Wednesday, September 29, 2010

U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey
Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.
On average, Americans correctly answer 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Atheists and agnostics average 20.9 correct answers. Jews and Mormons do about as well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively. Protestants as a whole average 16 correct answers; Catholics as a whole, 14.7. Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons perform better than other groups on the survey even after controlling for differing levels of education.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Motorcyclist Wins Taping Case Against State Police
"Slashdot readers may recall the case of a Maryland motorcyclist (Anthony Graber) arrested and charged with wiretapping violations (a felony) when he recorded his interaction with a Maryland State Trooper. Today, Judge Emory A. Pitt threw out the wiretapping charges against Graber, leaving only his traffic violations to be decided on his October 12 trial date. 'The judge ruled that Maryland's wire tap law allows recording of both voice and sound in areas where privacy cannot be expected. He ruled that a police officer on a traffic stop has no expectation of privacy.' A happy day for freedom-loving Marylanders and Americans in general."
It's worth noting that while this is a good thing, there is no penalty against the AG who brought the ridicules charge.  And there is nothing to stop them from doing it again.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Loudness War
The loudness war or loudness race is a pejorative name for the apparent competition to digitally master and release recordings with relatively higher real and perceived levels of loudness.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

evercookie is a javascript API available that produces extremely persistent cookies in a browser. Its goal is to identify a client even after they've removed standard cookies, Flash cookies (Local Shared Objects or LSOs), and others.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Soft Drink Industry Structure, 2008

Google Traffic

So Google updated their censorship data.  They also added charts for traffic for all their services from different countries.  It's normalized so it doesn't show growth.  However, it does show interesting usage patterns.  People check their email on Saturday.  By far the least internet used day is Thanksgiving, followed by Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day (no dip for Christmas).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Truth Rating

I'm a fan of PolitiFact.  They rate political statements based on truthfulness.  They use one of six ratings— True, Mostly True, Half True, Barely True, False, and Pants on Fire.  I think they do a pretty good job of not being biased.  Although I sometimes disagree with their ratings, usually the write up is pretty good.

I had an idea.  Their site lists 625 people or groups who they have rated at least once.  Going to any person's page gives statistics on numbers of different ratings.  I made a script to scrape the site for these stats then found some averages.  As there are six ratings, I assigned a score of 7, 6, 5, 3, 2, or 1 to each.  Note the missing four.  I feel there is a division between the top three and bottom three.

Also, I did something which I've been thinking about for a while.  It bothers me whenever you sort a list by ratings and the top items are always the ones that have gotten a single maximum rating.  I've long thought that an easy way to combat this would be to start each item off with a hard coded middle rating.  In this example of 1-7 that means every person got a single 4 rating to start with.  I will say this didn't work quite as well as I had expected.  It still got the single ratings down a bit.  However, I think due to the nature of these ratings, which tend to hover in the middle, it worked less well than it would have for a site where the ratings tended to be closer to the extremes.  So, I used the other method of combating the high single ratings.  I took only those people that had at least five ratings and looked at just them.

Here is the top and bottom five by average (including the hardcoded four, and only those with five or more total ratings):
Alex Sink125.85
Chris Dodd85.67
David Axelrod95.60
Dennis Kucinich95.60
Ron Paul115.50
Average Rating22284.15
Rush Limbaugh122.92
Republican Party of Florida62.86
Chain e-mail822.33
Michele Bachmann101.82

Here's the data:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Texans Elect Gun,874/
No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
A strictly technical reading of that would be that those restrictions only apply to people.  There is no restriction against non-humans.

In Canada, Criminal Libel Charges Laid For Criticizing Police
"A Calgary man is facing criminal charges of libel for criticizing police. According to the story, the RCMP have filed five charges against John Kelly for claiming on his website that Calgary police officers engaged in perjury, corruption, and obstruction of justice. What makes the story unusual is that the charges are criminal and not civil. Even in Canada, which has much less free speech protection than the United States, it is extremely rare for people to be charged criminally with libel. It is almost always matter for civil courts."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Life Hacks

Now Even Hula Hoops Won't Save You

More from the Quadrotor.

