Monthly Archives: April 2008

Students Plagiarize Honor Code

(via Madconomist)

Their goal was an honor code that discouraged cheating and plagiarizing. However, the wording in a draft by students at the University of Texas at San Antonio appears to match another school’s code – without proper attribution. The student currently in charge of the honor code project said it was an oversight, but cheating experts say it illustrates a sloppiness among Internet-era students who don’t know how to cite sources properly and think of their computers as cut-and-paste machines. "That’s the consequence of the Internet and the availability of things," said Daniel Wueste, director of the Rutland Institute for Ethics at Clemson University. "It doesn’t feel like what would be in a book. You Google it and here it comes."

Yes by all means, hide away the information before those proles get a hold of it and wipe their ass with the Library of Alexandria.

DARPA Aircraft to Stay In-Flight for Five Years

(via Metafilter)

"The VULTURE Air Vehicle Program is an exploratory development program with the overall goal to develop and demonstrate the ability to deliver and maintain an airborne payload on station for an uninterrupted period exceeding 5 years using a heavier-than-air platform system … The government is not interested in approaches that use either radioactive energy sources or employs any form of buoyant flight for this application."

I wonder if Billy Dee Williams will be the mayor?

Bank of England Bailout Kept Secret Forever

£50 billion later:

Requests under the Freedom of Information Act are to be denied. Details will be kept secret even after 30 years – the period after which all but the most sensitive state documents are released.

Any Bank of England employee leaking the names of institutions involved will face court action for breach of contract.  Even a figure for the overall amount advanced will not be published until October. Meanwhile the Bank is expected to issue at least £50bn of Treasury bills to banks in exchange for their mortgages – entirely in secret. This hypersensitive official stance is thought to be a response to the events of last year when a huge stigma was attached to any lender suspected of going to the Bank for cash help.

Send Helen Thomas Flowers

Helen Thomas nailed Dana Perino to the wall today:

THOMAS: The President has said publicly several times, in two consecutive news conferences a few months ago, and you have said over and over again, we do not torture. Now he has admitted that he did sign off on torture, he did know about it. So how do you reconcile this credibility gap?

MS. PERINO: Helen, you’re taking liberties with the what the President said. The United States has not, is not torturing any detainees in the global war on terror. And General Hayden, amongst others, have spoken on Capitol Hill fully in this regard, and it is — I’ll leave it where it is. The President is accurate in saying what he said.

THOMAS: That’s not my question. My question is, why did he state publicly, we do not torture —

MS. PERINO: Because we do not.

THOMAS: — when he really did know that we do?

MS. PERINO: No, that’s what I mean, Helen. We’ve talked about the legal authorities —

THOMAS: Are you saying that we did not?

MS. PERINO: I am saying we did not, yes.

THOMAS: How can you when you have photographs and everything else? I mean, how can you say that when he admits that he knew about it?

MS. PERINO: Helen, I think that you’re — again, I think you’re conflating some issues and you’re misconstruing what the President said.

THOMAS: I’m asking for the credibility of this country, not just this administration.

MS. PERINO: And what I’m telling you is we have — torture has not occurred. And you can go back through all the public record. Just make sure — I would just respectfully ask you not to misconstrue what the President said.

THOMAS: You’re denying, in this room, that we torture and we have tortured?

MS. PERINO: Yes, I am denying that.

THOMAS: Where is everybody?

To show Thomas that even though her colleagues remain access-hungry toadies, we’re here for her – and we’re sending her flowers.

Waiting for Wake-Up

It is Sunday. Ron is snoring to my right. Astro is wandering around chasing imaginary mosters. Downy is probably sleeping on top of the backpack I take to the gym. He fits perfectly on it and we think maybe he misses me during the day so he sleeps on top of it until I’m home. Astro has also napped with paws in one of my shoes during the day as well.

We got up early yesterday and went to Costco where we bought mega-meat. 2 massive steaks, about 10 chicken breasts, 2 huge salmon filets as well as mangoes, Lubriderm lotion and other niceties. We took a Zipcar which I am convinced more and more is an idea whose time has come. There’s several Zipcars in the lot near the gym on Spear and Folsom.

Then we took a nap or rather I laid down. I still am getting used to this memoryfoam bed. It isn’t for sitting on or relaxing on. You have to sleep on it.

