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How Appealing brings us this fantastic quote from 5th Circuit Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod:
An employee either is or is not at-will. There is no such thing as somewhat at-will, or as the majority puts it “sufficiently non-at-will.” In fact, the majority’s conclusion brings to mind Miracle Max’s diagnosis that Westley was “mostly dead.” See Princess Bride (20th Century Fox released Sep. 25, 1987)
Sadly, this is only a dissenting opinion, but still. Amazing.
Twitter users turned Sunday’s French presidential election into a battle between a green Hungarian wine and a red Dutch cheese in a bid to get round tough laws banning result predictions.
The #RadioLondres hashtag was the top France trend on Twitter during the first-round presidential vote, in homage to World War II codes broadcast to Resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied France from the BBC in London.
But French citizens have written a new codebook in a subversive bid to get round laws that mean anyone announcing vote predictions before polls closed at 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) could be fined up to 75,000 euros (100,000 dollars).
I won’t spoil any of the code names for you — but rest assured they’re all worth it.
Cool medical news out of the Gladstone Institutes (affiliated with UC San Francisco):
"The damage from a heart attack is typically permanent because heart-muscle cells — deprived of oxygen during the attack — die and scar tissue forms," said [Deepak] Srivastava, a UCSF professor who directs cardiovascular and stem cell research at Gladstone, an independent and nonprofit biomedical-research institution. "But our experiments in mice are a proof of concept that we can reprogram non-beating cells directly into fully functional, beating heart cells — offering an innovative and less invasive way to restore heart function after a heart attack."
In laboratory experiments with mice that had experienced a heart attack, Qian and Srivastava delivered three genes that normally guide embryonic heart development — together known as GMT — directly into the damaged region. Within a month, non-beating cells that normally form scar tissue transformed into beating heart-muscle cells. Within three months, the hearts were beating even stronger and pumping more blood.
Next is to test if the technique scales up larger animals.
Fans in the crowd won’t be allowed to upload snippets of the day’s action to YouTube – or even, potentially, to post their snaps from inside the Olympic Village on Facebook. And a crack team of branding “police”, the Games organisers Locog have acknowledged, will be checking every bathroom in every Olympic venue – with the power to remove or tape over manufacturers’ logos even on soap dispensers, wash basins and toilets.
Thieves snatched a truck from a business in an Upstate New York town — and the evidence almost disappeared into the sands of time.
But a week after it was taken, the vehicle was discovered by eagle-eye investigators flying around Wayne County, according to local media.
"Jeffery Paul was in the process of burying the box truck," Investigator Corey Black told the Batavia News, referring to the son of David Paul, who owns Country Construction, where the truck was spotted. "He was bulldozing it under in a sand pit."
Article has a great pic. MY FLAWLESS PLAN HAS COME UNDONE
Hey check this out, Ron Leech, a politician in Alberta, Canada, has neatly defined the concept of privilege for us:
I think, as a Caucasian, I have an advantage. When different community leaders such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speak, they really speak to their own people in many ways,” Leech is reported to have said by CTV.
As a Caucasian, I believe that I can speak to all the community.
Natalie Rothschild, writing in Slate, about not just a new pronoun but Sweden’s status at the forefront of gender-equality. This caught my eye though:
Ironically, in the effort to free Swedish children from so-called normative behavior, gender-neutral proponents are also subjecting them to a whole set of new rules and new norms as certain forms of play become taboo, language becomes regulated, and children’s interactions and attitudes are closely observed by teachers. One Swedish school got rid of its toy cars because boys “gender-coded” them and ascribed the cars higher status than other toys. Another preschool removed “free playtime” from its schedule because, as a pedagogue at the school put it, when children play freely “stereotypical gender patterns are born and cemented. In free play there is hierarchy, exclusion, and the seed to bullying.” And so every detail of children’s interactions gets micromanaged by concerned adults, who end up problematizing minute aspects of children’s lives, from how they form friendships to what games they play and what songs they sing.
Goes to show how tricky and dangerous changing a culture is. It’s really hard to lose sight of the overall goal of equality: to build a society where everyone feels comfortable being themselves. (Society’s already a pretty comfy place for middle-class straight white cisgender men like myself.)
Another thing: questions of equality and justice are hard enough to reason about when dealing with adults. Can’t imagine how tough this is to do with children.
Jordan Stratford is writing a children’s book about the fictional adventures of young Ada Lovelace and young Mary Shelley.
This is the made up story about two very real girls – Ada, the world’s first computer programmer, and Mary, the world’s first science fiction author – caught up in a steampunk world of hot-air balloons and steam engines, jewel thieves and mechanical contraptions. For readers 8-12.
This is a pro-math, pro-science, pro-history and pro-literature adventure novel for and about girls, who use their education to solve problems and catch a jewel thief. Ada and Mary encounter real historical characters, such as Percy Shelley, Charles Babbage, Michael Faraday, and Charles Dickens – people whom the girls actually knew. If Jane Austen wrote about zeppelins and brass goggles, this would be the book.
A year ago, anyone from the old regime seemed too tainted to ever hope for power. Though rising to political prominence, the Muslim Brotherhood promised it wouldn’t run for the presidency, wary of seeming too dominant.
Now, the two main contenders to rule Egypt are the Brotherhood’s top strongman and the most feared and powerful figure of Hosni Mubarak’s inner circle - marking how far the nation has changed from the heady days of revolution in the name of liberal democracy.
Good rundown of the current state surrounding the election happening next month.
We figured they’d cheat; they were Hezbollah, after all. But none of us—a team of four Western journalists—thought we’d be dodging military-grade flash bangs when we initiated this “friendly” paintball match.
This is one of the most fascinating pieces about the Middle East I’ve read, well, possibly ever — certainly this year. Read every word.
