Happy Earth Day 

Does anyone know why no one has yet invented a variable-flush toilet?


A lesson on conditional probability 

Eugene Volokh notes that P(a woman would lie about being raped) is not necessarily equal to P(a woman would lie about being raped | that woman filed a rape report).

MIT grad students write a program that passes the Turing test 


Of course, the conference itself could be a bot that solicits papers via email and makes lecture hall, dinner and hotel reservations...

One of the authors of the "paper" has more information on his website.


Memo to Gary Sheffield 

You can pick out the fan who slapped you and beat him over the head with a lead pipe for all I care, but do it *after* you've thrown the ball back into the infield? Do you realize that you almost gave Jason Varitek an inside-the-park home run?

The devil is in the details 

So a bunch of graduate student TAs and RAs at Yale and Columbia are going on strike.

Unfortunately, the story leaves out one rather important piece of information -- the number of hours these TAs and RAs work. The stipends are in the $17,000 - $25,000 range. If it's one or two classes per year, this is a pretty good deal. If it's four discussion sections per semester or 50 hours/week in the lab working on a professor's research (as opposed to the student's own doctoral research), it's a pittance.


Red Sox backlash 

David Schoenfield has a list of 86 reasons to hate the Sox.

Unsurprisingly, it's a day late and a dollar short.

EDIT: Even better -- today's Page 2 has a poll indicating that the Red Sox have jumped a whole ocean of sharks. 'Cept that, as none other than Bill Simmons has pointed out, the phrase "jumped the shark" went GP on us a looong time ago.


Another nostalgic piece of childhood goes thbbbbpt 

CTW is teaching Cookie Monster healthy eating habits.


The rumors of Mariano Rivera's demise have been greatly exaggerated 

Shame on that handful of Yankees fans who booed Mo after he got yanked in today's game, having given up five runs to the Red Sox.

When you play 55 games over two seasons against the same team, they're going to start to figure you out. Familiarity has a way of attenuating whatever advantages one side may have.


Red ink banned in some schools 

Apparently some parents object that the red ink that teachers often use to grade assignments is too stress-inducing.

I sort of agree, which is why I don't use red pens when grading. I usually use ordinary black or blue pens, though I have been known to use pink and purple on occasion. But banning red ink altogether is silly.

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