Just a few interesting links to pass on today:
Jingle Bells, Batman Smells – An oddly-named exploration of the history of Christmas from the perspective of a Christian who finds the "war on Christmas" amusing.
Toys of Our Own – Instead of trying to teach our children the joys of the world away from their video games and TV, are we just getting toys of our own (iPods, Blackberries, etc.) to occupy us instead of taking the time to actually spend time with them?
Sight Is For Chumps – A 94-year-old blind woman bowled a 244 in Florida. I don't think I'll be able to brag about bowling a 216 once any longer.
Ok, in the past it's been News of the Dumb and News of the Stupid, but these stories seem to be popping up more and more frequently, so I'm going to give them the status of a YCBE recognition. Simply put, these are stories so ridiculous that they're likely to make you stop in your tracks and exclaim "You Can't Be Serious".
Here are today's candidates:
Willett Elementary School in Attleboro, Massachusetts recently banned students from playing "tag" during recess. Doesn't anyone remember that kids are supposed to get bumps and scrapes, and that public schools are meant to be entities that communities rally around and not team-up against? Nonetheless, in order to avoid any further possible liability concerns for the school, the following list of approved recess activities has been released:
Chris Rock's mother (who looks like she just scored a hit in this photo) is suing Cracker Barrel for discrimination. Apparently, she and her daughter were seated and then not waited on for a half-hour at a location on the South Carolina coast. She then spoke with a manager, who offered them free meals, and decided she was too disgusted to eat, claiming they were ignored because they were the only black people in the restaurant. The Rev. Al Sharpton, never one to miss a public appearance, rushed quickly to her side. While Cracker Barrel does not have a spotless past, it's hard to take this reactionary complaint seriously (though I'm sure the courts will). I mean, it's impossible that the hostess might have forgotten to tell their waitress that she was seated with more customers. Heck, I'm a suburban white boy, and there have been times I've waited about that long for service, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't being discriminated against.
Lastly, The U (Miami University to those who know better) and the ACC have been defending the 1-game suspensions of 13 football players for their involvement in a brawl in the third quarter of their game against Florida International University, where one player, a team captain no-less, was stomping on various FIU players with his cleats, while another brandished his helmet as a weapon. Both organizations have stated that the suspensions are "strict" and "send a message". Well, that message might be "well, we're pretty sure we can still beat winless Duke without them next week". The appropriate responses would have been to dismiss the two players above from the team, and then suspend the remainder of the players involved for the season. Instead, The U has brandished the slogan "Give us your thugs, your violent and ill-tempered…as long as they can play football".
Well, there's been a number of things piling up in my Slashdot folder on Bloglines that I've been wanting to write about and share with y'all. So instead of trying to write an article on each of them, I'll just highlight them here for ya this morning.
- First, there's The 7 Ways That People Search The Web, which is entertaining, if nothing else. I'm pretty sure I'd be classified as an Omnivore myself.
- Then there's the article about how cable companies are falling behind the technology curve, and it looks like many of them are going to need some major upgrades to keep up with their demanding clientelle.
- Teenager's, unsurprisingly, don't seem to think that CD copying is a crime.
- Do companies have to start opening up their internet restrictions in order to avoid losing staff who expect more freedoms? It's definately something I prefer, but I'm not the kind of person to waste the day away on IM.
- Is Windows Vista going to be the last OS of it's kind? It's an interesting thought, because many organizations were very slow to even upgrade to XP and Linux has made leaps forward in the recent years. With current OS complexities, it may need a community of developers to keep up with the needs of people, and that would be a strength of Linux.
- Can Faraday cages be used as a solution for WiFi security? With some of the insecurities that have been exposed, any company using WiFi will need some kind of solution. Though, most WiFi security breaches come because the users don't know how to secure their own systems.
- The Mystery of Oregon's 'Dead Zone' is an interesting article about an area of the Oregon coast that is very hypoxic (shortage of oxygen in the water). Researchers from Oregon State University have been studying the area for the last few years, and things have been getting worse. They're afraid that it may even reach a point of apoxia, or complete lack of oxygen in the water.
- A company by the name of Freeload Press in St. Paul, Minnesota, has begun distributing free ad-supported electronic versions of their textbooks. Is this the next logical step in the medium, or just a bump in the road on the way to the answer? I know I'd prefer to just keep my textbook as is for reference reasons, or maybe it's just that I'm not a big fan of ad-supported services. Usually, you get a sub-par product in the end.
- Lastly, an article about how Strategy Guides have lead to game developers creating more difficult games. I'd agree to a large extent, but I still hate using Strategy Guides. Part of the fun is finding the secret stuff, and not having it spelled out for you.
I know, a potpourri of topics, but it's what's caught my eye lately. Hopefully you found something worth reading!
I've come across several articles recently that caught my eye about this world of technology we're in:
Has Orwell's '1984' Come 22 Years Later? from Slashdot takes a brief look at how Big Brother is watching us all today. It does seem like everything is being recorded anymore, but the question has to be "Is anyone ever going to go back and look at it all?".
Photograph Police, Get Arrested from Slashdot has two links to stories about individuals who got arrested after either recording police on home security cameras or taking pictures of public-area police activities on their camera phones. It's kinda scary when the law and police can't even get things straight. But just imagine if these police departments were just as gung-ho about preventing actual crimes!
Craigslist + footballer with a taser = PR Disaster from TechCrunch talks about an electronics "buyer/seller" who has been luring other buyers and sellers to in-person meetings where he could rob them and stun them. Sure, it may look bad for Craigslist and other online classifieds-type sites, and someone will undoubtedly clamor that the interweb is to blame, but the same thing could have easily been done though the classifieds in the local paper.
Sadly enough, these things will probably continue as long as there are technophopic people around who blame the technology for the problems, and not the people who are using that technology.
Just a few interesting links today:
- The RAV4EV, and electric car made in 2003 that got the equivalent of 166 MPG, had decent range, could travel at least 75 MPH, and didn't make people think you were gay.
- There's a new Web2.0 application coming along called eBible. It's in beta testing right now, but it looks like it could become an interesting application.
- Why 'Bunker Buster' weapons are typically ineffective.
- An interesting story about a first year teacher in Boca Raton, Florida who posed for pictures for the "USA National Bikini Team" which were recently found. So far, the school district has decided not to punish her, but the local parents are pushing hard that "something be done". It's interesting because she doesn't appear to have done anything wrong, but many parents are not agreeing with their ethics (I can't say I agree either, but it's nothing that changes how she does her job). The funny thing is that the parents would probably have no objections if she was boozing it up and sleeping around, as long as it didn't get posted online. I guess it's the wrong message to send that a woman can have both looks and brains by having her teach.