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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In the News: May 18, 2010

Warning: it's a bit long...

Men are bigger liars than women, says poll
"In a poll of 3,000 people, researchers found that the average British man tells three lies every day, that's equivalent to 1,092 a year.

However the average woman appears more honest, lying 728 times a year - around twice a day."

Not really surprising, but I did like the list of Top 10 lies:
1. I didn't have that much to drink
2. Nothing's wrong, I'm fine
3. I had no signal
4. It wasn't that expensive
5. I'm on my way
6. I'm stuck in traffic
7. No, your bum doesn't look big in that
8. Sorry, I missed your call
9. You've lost weight
10. It's just what I've always wanted

1. Nothing's wrong, I'm fine
2. I don't know where it is, I haven't touched it
3. It wasn't that expensive
4. I didn't have that much to drink
5. I've got a headache
6. It was in the sale
7. I'm on my way
8. Oh, I've had this ages
9. No, I didn't throw it away
10. It's just what I've always wanted

Largest-Ever Study On Cancer and Cellphones Finds "No Increase in Risk"
Maybe so, but that image isn't very comforting...

"The paper, published this week in the International Journal of Epidemiology, concludes: “Overall, no increase in risk of either glioma or meningioma was observed in association with use of mobile phones. There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma, and much less so meningioma, at the highest exposure levels … However, biases and errors limit the strength of the conclusions we can draw from these analyses and prevent a causal interpretation.”"

"Research into the potential health effects, if any, of cell phone radiation is so hotly contested in part because the technology is relatively young, but also because the research itself is so difficult to carry out.

I don’t know if cell phone radiation has an effect on human health, but I do know it’s not good science to dismiss the unproven as impossible. In fact, we could do a lot worse than to take Segerbäck’s own advice: “Be careful, weigh the evidence, and make your own decision.”"

Working overtime may harm the heart, study says

"I would love to work more boss, but it's bad for my heart".

"If you've been saying for years that long hours at work are killing you, forward this article to your boss--it might literally be true. According to a new study, people who work more than 10 hours a day are about 60 percent more likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack than people who clock just seven hours a day.

It's not clear why this is, but the researchers suggest that all that time on the job means less free time to unwind and take care of yourself. Stress may also play a role--but not as much as you might think. Working long hours appears to hurt your heart even if you don't feel particularly stressed out, the study found."

"In some ways, the people who worked overtime were healthier than those who worked just seven hours a day. They were less likely to drink heavily and smoke, for instance, and they got more exercise. On the other hand, they tended to sleep less and reported experiencing more stress, having more demanding jobs, and having less control over their work."

------------That's what she said!------------

Malawi court convicts gay couple

"A court in Malawi has convicted a gay couple of gross indecency and unnatural acts.

Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were arrested in December 2009 after celebrating their engagement ahead of a wedding planned for 2010.

They have been in jail ever since and now face 14 years in prison."

It may seem crazy, but if some people in the US had their way, we'd have similar cases on a regular basis.

And this is actually crazy:
Mugabe's 'Noah's Ark' gift to Kim Jong Il sparks outrage

If there was any question as to Mugabe being corrupt, being friends with Shorty McCrazy is a pretty good indicator.

"The British conservation group Born Free has joined the outcry against a plan by Zimbabwe to ship a “Noah’s Ark” of wildlife, including two young elephants, to North Korea.

News reports last week said the animals, reportedly two of every species in Zimbabwe’s 14,600 square kilometer Hwange National Park, are to be a gift from Zimbawean President Robert Mugabe to his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Il."

"Other animals to be included in the transfer include black and white rhinos, cheetahs, lions, leopards, giraffes and zebras, according to news reports."

Oil threatens Alabama's 'jolly good time'

This sounds like so much fun...

"Doris Bishop has strolled to the beach in Point Clear, Alabama, in the predawn hours of summer every morning for decades. She goes in search of tiny eels, baby flounder and blue crabs at the water's surface.

That's the sign.

If the critters are spotted, it's the start of a "happy, jolly good time," when thousands of crab, shrimp, flounder, sting rays and other fish -- alive, but dazed and confused -- wash up on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay.

It's a rare phenomenon known as a "jubilee," when the tide, winds and a lack of oxygen at the bottom of Mobile Bay force fish and sea creatures to the surface.

News of a jubilee sets off bedlam along the coast. Phones ring off the hook and shouts of "Jubileeeeeeeeee!" echo through the night. Residents rush to the beach with gigs, fishing nets and coolers. A good jubilee can fetch a summer's worth of seafood in less than an hour."

"At 74, Doris is known as the Jubilee Watcher of Point Clear. Her jubilee routine begins around June 1 and goes every day through September. She wakes up shortly after midnight, walks to the beach and looks for the signs. Jubilees typically occur between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m."

Computer Algorithm Can Recognize Sarcasm (Which Is Just Soooo Cool)

Much better than that SarcMark idea...