Unit Circle Practice

So, I'm taking a trig class.  First quiz was on the unit circle.  A quick search of Google didn't find any sites that had practice in the format I wanted, so I decided to make my own.  Since I had trouble finding a site with something similar I figured I'd post mine in case anyone was ever looking for it.

It's an Open Office spreadsheet.  There's a column for trig function (sin, csc, etc), angle in rad, angle in degrees, a randomly selected rad or degrees question, the exact answer, and approx answer.  There are 103 rows, covering all 6 trig functions for every angle on the unit circle (with 0 and 360).  No negative angles or angles > 360.  If you are familar with spreadsheets it should be very easy to use.

I used it by sorting by G (which will randomly order the angles).  Then going down column D and solving.  By highlighting the blacked out solution cell the answer appears in the box at the top.  Just hit the down arrow after you solve the next problem.  You can hide columns A, B, and C, or scroll so they are hidden, or just not look at them.  If you sort by A then C it does a nice job of displaying them in an organized fashion.  If you sort by F it does a nice job of showing the patterns.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Police Publish 'An Introduction to PEDO BEAR'
According to this article, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department knows that Pedobear is an Internet joke, but that hasn't stopped them from trying to warn the public about him. Their most recent tool in the fight against internet memes is this public safety information bulletin entitled: "An Introduction to PEDO BEAR." I look forward to the bulletin warning parents about the dangers of children playing in Chocolate Rain.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

OkTrends May be the Most Interesting Site on the Internet

I highly suggest you read through each post now.

I Love OkTrends
If you're trying to figure out if white dudes like something, put fucking in the middle, and say it out loud. If it sounds totally badass, white dudes probably love it. Let's see this principle in practice:
Van fucking Halen
Harley fucking Davidson
The Big fucking Lebowski

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

5 Worries Parents Should Drop, And 5 They Shouldn't
Based on surveys Barnes collected, the top five worries of parents are, in order:
  1. Kidnapping
  2. School snipers
  3. Terrorists
  4. Dangerous strangers
  5. Drugs
But how do children really get hurt or killed?
  1. Car accidents
  2. Homicide (usually committed by a person who knows the child, not a stranger)
  3. Abuse
  4. Suicide
  5. Drowning
Why such a big discrepancy between worries and reality? Barnes says parents fixate on rare events because they internalize horrific stories they hear on the news or from a friend without stopping to think about the odds the same thing could happen to their children.

Monday, September 6, 2010

WikiLeaks Calls For Assange To Step Down
"A member of Iceland's parliament and prominent organizer for whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks has turned on the site's spokesman, Julian Assange, urging him to step down over rape allegations made against him in Sweden. Birgitta Jonsdottir told news site The Daily Beast that she did not believe Assange's repeated assertion that the allegations of rape and molestation made against him were part of a US-backed smear campaign to distract attention from documents posted on the site laying bare US involvement in the war in Afghanistan and further promised revelations."

Gubernatorial Candidate Wants to Sell Speeding Passes for $25
If Nevada gubernatorial candidate Eugene "Gino" DiSimone gets his way, $25 will buy you the right to drive up to 90mph for a day. DiSimone estimates his "free limit plan" will raise $1 billion a year for Nevada. From the article: "First, vehicles would have to pass a safety inspection. Then vehicle information would be loaded into a database, and motorists would purchase a transponder. After setting up an account, anyone in a hurry could dial in, and for $25 charged to a credit card, be free to speed for 24 hours."


Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Copyright Lawsuits Go After Porn On Bittorrent
"Three adult media entertainment producers filed suit Thursday in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging copyright infringement against hundreds of anonymous defendants accused of trading videos using Bittorrent. This kind of action resembles the much-criticized mass litigation undertaken by the US Copyright Group against hordes of unknown accused Bittorrent users trading movies like The Hurt Locker. In this case, the subject matter promises to be more provocative."
In this case, the subject matter promises to be more provocative. Plaintiff Millennium TGA is known for producing content in the “transsexual adult entertainment niche.” Plaintiff Lightspeed Media Corporation is alleging infringement of content including collections relating to its Jordan Capri and Tawnee Stone websites. Plaintiff Hard Drive Productions produces the Amateur Allure website. 

10 Largest Fast Food Chains in the US
Subway is #1 with 67% more locations than McDonald's (#2).