Reader's Corner for August 2016

August 31, 2016

A teacher’s insights from asking students to finish the sentence, “I wish my teacher knew…”

"In her book, Ms. Schwartz writes about mistakes that might have been prevented if she had known her students better. She had a student named [Alice] who was obsessed with science. Ms. Schwartz thought she had done [Alice] a huge favor by securing a spot for him in a science-focused summer camp. But she was unaware of the family’s financial struggles and it turned out that his parents could not afford to take time off from work to get [Alice] to camp."


August 30, 2016

Google is moving onto Uber’s turf with its own ride-sharing service in San Francisco that would help commuters carpool at far cheaper rates, according to a person familiar with the matter, jumping into a booming but fiercely competitive market.

Uh oh

Companies are spending big to have celebrities praise their products to millions of social media followers, raising questions about disclosure rules.

"Captiv8, a company that connects brands to influencers, says someone with three million to seven million followers can charge, on average, $187,500 for a post on YouTube, $75,000 for a post on Instagram or Snapchat and $30,000 for a post on Twitter. For influencers with 50,000 to 500,000 followers, the average is $2,500 for YouTube, $1,000 for Instagram or Snapchat and $400 for Twitter."

I clearly need to get an Instagram/Youtube account with lots of followers

The world’s oldest man has been named as Indonesian Mbah Gotho, who is 145 years old, with documentation that says he was born in 1870. Mr Gotho said he began preparing for his death in 1992, even having a gravestone made, but 24 years later he is still alive. He has now outlived all 10 of his si...

Wondering if they'll be able to verify this independently

August 29, 2016

Telling my story isn’t going to be easy. Oftentimes I feel embarrassed, enraged, and regretful when I have to relive it, but in the end it…

This is much worse than I imagined it would be from reading the title. Especially when it came to the photo shopped wire transfer confirmations...

In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, lost in the taiga

A great human interest story well worth a read

Five considerations when choosing a programming language for schools

August 26, 2016

The lottery system is still super messed up

August 24, 2016

Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its...

"[4] The actual suitability of this kind of planet to support water and Earth-like life is a matter of intense but mostly theoretical debate. Major concerns that count against the presence of life are related to the closeness of the star. For example gravitational forces probably lock the same side of the planet in perpetual daylight, while the other side is in perpetual night. The planet's atmosphere might also slowly be evaporating or have more complex chemistry than Earth’s due to stronger ultraviolet and X-ray radiation, especially during the first billion years of the star’s life. However, none of the arguments has been proven conclusively and they are unlikely to be settled without direct observational evidence and characterisation of the planet’s atmosphere. Similar factors apply to the planets recently found around TRAPPIST-1."

Affordable rides all over. Flat fares are the smartest way to ride.

Still wondering how the drivers will make money off this at $2 per ride

August 23, 2016

Grad students who work as teaching and research assistants at private universities are school employees, the NLRB rules.

This is huge

August 19, 2016

Building applications and services that scale to millions or even billions of people presents a complex set of engineering challenges, many of them unprecedented. The @Scale community is focused on bringing people together to openly discuss these challenges and collaborate on the development of new…

Who else is going to @scale this year?

Chase has confirmed the rumors that have been swirling all summer: It’s coming out with a new premium card — the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠. As the name implies, the new card…

This looks like a step up

August 17, 2016

As outlined in When the stupid stars align, My favorite day of the month is bank statement day at my company. There is a combination of two…

August 15, 2016

Andrea Goulet runs a software SWAT Team — parachuting in to help companies fix bad code that's holding them back. Here's what she's learned on the job.

So much truth

August 14, 2016

When my dadi was in hospital, she masterfully trained a maid to smuggle her paan to her from under her hospital bed

Losing a loved one is always tough. My brother phrased this much better than I ever could. We love you, Maa. You'll always be in our thoughts

August 11, 2016

Whatever is driving the slowdown in productivity growth in the U.S. appears to be affecting the advanced world as a whole. What is it?

August 10, 2016

Abruptly and without explanation, federal prosecutors slashed potential criminal penalties for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. from $562 million to $6 million Tuesday while a jury was considering whether the company violated safety laws both before and after the lethal 2010 gas pipeline explosion in Sa...

From $562 million to $6 million. Sigh

Last year , the world freaked out over the discovery of a star that was dimming and flickering so erratically, it couldn't be explained by any known natural phenomenon - prompting one scientist to actually go there and suggest it could be evidence...

The attack on Monday leaves Baluchistan lawless in more ways than one.

August 8, 2016

The Long Read: They may have been disproved by science or dismissed as ridiculous, but some foolish beliefs endure. In theory they should wither away – but it’s not that simple

Such a good read on bad ideas, anti intellectualism, research, science, conspiracies, and human thought processes.

"The resurgence of flat-Earth theory has also spawned many web pages that employ mathematics, science, and everyday experience to explain why the world actually is round. This is a boon for public education. And we should not give in to the temptation to conclude that belief in a conspiracy is prima facie evidence of stupidity. Evidently, conspiracies really happen. Members of al-Qaida really did conspire in secret to fly planes into the World Trade Center. And, as Edward Snowden revealed, the American and British intelligence services really did conspire in secret to intercept the electronic communications of millions of ordinary citizens. Perhaps the most colourful official conspiracy that we now know of happened in China. When the half-millennium-old Tiananmen Gate was found to be falling down in the 1960s, it was secretly replaced, bit by bit, with an exact replica, in a successful conspiracy that involved nearly 3,000 people who managed to keep it a secret for years."

August 7, 2016

The agency says brands and the social media stars who promote their products need to be more transparent about sponsored content

This is a good move

August 6, 2016

Online shopping for Games Deal of The Day from a great selection at Toys & Games Store.

Boardgame sale on Amazon right now!

CNBC stopped by our Mountain View camp and interviewed 14 year old Nabeha Barakatullah about why she thinks girls don't play / work in games. Nabeha is an avid gamer and game developer, not to mention she's been to every GMG camp since 2014! Full story here:

Yusra Mardini, a swimmer who fled Syria, has become the face of a new team of refugees who will compete in Rio under the Olympic flag.

August 4, 2016

The state's top public defender invoked a seldom-used provision to compel his political foe to come to the aid of an indigent defendant.

Sickest burn in quite a while, in response to Gov. Nixon slashing the public defender budgets.

"Therefore, pursuant to Section 600.042.5 and as Director of the Missouri State Public Defender System tasked with carrying out the State’s obligation to ensure that poor people who face incarceration are afforded competent counsel in their defense, I hereby appoint you, Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon, Bar No. 29603, to enter your appearance as counsel of record in the attached case."

Last month I spent four hours playing Civilization VI on a very hot day in central London. I came away wishing I could play for another four hundred hours, and

Brb, scheduling PTO for Oct 21

August 3, 2016

A law taking effect in 2018 requires employers to offer a compensation figure upfront in an effort to end the wage gap between men and women.

A welcome step