ahmad's web highlights

To study ride-sharing scenarios, the researchers delved into a database compiled by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission that included information about each of the 172 million taxi rides in the city in 2011: where the passenger was picked up and dropped off, time of pickup and time of drop-off.Then, applying a computational technique known as shareability networks, they combined trips that were headed in the same direction at the same time without taking the passengers too far out of their way.They found that sharing would reduce the number of trips, and the number of taxis, by 40 percent and that passengers would still arrive in the same amount of time, give or take a few minutes.

If 2 New Yorkers Shared a Cab ... - NYTimes.com September 6, 2014

Now, why should you care? Well — (Laughter) — the question, "Why does the world exist?" that's the cosmic question, it sort of rhymes with a more intimate question: Why do I exist? Why do you exist? you know, our existence would seem to be amazingly improbable, because there's an enormous number of genetically possible humans, if you can compute it by looking at the number of the genes and the number of alleles and so forth, and a back-of-the-envelope calculation will tell you there are about 10 to the 10,000th possible humans, genetically. That's between a googol and a googolplex. And the number of the actual humans that have existed is 100 billion, maybe 50 billion, an infinitesimal fraction, so all of us, we've won this amazing cosmic lottery. We're here. Okay.

Jim Holt: Why does the universe exist? | Talk Video | TED.com September 6, 2014

In a paper published online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, the scientists, including Adam Skarke of Mississippi State University and Carolyn Ruppel of the United States Geological Survey, reported evidence that the seepage had been going on for at least 1,000 years.They said the depths of the seeps suggested that in most cases the gas did not reach the atmosphere but rather dissolved in the ocean, where it could affect the acidity of the water, at least locally.

Methane Is Discovered Seeping From Seafloor Off East Coast, Scientists Say - NYTimes.com September 5, 2014

Sometimes, if a friend or potential love interest is taking a while to respond, I will read the message and let my phone sit there for a few minutes. And to take it a step further, I’ll purposefully not open the text message if I really want them to think I’m de-prioritizing them, opting instead to read the message through the preview function on the lock screen or in the Notifications Center.

#Love: Crossing The Read Line | TechCrunch August 16, 2014

It was hard enough, as a distinguished business man, to be asked to model for a painting, but to have an apple thrown at his face at the last minute? That was totally over the line. The Son of Man by René Magritte in 1964. Magritte was a surrealist. Simple as that. His paintings were intended to elicit a “DA FUCK?” reaction, and usually nothing else. AS a surrealist, he messed with reality all the time and wasn’t so interested in the hidden meaning a painting could provide. What fascinated him more was the strange shit he could throw in, like an apple over a guy’s face or something.

Sarcastic Art History Students - It was hard enough, as a distinguished business... August 10, 2014

And she has a final warning for New Yorkers who live alone with cats: the urban legend is true. “Your faithful golden retriever might sit next to your dead body for days, starving, but the tabby won’t,” she writes. “Your pet cat will eat you right away, with no qualms at all. I’ve seen the result.”

The most insane deaths seen by an NYC medical examiner | New York Post August 4, 2014

Despite a meticulous 2¹/₂-hour exam, the lack of a toxicology report meant that Melinek couldn’t rule Booker’s death an overdose. She instead attributed it to “anoxic encephalopathy due to loss of consciousness of undetermined etiology,” which she says roughly translates to “F–k if I know!” More exotic cases soon followed. There was the hipster struck by lightning during a rooftop party in Chinatown, body intact but shoes blown clean off. “A good-looking guy,” Melinek later told her husband. “But his eyes had a stupid look in them.” “Everyone has a stupid look when they’re dead, don’t they?” her husband said. Melinek corrected herself. “He looked thunder-struck.”

The most insane deaths seen by an NYC medical examiner | New York Post August 4, 2014

In her memoir “Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner,” co-authored with her husband, T.J. Mitchell, Melinek chronicles her time at the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner — and it’s nothing like what you see on television. “I get a kick out of the female ME with bedroom eyes, stiletto heels and a lot of cleavage,” she writes. At murder scenes, “I wore sensible shoes and a windbreaker.” She also learned an old cop trick: If you’re recovering a body in an apartment building, ask every tenant to make coffee — it covers the smell. “Oldest trick in the book,” one officer told her.

