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Links 1 through 10 of 331 by Chad Orzel tagged stupid

"The odds that all 78 of the passengers who travel on an average-size U.S. domestic flight have properly turned off their phones are infinitesimal: less than one in 100 quadrillion, by our rough calculation. If personal electronics are really as dangerous as the FAA rules suggest, navigation and communication would be disrupted every day on domestic flights. But we don't see that."

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We at Gawker have warned you previously that the New York Times Style section exists solely to introduce you to society's biggest shitheads, and yesterday's profile of the Brant Brothers is no exception. At this point, it feels as if the Times is going out of its way to troll us all. No one at that paper could possibly think these two teenagers—who have yet to contribute anything meaningful to society—are inherently interesting. A much more reasonable explanation is that someone at the Times Style section sits down every week and is like, "Oh hey, how can we piss off everyone this week? I KNOW! Let's profile a pair of privileged dipshits!"

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E. O. Wilson says that we'd have more science majors if we didn't insist they learn math. Also, think how many writers we could have if we didn't make them learn about verbs!

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After recently watching three seasons back-to-back-to-back (god help me), the only thing that I can say with any certainty that Ancient Aliens is either the product of a badly disordered mind or was designed to be a drinking game for skeptics:

Every time an ancient astronaut theorist refers to “ancient texts,” DRINK!
Every time the narrator (the delightfully-named actor Robert Clotworthy) begins an episode or a segment with the name of a location or a noun instead of a sentence, DRINK!
Every time the the narrator asks a question that should be answered with an immediate, “Of course the hell not,” DRINK!
Every time an apparently not crazy physicist, folklorist, or scholar gets cut off right before they say, “…but that doesn’t mean that ancient aliens existed,” DRINK!
When an idea that was speculation in one sentence magically becomes the premise of the next segment, DRINK!
Every time the narrator says, “And if so, why?” DRINK!

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But when the colleges are running on empty at the outset, the prospect of any meaningful loss is simply intolerable.  Instead of spurring innovation, this will heighten the already-strong culture of loss aversion.  Taking a flyer on a strategy that would take years to pay off isn’t an option when the years in between could require layoffs.

Worse, any kind of statewide collaboration -- exactly the sort of thing that would “move the needle” on educational attainment, workforce development, or any social good you care to name -- would be entirely out of the question.  Why would I share my breakthrough innovation with Nearby State, when it would erode my competitive advantage?  

And just how long, exactly, do you think it would take before the quick fix of grade inflation starts to look attractive?

This is nuts.  It’s self-defeating, internally contradictory, and doomed to fail.  And it has political momentum.

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This sanctimony is not playing as part of the genuine, profound disagreement between (and, guess what, among) liberals and conservatives about whether and when abortion should be legal. It's playing as needlessly humiliating women with invasive procedures, as denying people the choice of when and whether to have kids, and, frankly, as straight-up slut-shaming puritanism (recall Rick Santorum admonishing married couples that it's not okay to have sex unless it's "procreative"). Let's have GOP strategist Alex Castellanos bring it home: "Republicans being against sex is not good," he told Maureen Dowd. "Sex is popular."

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Stephen Fry has confirmed he and Sir Ian McKellen will pay a copyright licence fee so a Southampton pub can carry on trading as The Hobbit.

The pub was threatened with legal action by Hollywood film firm the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) which accused it of copyright infringement.

It later offered to resolve the dispute over the pub's name and decor by licensing it to use JRR Tolkien brands.

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A 68-year-old UNC-Chapel Hill physics professor with three degrees from Oxford University is being held in an Argentine prison on charges of trying to smuggle two kilograms of cocaine.

Paul H. Frampton, who holds the title Louis D. Rubin Jr. Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, said in a telephone interview that he was arrested Jan. 23 at the airport in Buenos Aires after the drugs were found in his checked luggage en route to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Frampton said he was confident that he would be exonerated and seemed less upset by the drug charges than of his treatment by the university, which he said had stopped his pay for reasons of petty academic jealousy.

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