"The pursuit of machine intelligence means we have to come up with ways to communicate with our computers in a way both entities can understand. But while computers process verbal commands in a straightforward fashion, humans tend to use more sophisticated speech forms, employing slang or symbols to convey an idea. So an Israeli research team has developed a machine algorithm that can recognize sarcasm.

SASI, a Semi-supervised Algorithm for Sarcasm Identification, can recognize sarcastic sentences in product reviews online with pretty astounding 77 percent precision. To create such an algorithm, the team scanned 66,000 Amazon.com product reviews, with three different human annotators tagging sentences for sarcasm. The team then identified certain sarcastic patterns that emerged in the reviews and created a classification algorithm that puts each statement into a sarcastic class."

Prosecutor: Ex-Harvard student pleads not guilty to faking credentials

"A former Harvard University student, who compiled world-class academic credentials by allegedly fabricating his own history and plagiarizing others' work, pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him Tuesday, according to a Massachusetts prosecutor.

At his arraignment in Woburn, Massachusetts, Adam Wheeler, 23, entered his plea against the 20 counts he faces, including larceny, identity fraud, falsifying an endorsement or approval and pretending to hold a degree, according to Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone."

"He was exposed after submitting applications and references for the Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships while a student at Harvard University in 2009, according to Leone.

A Harvard professor reviewing Wheeler's application for one of the scholarships noticed similarities between Wheeler's work and that of another professor. After comparing both pieces of work, the professor determined that Wheeler had plagiarized most of his application packet, Leone said. The university launched an internal investigation and began to look into Wheeler's file.

University officials discovered that Wheeler had fabricated recommendations from Harvard professors, college transcripts reflecting perfect grades and a résumé listing numerous books he had co-authored, lectures he had given and courses he had taught, according to the release."

Hahaha. I love that he lied his way in to Harvard and no one caught him the entire time he was there. In fact, they gave him two awards.
I bet he fit right in...

More seriously:
Attack on cartoonist a threat to us all

Two of his cartoons:
I guess I can understand the point he's trying to make, but those are a couple of the worst drawings I've ever seen.

"Firebombed. Cyberattacked. Attacked by a shouting mob.

That's what happened to Lars Vilks in the week ending May 16."

"Lars Vilks is a Swedish cartoonist. In the summer of 2007, he was invited to submit three drawings to an exhibition sponsored by the town of Tallerud. The exhibition's theme: "the dog in art." Vilks produced three pencil sketches of street dogs with human faces, the face (Vilks said) of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad."

"On Tuesday of this week, Vilks appeared at the University of Uppsalla to lecture on his art and ideas. Two-hundred-fifty people passed through metal detectors to hear him speak. They never got the chance. Vilks opened his talk with a provocative short video that included an image of two nearly naked Iranian gay men wearing masks of Muhammad. At that cue, about 20 rowdies in the crowd shouted, "Stop the film! Stop the film!"

The rowdies rushed toward the stage. One of them apparently struck Vilks. Police sought to restrain them. After eight or so minutes of chanting, yelling and fist-pumping by the rowdies, the university suspended the performance.

You can watch the incident here in a 10-minute YouTube clip."

[OK, I will admit he could have picked a less offensive song than 'Gay Bar'... But I guess that was part of his intent.]

"The formal law forbids assault and upholds free speech rights. The actual rules of the game, however, concede that certain assaults and certain violations of free speech rights may proceed with impunity. Police arrested two men for disrupting the Vilks event; both were released without charge.

Impunity invites further attack. In the aftermath of the Uppsalla University incident, Vilks' website was hacked and firebombs were planted in his house. (Two men have been arrested in connection with the firebombing.)"

"Vilks is just one of a multiplying band of deliberate provocateurs who have appeared across Europe over the past five years. Their work may not have much artistic merit, but the issue here is not art but courage. And there will always be enough courageous people to complicate badly the lives of uncourageous authorities."

And of course, to end it on a lighter note:
What's the bug up Apple's @$$?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

"Seriously, what's gotten into Apple?

For the past decade of Steve Jobs' second go-around as CEO at Apple, the company has secured a strong following of loyal customers by playing the role of the David in a world of tech Goliaths. You can see it in the famous Mac vs. PC ads: Apple is the everyman, and its competitor (Microsoft) is the stuffy, out-of-touch "Man.""

"But recently, Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) has either lost touch with its customer base or just has a bug lodged up its data port.

In late February, Apple purged 6,000 apps it deemed "too sexy." Late last month, Jobs posted a scathing 1,700-word essay on Apple's Web site about why he hates Adobe Flash.

More recently, the company made Ellen Degeneres apologize on national TV for airing a spoof commercial that suggested the iPhone was difficult to use. And Apple threw an epic hissy fit when a Gizmodo blogger leaked photos of a new iPhone prototype."

"In reality, Apple hasn't been an underdog for years. Its iPod and iTunes' success helped the company grow out of its "niche" status. And Apple really took off after the iPhone became an instant hit in 2007.

Apple's market value is now about $245 billion -- just shy of Microsoft's $270 billion. And Apple's revenue this year is expected to be on par with Microsoft, at around $61 billion."
(CNN Money)

That's all folks! Have a good Wednesday!

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