[I]f U.S. companies can go online to outsource their programming, why can't U.S. computer students outsource their homework -- which, after all, often involves writing sample programs? Scruples aside, no reason at all. Search for "homework" in the data base of Rent A Coder projects, and you get 1,000 hits....
Indeed, some programming students appear to be outsourcing their way through college. "Pascal Rookie," from Colorado Springs, Colo., has put five school projects to bid. And while he may be a plagiarist, at least he treats his helpers well: Mr. Rookie has received the highest marks possible for a buyer in the eBay-like rating system used by Rent A Coder. "A pleasure to work with him," said one....
Coming as I do from a long-ago era when elaborate stories were required to explain academic underachievement -- tragic passings of beloved relatives; life-and-death emergencies involving close friends -- I was struck by how today's cheaters often don't even bother to invent an excuse.
"This is a fairly simple program," wrote "Goradia" of Sammamish, Wash. "It is my homework, but since I am busy, I want someone to do this for me."
Take solace, Goradia: With an attitude like that, combined with a programming marketplace like today's, after college, you'll never be busy again.
QANTAS chairman Margaret Jackson was suspected of being a terrorist and frisked during a visit to the US last year. The airport security guard who checked her was reluctant to believe that a woman could be the head of an airline.
Mrs Jackson said yesterday her briefcase was searched after she went through a security check at Los Angeles airport.
Among her documents were detailed plans of new aircraft, including cross-section diagrams showing seat layouts.
"The guy said 'Why have you got all of this?'," she told the Herald Sun.
"And I said, 'I'm the chairman of an airline. I'm the chairman of Qantas'. And this black guy, who was, like, eight foot tall, said, 'But you're a woman'."....
After proving her identity, Mrs Jackson produced paper with her letterhead on it and wrote a note to the guard, whose name was Bill.
"And I wrote, 'Dear Bill, this is from the chairman of Qantas, who is a woman'."
[PFS Inc. president Mary] Rich remembers attending the National Computer Conference (NCC), a now-defunct computer convention, where the male attendees outnumbered the female ones by a ratio of 300 to 1. Convention officials as well as hotel staffs were extremely suspicious of single women, Rich said. Women were often suspected of being prostitutes trying to solicit show attendees. Rich said she once tried to go to the hotel room of a colleague for a drink only to be kicked out by security when trying to get in an elevator.
Rich, who co-chaired the 1986 NCC with another woman, said that as recently as three years ago one of the primary concerns was how women were being treated at the show. `We still had problems with security not believing [the credentials of] women trying to get onto the show floor,' she said [LaPlante 1989].
When visitors to Walmart.com requested "Planet of the Apes: The Complete TV Series" on DVD, four other movies were recommended under the heading "Similar Items." Those films included "Martin Luther King: I Have A Dream/Assassination of MLK" and "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson."
While I'm firmly against racism, I have some sympathy for Wal-Mart, as I've written and deployed an automated recommender system, which had its share of humorous results, although fortunately no offensive ones that I'm aware of.
This also brings to mind Jeffrey Zaslow's classic Wall Street Journal article, What to Do When Your TiVo Thinks You're Gay.
Me: I'm getting my nieces a talking globe for Hannukah.
Brother: How does it talk?
Me: I don't know, probably through a mouth or blowhole.
Brother (to my young niece): Would you like to see the Narnia movie? It's a little violent.
Brother: Why not?
Niece: I like movies that are a lot violent.
From El Universal:
Public safety officials in Mexico City last week announced that they would suspend the capitalâ€™s drunk driving vigilance program for the nights of Christmas Eve and New Yearâ€™s Eve....
The suspension of drunk-driving vigilance for Christmas and New Yearâ€™s celebrations is a tradition in the capital, where the practice is known as a â€œnoche libre,â€ or â€œfree night.â€
I've long had an interest in social networking and have been happy to work on orkut at Google. I finally got permission from ACM to post a paper I co-authored about orkut: Evaluating Similarity Measures: A Large-Scale Study in the Orkut Social Network, which describes research I did with fellow Googlers Mehran Sahami and Orkut Buyukkokten. While the paper would only be of interest to computer scientists (especially working in recommender systems, data mining, and collaborative filtering), I also described the highlights in a non-technical manner in Too Much Information, an occasional column for orkut media:
Last spring, orkut began providing related community recommendations, which are displayed on the bottom-right side of community pages. They were generated automatically based on common community membership. For example, since many of the same people belonged to both The Simpsons! and South Park, links to each community were displayed on the other community's page. Some of the associations were amusing. For example, there was a link from C++ (a computer programming language) to What's she trying to say? (a community for men who don't understand women). Another interesting relation was between Chocolate and PMS.
According to this Reuters article, babies are on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration "no-fly" list:
Sarah Zapolsky was checking in for a flight to Italy when she discovered her 9-month-old son's name was on the United States' "no-fly" list of suspected terrorists.
"We pointed down to the stroller, and he sat there and gurgled," Zapolsky said, recalling the incident at Dulles International Airport outside Washington in July. "The desk agent started laughing.... She couldn't print us out a boarding pass because he's on the no-fly list."
Zapolsky, who did not want her son's name made public, said she was initially amused by the mix-up. "But when I found out you can't actually get off the list, I started to get a bit annoyed."
As a public service to the TSA, I would like to point out a difference between babies and terrorists: You can negotiate with terrorists. Come to think of it, that's also a difference between the TSA and terrorists.
The November 12 New York Times has an article Military's Information War Is Vast and Often Secretive by Jeff Gerth on the U.S. military propaganda unit:
The 1,200-strong psychological operations unit based at Fort Bragg turns out what its officers call "truthful messages" to support the United States government's objectives, though its commander acknowledges that those stories are one-sided and their American sponsorship is hidden.
"We call our stuff information and the enemy's propaganda," said Col. Jack N. Summe, then the commander of the Fourth Psychological Operations Group, during a tour in June. Even in the Pentagon, "some public affairs professionals see us unfavorably," and inaccurately, he said, as "lying, dirty tricksters."....
The United States Agency for International Development also masks its role at times. AID finances about 30 radio stations in Afghanistan, but keeps that from listeners....
As the Bush administration tries to build democracies overseas and support a free press, getting out its message is critical....
In its rejected plan, the company looked to American popular culture for ways to influence new audiences. [The Lincoln Group, a government contractor] proposed variations of the satirical paper "The Onion," and an underground paper to be called "The Voice," documents show. And it planned comedies modeled after "Cheers" and the Three Stooges, with the trio as bumbling wannabe terrorists.
This reminds of Christopher Buckley's hilarious novel Florence of Arabia (see reviews), in which an idealistic Amercian feminist seeks to revolutionize the status of women in the Middle East through a mysteriously-funded TV network. One show, "Mukfellas", portrays bumbling religous police.
I found out about this article from my husband, who read about it in the Nation blog.
Usually we shop at natural food stores, but occasionally we go to the neighborhood chain store, most recently in search of food coloring for making our own floam.
My husband asked a grocery store worker, "Do you sell food coloring?" The worker cheerfully replied: "We sure do. In almost every product."
I was skeptical when my sister Andrea forwarded me this story, but it appears to be true, as seen in the LA Times:
Former FEMA Director Michael D. Brown, heavily criticized for his agency's slow response to Hurricane Katrina, is starting a disaster-preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sorts of errors that cost him his job.
"If I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses â€” because that goes straight to the bottom line â€” then I hope I can help the country in some way," Brown said in Denver.
"I'm doing a lot of good work with some great clients," he said. "My wife, children and my grandchild still love me. My parents are still proud of me."