Interesting that a police officer, in South Carolina!, was fired for threatening a black man during a traffic stop. I would normally expect nothing to come of this. Did the fact that the man is in the NFL have anything to do with disciplinary action, or did the Department of Public Safety do the right thing just because it was the right thing to do?
Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant’s concentrated sun rays — “streamers,” for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.
After the news crew flees from the tear gas (new standard for getting rid of news crews), the police come over to dismantle their setup and point the camera at the ground. In case it were to, you know, accidentally record anything.
“What is happening in Ferguson is exactly what opponents of the rise in military-style policing across America have long feared: when the feds arm white local cops with weapons of war and their superiors encourage them not to just play dress-up but to use their new war toys, it is inevitable that ordinary citizens – especially citizens of color – will get treated as the enemy.”—Ferguson is what happens when white suburban cops get weapons of war, writes Sadhbh Walshe. (via guardian)
“Liberals, you want to send those evil employees who would dare work at a fast food joint then ya just don’t believe in, thought you wanted to, I dunno, send them to Purgatory or somethin’ so they all go vegan?”—
My nephew, who just turned 6, has always had a problem with hyperactivity. His mother brought a variety of 12-packs of soda (pop for those of you with such inclinations) to the boys’ party today, including Mountain Dew. At one point, my nephew comes outside drinking one of the cans of Dew. I asked him if he had permission from his mother to drink it. He said yes, and sure enough, she was watching him from the porch.
I don’t normally drink liquor because I really enjoy drinking beer, l tend to get drunk way too quickly (and possibly sick) if I drink liquor, and these days I also need to make sure what I drink is wheat free.
This afternoon/evening we went over a friend’s house for a get-together and one of our friends brought this wheat-free vodka because she was tired of my excuses for not drinking liquor, and so I basically had to drink it, and I might now be a little bit drunk.
But we just got home and I had to look up the vodka because I thought at the time, “well if I have to drink vodka I’m glad that it’s got a solid name behind it like Tito’s”, and now I see that not only is it Tito’s, but his name is actually Tito Beveridge and I’m really having a hard time believing that the whole thing isn’t just a hoax.
It seems just about anything can be patented these days:
U.S. Patent No. 8,762,173, titled “Method and Apparatus for Indirect Medical Consultation.” This patent issued on June 24, 2014, and dates back to an application filed in November 2007. And what was the novel, nonobvious, deserving-of-patent-protection invention? Here is claim 1 in a nutshell (the full claim is at the end of this post, for those interested):
a. take a telephone call from patient b. record patient info in a patient file c. send patient information to a doctor, ask the doctor if she wants to talk to the patient d. call the patient back and transfer the call to the doctor e. record the call f. add the recorded call to the patient file and send to doctor g. do steps a. – f. with a computer.
The whole thing is pretty ridiculous, but what’s up with Step “g”? It seems like it was just thrown in there.
Given that this patent seems like it should not have been allowed because of its abstract idea, we looked at the file history (the publicly available record of what happened at the patent office). What we found was that the original claim 1 (which was similar but not identical to the claim that eventually was patented) had not claimed a computer. The examiner correctly issued a rejection, saying the claim was abstract and thus wasn’t something that could be patented. In response, the applicant added element (g) (“providing a computer, the computer performing steps “a” through “f””). And the rejection went away.
Somehow, something that wasn’t patentable became patentable just by saying “do it with a computer.”
Left to their own devices, teachers are once again trying to incorporate new ideas into old scripts, often botching them in the process. One especially nonsensical result stems from the Common Core’s suggestion that students not just find answers but also “illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.” The idea of utilizing arrays of dots makes sense in the hands of a skilled teacher, who can use them to help a student understand how multiplication actually works. For example, a teacher trying to explain multiplication might ask a student to first draw three rows of dots with two dots in each row and then imagine what the picture would look like with three or four or five dots in each row. Guiding the student through the exercise, the teacher could help her see that each march up the times table (3x2, 3x3, 3x4) just means adding another dot per row. But if a teacher doesn’t use the dots to illustrate bigger ideas, they become just another meaningless exercise. Instead of memorizing familiar steps, students now practice even stranger rituals, like drawing dots only to count them or breaking simple addition problems into complicated forms (62+26, for example, must become 60+2+20+6) without understanding why. This can make for even poorer math students. “In the hands of unprepared teachers,” Lampert says, “alternative algorithms are worse than just teaching them standard algorithms.”
