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Posted by Ryan F. Mandelbaum on Gizmodo, shared by Cheryl Eddy to io9

Thunderclouds rolled into the Japanese beach town of Uchinada early one December morning in 2015. The scientists expected the storms; they’d staked out the location specifically for studying something normally only seen by satellites. Sometime after 5am, a flash of lightning struck a wind turbine. And along came a…

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Posted by Jason Weisberger

Walt Disney shows off a ride in production, "Pirates of the Caribbean" to Miss Disneyland-Tencennial.

It is amazing to see my favorite ride at Disneyland at this point in its life. During my first visit, my grandmother lost her wig on the second sharp waterfall drop. My father had to fish it out. Cemented my love of that ride forever.

Sadly, Walt seems a little condescending.

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Posted by Carla Sinclair

Wow. One of Alabama's Senate candidates, Roy Moore, refers to Native Americans as "reds" and Asians as "yellows." He is competing with – and leading – Sen. Luther Strange in the GOP Senate runoff next week.

In a speech on Sunday, he said, "We were torn apart in the Civil War — brother against brother, North against South, party against party. What changed?

Now we got blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God.”

Oh shit. This is the same crackpot who told CNN last week that 9/11 was probably God's way of punishing non-believers.

According to The Hill:

Moore's campaign told The Hill the remarks were taken out of context. "'Red, yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world,'" the campaign said in a statement, in an apparent reference to the religious song "Jesus Loves the Little Children."

"This is the gospel. If we take it seriously, America can once again be united as one nation under God."

Moore leads Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) in all recent public polling of the runoff. The winner of that contest will advance to the general election and be expected to beat a Democrat to serve out the rest of Attorney General Jeff Sessions's term.

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Posted by Germain Lussier

It’s easy to forget that the current series of X-Men movies started with Matthew Vaughn. Six years ago, the Kick-Ass and Kingsman director made the reboot X-Men: First Class, and was getting ready to make its sequel before semi-mysteriously dropping out. And while Vaughn and others have previously dropped a few hints…

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Krakow is chilly and rather wet

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:08 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

This morning it was overcast and a bit cool, by this evening via mildly drizzly has become colder and wetter.

Nontheless, we have managed some flaneurserie around the Old Town, a visit to St Mary's Cathedral with its massive gothic altar, and several museums:

The Gallery of C19th Polish Art at Suikiennice

The Jagiellonian University Museum Collegium Maius

The temporary exhibition of 350 items from the The Princes Czartoryski Museum

Pharmacy Museum, Jagiellonian University Medical College

All of which leaves me rather too overwhelmed to say much beyond: that's a hell of a lot of old scientific instruments/apothecary paraphernalia, and dealers across Europe must has seen the Czartoryskis coming, with their interest in associational historical items (I would guess scamsters moved into this after the decline in fake relics?).

There was also (v expensive) coffee taken in a very plush place with numerous historical associations.

Place is generally heaving with tourists and tour groups.

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Posted by Germain Lussier

The Star Wars movies may get all the big headlines, but theaters are far from the only place the franchise is expanding. Official online video content has been growing in recent years and that continues today with the launch of a brand new show—one that highlights the power of Star Wars beyond just storytelling.

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Posted by Rae Paoletta on Gizmodo, shared by Cheryl Eddy to io9

Before Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other space enthusiasts can ship humans to Mars as easily as an Amazon Prime delivery, we need to figure out they’ll fare on a foreign planet. Luckily, NASA and the University of Hawaii have been all over this, funding several successful iterations of an experiment called Hawaii Space…

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In which the Bittern is pissed

Sep. 19th, 2017 02:16 pm
twistedchick: (bittern OFQ)
[personal profile] twistedchick
This so-called article is a piece of crap. It purports to provide the results of a study and conflates the numbers in the study with society as a whole in ignorant ways.

For example, second paragraph:

Just ask college students. A fifth of undergrads now say it’s acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes “offensive and hurtful statements.”


A fifth of undergrads? No. A fifth of the 1500 undergrad students they surveyed. That's 300 or so.