The most insane deaths seen by an NYC medical examiner | New York Post August 4, 2014

the massive attack on Gaza and its obscene civilian death toll is now delivered to a global audience via a variety of media forms that far exceed the mainstream media. Contemporary forms of social media deliver images from Gaza and opinions on the invasion as it takes place.  Notwithstanding Netanyahu’s ghoulish assertion that Hamas was opportunistically using “telegenic” corpses to garner sympathy and political points (and one cannot help but ask back “Who created those corpses in the first place?”), we are in a new era wherein “history” is immediately disseminated and debated globally by local testimonials, amateur photojournalists and video reporters, as well as a large number of non-mainstream news agencies.  Younger people are open to these modes of narrative, curious to know more, and morally puzzled and deeply concerned, and they in turn become conveyers of opinion and witnessing

Millennials are over Israel: A new generation, outraged over Gaza, rejects Washington’s reflexive support - Salon.com August 3, 2014

Luis Moreno-Ocampo was the Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court who investigated allegations of war crimes during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He published an open letter containing his findings; in a section titled "Allegations concerning War Crimes", he elucidates this use of proportionality: Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable, does not in itself constitute a war crime. International humanitarian law and the Rome Statute permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against military objectives,[7] even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) (Article 8(2)(b)(i)) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality) (Article 8(2)(b)(iv)).

Proportionality (law) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia August 3, 2014

They also discovered that similar subjective feelings – whether evoked from the eye or tongue – resulted in a similar pattern of activity in the OFC, suggesting the brain contains an emotion code common across distinct experiences of pleasure (or displeasure), they say. Furthermore, these OFC activity patterns of positive and negative experiences were partly shared across people.“Despite how personal our feelings feel, the evidence suggests our brains use a standard code to speak the same emotional language,” Anderson concludes.

Study cracks brain's emotional code | Cornell Chronicle August 3, 2014

از منظر چپ‌های ایرانی مشکل اساسی دنیا و بشریت، نظام سرمایه‌داری است که امروز وجهی جهانی یافته است. در این نظام سرمایه‌داری جهانی، از نگاه چپ، یهودیان سهمی اساسی به خود اختصاص می‌دهند. آن‌ها هم سهمی قابل توجه از این سیستم دارند، هم از منافع آن برخوردارند و هم به نحو نهادینه از آن دفاع می‌کنند. در همین جاست که سر و کلهٔ نظریهٔ توطئه (اداره جهان توسط یهودیان) پیدا می‌شود. آن‌ها با این دسته از باورهای عمومی در میان اروپاییان ضد سامی که یهودیان قومی حریص در جمع‌آوری مال و زالوصفت هستند اشتراک نظر دارند گرچه این نظر را همیشه به صراحت بیان نمی‌کنند. عامه‌گرایی جریان چپ در ایران علی‌رغم مدعیات پیش‌گامی توده، بسیار عوام‌زده و عامه‌گرا بوده است. از نشانه‌های بارز آن عدم شجاعت دفاع از حقوق اقلیت‌های دینی و بالاخص یهودیان و بهاییان است.

چپ ایرانی و مشکل آن با یهودیان | BamdadKhabar | بامدادخبر August 2, 2014

According to the study done by the National Iranian American Council: The negative impact of sanctions to the U.S. economy has been staggering, between $134.7 and $175.3 billion, and continues to rise. The human cost has been even greater, with lost job opportunities reaching above 200,000 in some years. These are surprisingly high yet conservative estimates since neither secondary economic effects such as higher oil prices are captured by the model nor the reduction of Iranian imports as a consequence of sanctions hampering Iran’s GDP. The analysis, which includes 1995 to 2012, suggests there is a significant economic upside for the U.S. and Iran to reach an agreement on how to manage Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Iran Sanctions Cost The U.S. Billions: Study August 2, 2014 | Modified

In New York it’s not all about the subway. If you need a ride there are different options: The standard, popular yellow cab. An gypsy cab, which is an illegal, unlicensed taxi. A dollar cab, one of the illegal, unmarked taxis that used to go around Brooklyn at night, famous for letting as many people as possible on board, even in the trunk!

