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In Narang’s office, the shades are drawn, the better to read a large monitor on one wall. There are no tickers scrolling by, no flashing updates on the value of the Dow Jones index. Narang’s strategy is “market neutral,” meaning that when it works–and it usually does–he makes money no matter which way the market goes. His profits don’t depend on whether share prices rise or fall; instead, he relies on a set of algorithms that can find and instantly take advantage of tiny, fleeting movements in trading activity. On the wall across from the window is a whiteboard filled with code: a scribbled flowchart in different colors, with variables and occasional amounts in boxes and the words buy or sell. In the middle of the monitor is a large number in a box, going up and down but mainly up. That is Tradeworx’s profit so far that morning.–“Trading Shares in Milliseconds,” Technology Review, by Harper’s contributor Bryant Urstadt
Something that’s funny because it’s not: “Mads Oyen, a policy specialist at Unicef in New York, suggested removing from a plane any specific seat that had been used by a would-be terrorist. ‘If he used, say, 36E, remove that seat. Then this cannot be tried again.’”;
something that’s not funny because it’s not: “It is worth reminding those who are still not blinded by the media propaganda that Afghanistan is not a British town… but rather Muslim land which no one has the right to occupy, with a Muslim population who do not deserve their innocent men, women and children to be killed for political mileage and for the greedy interests of the oppressive U.S. and U.K. regimes”;
something that’s just funny: the Argentine Elvis
Centropomis undecimalis. Common name: snook. Salts pronounce its common name to rhyme with “Luke,” but from the mouths of most anglers the name rhymes with “book.” Snook range in color from amber to silver, depending on how much shrimp they’ve been eating. The snook boasts big yellowish fins. A dark lateral line streaks down the length of its body on both sides and accounts for one of its more popular aliases (linesider), while its long tapered head and underslung jaw accounts for another nickname (bucketmouth). Common at 18-35″ long but individuals may reach 55″ and weigh nearly 50 pounds. Imagine a really long bass stretched absurdly at the snout before a funhouse mirror and you have the general idea. Discovering a few years ago that a fish called snook actually lurked beneath my feet in the sulfurous mangrove estuaries, concrete canals, and dredged inlets blocks from my home was sort of like discovering that a bird named snipe existed. I had to lay eyes on that skulking bird some ten years ago in a nearby wetland—and did, and do. I had to catch this fish, but haven’t. It’s not from a lack of trying. –Snooking, Andrew Furman, Agni
If George Will sides with Brooklyn hipster/gentrifiers
does that make him a liberal? And what about Tim Robbins? Is he really a crypto-conservative–or just a possible ping-pong cuckold?;
and why does Cosmopolitan use such silly words–“package” (penis), “girls” (breasts), “animalistic noises” (loud sounds)?
YouTube might seem an unlikely venue for skeptical investigations. The online video site originated as a way for individuals to easily share videos online without having to deal with technical issues like file formats and software compatibility. YouTube gained fame through a series of “viral” videos of various ephemera such as laughing babies, stunts gone wrong, adorable kittens, and so on. It hardly seemed a good venue for skepticism in those early days. But like most new tools, uses far beyond those initially anticipated were soon discovered…. Some of the most interesting aspects of skepticism on YouTube do not come from organizations or professional skeptics but are occurring at the grassroots level between individual users. Simple, short videos debunking paranormal or pseudoscientific concepts, when created with cleverness and good visuals, can be very effective. One example, “Bigfoot Myths: Where are the Bones?” addresses the simple question: Why have we never found Bigfoot bones? –“Skepticism via YouTube,” Tim Farley, Skeptical Inquirer
Dr. Love (real name), a clinical professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine, on the irrational health fears of women: “All of these women I kept meeting who were scared to death if they didn’t eat a cup of blueberries a day they would drop dead.”
Other irrational fears:
airport scanners represent a child-pornography threat;
the racial cleansing of Harlem
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”