After that, we went to Fisherman’s Wharf which I hadn’t been to until 10 years ago when I came here with Karen and her family. Saw the sea lions, Alcatraz from afar and tons and tons of tourists. Ate fish and chips at a restaurant and continued walking around. Ron purchased some knockoff sunglasses or I guess not really knockoff since it said ‘(small text) compare our design to (huge text) GUCCI’ The woman he bought them from was Filipina so I think he felt he was getting a good deal (I later asked him, ‘Was the ethnic discount to your liking today?’ a spin on a quote from the movie Bring It On: ‘Were the ethnic festivities to your liking today?’) I did pick out the woman saying ‘guapo’ while talking to Ron and she was glancing at me and Ron later confirmed that she said ‘Your boyfriend is so handsome!’ to which Ron replied ‘Well of course, do you think I’d be with an ugly person?’ Luckily my co-worker Joanna has sworn to take Ron out to the Filipino restaurants and groceries so they can have all the wonderful and gross foods of their native cuisine like whatever that godawful Oh-hey-let’s-all-drink-a-pig’s-blood-reduction extravaganza.

Work has been busy. The developers released the BlogIt Facebook app. It is a pretty amazing piece of code. Lots of people loved it, and some did the usual ‘it isn’t exactly what I want from the first version so it sucks.’ Some other big stuff coming out this week – I’m going in tonight (Sunday) for some final prep with the team.

Friday we celebrated the end of Q1 with the team. We went a new bar that opened just 2 doors down called Orson. During the day it is a cake shop called Citizen Cake. Very cool industrial design, exposed girders and lots of steel, glass and concrete. We hung out for about four hours. Ron was able to make it and he was able to regale everybody with his tales from United flight 1427. It is always fun to see how transfixed people are hearing about the life of a flight attendant. I think there’s a certain throw-back glamour associated with the profession – though people don’t see the 8 hours waiting on standby at the airport or dragging luggage through a downpour wearing a business suit or wanting to throttle some suburbanite moppet with your bare hands.

We were going to go out last night but when the time came we sat on our laptops after getting the wireless router working with the cable high-speed. We listened to most of Ray of Light, Erotica and then a stretch of a Margaret Cho comedy routine before going to bed. I’m always surprised how much some people hate Margaret Cho. I’ve seen lists putting her in the same league as Dane Cook (completely non-threatening) or Carlos Mencia (race baiting faux-Mexican). I’ve thought her standup movies have slid a little bit but ‘I’m the One That I Want’ remains a breakout hit for it’s honesty and vicious sensisbility. It is strange. Even when she’s weak she is nowhere near as awful as some of the other dreck that makes it on TV. I do think the raunch and politics has gone as far as it can go.

Astro in my lap now. Downy is now installed on top of the backpack. Ron is sleeping.

We’ll go to the gym in an hour or so. I’m trying to stay on ‘wake up at 5am’ schedule so I can get to the gym consistently.

There’s a lot of buzz about us on TechCrunch right now. I think I know why but I’m not totally sure.

New York Times Blackout on Bush Authorizing Torture

From The Seminal:

It has now been nine days since reporters at ABC News told us of ‘dozens of top-secret talks and meetings” held in the White House by senior Bush Administration officials to discuss in fine detail the interrogation techniques to be used on so-called ‘high value al Qaeda suspects,” and it has been one week since ABC told us that President Bush knew about these meetings and approved of the result—namely, the torture of certain detainees by CIA interrogators. I make note of this timeline because, as of this writing, I am still waiting for the New York Times to report on these revelations.

Hoax: Yale Artist Uses Induced Miscarriages as Art

Update: Yup – as expected – this is a hoax.

But she says she’s not doing it for shock value:

Yale art major Aliza Shvarts has repeatedly inseminated her self and then used abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. She is displaying the results in video and preserved blood.

The display of Schvarts’ project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts’ self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

She wants to have it both ways:

But Shvarts insists her concept was not designed for “shock value.”

[S]he said she believes it is the nature of her piece to “provoke inquiry.”

Inquiry into what exactly? (Usual answer: ‘I don’t comment on my work – it stands on its own.’ = I like to be general dickwad to my audience.) That she’s parading her gross-out bloodfeast as some sort of academic project? Can artists just admit they like to push buttons? That is one of the best parts about being an artist. Not because you want your art to change the world – but because you want to provoke a reaction – and that usually includes shock value. SAME THING. At the same time, don’t pretend that your shocking art is some sort of service. There’s enough shocking bullshit happening around us every day without you framing the destruction of your reproductive system as some sort of public service.

Best comment from Gawker:

Now there is a suitemate from hell. I can just see the passive aggressive notes. SOMEONE needs to start CLEANING up after their MISCARRIAGES in the bathtub because OTHER PEOPLE USE THE BATHTUB AND DO NOT WANT TO RINSE VISCERA OFF OF THEIR FEET ALL THE TIME. Thank you!!!