Jay Z – Empire State of Mind Lyrics | Genius August 2, 2014

These two terms are best used to discuss two separate but related aspects of the theatrical experience:  form (naturalistic) and content (realistic).   The late 19th-early 20 century changes in theatre were both thematic and stylistic.  Dramas began to deal with realistic, down-to-earth characters and dilemmas (A Doll’s House) as opposed to kings, heroes, mythic characters, etc. in larger-than-life scenarios.  On stage, the “teacup” school began to draw audiences—real props, furniture, sets, as opposed to painted backdrops and pantomimed physical objects.  Acting styles, too, became less bombastic and exaggerated, dealing instead with naturalistic emotional manifestations and gestures.  The theatrical experience became, then, in style and in mise-en-scene and in dramatic development, much more like “real-life” experiences, rather than exaggerated, “dramatic” performances of make-believe events.  The two terms, then, are not conflicting, but “realistic” refers to the stories and characters, while “naturalistic” refers to the imitation of the action, the acting and setting of the drama.  When speaking of the literature, “realism” is the proper term, applicable to both the language and the characterization.  When speaking of the theatrical performance, “naturalism” is the term applied to the believable, psychologically sound performance style and set design.

Compare and contrast realist and naturalistic theatrical styles.  - Homework Help - eNotes.com July 26, 2014

The selective breeding carried out by breeders has allowed the development of a wide variety of coat colors, but has also led to the creation of increasingly flat-faced Persians. Favored by fanciers, this head structure can bring with it a number of health problems. As is the case with the Siamese breed, there have been efforts by some breeders to preserve the older type of cat, the traditional breed, having a more pronounced muzzle, which is more popular with the general public. Hereditary polycystic kidney disease is prevalent in the breed, affecting almost half the population in some countries. The placid and unpretentious nature of the Persian confers a propensity for apartment living. It has been the most popular breed in the United States for many years but its popularity has seen a decline in Britain and France.

Persian cat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia July 26, 2014

As someone who made a few million, my experience is money just removes a certain set of problems.  Life will happily provide further problems to fill the void.

For example, I don't worry about how much I spend on meals.  I can take vacations whenever and wherever I want.  If something breaks in my house, I can call someone to fix it.

But, I still have the constraints of my physical body.  Being rich doesn't do much for health.

I still want to make friends and socialize like everyone else.  Being rich doesn't help much in that it doesn't attract the right kind of attention.

I still need to find meaning and fulfillment in life.  Being rich is something of a double edged sword on this front.  On one hand, it gives me the freedom to explore these questions.  But it also removes constraints and urgency, so it's easy to endlessly navel gaze about these ultimately unanswerable questions, rather than have circumstances pressure me into action.

(262) What does it feel like to be financially rich? - Quora July 26, 2014

ميزی برای کار
کاری برای تخت
تختی برای خواب
خوابی برای جان
جانی برای مرگ
مرگی برای ياد
يادی برای سنگ

اين بود زندگی؟”

Quote by حسين پناهی: “ميزی برای کار کاری برای تخت تختی برای خواب خ...” July 26, 2014

Known to few, the fruit of the nopales cactus (cacti with beaver tail-like paddles), are actually quite edible. Called prickly pears, these neon fruit provide delicious juice that tastes like a cross between all-natural bubblegum (if indeed there is such a thing) and watermelon. Prickly pear juice is often used to make jam or candy, but works wonders in cocktails and used in vinaigrettes for salads. I’ve used the juice to flavor cream cheese frosting for a lime flavored cupcake, and have seen others boil it down with a bit of orange and lemon juice to make a sauce for fruit salads and cheesecakes. Many Mexican markets, farmers markets, and some natural food supermarkets carry prickly pears, but you can find these plants growing in California, the Southwest, Mexico, and the Mediterranean. Be warned though, while the ones in markets have been cleaned of the tiny hair-like thorns, the ones fresh off the cactus are covered with them, so be sure to handle them with heavy leather work gloves and scrub them hard to ensure all the painful little barbs are off.

How to Cut and Prepare Prickly Pears | Simply Recipes July 26, 2014

The Anna Karenina principle describes an endeavor in which a deficiency in any one of a number of factors dooms it to failure. Consequently, a successful endeavor (subject to this principle) is one where every possible deficiency has been avoided. The name of the principle derives from Leo Tolstoy's book Anna Karenina, which begins: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. In statistics, the term Anna Karenina principle is used to describe significance tests: there are any number of ways in which a dataset may violate the null hypothesis and only one in which all the assumptions are satisfied.