I haven’t been around Tumblr much lately because, well, I haven’t been around much lately.
There’s not much in the way of instruction for aspiring young catchers around here. The town’s youth league does nothing, and private facilities in the area don’t have people that specialize in that position. Aidan has learned basically just by picking up what other people do, which in this case is not really a good thing.
I found a well-regarded guy who does only catching instruction for a living and runs a summer camp that’s a 1-hour 15-minute drive away. Aidan really wants to learn how to play the position correctly, so I agreed to take the week off work to take him.
The camp was 4 hours a day, and I (along with about half the parents) hung around to watch. I got to learn along with Aidan, and hopefully will now be able to help him practice what he learned.
The coach is a good educator and did a great job explaining the reasoning behind everything he taught. There were a total of 13 assistant coaches (college catchers who had gone through this program) and about 36 students, which was a fantastic ratio.
I was skeptical about how much he’d like the camp, because it was all instruction; there were no scrimmages. But he really loved it. He’s very excited about everything he learned, which is good because I took a week’s vacation and drove 2½ hours a day.
And then we’d come home and had to go to baseball games 3 nights this week, which finished of the regular summer season. The team clinched home field for at least their first playofff game on Monday. And for the first time Aidan threw out a runner trying to steal second base.
This is wonderful. Last week, one of my coworkers left the company and emailed a farewell message to everyone. Today, another coworker who is leaving also just sent out a farewell email to everyone by taking the first coworker’s email, making some edits to it, and forwarding it. He even forgot to delete the first coworker’s email signature.
First Coworker’s Email:
As most of you heard, I will be leaving [Redacted] this week to move to Arizona. I have enjoyed working for [Redacted], and I appreciate having had this opportunity to work with many of you. Thank you for the support, guidance, and encouragement you have provided me during my time at [Redacted]. Even though I will miss you all here, I am looking forward to this next chapter in my life that brings forth new challenges! With many of you, I have shared a unique camaraderie which I hope will continue in the years to come even though I shall not be here with the company.
I do wish you and the company every success in all its future endeavors.
Second Coworker’s Email:
As most of you may have heard, today is my last day at [Redacted]. I have enjoyed working for [Redacted], and I appreciate having had this opportunity to work with all of you. I have learned a lot in my time here and have a new appreciation for the ‘challenges’ that come with working for municipal clients.
Thank you for the support and guidance you have provided me during my time at [Redacted].
I wish each of you and the company all the success in the future.
Best to all,
[First Coworker’s Email Signature]
At least he took out the part about moving to Arizona.
Aidan’s summer baseball league is about half over. His team is in 5th place (out of 14) with a 4-2-0 record, good for 8 points (2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie). Eight teams make the playoffs, so right now it’s looking promising that they’ll do that.
There is one team in the league, though, that might miss the playoffs because their coach is either an idiot and/or an asshole.
The league rules are very specific about the number of innings a kid can pitch and how much rest he must have between appearances. If someone pitches two innings or less, he must have at least one rest day between appearances, even if he only throws one pitch. Translation: under no circumstances can someone pitch two days in a row.
The rules state that the protest committee will decide on the penalty for any violations. Probably because no one had previously been stupid enough to violate the rule, there had been no reason to come up with a pre-determined penalty.
This season, though, the protest committee had to step in after the first week when one coach had someone pitch one inning and then come back the next night to pitch three more in a loss. The committee decided to issue a -1 penalty point to the team in the standings.
The next week, the coach did the same thing: He had someone pitch one inning and then come back the next night to pitch three more, this time in a win. For this second offense, the committee wiped out the victory and awarded the other team the win via forfeit. So not only did the team not get two points for winning the game, they also got hit with an automatic -1 penalty for a forfeit.
Now this team is down 4 points from where they should be, and they’re looking up at the playoff contenders.
What does one say to a team of nine-year-olds about that? Maybe the guy could try to pass the first one off as him being ignorant about the rules*, but to do it a second time? He should be relieved of duties.
*The league rules are only three pages long, so this would just be an unacceptable excuse.