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Florida redistricting illegally favors Republicans, judge rules

David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times:

Florida judge ruled the state’s congressional district map invalid Thursday night, saying it violates constitutional provisions that require fair districts and instead favors Republicans.

In a scathing opinion, Leon County Circuit Judge Terry P. Lewis ruled in Tallahassee that the Legislature’s Republican political consultants had “made a mockery” of the redistricting process, tainting it with “partisan intent.”

Lewis said that the districts, drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature after the 2010 census, flouted voter-passed constitutional amendments intended to eliminate gerrymandering - that is, often-bizarre and irregular lines that make a district safe for one party or the other.

In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled in Vieth v. Jubelirer that gerrymandering based on political party is more or less okay. The key to this ruling was those amendments to Florida’s constitution mentioned in the third paragraph.

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Call girl arrested in Google exec's overdose death on yacht

Stephen Baxter, Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Police have arrested a 26-year-old high-priced call girl from Georgia who is suspected of injecting heroin into a Santa Cruz tech executive on his yacht and then fleeing when he overdosed

Alix Catherine Tichelman and 51-year-old Forrest Timothy Hayes found each other online and had met a few times before their Nov. 26 encounter on Hayes’ 50-foot yacht, Escape, at the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor, said Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark.

Tichelman provided heroin for Hayes, a Google executive, while they were inside the yacht, police said. A surveillance video from the boat shows that Hayes was “suffering medical complications” and lost consciousness, Clark said. She made no effort to help him, and instead gathered her belongings and even gulped a glass of wine before she drew a window blind and left, the video shows.

Didn’t hear about the death when it happened, nor had I heard of Hayes to begin with. This’d be super messed up no matter who it happened to though.

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Goro Miyazaki to Direct Ronia the Robber's Daughter TV Anime

Anime News Network:

Goro Miyazaki (Tales from Earthsea, From Up On Poppy Hill) will direct a television anime adaptation of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s Ronia the Robber’s Daughter (Ronja Rövardotter) children’s fantasy book. The series, titled Sanzoku no Musume Ronia in Japan, will air on NHK and BS Premium this fall. POLYGON PICTURES (Knights of Sidonia, The Sky Crawlers) is animating the 3D CG series in collaboration with Studio Ghibli. The show will mark the first time that Miyazaki is directing a television anime series.

It’s also Ghibli’s first television series at all, so that’s cool.

Astrid Lindgren is best known for Pippi Longstocking.

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Someone finally got around to uploading my favorite song from Knaster’s album No.3, “Kingdom,” so I can finally post it. That’s cool.

This song was featured in Nifflas’s game The Great Work. I’m extremely fond of the clever way it was used in the game to subtly signal a non-obvious mode switch.

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9 years later, developers weigh in on making games for the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 generation

Giancarlo Valdes interviewed a few game developers on their experiences in working on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games for GamesBeat, which is kind of cool. It’s not terribly deep on technical content, but I thought it had some good moments.

The PS3 and Xbox 360 also changed over the years: Sony and Microsoft continue to update their machines with software patches, and both added optional peripherals that developers could use for their games. Sometimes, these changes brought new hurdles, like when Microsoft released the Kinect motion-tracking camera in 2010.

"That didn’t exist when the 360 first launched. … And then you kind of have to deal with Kinect as a part of getting approved [by Microsoft], even if you weren’t really using Kinect that much," said Urquhart. "You now have to reserve some memory just because the Kinect uses some memory, even if you’re not using it. … During the console generation, as you’re getting more comfortable and know how everything works, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and whoever are still kind of evolving and moving forward and changing how things work. You have to make your game work that way."


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Students Joining Battle to Upend Laws on Voter ID

Matt Apuzzo, The New York Times:

Civil rights groups have spent a decade fighting requirements that voters show photo identification, arguing that this discriminates against African-Americans, Hispanics and the poor. This week in a North Carolina courtroom, another group will make its case that such laws are discriminatory: college students.

Joining a challenge to a state law alongside the N.A.A.C.P., the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department, lawyers for seven college students and three voter-registration advocates are making the novel constitutional argument that the law violates the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 from 21. The amendment also declares that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.”

I’m kind of surprised that this hasn’t been challenged until now.

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Voice actress Alix Wilton Regan gives a few professional tips for how she produces believable spit takes while recording lines.

I have no idea who the dude in this video is but he does a great job.

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Male Gamers With Female Avatars Reveal Gender In Movement

Traci Pedersen, Psych Central News:

Males with a female avatar also jumped an average of 116 more times than female players. Researchers had a few hypotheses for this interesting finding:

  • Males with female avatars could be trying to hint at their true gender by jumping more than they would otherwise;
  • Since males sometimes use female avatars to gain attention or kinder treatment from other players, jumping may be used as a way to attract attention;
  • Jumping may be a way to use the avatar for entertainment rather than for the more “serious” work of fighting in-game enemies. Frequent jumps may indicate that the gamer wants to play a less serious role in the game.

As a dude who plays video games with jump buttons, I will totally admit to mashing that sucker at every available opportunity. I’m kind of surprised that that turns out to be a gendered behavior.

I do it for personal entertainment 100% of the time.

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World Champion's First Filibuster (1972)

AP report published in the June 29, 1972, issue of The Victoria Advocate:

[Sen. Mike] McKool, was still surprisingly alert and his voice strong, after holding the Senate floor for 42 hours and 33 minutes, most of it spent walking and talking.

McKool gained the floor Monday to speak for his proposed amendment that would add $17 million to the spending bill to be given to state mental health and mental retardation institutions. When he sat down the amendment was defeated easily, getting only six backers out of the 31-member Senate.

A forty-two and a half filibuster in support of mental health funding sounds okay to me. This was reported as a record in the 1974 Guinness Book of World Records.