Villasenor conducted a nationwide survey of 1,500 undergraduate students at four-year colleges.


Nationwide? There are far more than 1,500 four-year colleges (for those of you not American, the word includes universities). How were the colleges chosen? How were the students chosen? How many were chosen at each university? How many overall were from the same discipline? There's no way to know. We don't even know if he chose accredited schools, or those pay-for-a-degree places. Did they ask at Ivy League schools, the majority of whose students come from well-off families? Did they ask at places like City College of New York, where the tuition is much lower and people who are there are from a variety of backgrounds, not wealthy? Ag and tech colleges, out in the countryside, or only urban colleges?

Further down it says the margin of error is 2-6 percent, "depending on the group." Oh, really? Which group is 2% and which is 6%? We aren't told. It appears we are to be grateful that a margin of error was even mentioned.

The whole thing is supposed to be about undergrads' understanding of First Amendment-protected free speech. Since we are not told the exact wording of the questions asked, it's impossible to know if the responses were appropriate to them, or if the questions were leading the students to a specific response.

And then there's this:

Let’s say a public university hosts a “very controversial speaker,” one “known for making offensive and hurtful statements.” Would it be acceptable for a student group to disrupt the speech “by loudly and repeatedly shouting so that the audience cannot hear the speaker”?

Astonishingly, half said that snuffing out upsetting speech — rather than, presumably, rebutting or even ignoring it — would be appropriate. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to find this response acceptable (62 percent to 39 percent), and men were more likely than women (57 percent to 47 percent). Even so, sizable shares of all groups agreed.

It gets even worse.

Respondents were also asked if it would be acceptable for a student group to use violence to prevent that same controversial speaker from talking. Here, 19 percent said yes....


Let's look more closely, ignoring the editorializing sentence for the moment. Half of who? Half of 1500 people is 750 people, scattered across the US. And then again -- 19% of who? Everyone? Women? Men? Democrats? Republicans? We aren't told.

Meanwhile, the entire other side of this survey is ignored. By stressing the minority and ignoring the majority, the minority's views are inflated and made more important. Let me turn this around for you: more than 80% of undergrads say that violence is not acceptable in dealing with an unwanted speaker. Try turning around all the other numbers, and the story falls apart. Instead of "students" substitute "students surveyed", and it also falls to pieces. Who cares what 1500 people out of 200 million think? If we don't know why those 1500 were specifically chosen, why should we care?

I have worked with surveys, written surveys, conducted and analyzed surveys. It is possible to have a statistically perfect survey with 1500 people surveyed, but only if the respondents are very carefully selected to avoid bias. There is no way to tell if that was done with the evidence given in this story. For all we know, those respondents could have been selected from the same departments or majors at all the colleges. The colleges could have been technical schools or enormous state universities or religion-affiliated schools. There is no way to know. Why does this matter? Liberal arts, political science and pre-law students are more likely to have read about the First Amendment than optics majors or engineers, for instance. I'm not saying the optics majors or engineers would be more conservative or liberal -- but they are less likely to have discussed free speech in a class. Improper choice of respondents can provide very slanted results -- for example, the survey that said Dewey would win over Truman was conducted by telephone, and the calls went to houses on the corners of two streets; this meant that people who were wealthier (because corner houses pay higher taxes, based on road frontage) were questioned, while their less wealthy neighbors (who voted for Truman) were ignored.

Also, by not including any context relative to current events, there is no way to know if the small percentage who thought violence was acceptable was the same as during the Vietnam War, for instance, or Desert Storm. I guarantee you, it was not the same percentage as during the Revolutionary War, when those who spoke against any prevailing view to an audience who disagreed would have been lucky to have been ridden out of town on a rail, if not tarred and feathered. (Feel free to do the research if you wish; be sure you have a strong stomach for the details of what happens when boiling tar is applied to skin.)

What it all comes down to is this: this story is written poorly by someone who does not understand how statistics should be used, and was not properly edited. It was published in order to scare people, although the publisher may not have realized its propaganda value. By not including the whole story, and by allowing editorializing in the middle of it, it slants the results.

