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Guest Post - Academic Integrity
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 09.30.16

E. Messily writes: Belligerant Cheaters would be a good band name:

In Huft's class, a student pretended to faint, forcing instructors to call paramedics. When he hit the floor, proctors caught four other students bring out hidden smart phones. The student refused medical attention when the ambulance arrived, and the name he gave was not on the class attendance list.

Heebie's take: I'm sure in the archives I've told this story...

...In college, I was going to double-major in anthropology and math. I was in this Biological Anthropology course, and we had a final project, involving a huge database of genes. You were supposed to have a hypothesis, download a bunch of gene sequences, and run some program that would tell you how closely related the individuals were, and therefore support or dispute your hypothesis.

I was completely overwhelmed by the database and the program. I tried to download it and make it work, but it always froze my computer, and I never got around to going in office hours and the school computer lab and asking for help in a timely manner, and then I got embarrassed that it was no longer a timely manner.

I asked for an extension, and this was the only time in my entire schooling that I can remember doing so, and it was granted. I felt like this doubled the pressure - now it needed to be twice as good in order to justify the extension, and I still didn't know how to get the original program to work.

So I made up a hypothesis that I could model the populations by matrices, and I did some linear algebra. (I skipped the database and the computer program entirely.)

I knew that the professor would know that my math was nonsense, but I was betting that he'd think I believed it, and would be pleased that I'd tried to go above and beyond the assignment and try something that incorporated my math major. I made up entries for the matrices, based on some nonsensical explanation, did some matrix multiplication, and did not offer any mechanism why matrix multiplication would mean diddly-squat. The computation yielded a nonsensical matrix, and I concluded that this math-modeling stuff was gosh-darn hard, gosh-darn it, and I'd have to work even harder next semester if I wanted to pursue this.

He gave me an A. And then, on the last day of class, he asked me to present my work to the class, because he'd been so pleased with it. I was super embarrassed, which probably seemed legit.

After that class, I dropped the anthropology major all together. The end!

Comments (57)

ATM: Prank?
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 09.29.16

Vice President Aaron Burr writes: I had a really weird text exchange last night and I can't tell if I'm being pranked. Setup: It's from someone who also worked in [my large national organization]. We were both involved in a project over the course of a couple of years with about 20 other people. We had several multi-day meetings with the whole group, which included evening socializing -- i.e., sitting around b.s.'ing over a few beers. Zero flirting, zero chemistry.

(Having just typed out the text below it seems super obvious that it's not real. It was around 11 last night, so I was operating on only 3 cylinders.)

HAMILTON: Hey Aaron, it's Alexander Hamilton. I know I am no longer involved with [large national organization] work, but I have a question for you.

BURR: OK, shoot.

HAMILTON: Can we go on a date?

[BURR INTERNAL MONOLOGUE: Huh? This is a joke, right? Or someone else is using his phone. But what if it somehow isn't? I don't want to be mean. I also don't want to feel stupid.]

BURR: I don't think my boyfriend would be in favor of that.

HAMILTON: Well, I didn't realize you were in a relationship. I've always had feelings for you.

[BURR INTERNAL MONOLOGUE: Seriously, WTF? This so doesn't sound real but what if?]

BURR: That's really nice to hear, and unexpected. I very much enjoyed getting to know you but I wasn't aware you felt that way. I admire your bravery in taking the risk to tell me that.

[BURR INTERNAL MONOLOGUE: Why did I add that last sentence?]


P.S. He's 15-20 years younger than me and lives two time zones away. So this all makes me an idiot, right?

Heebie's take: Oh, Aaron, you're being a conehead. On our planet, this is how nice, regular people express interest in someone that they like, and would like to get to know better. Usually we date people locally, but if you like someone enough, you might initiate romantic contact even if that person is not local.

Take it as a compliment! And you both handled it exactly fine.

Comments (252)

Posted by Ogged on 09.29.16

This is probably the wrong crowd, but let's talk cars. I drive a 12-year-old hand-me-down minivan, and I haven't bought a car in sixteen years. The van is on its last legs, and my basic requirements for the next car are that it be roomy enough to road trip with the kids, not from an American company, and fast. No SUVs. I'm not looking as much for specific car recommendations (although those are fine) but to hear what features you've found useful, what you didn't think you need, but now can't live without, etc. I think cars have changed quite a bit since I last shopped for one, and maybe some of the doodads are really useful.

Comments (194)

Very Nice
Posted by Ogged on 09.29.16

An early look at next week's cover, "Miss Congeniality," by Barry Blitt: https://t.co/wlrJpfxEXd pic.twitter.com/QCCCPlJFT6

— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) September 29, 2016
Comments (12)

Guest Post - [...] Hooray!
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 09.29.16

Nick S. writes: I just saw this which seems like an unfogged sort of thing -- nude photos, somewhat politic, but completely unrelated to the election [NSFW].

From her statement:

Illusions of the Body
This series was made to tackle the norms of what we think our bodies are supposed to look like. Most of us realize that the media displays only the prettiest photos of people, yet we compare ourselves to those images. We never get to see those photos juxtaposed against a picture of that same person looking unflattering. That contrast would help a lot of body image issues we as a culture have.
Imagery in the media is an illusion built upon lighting, angles & photoshop. People can look extremely attractive under the right circumstances & two seconds later transform into something completely different.
Within the series I tried to get a range of body types, ethnicities & genders to show how everyone is a different shape & size; there is no "normal". Each photo was taken with the same lighting & the same angle.

It's an interesting project. I don't know if it actually does work to undermine body image issue, but it's interesting to see a wide range of bodies (though it does seem disproportionately white (and to skew slender) -- I think she was sincere in wanting to have a wide range, and that just reflects the community of volunteers that she had.)

Heebie's take: you get to gawk at nekkid bodies, exhibiting good posture and looking awkward. Now don't slouch.

Comments (33)

The Best I Can Do
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 09.28.16

Okay: after Clinton wins, Trump will immediately start to fade as a news story, and the loss of attention will hurt more than anything else he can imagine. Therefore he will do anything to stay in the public eye. Surely he will either try to stay on TV, but that's still a step down from the treatment he's received for the past 15 months. He will get more and more desperate and do increasingly buffoonish things. When celebrities are hooked on attention and fall from grace, they fall hard. This trainwreck will become inextricably linked to his legacy. He won't be remembered as courting white supremecists or conducting shady business deals or a massive liar, he'll be remembered primarily by the implosion of embarrassments that followed his loss. Then the revisionists will hazily remember Clinton's win as more of a landslide than it really was.

I now believe that America - at this moment in time - is more susceptible to a charismatic fascist than I used to think we were. But I don't think Trump has the (heh) temperament to bounce back from an early loss and be that fascist.

Comments (334)