Archive for October 27th, 2003

Distrust Mars Fish Counting Effort

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Who
knew there were fish on Mars?  And we should distrust their efforts
to be counted? I’ll have to start keeping a closer watch on the news….

On land the demand is to know, with certainty, how many fish are left
in the waters, and how many there will be. But answering such questions
requires getting to know cod. And this ancient animal, with its thick
speckled body and glassy eyes, has proved an elusive acquaintance, even
for specialists.

The Stellwagen habitat, captured with a robotic underwater camera, provides
a glimpse of the sheer enormity of the challenge.

from
the Boston Globe

Trojan Defense Hard to Break

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SAN
FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Prosecutors looking to throw the book at accused
computer hackers have come across a legal defence expected to become
even more widespread in an era of hijacked PCs and laptops that threatens
to blur the lines of personal responsibility: the computer did it.

In one case that was being watched as a bellwether by computer security
experts, Aaron Caffrey, 19, was acquitted earlier this month by a London
court on charges of hacking into the computer system of the Houston Pilots,
an independent contractor for the Port of Houston, in September 2001.

from Reuters

Will MIT LAMP Light a Fire?

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jukeboxUndergraduates
with time on their hands are the Mother’s of Invention, as the history
of Napster clearly shows. Now a pair of 20ish MIT students have come
up with a workaround for the RIAA’s labyrintian limitations on digital
music distribution by – is nothing Holy – going Analog.

The dream – free music on demand anywhere on campus at anytime.  The
reality – well, there are still a few drawbacks to this MIT hack, which
is called the Library Access to Music Program, or LAMP.

”We assumed that the technical part of doing this would be the hard
part,” said Winstein. ”We were totally wrong.”

Among the drawbacks: to avoid digital liscencing fees, the music is
distributed in analog form, over the campus fiber-optic network. The
conversion results in some sound degradation. Students
need to listen to the tunes on their television sets, or on PCs with
TV cards.  And a maximum of 16 users at a time (out of an on-campus
population of more than 6,000) can request tunes from the server.

from the New York Times

The Eyes Have It – Dangerous Contacts

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eyesSAN
FRANCISCO–They can turn brown eyes blue or human eyes to monster eyes.
Decorative, or costume, contact lenses can be a fun way to change one’s
looks, especially for Halloween. However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology,
the Eye M.D. Association, warns consumers about the dangers associated
with illegally sold costume contact lenses. The over-the-counter contact
lenses have been sold by unlicensed vendors at beauty salons, video stores,
gas stations and flea markets.

from
the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Found on Copy Machine – Removed by Boss

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We’ve All Got an Axe to Grind…

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Here is a story which features ESL, another American Blogger in Korea (where do they all come from?), international relations, irrational hatred and baseball. How could I resist?

“Mr. Lee:

450 Beautiful Nude Women Found at Train Station

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Wow! It must have looked like a commuter’s
version of Usama’s Martyr’s Paradise. What an idea for a FlashMob – now
that one I would go to.

Hundreds of women have stripped naked at New York’s main railway station
to pose for a controversial artist’s latest exhibit.

 

The 450 women, all volunteers, arrived at about 3 am,
took off their clothes and composed their bodies into sculptural shapes
and formations meant to imitate streets, buildings and cityscapes.

Artist Spencer Tunick’s past nude shoots in New York have sometimes
provoked controversy. In January 1996, two of his nude models were arrested
on
top of a Manhattan
snowdrift, posed beneath an ice-cream shop sign that advertised "Frozen
Fantasies." On New Year’s Eve 1994, Tunick and a model were arrested
when she posed nude on top of an 8-foot-high simulated Christmas tree
ornament at Rockefeller
Centre. Charges were dismissed in both cases.

from Ananova

Why Me and Stephen Hawking Get Bad Student Evals

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I
knew there must be some logical explanation as to why my Summer students
gave me such low evaluations. It couldn’t have been just because
I taught the class largely by remote control fron an isolated fishing
cabin in the Yukon or that for the final exam I took them on a field
trip deep into a housing project in Cripps territory and gave them the
slip. It’s blatant discrimination against the hunkiness handicapped!
Hafta send a copy of this article to my supervisor…..

Good
looks may be just as important to teachers as they are to actors or models,
according to a study by Texas economist David Hamermesh.

The study of 94 University of Texas professors and 25,000 students found
that the better-looking professors got consistently higher ratings as teachers
from their students.

Hamermesh, a labor economist at the University of Texas, says the findings
could call into question the practice of using evaluations as a factor
in setting teacher pay scales and promotions.

"
Even if instructional ratings have little or nothing to do with actual
teaching productivity, university administrators behave as if they believe
that they do, and they link economic rewards to them," Hamermesh wrote.

In the study, 10 students were asked to rate the attractiveness of the
professors by looking at photographs, then those ratings were compared
to evaluations scores turned in by the professors’ students.

from the Chicago Sun Times