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Bizarre tale of boy who used internet to plot his own murder

The final internet chatroom exchange took place on 28 June last year. “U want me 2 take him 2 trafford centre and kill him in the middle of trafford centre??” said one message. “Yes,” came the reply. Less than 24 hours later, a 14-year-old boy was critically ill in hospital with stab wounds in the chest and stomach. At first it seemed as though a brutal, but straightforward, robbery had…

Openness, Publication and Scholarship

It’s exciting to see the topic generate such interest and activity – especially since that’s one of the premises on which the Disseminary is based. One of the topics involves the question of what the various conversants mean by “open,” which I’d summarize with the following list of opennesses: “open source” (Stephen Carlson’s emphasis): primary texts freely available online. “open access”: Scholarship should be available to the reading public apart…

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Naïve Teacher Believes In Her Students

“Teenagers need to be engaged as equals, not talked down to,” Niles said, scrubbing the words “Miss Niles is a kunt” from the surface of her desk. “A heavy-handed approach takes the joy out of learning. Some teachers give out detention, but I praise my students for the times they don’t skip class, rather than dwell on the days they do.” A recent graduate of the George Washington University education…

Good news! You can go home again

Yes, graduates, as much as you love your Mom and Dad, you’re realistic enough to understand, deep down inside, that they are the two most annoying human beings on the planet. And so the time will come — I give it six weeks — when you realize that you can no longer continue living with them. And so you will summon your courage, take a deep breath, and ask them…

HHGG Interview with Myself

“When Zaphod first comes out of the temple and is approached by well wishers, the banana alien on the mole-horse needs to replace the multi-headed groupie.” You just don’t get notes like this every day. –Kerry Kirkpatrick –HHGG Interview with Myself  (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [Official Blog])

If you want good information, ask around – a lot

“Under the right circumstances,” Surowiecki argues, “groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them.” For evidence, he cites how groups have been used to find lost submarines, correct the spread on a sporting event, locate a Web page, even predict the president of the United States. So why aren’t we using groups more? Well, for one, crowds have a pretty bad rep. –John Freeman…