Tuesday, April 30, 2019

"they’ve also been taught to expect less. For example, almost none of the Bee parents had any expectations that things would go well for their child"

From an interview with the author of Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z’s New Path to Success:

If you look at the pattern of Indian immigration to the U.S. since 1965, it is always highly educated immigrants, with accommodations for other skill levels. Since 1990, however, overwhelming emphasis has been put on those who are highly trained in STEM fields. So you have this concentration of STEM professionals who value education even more intensely than the earlier waves of immigrants had. And they’ve built up this infrastructure for their kids, including this whole minor-league spelling circuit just for South Asian kids.


The levels of spelling performance improved so much over the years that they had to introduce other metrics to eliminate kids. So in 2013 Scripps introduced a vocabulary round, and that increased the difficulty tremendously. Now you can spell right onstage all the way to the finals and you still might not make it because you don’t have a high enough vocab test score to advance to the next round.


They seem like they’re less brittle than their millennial equivalents, partly because of the techniques they have for emotional control.

There’s that, but they’ve also been taught to expect less. For example, almost none of the Bee parents had any expectations that things would go well for their child. They hoped. They were doing everything they could to make it happen. But there’s this overwhelming sense of precarity. Even with the brightest kids,

"The Battle of Winterfell makes perfect sense, as a game of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, played using the 4th edition rules"

From the lengthy thread:

Video game roundup

S.H.Figuarts Hawkeye (Endgame) exclusive figure available for preorder

Two heads etc.

Also new, the first in Sentinel's line of "high-end soft vinyl" figures is Venom.

Ten funny tweets

*More funny posts.

Y2K Aesthetic

Monday, April 29, 2019

"Indonesia is moving its capital city away from Jakarta"


Jakarta, home to over 10 million people, is sinking at one of the fastest rates in the world.


The idea of moving the capital has been floated several times since the country gained independence from the Dutch in 1945.

In 2016, a survey found that the mega-city had the world's worst traffic congestion. Government ministers have to be escorted by police convoys to get to meetings on time.

The planning minister says snarl-ups in Jakarta costs the economy 100 trillion rupiah ($6.8bn, £5.4bn) a year.
*Previously: "Jakarta's violent identity crisis: behind the vilification of Chinese-Indonesians"

Eye of Agamotto amulet, Fury's pager

The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections is a great short story

Available at Tor, by Tina Connolly.

God of War figure by Mondo available for preorder

Includes various weapons, Mimir's severed head, and bag of ash.

Endgame behind-the-scenes video with Nebula and Gamora stand-ins

*Previously: Skyfall stunt doubles.

Game of Thrones roundup

And Mormont:

Also, the deluxe Joffrey Baratheon figures by Threezero are available for preorder.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Ten funny tweets

*More funny posts.

I try to post articles only after researching them and determining they seem reliable and important. But...

The article has video.

"Did you know that the gauntlet of Thanos is so powerful because it is a replica of the relic of the hand of St. Teresa de Jesus?"

From a visit to the relic:
The nuns of the Nuestra Señora de la Merced in Ronda are keepers of a treasure; one of the most important holy relics in Spain, the hand of Saint Teresa of Avila. Stolen from the convent in 1937, Franco seized possession of the hand and slept with it beside his bedside until his death in 1975. It is now back in its rightful home, housed in a darkened, locked room, set inside a silver glove that’s covered in precious stones.

My friend had assured that if we were to arrive at 5pm, a sister would be waiting for us. I rang the bell and approached the rotating hatch as the sister welcomed us with a customary “Ave Maria”. I panicked and then remembered the response, “sin pecado reconcibido” (without preconceived sin). The hatch swivelled, revealing a key. “Please go through to the door on your right and wait.”
And another:
Antonio first ushered us into the foyer next to where the relic is contained. This convent is for a cloistered order of nuns. Antonio said that he was going to “talk to the wall ” but that what would be more surprising was that “the wall would speak back”.

This is exactly what happened.

Trying out an AI's preferred strategy in real life

"I Love This Game of Thrones Fan Theory About the Battle of Winterfell"


In this strange and sudden conversion, a post from Song of Ice and Fire blogger Steven Attewell served as my own road-to-Damascus moment. On Tuesday, a reader posed Attewell (who is also a professor at CUNY; I feel like I need to gas him up in thanks) a question: What did he think of the theory that the Winterfell crypts are actually a terrible place to put the North’s noncombatants, given that they’re full of corpses, which happen to be the raw material for the Night King’s army? His response was to suggest something I had never considered before:

I don’t think the Starks of ages past, so focused on the coming of winter, buried their dead with iron swords because they were stupid men.

In other words: The dead Starks in the crypts won’t rise up and turn against the living; they’ll rise up and protect them.

Wargaming miniatures roundup

*More miniatures.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

"When [the new head of Sun-Maid] came west, though, he was taken aback by the level of animosity he encountered in the U.S. raisin industry"


Three months into his tenure, which began on Halloween of 2017, Mr. Overly attended a meeting of some raisin industry players in the back room of a restaurant in Fresno, Calif. This introduction left him shaken. “I’m not saying this lightly, because — you can read about this in different spots — people kind of think there’s this raisin mafia out there and that kind of stuff,” Mr. Overly said.

He said that he asked the group how they thought they could work together. “And the answer I got back was nothing short of collusion,” he said. While no one was proposing they take action, the anti-competitive tactics discussed in that back room, he said, were “completely illegal.”

As he tried to make changes in the raisin industry and at his own company, Mr. Overly said he faced intimidation, harassing phone calls and multiple death threats. With his spouse in the last trimester of a pregnancy, Mr. Overly found a note shoved into a crack of his front door that warned: “you can’t run.”

Mr. Overly installed a security system at his house in Fresno. At Sun-Maid headquarters, he and other executives discussed the necessity of active shooter trainings. As rumors about Mr. Overly’s motives swirled among raisin farmers, raisin packers and raisin bureaucrats, he became increasingly concerned about the safety of the raisins themselves. He feared that the current crop, drying from grapes to a wrinkly, shrunken state in bins on the Sun-Maid campus, would be set ablaze. It was their destruction by “fire, specifically,” that worried him, he said.
PepsiCo has offered to settle its lawsuit against four Indian farmers who grew the patented potato variety used in its Lays chips without the company’s permission.


The company offered to drop the lawsuit if the farmers become part of its collaborative potato farming program. The farmers would have to buy seeds and sell the produce back to the company at predetermined prices.

“In case they do not wish to join this program, they can simply sign an agreement and grow other available varieties of potatoes.” PepsiCo said.

More Famicase 2019

*More Famicase.