The structure of a crossword puzzle can be broken down into several characteristic elements, the most distinctive of which are its theme and its grid. With numerous independent puzzles published daily in various periodicals and in syndication one might expect these elements to be repeated occasionally through circumstance, but a recent analysis of tens of thousands of individual puzzles found far more replication than chance would explain
in the puzzles produced by Timothy Parker for USA Today and Universal Uclick.
Prom spending rising again, average of $1,139
The USA Today story is based on a recent VISA press release about prom spending
that comes out every year. The VISA press release breaks down how prom spending is highest among Northeastern families, with Northeasterners averaging $1,528 compared to Midwesterners paltry $722. It also shows a breakdown by income category with families earning less than $50,000 spending an average of $1,245 while those from higher earning families spend $1,129. [more inside]
The latest Dwayne Johnson vehicle, Snitch
, has used an activist approach for its marketing campaign in a bid to expose the human damage caused by police activity in the War on Drugs. Meanwhile, the BBC notes that some law enforcement agencies in the US use informants in as many as 90% of their drug cases
, with little oversight or consistency. Snitching is now an end in itself
: at least 48,895 federal convicts — one of every eight — had their prison sentences reduced in exchange for informing, with much higher rates in certain states
. Since the murder of informant Rachel Hoffman
in 2008, there has been a growing focus
on reforming the business of snitching, what the ACLU calls the "unnecessary evil
." [more inside]
It has been a bad week for contemporary Marxist scholarship [earlier this morning
]. This past Saturday
, the geography world lost Neil Smith, versatile theorist
, advocate for social justice
, LA Times Book Award winner
, and founder of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics
at CUNY. Best known for his theory of the uneven spatial development of capitalism
and for changing the way we think about gentrification
, his numerous contributions to the field of critical human geography include a sustained critique of neoliberalism
, a history of American empire
, and the declaration that there's no such thing as a natural disaster
. Here's Neil on Occupy Wall Street
, urban securitization
, deconstructing USA Today in 1984
, and singing the Socialist ABCs
You would be hard pressed to find an article about Obama that didn't mention approval ratings. Ditto during Bush's presidency. This interactive graph
lets you compare approval ratings over time for presidents since Truman (article itself is dated but the chart is current). This graph
offers less interactivity but adds some historical points of context.
have been mentioned before
, but that was when they were innocent, before someone thought of the children
101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived
is a book chronicling the most impactful (non-religious) fictional characters throughout history. While they only tease with the first 50 characters on the book's homepage, the hard hitting investigative journalists at USA Today
have uncovered the entire 101
for your arguing enjoyment.
'Yep, life'll burst that self-esteem bubble' says USA Today
This article can't seem to decide whether it wants to discuss Gen Xers or Millenials. And it quotes Neil Howe (Of The Fourth Turning) toward the end, about the characteristics of Millenials (people born after 1982).
What may be the most interesting aspect of this article is that the author seems uncomfortable speaking negatively about the millenials. The writer is hesitant to criticize the Millenials, and so she initially suggests that the cry babies finishing college who are now entering the workforce were born in the 70s and early 80s. Of course, if that were true, those recent college grads would be in their late twenties to mid-thirties.
And I particularly like that improved self esteem is bad because it leads to "enhanced initiative, which boosts confidence, and increased happiness."
Vote for your favorite ad icon and slogan!
In celebration of something called Advertising Week in NYC in Sept, Yahoo and USA Today ask for your vote. (more inside...)
USA Today Dumps Ann Coulter
Citing editorial differences, USA Today dropped Ann Coulter's column before it even began in the paper.
The disputed column on www.anncoulter.com begins "Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston" and devolves rapidly into a bitter little snark against Democrats. I wonder why USA Today had a problem with it?
It ends with "I'd say I love all these Democrats in Boston so much I want them to go home, but I don't. I want Americans to get a good long look at the French Party and keep the 7-11 challenge in mind."
And the apprentice is: Kwame Jackson!
Trump fired Bill for how he ran a tournament at Trump National Golf Club and hired Kwame for the way he put together a Jessica Simpson concert at the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City.