Anna Karenina principle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia July 26, 2014

Finally, reclassification of broadband Internet access would fail to achieve the result its proponents seek. A central claim of those advocating the Title II approach is that alternative approaches (such as reliance on Section 706) would permit some disparate treatment of Internet traffic flows, whereas reclassification would not. That is wrong, and ignores the long history of common carrier services in which differential pricing and differential treatment of traffic has been expressly permitted. Section 202(a) of the Act –Title II’s principal anti-discrimination provision –prohibits only “unjust or unreasonable discriminationin charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.”13Likewise, the Act expressly permits different pricing for different classes of customers, and expressly allows two-sided pricing, such as the pricing model that has existed for telephone services for decades where both customers and long distance providers contribute to the cost of providing local telephone service.

Karen Zacharia - Verizon_-Net_Neutrality_Ex_Parte_--_May_14__2014_(final).pdf July 23, 2014

Another handicap, even for gifted students, is that-unlike, say, Joyce's or Pound's-the exformative associations Kafka's work creates are not intertextual or even historical. Kafka's evocations are, rather, unconscious and almost sub-archetypal, the little-kid stuff from which myths derive; this is why we tend to call even his weirdest stories nightmarish rather than surreal. Not to mention that the particular sort of funniness Kafka deploys is deeply alien to kids whose neural resonances are American. The fact is that Kafka's humor has almost none of the particular forms and codes of contemporary U.S. amusement. There's no recursive wordplay or verbal stunt-pilotrv, little in the way of wisecracks or mordant lampoon. There is no body-function humor in Kafka, nor sexual entendre, nor stylized attempts to rebel by offending convention. No Pynchonian slapstick with banana peels or rapacious adenoids. No Rothish satyriasis or Barthish meta parody or arch Woody-Allen ish kvetching. There are none of the ba-bing ba-bang reversals of modern sitcoms; nor are there precocious children or profane grandparents or cynically insurgent coworkers. Perhaps most alien of all, Kafka's authority figures are never just hollow buffoons to be ridiculed, but are always absurd and scary and sad all at once, like "In the Penal Colony's Lieutenant.

HarpersMagazine-1998-07-0059612.pdf July 23, 2014 | Modified

Take the canonical hedonistic pleasure: lust. From Hollywood to college campuses, many assume that sex is always great, and sexual variety is even better.This assumption actually has a name: the “Coolidge Effect,” named after the 30th president of the United States. The story (probably apocryphal) begins with Silent Cal and Mrs. Coolidge touring a poultry farm. The first lady noticed that there were very few roosters, and asked how so many eggs could be fertilized. The farmer told her that the virile roosters did their jobs over and over again each day. “Perhaps you could point that out to Mr. Coolidge,” she told him. The president, hearing the remark, asked whether the rooster serviced the same hen each time. No, the farmer told him — there were many hens for each rooster. “Perhaps you could point that out to Mrs. Coolidge,” said the president.

Love People, Not Pleasure - NYTimes.com July 21, 2014

Seldom has there been a film where the critic's opinions and its true quality diverge so seriously. "Boyhood" is empty because it lacks form. It celebrates the ordinary and mediocrity instead of aiming at something extraordinary. As a result, it embraces nothingness and is in that sense deeply nihilistic and even depressing. Anybody with the same camera and some actors could have made this movie or (more likely) a better one.

Those who praise the film always point out the same thing (the only thing they can say) which is: This film is like "real life". I have to say: This is true. But I may ask: Is that a good thing? Is this, if film history or art history in general has taught us anything, what films should be? "Real life", according to Linklater, means a lifespan during which nothing happens. The Boyhood-experience is the equivalent of your experience waiting in line at the supermarket. Yes, this is the "real life" Linklater presents us. NOTHING HAPPENS in this movie! Nothing, no story, no characters, just ordinary situations from "real life". Of course, there are films in which nothing or very little happens and they can be great (like Tarkovsky's "Mirror"), but you need ideas, you need a style or form (which cannot be separated from the content), you need a capable director that can create a form of visual communication. Boyhood offers none of those things.

