Tuesday, May 29, 2007
- Is the old saw that "girls aren't good at math" true? Not so fast. According to recent studies at the University of Chicago, the anxiety caused by societal stereotyping of women in math can actually inhibit women's peformance on math tests:
The scholars found that the worrying undermines women’s working memory. Working memory is a short-term memory system involved in the control, regulation and active maintenance of limited information needed immediately to deal with problems at hand. They also showed for the first time that this threat to performance caused by stereotyping can also hinder success in other academic areas because mental abilities do not immediately rebound after being compromised by mathematics anxiety. "This may mean that if a girl takes a verbal portion of a standardized test after taking the mathematics portion, she may not do as well on the verbal portion as she might do if she had not been recently struggling with math-related worries and anxiety," said Sian Beilock, Assistant Professor in Psychology and lead investigator in the study. [read full article]I'll take a wild guess and say if this effect is genuine, then other groups affected by stereotyping may show similar performance-inhibition effects in other stressful situations. Interesting development, I think, and a fertile new avenue for study. Hey, if sterotyping can cause erectile dysfunction, why not mathematical sycfunction?
- From the Online Pork Rind Resource:
"Pork rinds aren't really leather, but don't qualify as meat. While I don't eat pork, the concept of humans eating pig-skin is kind of neat.
- Like the LOLCats meme? Try LOLPresident!
- Al Capp's Shmoo: Comical, economical and disturbingly allegorical, too?
[Shmoos] reproduce asexually, and are very prolific. They require no sustenance other than air. Shmoos are delicious, and are so eager to be eaten that if they are looked at by someone who is hungry they will gladly jump into a frying pan, after which they taste like chicken, or into a roasting pan, after which they taste like beef (Raw, they taste like Oysters on the Half-Shell). They also produce eggs, milk, and butter (no churning labor needed.) Their fresh pelt is a perfect boot leather, or house timber depending on how thick it has been cut. Their eyes are ideal suspender buttons, and their whiskers are perfect toothpicks. Naturally gentle, they require minimal care, and are ideal playmates for young children.
- Feeling like you've wasted/are wasting your short time upon this mortal coil? Well, the "Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age" generator probably won't make you feel any better.
- Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories hacks your Easter Peeps with LEGO™ Technic bricks: The Peepinator?
- The Gübernator bets on the Ducks against Ontario's Senators in this year's NHL finals, according to Anderson Cooper on CNN:
If the Ducks win the Stanley Cup, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will get a one-month supply of Tim Horton's coffee, a variety of "high quality" Ontario wines and a Roots sweater, according to the statement. But, if the Ducks lose, Schwarzenegger will give McGuinty a custom-made jacket by clothing designer Tony Nowak and a selection of Calfornia-grown products, including Anaheim chiles, boysenberry jam from Knott's Berry Farm, a variety of fruit and a case of California wineWhat, no pork rinds or back bacon?
Labels: links du jour
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Wisconsin has an interesting way with alcohol. One dram shoppe we saw this weekend (which I unfortunately didn't get a picture of) was appropriately named the "Booze n' Go." This establishment, Steck Liquors - located in Whitewater (home of UW-Whitewater) - proudly proclaims the store has been "celebrating the 21st Amendment since 1933."
The store's marquee puts none too fine a point on it: "GRADUATE THE SAME WAY YOU STARTED WITH A KEG"
Ah, Middle America.
As seen in Warrenton, Virginia: please don't ponder the name of this post too closely.
As seen at Moraine Hills State Park, in McHenry, Illinois.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
- Don't know your zeugma from your skotision? Bone up on your rhetorical skills at Silva Rhetoricae, the Forest of Rhetoric.
- Dr. Jay Chapman, creator of the lethal injection procedure, believes it's time to change the formula [CNN]
- Fetish piece or Cold War kitsch? The Gas Mask Shower [Chris Dimino Design]
- "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie™ Roll?" See it in CGI and the original hand-drawn cel version; like the new "Psycho," utterly unnecessary.
- How to make a fruit helmet for your cat: one orange required per cat [via BoingBoing]
- Charlie the Tuna and Curly the Cudahy Pork Pig share a dark secret: they're "Suicide Food" mascots! [Slashfood]
- Blackface is alive and well...in Japan [via PCLink Dump]
- Don't just search deep...search deeper. OEDb's Research Beyond Google: 119 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources.
