More fun with maps

Here’s another interesting map fact that’s been my obsession for the day:


A while back, I posted a map that showed that you could fit a bunch of countries in Africa, including the U.S., China, India and all of Europe.

So if these southern hemisphere continents are so big, how come they look so small on every map I look at?


Well, it was explained years ago on “The West Wing.”

Here’s the map that freaked C.J. out (click to enlarge):


Technically, there is no reason why this map is unacceptable. There is no up or down in space (I learned that in “Ender’s Game“). Had the first exploration maps come from the southern hemisphere, this is how they would have been drawn. The North here is pretty squished. The South has plenty of room.

It’s an interesting perspective.

I want you, so you’re fired

According to the Iowa Supreme Court, you can be fired by your boss, without cause, if he wants to have sex with you but doesn’t tell you. It isn’t considered sexual harassment. It’s family values. (From AP via TPM):

The court ruled 7-0 that bosses can fire employees they see as an “irresistible attraction,” even if the employees have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote. …

Nelson, 32, worked for Knight for 10 years, and he considered her a stellar worker. But in the final months of her employment, he complained that her tight clothing was distracting, once telling her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing, according to the opinion.

He also once allegedly remarked about her infrequent sex life by saying, “that’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.”

Knight fired Nelson and gave her one month’s severance. He later told Nelson’s husband that he worried he was getting too personally attached and feared he would eventually try to start an affair with her.

Nelson was stunned because she viewed the 53-year-old Knight as a father figure and had never been interested in starting a relationship, Fiedler said. …

Knight’s attorney, Stuart Cochrane, said the court got it right. The decision clarified that bosses can make decisions showing favoritism to a family member without committing discrimination; in this case, by allowing Knight to honor his wife’s wishes to fire Nelson, he said.

Knight is a very religious and moral individual, and he sincerely believed that firing Nelson would be best for all parties, he said.

Let’s ignore the fact that in tough economic times, firing a person because you have an ape’s brain and can’t control yourself is not “best for all parties.” And let’s ignore the fact that the 10 judges of the court that gave this ruling were all male in a conservative state.

This guy’s excuse for firing is what you get from people who believe that women are raped because the way they dress is “asking for it.”

There are countries run by religious fanatics where women are punished for giving a man a glass of water, because they’re “asking for it.” A number of women have been gang raped in India in recent weeks because they were on different buses at night and were “asking for it.” A political party in America believes that a woman can’t get pregnant if she is involved in “a legitimate rape” because her body “can shut that thing down,” meaning if it’s not “legitimate,” she’s asking for it.

I was getting upset about the firing, and wondering how people reach these extremely insane steps of logic, but I wasn’t going to post on it. Then I saw this teaser on the bottom of a different story that said this:

Put Some Clothes On That Girl! 9 Young Celebs Who Dress Way Too Hot

As the American Taliban leads us closer to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” everybody get ready for nuns’ habits as the new fashion trend.

Stop the presses

Newspapers are consolidating, circulation is declining and jobs for reporters are shrinking. One news organization in California is even outsourcing local news reporting to India. What else could go wrong?

One example of this new, super-capable form of artificial intelligence is StatSheet, a software program that takes sports statistics, integrates them with a human vocabulary and churns out news stories — all by itself — about baseball and football.

The application generates more than 15,000 articles a month and over the course of its nearly four-year lifespan, has created a million pages of news.

“It’s getting better every day,” said Robbie Allen, who invented StatSheet in 2007. “Within the next three to four years, it will be better than what a human can produce. And the reason for that is pretty much the foundation of computation: We can analyze and access significantly more data than one person can on their own.”

Just one further thing to consider when Skynet becomes self aware.