Category: Links



Holy crap. A story about a statistical anomaly is represented accurately by a news outlet: USA Today reports on a highly-irregular erasure rate on standardized tests in some D.C. public schools. Usually news articles, in the interest of “balance,” try to represent two points of view as equally likely, thus putting the crackpot on par with the scientist. (”Is the world really round? Some critics say no.”) It’s refreshing, then, to see a story that acknowledges the existence of p-values and uses them to illustrate just how unlikely D.C. Public Schools’ explanation is. Then — as if that weren’t enough —¬†they release a heap of primary sources used to write the story. I’m in heaven. I might have to start treating USA Today as more than just a doormat for hotel lodgers.



Busy at JSConf EU, but it bears mentioning that 2.0 is now in beta. The main new feature put a few gray hairs on my head: it will “optimize” certain animations to be GPU-accelerated in capable browsers, including MobileSafari on iPhone and iPad. Here’s a demo that explains it in greater detail.



Feast on slides: How Custom Events Will Save the Universe, a talk I gave yesterday at TXJS. (Travel can be fun, but you can’t beat conferences held where you live.)



An excellent illustration of how the procedural complexities of Congress make it hard for non-wonks to understand what the hell is going on. Even if government were 100% transparent, we’d still need people familiar with parliamentary procedure to “translate” for us.



Helvetica looks great in many contexts. This is not one of them.



A stream-of-consciousness browsing session brought me to this writeup on how the Source engine deals with lag. Also serves as a parable for web developers — don’t rely on the client to validate input, for the same reason that a game server can’t trust a participant to tell it if that bullet hit anything. See also Ninjam, a clever latency workaround for online jam sessions. And consider that even without the inherent delays of Internet traffic, the speed of light would be a constraint on distant collaboration.



How good was Drew Brees on Monday night? Cold Hard Football Facts says he was nothing short of obscenely fantastic. Five touchdown passes (against a Belichick-coached team), a perfect passer rating, and 16.13 yards per passing attempt — accomplishments that range from rare to extremely rare to unprecedented.



The Louisiana Superdome is, I’m convinced, the most intimidating place to play in the NFL. The Times-Picayune measured crowd noise at key moments in last night’s game; after a critical defensive stop, it peaked at 119 decibels —¬†about as loud as it can get without being quite dangerous for one’s hearing. For comparison, I googled around and found a reference to a 108-decibel peak at one game at the RCA Dome (the former home of the Colts). Domes have fallen out of favor, on the whole, but there’s no beating them when you want to make the road team feel unwelcome.



Thomas Fuchs just pushed out the alpha 5 release of scripty2. This is the first release to include the small handful of UI controls I’ve been writing. The controls are designed to be compatible with jQuery UI’s Theme API — meaning that, for instance, a theme built with ThemeRoller could be dropped into a site using scripty2, and vice-versa. More to come!



The Senate Finance Committee’s version of the health care bill is out, but only as a 223-page PDF. OpenCongress has translated it to HTML, but David Moore rightly complains that the whole damn process is too convoluted. Because it hasn’t yet been introduced, it’s not available in THOMAS, and even if it were, we’d need the kind souls at OpenCongress and GovTrack to convert it into a usable format. (Even worse: the way we write legislation is stupid. Why do we need three different versions of the bill if they’re all going to be reconciled in conference committee anyway?)

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