This would not have been published during the time when Kay Graham was publisher. Editor Ben Bradlee would not have let this story pass. He would have told the reporter to rewrite it, clean it up, and get more depth into it.

And the reason I am writing this is that this is not the only paper that misleads with statistics, and you need to be aware of this, and of what to look for when someone is quoting a study, badly, misleadingly, in a way that bids fair to be used for propaganda. Be cautious and critical when you see numbers and statistics, and look for whether the writing is made personal/editorialized. It matters.
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Posted by Daily Deviant - get your daily HP kink!

Title: The Dark Lord's Plaything
Author: [personal profile] fangqueen
Characters/Pairings: Tom/Abraxas, Abraxas/Unnamed Female Character (background)
Rating: NC-17
Kinks/Themes Chosen: Analingus, Orgasm Delay/"Edging"
Other Warnings/Content: Canon Divergent, Sex Magic, Sex Potions, Dom/sub, Masturbation, Hand Jobs, Multiple Orgasms, Dub-con, Forced Kinks, Implied Safe Word Noncompliance, Infidelity (Abraxas/His wife)
Word Count: 1,730
Summary: Tom would let him have his "special" night. But after that, they had a score to settle.

(Read more ...)
supergee: (neuro)
[personal profile] supergee
SFWA list of sf books with neuroatypical characters.
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Posted by Carla Sinclair

A dead body sat in a pickup truck for eight months in a parking lot at the Kansas City International Airport before someone discovered it. 53-year-old Randy Potter disappeared January 17, and had parked at the airport that same day. When his family contacted the airport police to report their missing relative and to see if his truck was still in the parking lot, the police said if it was, they would find it. Astonishingly, they somehow missed it.

It wasn't until someone reported a bad odor that the body was spotted inside the truck. Apparently, according to police, Potter had committed suicide, but no other details were released.

According to Time:

The truck's windows are tinted, but are light enough to allow anyone to see inside. When an airport police officer found the body, it was covered up by a blanket, according to a police report. "No one should go through what we went through," said Potter's wife, Carolina. "We should not have gone through eight months agonizing, speculating."

Potter's truck had been listed in the missing person flyers circulated by Lenexa police. The family had visited the airport early on.

Kansas City spokesman Chris Hernandez said city officials were gathering facts to determine how Potter's body remained in the lot as long as it did. The economy lot where Potter's body was found is one of three lots situated about 2 ½ miles (4 kilometers) north of the airport terminals. Shuttles carry travelers from the lot to the terminals.

The airport has over 25,000 parking spaces, and clearly needs a better way of managing them.

Image: Dean Hochman

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Posted by Charles Pulliam-Moore

Moana made global history by being Disney’s first feature-length film to center on a Polynesian princess, drawing inspiration from the legends of multiple South Pacific Ocean cultures. In New Zealand, though, the movie’s connecting with local audiences of Maori descent in a unique and important way.

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No one wants to host the Olympics

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:10 am
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Posted by Cory Doctorow

The International Olympic Committee took the unprecedented step of announcing the 2024 and 2028 Olympic host cities (Paris and LA), because both cities were bidding unopposed, and LA had to be bribed with a $1.8B "grant" from the IOC to agree to host the games. (more…)

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Posted by Robert Spallone

A fifth-grade South Carolina teacher is on administrative leave after asking students to visualize themselves as KKK members and then ponder the justifications of their treatment toward African Americans.

A man who identified himself as an uncle of one of the students posted the assignment to Facebook on Thursday, according to USA Today. "You are there...You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African-Americans is justified?,” one of the assignment’s questions asks.

A statement from the school district for Oak Pointe Elementary said it is making sure such an assignment will “never be used again.”

Image: Originally published by the Toronto Star. Unknown author.

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Posted by James Whitbrook

Klingons are one of the most iconic Star Trek alien races. In 51 years they’ve evolved from deceptive villains to honorable allies—and now, with the arrival of Star Trek: Discovery this week, they’re becoming spiritual warriors once again, at odds with our heroes. Here’s everything you need to know about the past,…

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