Author Archive | sororyzbl

Chuck E. Cheese Arcade: A Place Where Moms Punch Dads In the Face

Chuck E. Cheese, the arcade with robot band, is a violent place. An uninvited kid joined a birthday party. And when the cops showed up, they found a rumble between 40 bloodthirsty parents.

That’s what the chain gets for serving beer to parents already trying to cope with brats and arcade machine sound effects for hours on end. Not to mention the 30 minute performance of the Rocka-fire explosion animatronic band, playing on a 30 minute loop. Also, throw in the parental insincts to protect your kid from being sat on by the fat kid in the ball pit, and you’ve basically tossed a match to the powder keg.

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The Made-Up Dramas of the ‘Wall Street Journal’

Lawrence Lessig: I got off the plane from Boston to find my inbox filled with anger about an article in the Wall Street Journal. To those who were angry, I hope you will direct any anger at the Wall Street Journal after you read what follows.

The article is an indirect effort to gin up a drama about a drama about an alleged shift in Obama’s policies about network neutrality. What’s the evidence for the shift? That Google allegedly is negotiating for faster service on some network pipes. And that “prominent Internet scholars, some of whom have advised President-elect Barack Obama on technology issues, have softened their views on the subject.”

Who are these “Internet scholars”? Me. And of course, because I have “softened” my views about network neutrality, and because I advised the Obama campaign about technology issues during the primary, it follows (and obviously so) that Obama too must be going soft on network neutrality.… Read the rest

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Traditional Russian Winters Do Not Exist Anymore

The traditional Russian winter with snow and severe frost is gone forever, meteorologists say. Moscow currently faces the deficit which it had never had before, even under the communist rule — the deficit of snow, a well-known German journalist Boris Reitschuster wrote for Bunte Magazine.

Many in the West dream of experiencing the legendary Russian winter with its boundless white magnificence. The blanket of snow used to cover the vast Russian territory already in October. Moscow would normally get snow in October–November. This year is a hideous exception, though.

There is not even a snowflake in the middle of December. There were several humble snowy attempts made, but one will not see even a small pile of snow in Moscow’s streets today. December temperatures in Moscow considerably exceed the norm, whereas December 3 and 4 were registered the warmest winter days in 130 years of meteorological observations.

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AISD Teacher Throws Fit Over Student’s Linux CD

In an age where Windows and OS X reign supreme, it’s no wonder that a local AISD middle school teacher became enraged after discovering one of her students distributing what she believed to be bootlegged copies of an operating system in class.

While teacher “Karen” was clearly operating under the assumption that she’d scored a minor victory for the Microsofts and other downtrodden software giants of the world, the particular operating system that she ended up disciplining her student for was a freely distributable version of Linux.

To wit, the following is part of an email that the teacher sent to the person who originally provided said Linux to the student:

Mr. Starks, I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom. At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal.Read the rest

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Hubble Finds Carbon Dioxide on an Extrasolar Planet

Phyorg: The Jupiter-sized planet, called HD 189733b, is too hot for life. But the Hubble observations are a proof-of-concept demonstration that the basic chemistry for life can be measured on planets orbiting other stars. Organic compounds can also be a by-product of life processes, and their detection on an Earth-like planet may someday provide the first evidence of life beyond Earth.

Previous observations of HD 189733b by Hubble and the Spitzer Space Telescope found water vapor. Earlier this year, Hubble astronomers reported that they found methane in the planet’s atmosphere.

“This is exciting because Hubble is allowing us to see molecules that probe the conditions, chemistry, and composition of atmospheres on other planets,” says Mark Swain of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Thanks to Hubble we’re entering an era where we are rapidly going to expand the number of molecules we know about on other planets.”

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A Saturn Moon Teaming with Organic Chemicals: A Galaxy Insight

“So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!”

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft discovered a surprising organic brew erupting in geyser-like fashion from Saturn’s moon Enceladus during a close flyby on March 12. Scientists are stunned that this tiny moon is so active, “hot” and teeming with water vapor and organic chemicals.

“Enceladus has got warmth, water and organic chemicals, some of the essential building blocks needed for life,” said Dennis Matson, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “We have quite a recipe for life on our hands, but we have yet to find the final ingredient, liquid water, but Enceladus is only whetting our appetites for more.”

Can fish be far behind?

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Why Save Capitalism?

The oft-prophesied collapse of capitalism is looming over our world’s daily supply of goods. The global economic system is on the ropes and must not be allowed to fail. So proclaims government, financial marketeers, tottering czars of industry, media mandarins, and just about everybody else who can pay to be heard. But since their efforts to avert failure have so far inspired little confidence, some attention might be given to Plan B. After all, despite its arcane procedures, capitalism is really just an accounting system, a way of ensuring that the world’s work gets done and that those who do it are properly compensated.

Now I’m not stupid enough to forget that capitalism is also a system that has allowed a substantial though relatively small group of human beings to amass titanic wealth and, so to speak, to capitalize on that wealth by exercising transformative power over the whole planet and everyone on it.… Read the rest

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Pre-Columbian Tribes Had BBQs, Parties on Grave Sites

Some pre-Hispanic cultures in South America had elaborate celebrations at their cemeteries, complete with feasting and drinking grounds much like modern barbecue pits, according to a new archaeological study.

Excavations of 12th- and-13th-century burial mounds in the highlands of Brazil and Argentina revealed numerous earthen ovens. The finds suggest that the graves were also sites of regular festivals held to commemorate the death of the community’s chief.

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H. M., An Unforgettable Amnesiac, Dies at 82

BENEDICT CAREY, NY Times:

In 1953, he underwent an experimental brain operation in Hartford to correct a seizure disorder, only to emerge from it fundamentally and irreparably changed. He developed a syndrome neurologists call profound amnesia. He had lost the ability to form new memories.

For the next 55 years, each time he met a friend, each time he ate a meal, each time he walked in the woods, it was as if for the first time.

And for those five decades, he was recognized as the most important patient in the history of brain science. As a participant in hundreds of studies, he helped scientists understand the biology of learning, memory and physical dexterity, as well as the fragile nature of human identity.

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