- Would you eat food grown in the "Chernobyl Zone"? One intrepid BBC journalist tries the region's radioactive delights, as consumed by numbers of diehards:
Anna is a wonderful, garrulous 83-year-old babushka who has returned to the Zone of Alienation. She was outraged to hear that the BBC had instructed me not to eat any of her food and she began a sustained bullying campaign, saying: "What's wrong with you? There's nothing to fear from my food - God will protect you." Her reasoning was pretty simple: "If it were contaminated we would have died a long time ago, but we've been eating it for 20 years already!"[via James at FarkleberriesUSA]
- In "Technical Synesthesia," researchers at the University of Wisconsin and other locations hack the inner wiring of our senses, creating unbelievable remixes of the human interface with the physical world. [BoingBoing]
Labels: links du jour
Monday, May 21, 2007Seen on 59th Street on the University of Chicago Campus.
Tricked-out wheels or performance art? Hedwig homage, perhaps?
UPDATE: there must be some kind of freaky bicycle cult at the University of Chicago; today there was a modified orange bike with reveresed handlebars locked up at the same location, and the "Hermaphrobike" was gone.
Thursday, May 17, 2007Is apparently rather true. Turns out that Illinois is...
...the most average state, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from the Census Bureau.The least average state? West Virginia - too old, too white, and too rural to accurately reflect the American Melting Pot today. NPR has a detailed audio report on the ranking. Time to break out the Sufjan Stevens CD?
Illinois is the fifth largest state, with a big city in Chicago, rolling countryside in the south and a lot of sprawling suburbs. And it has Peoria, which, it turns out, really is a barometer of America's preferences. Many companies continue to use the city in central Illinois as a test market, taking literally the adage about how things play there.
"Illinois has always been a mirror of America," said state Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Republican. "With all due respect to South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire, they are not reflective of the overall American population." The AP ranked each state on how closely it matched national levels on 21 demographic factors, including race, age, income, education, industrial mix, immigration and the share of people living in urban and rural areas. The rankings were then combined to determine the state that best mirrors the country as a whole. Illinois was followed by Oregon, Michigan, Washington and Delaware.
Thursday, May 10, 2007So, purely by coincidence, I will find myself in one of America's oldest settlements this weekend - Jamestown, Virginia is celebrating its 400th anniversary, and the bro-in-law is graduating from college very close by (that's the coincidence). Guess who else is coming?
Yes, Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II is planning a visit for the quadricentennial as well, as well as (reportedly) the President and Veep in Tow. Needless to say, it will be a royal traffic jam to say the least. Secret Service. Her Royal Guard. Thousands of Drunken Grads. Let me say it again: it will be historic.
I guess Queen Elizabeth II didn't find George W's faux pas about her alleged attendance at the nation's founding too offensive...anyhoo, here's what I'm listening to:
- XIII. Století -"Elizabeth" (no, that one's not random...ha.)
- Concrete Blonde - "Still In Hollywood"
- John Lennon and Yoko Ono - "Cleanup Time"
- James - "Come Home"
- Brazilian Girls - "Lazy Lover"
- Stars of the Lid - "Broken Harbors (Part 2)"
- Beastie Boys - "In 3's"
- Tangerine Dream - "Phaedra"
- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - "Let It Bleed"
- Apoptygma Berzerk - "You Keep Me From Breaking Apart"
Tuesday, May 08, 2007If you've driven around southern Illinois and thought you saw something strange by the roadside - say, a dead animal dressed in human clothing - you may have been neither drunk nor hallucinating:
(AP) EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. For the past several weeks, drivers near Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville have been noticing odd things about some of the roadkill on the sides of the area's highways. Some of the dead possums and raccoons have been dressed in pet or human baby clothes and have had their claws painted with nail polish. The carcass of a deer has been adorned with gold paint.Now, that's my kind of performance art prank. I've never done anything this radical, but I've come close (putting hats on inanimate objects, rearranging sign lettering, that sort of thing...I won't admit to any specific acts. That would spoil the fun. :) )
The culprit is SIU-Edwardsville graduate art student Jessica May, 24, of West Lafayette, Ind. In an interview with the Belleville News-Democrat, May said she is not an animal rights activist; she is just interested in seeing if people would give more thought to the animals if they were somehow given human attributes. [read full article]
Thursday, May 03, 2007Haven't posted one of these in a good long while; I'm due:
- Human Sexual Response - "A Question of Temperature"
- Saint Etienne - "Cool Kids of Death"
- Magnetic Fields - "Deep Sea Diving Suit"
- VNV Nation - "Genesis"
- Nik Turner - "D-Rider"
- Cansei De Ser Sexy - "This Month Day 10"
- Bebel Gilberto - "So Nice (Summer Samba)"
- Weezer - "The World Has Turned And Left Me Here"
- Mike Oldfield -"Cook's Tune"
- Army of Lovers - "Hurrah Hurrah Apocalypse"
Wednesday, May 02, 2007Violent pit bulls: a bad thing.
