January 12, 2016
"From a comic standpoint, anyone who’s every been to a cocktail party with university colleagues knows that even at the best of times it’s an ongoing comedy of manners, a ballet of awkwardness. There exist in university settings the following: Competition, ego, eccentric personalities. Sartorial affectation (berets, tweed blazers, brightly colored silk scarves, Trotsky-style beards, all manner of glasses). Bureaucracy and Machiavellian maneuvering. Snubs and indignities and inappropriate flirtations.[more inside]
"All, as they say, ripe for satire."
NFL football returns to Los Angeles next season. After 20 years in St. Louis, the Rams will be relocating (or re-relocating) to Los Angeles, to play in a new stadium built by owner, Walmart heir, and real estate mogul Stan Kroenke. The San Diego Chargers will have the option to join next season. [more inside]
"Over the years, when I told people about the abuse I endured at Gafni's hands, many asked, 'Why didn't you tell anyone?' That's a good question. But a better question is what happened when I did tell. It was almost as if I had told no one." So writes Sara Kabakov in a new article, "I Was 13 When Marc Gafni's Abuse Began." [tw for sex abuse] [more inside]
Tonight at 9 p.m. ET President Obama will give his final State of the Union address. (Barring unexpected developments.) He is expected to reflect on his legacy in office and also look towards the future with the same optimistic viewpoint which has always been a signature of his political identity. [more inside]
Jason Statham gets a charlie horse. The talented Ross Marquand (previously) does nano-impressions of A-list actors in mundane moments.
You won the big Powerball, you're going to want a new house. There's no investment like real estate. How about the Playboy® Mansion? [more inside]
Oral arguments were heard on Monday in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a Supreme Court case in which the plaintiffs are attempting to invoke their First Amendment right to free speech to avoid being compelled to pay their share of the costs of union representation. Summarizing the oral arguments for SCOTUSblog, Amy Howe notes that "public-employee unions are likely very nervous, as the Court’s more conservative Justices appeared ready to overrule the Court’s 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and strike down the fees." [more inside]
Dark Souls (previously and previously) remains popular for its challenging single player, and dedicated PVP community. Github user Metal Crow has developed an AI for the PVP aspect of the game, and shows off its talents at this YouTube video. In the write-up.txt file at GitHub, he explains the process, capabilities, and difficulties of programming a bot for what is (ostensibly) a total black box of a game (Pastebinned version to add word wrap and improve readability). Especially interesting is the use of a neural network to train the bot to avoid backstabs. [more inside]
Today the New York Times revisited Per Se and dropped them from four stars to two in a brutal review. There had been rumblings: a cutting reference in Harpers (previously), rumblings on chowhound and egullet and most notably an ugly review in Eater last month. Couple that with a C grade on a health inspection last year and a half-million dollar settlement of charges they failed to pay servers the "included" service charge now attached to every meal and it seems unlikely they will ever recover their once lofty status.
There are three main methods for using the trees to find your way. We can look for how the tree’s growth is influenced by the sun and how their shape is altered by the wind. The third method is to use a tree's preferences to work out the nature of the terrain ahead of us.Now let's add a fourth: follow trail marker trees, those trees that were purposely bent by Native Americans as navigation aids. [more inside]
Thomas Blomseth tracked his sneezes for five years, over 60,000 of them, and may have ended his pollen allergy
Forbes.com will ask you to turn off ad-blocking software or extensions that you may have on your browser in order to read their articles. If you comply, you then run the risk of being served malware. [more inside]
For Some Atlanta Hawks, a Revved-Up Game of Uno Is Diversion No. 1 by Scott Cacciola [The New York Times]
The Hawks, like many professional sports teams, have a lot of free time to kill, much of it spent on airplanes traveling to games. Some of the players keep busy by watching movies. Many sleep. Others play cards, a popular pastime for athletes who are competitive by nature. Yet the Hawks’ card game of choice might come as a surprise. Teammates who have resisted the urge to wade into the Uno fray know enough to keep a safe distance.