/blog > archive > July 2013

adultsareugly

I know that’s harsh, but after looking at these 33 adults who recreated their childhood photos, what other conclusion can you come to? Out of the 33 there are maybe three where the grownups look almost as good as their childhood versions. Okay, before anyone says anything — yes that first one is kind of creepy and moderately NSFW so maybe I should have said something. (It’s also one of the few where the grownups look pretty good.) UPDATE: It occurs to me that this is the real tragedy of the whole “ugly baby” scenario. Unless the kid swims against the tide, that is probably the best he or she is ever going to look…Read More…

pentaxme

Science fiction writer Charlie Stross, contemplating the world that the new-born English prince will grow up in, makes a very interesting observation:  Right now we’re living through the Photography Singularity; 10% of all photos ever taken were taken in the past 12 months, and the exponential up-slope is continuing. My high school graduation gift was a 35 mm camera, a highly sophisticated (for its time) Pentax ME. I took a lot of pictures with that camera, more than with any camera I owned before or since — until I got my iPhone. I would estimate that, of all the photos I have taken in my life, 50% of those have been in the past four years. So I am ahead of the singularity*, but probably in part because I have three children age four and under. Some of you may have seen this photo, which brilliantly captures what Stross is…

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interview

Monster presents the five questions you should never ask in a job interview. The last one is a bit of an outlier: don’t ask questions that show you haven’t been listening. This is good advice for a job interview, but also for life in general. Pay attention, people. All the others have to do with things like pay, flex time, promotions. Now these are things you do want to discuss with with the hiring company — after they offer you a job. To bring them up while you are still being evaluated as a candidate, before there is an offer on the table, is to negotiate prematurely. Basically, you’re talking about who to invite to the wedding and what religious education to give to the kids when you haven’t been proposed to yet. Bad form. Until the hiring company says they want you, you have nothing to negotiate with. Once…

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murdermyhusband

There is a lot to be learned from this hidden-camera video of a woman trying to hire a hit man (actually an undercover cop) to murder her husband. I’ve compiled a few tips for the would-be solicitor of a spouse-assassin: 1. Be Flexible At first she says it needs to be on Thursday, but then she re-thinks. Friday might work. Even Saturday is a possibility. And yes, she would much prefer that the killer do his deed outside of her home to avoid the mess (giggle.) But if it has to be done in her house, so be it. 2. Be Nice One of the sweetest moments in this video has to be where she explains how much easier this plan is than divorce because, among other things, she doesn’t want to break her husband’s heart. I’m sure I speak for all married men when I say yes, she has…

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kidwriting

English teachers don’t get much positive press these days. That’s partly because teachers in general don’t get much positive press, and also because there is widespread agreement that reading and writing skills have slipped considerably over the past few decades — which is largely a matter of scapegoating teachers for a set of social trends that would be hard for anyone to try to slow — but also because everybody knows that these days STEM is where it’s at. So it’s interesting to note that the new Pew Survey on student writing shows that English in particular teachers are leading the way in adoption of digital technologies, social media in particular, in support of developing writing skills. As I noted this week on another blog, teachers are learning that writing performance improves significantly when students have an audience, which social technologies inherently provide. But apparently it isn’t all good news….

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treyvon

For some keen insights into human nature, a great place to visit is the If You Can’t Afford to Tip, You Can’t Afford to Go Out and Eat blog. Some of the reasons people give for not leaving a tip are…unexpected, to say the least. Can’t tip — having twins And then sometimes people are just mean: I “forgot” to leave the tip By and large, reasons for not tipping fall into two categories. 1) Some issue with the food, the service, the ambiance, whatever. 2) I personally have a problem and now it’s your problem. Seeing as there is arguably some justification for not leaving a tip (or for discounting the tip) in category number 1, and seeing as it will often come down to a he said / she said between a potentially incompetent food server and  a potentially obnoxious restaurant patron, let’s focus just on category number 2….

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Thumbs-down-icon

While most of us probably use them as some kind of guide when making an online purchase decision, there are already plenty of reasons no to trust online product reviews: the reviewer may have some agenda, the reviewer may be an idiot, etc. And now some fascinating research gives a new and somewhat unexpected reason to distrust anonymous reviews: a certain number of them come from people who have probably never bought the product they are writing about. Because these  made-up reviews tend to be very negative (significantly more negative than reviews coming from those who actually have used the product) there is a natural tendency to suspect that they are coming from competitors. But the research says: probably not. Mysteriously, these reviews come from people who are devoted customers of the retailer whose products they are bad-mouthing. How’s that, you might well ask? This is hard to wrap your…

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CheatingProtests

From the Telegraph: The relatively small city of Zhongxiang in Hubei province has always performed suspiciously well in China’s notoriously tough “gaokao” exams, each year winning a disproportionate number of places at the country’s elite universities. Last year, the city received a slap on the wrist from the province’s Education department after it discovered 99 identical papers in one subject. Forty five examiners were “harshly criticised” for allowing cheats to prosper. So this year, a new pilot scheme was introduced to strictly enforce the rules. When students at the No. 3 high school in Zhongxiang arrived to sit their exams earlier this month, they were dismayed to find they would be supervised not by their own teachers, but by 54 external invigilators randomly drafted in from different schools across the county. The kids in Zhongxiang apparently didn’t take well to their new exam monitors (nor did their parents.) When the…

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TNWeducationtechnologykeynote

From The Next Web: 7 ways that technology is transforming education, with Pearson’s chief digital officer Juan Lopez-Valcarcel provides a nifty overview of coming educational technologies that will  forecast a student’s score on an exam or respond in real time to his or her body language. But before he goes there, he lays out some discouraging facts about what is currently happening (and failing to happen) in the world of education: 46% of students don’t graduate 40% of those who graduate don’t have the skills needed to get a job, per employers 70% increase in tuition over the past few years Lopez-Valcarcel looks at these failings and sees opportunity. He points out that education is a $4 trillion industry, that as a market it is three times the size of mobile and eight times the size of advertising. TNW notes that the “opportunities for investors, technology companies, educators and (most importantly) learners…

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boom

We all want to be good citizens. And in the age of heightened sensitivity, we know the rule is that if you see something, say something. But what about if you hear something? On the one hand, you might be lending aid to a neighbor in need. On the other hand, you don’t want to jump to any hasty conclusions about suspicious noises… Michigan Neighbor Calls 911 For Loud Noise That Turns Out To Be Farts A concerned neighbor called 911 to report what she feared was a domestic incident. She heard “a repeated loud noise” followed by a female voice yelling, “Stop! No!” The Michigan neighbor feared a woman was being hit. Police rushed to the scene. Clawson Police Chief Harry Anderson told WWJ Newsradio what the stink was about: “The female that was inside stated that her boyfriend had continued to pass gas, and she was yelling at…

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