Methamphetamine: also a bad thing, probably much worse than pit bulls.
New Zealand officials say Pit bulls on meth may have been responsible for the mauling of George, a Jack Russell terrier who bravely stepped in and saved five children from the rampaging dogs. From the Taranaki [NZ] Daily News:
...[I]nvestigations yesterday by the Taranaki Daily News have revealed a horrifying new dimension to the menace of fierce dogs. Stratford animal control officer Kieran Best says he's heard of methamphetamine (P) being fed to pitbulls, making them more aggressive and very unpredictable. "I understand it commonly happens in Rotorua. I haven't seen a dog on P, but I've heard about it from drug squad police at conferences." While he had not heard of P being given to dogs in Taranaki, "if it's happening elsewhere it's quite possible it could be happening here. The pitbulls I've had dealings with are naturally aggressive because of the type of people they are with. They keep pitbulls around because they don't like visitors, and one can only presume they have something to hide, that they are into crime and drugs. [read full article]
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
If more consumers and their advocates don't speak out soon,what we know in the U.S. as "chocolate" may no longer be the product you've enjoyed all your life, but a cheaper substitute if the FDA permits a change in its Standard of Identity. From the awareness website, "Don't Mess With Our Chocolate":
if some members of the U.S. Chocolate Industry have their way, it will negatively change the quality of chocolate you love. Their plan is to change the basic formula of chocolate in order to use vegetable fat substitutes in place of cocoa butter, and to use milk substitutes in the place of nutritionally superior milk. These changes will have adverse effects on the eating, physical and nutritional quality of chocolate, and beg the question: What consumer benefit is associated with implementing these changes? The answer is none.[via Chez Pim] [Update: public comment on the proposed formula change closed April 25th. Now we'll just have to wait and see.]
- Getting stuck in a vat of melted chocolate isn't as much fun as it sounds. That's exactly what happened to a Wisconsin chocolate factory worker, who was lucky to be extracted alive from the 110°F vat after spending over two-and-a-half hours chest deep inside. From the Journal-Sentinel:
Kenosha - An ordinary night's work at the chocolate company turned dangerous for Darmin Garcia early today when he fell into a vat of the molten goo and was trapped for more than two hours. "I was pushing the chocolate down into the vat because it was stuck," said Garcia, 21. "It came loose and I just slid down the hopper into the chocolate." Garcia's co-workers at the Debelis Corp. first tried to pull Garcia out but his pants were caught on a roller. That's when they called 911 and the Kenosha Fire and Police departments both responded, said police Sgt. Eric Larsen.
"It was in my hair, in my ears, my mouth, everywhere," Garcia said. "I felt like I weighed 900 pounds. I couldn't move." Garcia said his colleagues added cocoa butter to the vat in an attempt to thin the chocolate. [Kenosha Fire Department Captain Greg] Sinnen said firefighters on the ladder company that responded to the accident helped scoop the chocolate out of the vat. Eventually, enough chocolate was removed that Garcia was able to take off his pants and be pulled out.
- What exactly is "sushi grade fish"? It may not be what you think - it's not the freshest 'just caught' fish, but fish that has been frozen to the proper low temperature for a long enough time to kill parasites that may be present in the species. Yum.
- New York Times says forget horses, scientists describe being "Hung Like a Duck": "Obviously you can’t have something like that without some place to put it in. You need a garage to park the car."
- Is the serving of offal meat from the bleeding innards of a decapitated goat a "best practice" when promoting a videogame product; say, the PlayStation 2 Console? No? Well, SONY didn't think so, either. From the Daily Mail:
Electronics giant Sony has sparked a major row over animal cruelty and the ethics of the computer industry by using a freshly slaughtered goat to promote a violent video game. The corpse of the decapitated animal was the centrepiece of a party to celebrate the launch of the God Of War II game for the company’s PlayStation 2 console.
- Bathsheba Sculpture produces stunning three-dimensional models of complex mathematical formulae in metal, laser-etched crystal, and more. The Calabi-Yau Quintic manifold is particularly engrossing, I think.
- SfGate has a slideshow of the incredible damage at the crumbled section of freeway ramp which connects Interstate 80 to Interstate 580 in Oakland, caused when a gasoline tanker overturned and caught fire. I'm still amazed that no one was killed in the incident.
- Looking for some geeky-but-racy water cooler conversation starters? Check out Neatorama's kinda-safe-for-work 30 Strangest Animal Mating Habits - considering how kinky giraffes, porcupines, and even red garter snakes appear to be, it may forever change your idea of what constitutes "unnatural acts."
- Can't identify that pill? Pharmer.org is a non-profit educational website that might help you recognize that mysterious capsule you found. (Warning, use at your own risk)
Labels: links du jour