Facebook Places is the latest creation of the Facebook team. Similar to Foursquare, it seeks to make it easier for people to share their location with their friends. Perhaps predictably, people are publicizing steps for how to disable it on your Facebook account. Over at Slate, writer Farhad Manjoo debates the impact Places might have on society.
Ready, set, go! posted by elder18 at 2:41 PM PST - 69 comments
A Warm Hug from a Cold Algorithm: Ta-Nehisi Coates checks out an inner-city school where every student takes a diagnostic test daily, and then is assigned individual work and tutelage based on a computer's nightly re-assessment. posted by darth_tedious at 1:52 PM PST - 29 comments
Telephoneme: Even if your Alphabet Conspiracy succeeds and you destroy the books, machines have no minds of their own. They are easily confused by different voices and different accents. It is the brain of man that tells them what to do. [more inside] posted by filthy light thief at 11:14 AM PST - 10 comments
Is our present defined by decisions we make in the future? And maybe we don't know who killed JFK because the universe hasn't decided yet. A Huffington Post science blogger discusses the nature of history from a quantum perspective. To quote Stephen Hawking, "The histories of the universe depend on what is being measured, contrary to the usual idea that the universe has an objective observer-independent history." [more inside] posted by GnomeChompsky at 10:35 AM PST - 95 comments
"This is crack cocaine," Bush solemnly announced, holding up a plastic bag filled with a white chunky substance in his Sept. 5 speech on drug policy. It was "seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House . . . . It could easily have been heroin or PCP."
In 1989 the White House came up with the idea of having George H.W. Bush hold up a bag of crack on national television in order to illustrate how bad the US drug problem had gotten. They decided to have a drug buy set up in Lafayette Park, directly across the street from the White House, to obtain the props for his speech. They contacted a DEA agent who set up a drug buy with a Spingarn High School senior with no prior arrest record, but things didn't go as planned: [more inside] posted by Challahtronix at 10:26 AM PST - 86 comments
In coming months, The [Los Angeles] Times will publish a series of articles and a database analyzing individual teachers' effectiveness in the nation's second-largest school district — the first time, experts say, such information has been made public anywhere in the country. This article examines the performance of more than 6,000 third- through fifth-grade teachers for whom reliable data were available.[more inside] posted by Anything at 9:59 AM PST - 61 comments
A lot of old advertising, like the copy here, reads like literate AOL kids. They spell and capitalize and punctuate, but they're still hype machines stuck on exclamation marks and shouting and… boldface and underlines. Today, the fashion is for much shorter ad copy. If sound came along today, we'd come up with a catchphrase and call it a day. "Hear the difference." In 1929, if you didn’t have at least five catchphrases, some capitalized buzzwords, and several exclamation marks, you just weren't with it.[more inside] posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:38 AM PST - 6 comments
Tyler Cowen wonders if there will be a helium crisis. Nobel Prize Winner Robert Richardson says Yes, because in 1996 Congress passed an act requiring that this strategic reserve, which represents half the Earth's helium stocks, be sold off by 2015. As a result, helium is far too cheap and is not treated as a precious resource. The problem has been around for years. Most helium is NOT used for balloons but rather in industry, and in the US most helium comes from a few natural gas fields in the mountain states.Only 15 commercial plants worldwide have the ability to separate helium from other gases and to purify it.
[Previously, see also LHC Accident] posted by Blake at 5:33 AM PST - 45 comments