Dan Catt on the art movement that’s known as the New Aesthetic:
The New Aesthetics, or at least the aspect I’m looking at, is inspired by computer vision. And computer vision is at the point now that computer graphics was at 30 years ago. The New Aesthetics isn’t concerned with retro 8bit graphics of the past, but the 8bit graphics designed for machines of the now.
Make sure to click through the photos — this one is my absolute favorite. I’d seen some of this NA stuff go by on Twitter but until I read this essay, I thought this stuff was yet more retro-throwback. Don’t get it twisted: I love retro things as much as other 25 year-old, but ultimately “retro-everything” doesn’t really grab me at this point — I expect that most things are going to contain some throwback to the past. (Again, totally OK with this. “Great artists steal.”)
Robots, however are different. Machines don’t care about the 1980s. Drones don’t wear Wayfarers. We’ve discovered seemingly the last agents left in our culture that haven’t been taken in by nostalgia, and they can’t even walk. And more importantly than “four wheels good, two legs bad”, robots see the world in a completely different way from us. And that’s fascinating.
If you agree, or are just curious, I recommend clicking through on all the links in the Catt piece above; but make sure you end up on the New Aesthetic tumblr at some point — great stuff.
PBS NewsHour had a nice retrospective of the career of Mike Wallace on Monday. It also had a long interview by host Jeffrey Brown with two of Wallace’s 60 Minutes co-workers, correspondent Morley Safer and executive producer Jeff Fager. Good stuff.
Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore International and former CEO of Atari International, died on Sunday at the age of 83. He was surrounded by family at the time of his passing, according to Forbes.
Famous for saying that computers should be built “for masses, not the classes,” Tramiel played an important role in the early days of personal computing and video gaming, as his company introduced a line of powerful but affordable home computers, including the popular Commodore 64.
I was honestly not familiar with Tramiel by name at all until reading this, but the Commodore 64 was a legendary computer. My older brother even had one, although I was only a few years old at the time so I sadly don’t remember a thing about it.
U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt expressed frustration that he was bound by mandatory minimum sentencing laws to imprison former Sgts. Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius and former officers Anthony Villavaso and Robert Faulcon for decades when other officers who engaged in similar conduct on the Danziger Bridge — but cut deals with prosecutors — are serving no more than eight years behind bars.
"These through-the-looking-glass plea deals that tied the hands of this court … are an affront to the court and a disservice to the community," he said.
During a scathing lecture that lasted roughly two hours, Engelhardt questioned the credibility of officers who cut deals and testified against the defendants during last year’s trial.
"Citing witnesses for perjury at this trial would be like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500," Engelhardt said.
Little benownst to the world all this time, GoldenEye (N64) has a fully-functional ZX Spectrum 48x emulator built into it. By feeding it a proper Spectrum monitor program and calling menu 25 to load a snapshot, any Spectrum 48x program can be run.
I mean, I knew the Augusta golf club, home of the Masters tournament and which famously excludes women from its membership, was run by a bunch of backwards, privileged assholes. But I didn’t think the New York Times was too. From the AP’s story:
"If it were left to me, which it seldom is in the power structure of writer versus editor, I’d probably not come cover this event again until there is a woman member," [NYTimes golf writer] Karen Crouse told GOLF.com. "More and more, the lack of a woman member is just a blue elephant in the room."
Contacted by The Associated Press, Times sports editor Joe Sexton said the comments were, “completely inappropriate and she has been spoken to.”
Christ on a crutch. Click through above for some more background and analysis from Digby.
A major Chinese ship insurer will halt indemnity cover for tankers carrying Iranian oil from July, dealing a blow that narrows the insurance options for Tehran’s main export already constricted by payment barriers caused by Western sanctions.
With Western sanctions on Tehran increasing, sources at the China P&I Club told Reuters on Thursday it did not want to stand alone in the market, especially after insurers in Japan and Europe plan to either limit or ban their own coverage for tankers operating in Iran.
This is the first sign that refiners in China, Iran’s top crude buyer, may struggle to obtain the shipping and insurance to keep importing from the Middle Eastern country. Iran’s other top customers — India, Japan and South Korea — are running into similar problems, raising questions on how Tehran will be able to continue to export the bulk of its oil.
Representative Paul Ryan said Sunday that he has apologized in a telephone call to the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman for accusing the military of not giving its “true advice” on President Obama’s budget plan.
Military generals are required under oath to provide lawmakers their personal views on security matters, even if those views conflict with the White House.
In this case, General Martin Dempsey had testified that he thought Obama’s $614 billion plan for defense spending next year was adequate.
Does anyone actually like this guy?
Incidentally, do you just wake up in the morning and think to yourself, “I am going to accuse the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of lying under oath”? How exactly does that work?
This December, in a surprisingly simple yet ridiculously amazing installation for the Queensland Gallery of Modern Ar, artist Yayoi Kusama constructed a large domestic environment, painting every wall, chair, table, piano, and household decoration a brilliant white, effectively serving as a giant white canvas. Over the course of two weeks, the museum’s smallest visitors were given thousands upon thousands of colored dot stickers and were invited to collaborate in the transformation of the space, turning the house into a vibrantly mottled explosion of color.
This is pretty fantastic. Check the pictures of it at Colossal.
When Jayson E. Street broke into the branch office of a national bank in May of last year, the branch manager could not have been more helpful. Dressed like a technician, Street walked in and said he was there to measure “power fluctuations on the power circuit.” To do this, he’d need to plug a small white device that looked like a power adapter onto the wall.
The power fluctuation story was total bullshit, of course. Street had been hired by the bank to test out security at 10 of its West Coast branch offices. He was conducting what’s called a penetration test. This is where security experts pretend to be bad guys in order to spot problems.
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.