budget battle in the capital this year.
The debate over school funding in Kansas heated up in the 1960s when the Legislature added an article to the Constitution that read, “the Legislature shall make suitable provision for finance” of public education. That led to a court case decades later that ended with lawmakers agreeing to provide $4,492 in base aid per student.
But because of the nationwide financial crisis, the Legislature never reached that level of spending. It went as high as $4,400 by the 2008-9 school year, but under Gov. Mark V. Parkinson, a Democrat, the figure began a downward slide, which has continued under Mr. Brownback. The figure is now $3,838, and Mr. Brownback called for maintaining it in a budget proposal he released in January.
The reduction in school financing over the years led to the current lawsuit.
I hadn’t heard a single thing about this battle until right now.
Rodain Joubert of QCF Design on adding female portraits to Desktop Dungeons halfway development:
Quite frankly, we wanted the women in DD’s universe to be adventurers first and runway models second. This adjustment turned out to be startlingly non-trivial – you’d think that a bunch of supposedly conscious, mindful individuals would instantly be able to nail a “good female look” (bonus points for having a woman on our crew, right?), but huge swathes of our artistic language tended to be informed by sexist and one-dimensional portrayals. We regularly surprised ourselves with how much we took for granted.
… Shorthands for the feminine kept crawling into our work when we weren’t paying attention – smooth skin, homogenised facial structures, evidence of makeup, you name it. Even characters who we thought would easily sidestep trouble (like the female wizard) simply looked like young, pretty women in grunge costume rather than hardboiled dungeoneers.
It’s a pretty honest assessment of where they succeeded and where they failed.
The SAT college admission test will no longer require a timed essay, will dwell less on fancy vocabulary and will return to the familiar 1600-point scoring scale in a major overhaul intended to open doors to higher education for students who are now shut out.
The College Board also pledged to offer new test-preparation tutorials for free online, enabling students to bypass pricey SAT-prep classes previously available mostly to affluent families looking to give their children an edge.
Researchers are reporting that injections of long-lasting AIDS drugs protected monkeys for weeks against infection, a finding that could lead to a major breakthrough in preventing the disease in humans.
Two studies by different laboratory groups each found 100 percent protection in monkeys that got monthly injections of antiretroviral drugs, and there was evidence that a single shot every three months might work just as well.
If the findings can be replicated in humans, they have the potential to overcome a major problem in AIDS prevention: that many people fail to take their antiretroviral pills regularly.
Just an animal trial, so let’s hope it’s effective in humans too. Long-term vaccination might be preferable to the pre-exposure prophylaxis treatment requiring periodic shots that’s under study, but all progress is progress.