Boyhood Reviews & Ratings - IMDb July 21, 2014

Filmed for a few days every year over 12 years, “Boyhood” breaks open a brand new genre: a fictional drama contoured and shaped by reality; a lightly scripted ensemble piece executed by both professional and non-professional actors; an experiment in time, narrative and cinematic practice that utterly transforms the boundaries of what film can look like and feel like and achieve. Perhaps the most amazing thing about “Boyhood” is that it draws no attention to its own lofty ambitions. Working in his signature style of observational understatement, Linklater simply allows viewers to eavesdrop and watch, unnoticed, as Mason and his family go about their daily business. But within that simple premise, Linklater discovers multiple emotions and meanings, the film equivalent of a world in a drop of water.

‘Boyhood’ movie review: Richard Linklater’s audacious, epic cinematic journey - The Washington Post July 20, 2014

The upside for the candidates is that, apart from the high salaries and epicurean perks, they get co-workers who are fun to interact with. The resulting environment appears to be a happy one: 84 percent of the Google workforce has a high level of job satisfaction, one of the highest percentages in the Fortune 500. The low median tenure, however, is not just a statistical quirk. Technology companies that hire the smartest young people around all but guarantee themselves a high churn rate. A lack of employer loyalty is a defining feature of Generation Y. No matter how satisfied these highly marketable young minds may be, no matter how much they enjoy the free meals and hybrid car subsidies, they will jump ship as soon as they get bored or get a better offer elsewhere."It is a hot job market," says Bardaro.

Why Are Google Employees So Disloyal? - Bloomberg View July 20, 2014

(1) The mythical creature created by Strong Bad in response to an e-mail asking him if he knew how to draw dragons.

Reputed to have once been a man, then a dragon-man, and now primarily a dragon, Trogdor is composed of an S-shaped body, teeth and scales made of "consummate V's", a muscular arm extending from the back of his neck, small wings, and two stick legs.

Reputedly a vicious being who routinely lays waste to the countryside and the peasants who inhabit it, he is also known by his full name, "Trogdor the Burninator".

(2) Any foolish and absurd individual who is highly destructive and hot-tempered.

(3) Someone who wants to be taken seriously, but comes across as ludicrous and irritating.

Urban Dictionary: Trogdor July 9, 2014

But Mazzella does have some pretty good ideas on why that dichotomy could be, now that it has been looking closely at the U.S. market. First off, the cost of ownership of cars and driving is just a whole lot higher in Europe than the U.S. Cars are more expensive to buy, gas is more expensive to use, and tolls and congestion charges make driving more expensive in Europe in general. That higher cost in Europe means that bringing in passengers to reduce the costs of driving is more attractive. Then there’s the structural issues. U.S. cities tend to be a lot more spread out, so regular driving trips that many riders are looking to join can be more varied. Public transportation is also less sophisticated and prevalent in the U.S., and Mazzella said that a lot of its riders and drivers tend to use public transportation hot spots as meeting points. Finally, Mazzella said that in the U.S. there also seems to be less trust as far as driving with strangers than there is in Europe.

Why ride sharing is booming in Europe, but not the US — Tech News and Analysis July 8, 2014

To generalize a bit, some of the value a shooter provides comes from taking more and better shots (e.g. taking them closer to the goal, at a better angle, amid fewer defenders, etc.), and some of it comes from putting in those shots more often. For example, Messi’s typical regular (non-set piece) shot comes from 14.9 yards out, while Ronaldo’s average shot comes from 20.1 yards out. ESPN/TruMedia has a model for estimating the chances of a player making each shot he takes based on type and location (this metric is known as expected goals). The difference between a player’s actual goals and his expected goals is called “goals above average” (or GAA). Because Messi takes shots that are more likely to go in, his average attempt has an expectation of .182 goals, while the average Ronaldo shot has an expectation of .124 goals — so we would expect Messi’s shooting to be more efficient based on that alone. However, Messi has also exceeded that expectation by a greater amount than Ronaldo has. Messi scored .220 goals per shot attempt for .038 GAA per goal. Ronaldo scored .139 goals per attempt, so he had .015 GAA per goal.

Lionel Messi Is Impossible | FiveThirtyEight July 8, 2014

If you've danced to an Afrobeat-heavy pop song, dipped hummus, sipped coconut water, participated in a Desi-inspired color run or sported a henna tattoo, then you've Columbused something. Columbusing is when you "discover" something that's existed forever. Just that it's existed outside your own culture, nationality, race or even, say, your neighborhood. Bonus points if you tell all your friends about it.

'Columbusing': The Art Of Discovering Something That Is Not New : Code Switch : NPR July 8, 2014