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Chris Jones
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Chris Jones

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Okay, so technically it isn't the punny May the 4th today. That's tomorrow. But since some of us are big Star Wars fans over here in the newsroom, we decided to get a head start on the celebrations...
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Chris Jones

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Douthat on public sector unions:

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In an irony typical of politics, then, the right’s intellectual critique of public-sector unions is illustrated by the ease with which police unions have bridled and ridden actual right-wing politicians. Which in turn has left those unions in a politically enviable position, insulated from any real pressure to reform.

Yet reform is what they need. There are many similarities between police officers and teachers: Both belong to professions filled with heroic and dedicated public servants, and both enjoy deep reservoirs of public sympathy as a result. But in both professions, unions have consistently exploited that sympathy to protect failed policies and incompetent personnel.

With this important difference, however: Even with the worst teacher, the effects are diffused across many years and many kids, and it’s hard for just one teacher to do that much damage to any given student. A bad cop, on the other hand, can leave his victim dead or permanently damaged, and under the right circumstances one cop’s bad call — or a group of cops’ habitual thuggishness — can be the spark that leaves a city like Baltimore in flames.
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Criticism of public sector unions has not always extended to the police, a group conservatives are often loath to criticize.
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"""
The most challenging aspect of the recipe parsing problem is the task of predicting ingredient components from the ingredient phrases. Recipes display ingredients like “1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice,” but the database stores ingredients broken down by name (“lemon juice”), quantity (“1″) , unit (“tablespoon”) and comment (“fresh”). There is no regular expression clever enough to identify these labels from the ingredient phrases.
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Erica Greene describes the tool that she built to extract structured data from recipes.
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"""
Anomaly detection in software is, and always will be, an unsolved problem. Your company will not solve it. Your software will not solve it. Our people will improvise around it and adapt their work to cope with the fact that we will not always know what and how something is wrong at the exact time we need to know.
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I’d like to open up a dialogue with companies who are selling X-As-A-Service products that are focused on assisting operations and development teams in tracking the health and performance of their software systems. [well]Note: It's likely that my suggestions below are understood and embraced by many companies already. I know a number of them who…
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Moonrise Through Mauna Kea's Shadow
Image Credit & Copyright: Michael Connelley (U. Hawaii)
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150503.html

How can the Moon rise through a mountain? It cannot -- what was photographed here is a moonrise through the shadow of a large volcano. The volcano is Mauna Kea, Hawai'i, USA, a frequent spot for spectacular photographs since it is arguably the premier observing location on planet Earth. The Sun has just set in the opposite direction, behind the camera. Additionally, the Moon has just passed full phase -- were it precisely at full phase it would rise, possibly eclipsed, at the very peak of the shadow. The Moon is actually rising in the triangular shadow cone of the volcano, a corridor of darkness that tapers off in the distance like converging train tracks. The Moon is too large and too far away to be affected by the shadow of the volcano. Refraction of moonlight through the Earth's atmosphere makes the Moon appear slightly oval. Cinder cones from old volcanic eruptions are visible in the foreground.
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One of the interesting things about the Starbucks/ASU program is its emphasis on improving customer service --- at the university.

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We assume that people drop out of college because of the cost. But that’s only part of the explanation. Listen closely to former students, and you’ll hear them tell stories about bureaucracies losing their paperwork, classes running out of spots, nonsensical tuition bills, and transcript offices that don’t take credit cards. The customer service is atrocious.

Simply put, many Americans fail to finish college, because many colleges are not designed to be finished. They are designed to enroll students, yes. They are built to garner research funds and accrue status through rankings and the scholarly articles published by faculty. But those things have little to do with making sure students leave prepared to thrive in the modern economy.
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Starbucks and Arizona State University are collaborating to help cafe workers get college degrees. Is this a model for helping more Americans reach the middle class?

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Chris Jones

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Ingenuity created an Eden, and ingenuity will save it, despite those who imagine the parched state is doomed.
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Even as harsh sentences are reconsidered, the financial — and human — tolls mount
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To his colleagues at the Environmental Protection Agency, John Beale was always a man of great import. Beginning in the early 1990s, he enjoyed one policymaking triumph after another, eventually establishing himself as a towering figure within the agency. He...
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About Public Key Pinning. 1 May 2015 3:21 UTC. At long last, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has published RFC 7469, Public Key Pinning Extension for HTTP (HPKP). Thanks to my colleagues Ryan Sleevi, Adam Langley, and Chris Evans for coming up with the idea; and thanks to Ryan and ...
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The U.S. is being overrun by a wave of anti-science, anti-intellectual thinking. Has the most powerful nation on Earth lost its mind?
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Anti-intellectualism has been a feature of the United States since at least the time of Andrew Jackson, and probably before that.  It's annoying, to be sure, but it's probably also valuable, in the sense of "I didn't know it was impossible when I did it."
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This public information poster is from the "Don't" campaign, which started in 1973. The council became increasingly concerned that citizens were too actively involved in 'doing.' Because 'doing' is a morally and politically a...
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Wei wu Wei.
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Have them in circles
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Probably not the person you're looking for.

Boring disclaimer: to the extent that any content and opinions here agree with any organization or person's opinions (including my very own opinions!), it's probably coincidence.