USA Today makes an ooopsie.
Nude Year's Resolution.
SFW. Nude travel makes the pages of USA Weekend (a USA Today magazine). Will it become mainstream? And will the message of "body acceptance" ever have a noticeable impact on industries which prey on our fears of inadequacy?
New Scientist reports that
a virus has been built up from mail order components. Other reports on this are in USA Today
. This isn't time life has been created in the lab, as previously linked
What's interesting is that this study was funded by the Department of Energy
to produce a completely man made lifeform that can create hydrogen or consume greenhouse gasses.
The present virus is an artificially created copy of a naturally occurring virus.
"Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."
This quote, captured in a USA Today article, came from Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti in response to allegations that CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of fear and self-censorship."
US government suggest that all homes should have a disaster kit
, in case of terrorist attack.
The September 11th 'Ground And Freeze' order which halted air travel for 4 days didn't come from the president, nor SecTrans... not even the Adminstrator of the FAA. Nope, it came from Ben Sliney
. [ Actual journalism in McPaper. Whoulda? ]
How creepy is this?
Man poses as sportswriter for USAToday and/or SI For Kids who wants to interview female collegiate athletes.
Some he only gets as far as the phone, one met up with him with her family acting as Scooby Gang.
Police say he hasn't done anything to merit charges. Harmless person with mental disorder or person perfecting routine before he escalates?
All pistachio nuts should come shelled. Every time I have a few, I break another thumb
... Remember Larry's
King's hilariously banal blatherings in his USAToday column? How effortlessly mockable it was
? How he finally got shitcanned
last fall? Well, he's back
. Giveaway that King himself supervised the web presentation: how you have to hit "next" to see each individual, um...thought?...insight?...nugget? Like they're so substantial.
Bush wants $100M to urge welfare moms to marry
What will he want next $100M to urge Atheists to become Christians.
Um...you might want to reconsider that American Airlines flight...
The Federal Aviation Administration has given American Airlines special permission to allow passengers to board its flights before the airline determines whether they are on the FBI's watch list, according to an FAA security directive obtained by USA TODAY.
The Future of the Internet is the Web application!
From the USATODAY story:
The Internet will be less about going to big sites like Yahoo and Amazon.com and more about using specialized pieces of software that connect to the Net. Two current examples: Napster and the Miller Lite Beer Pager.
Wow, the future is now!
Belgium agrees to legalize pot
Will this change in the legalization of pot change in our country too some 75 years from now?
Artist Demolishes Belongings
Inside a defunct department store in the heart of London's shopping district, dozens of yellow bins move slowly along conveyor belts toward the mouth a gigantic blue machine. Workers in jumpsuits systematically catalogue and weigh the contents of each one. This is British artist Michael Landy's newest work: The items in the bins - coats, photographs, paintings, furniture - are all of his belongings. Over the next two weeks, everything he owns - including a red Saab - will be destroyed.
Zap those wolves into submission
- Conspiracy buffs beware. This one's true.
So the U.S. Agriculture Department, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department are conducting experiments involving livestock, electricity and wolves in Montana - on a ranch owned by Ted Turner.
Apparently those nasty wolves have a habit of biting livestock, so to stop it they are strapping electric collars on the wolves to train them with an electric jolt when they get "within biting distance" of a particular calf. The "trained" and somewhat damaged wolves are set to be released into the wilds in October.
Beautiful counter-quote for this is from a USA Today article about Ted Turner's preserve. Turner is quoted as saying "You can see what we're doing, right? We're just getting out of nature's way. That's all we want to do - get out of the way and let nature go back the way it was." (halfway down page)
Identity swapping makes life relative
Do any of you do the Safeway Card Shuffle? I think I probably would, but then again the level of tracking where I live is currently negligible, so it isn't yet an issue. How about where you live?
And how does this tie in to online privacy, like advertising cookies and programs like RealPlayer and GoZilla that track and report where you've been and what you've been doing?
The Playstation 2,
just like the G4 is considered a Supercomputer too. It's nice to know that hostile nations won't rip apart the system after they get gunned down in Metal Gear Solid.