In case you were wondering, you can apparently order 72,000 ladybugs off the internet:
Several students at a St. Mary's County high school have been charged with burglary after a senior prank where they allegedly released tens of thousands of ladybugs across their school.
Senior pranks are in a weird space: viewed often with admiration, albeit with a sort of "tsk-tsk" wave of the finger. But they can also lead to serious criminal charges, as in this case.
During my time in high school, a neighboring school's seniors released into the school tens of thousands of crickets (bought from a bait shop slowly over the course of months and stored in someone's crawl space). Years later, you could be walking around that school and still see a random cricket hanging out beneath the lockers. And people definitely recount the cricket prank in a positive way, despite all the hassle and clean-up it required.
At my own school, there was a possibly apocryphal tale of students who years ago released three pigs into the school, with the pigs labeled #1, #2, and #4. That prank is definitely thought highly of, because hardy-har they spent an extra hour (or whatever) trying to find #3!
Anyway, in this Maryland case, my first thought was, were they actually ladybugs or Asian lady beetles, which are non-native to the region and annoying in a stinkbug sort of way.
100% chance of heavy thunderstorms today. I have zero concern for our own personal lot, despite the dramatic photos, but I have a sick feeling in my stomach about the town, and the poor part of town around the Blanco river. (Not necessarily because of fears of more flooding from today's rain, just the scale of the destruction from the weekend.)
Two parents agreed to get their son circumsized, in a legal document filed in court. Then the mom changed her mind. Then (it sounds like) the mom became the poster child for Intact America, and it became a four-year legal battle, culminating in the mother spending a week in jail for contempt of court.
In a remarkable turnaround after a week behind bars for contempt and an initial hearing in which she was ordered to remain jailed, court reconvened and a sobbing Heather Hironimus signed paperwork giving approval for the 4-year-old boy's surgery.
Zow. As long as everyone is thinking about the kid.
Anyone following the LaCour academic fraud story? Kieran Healy has a summary here, and the accusing pdf is here. I read the first third or so and thought it seemed like a very damning case, and was just waiting for LaCour to slink away/get fired/die, especially since the accusing paper includes a bit abour LaCour confessing something to his co-author Green. But that's not what's happening.
I will supply a definitive response on or before May 29, 2015. I appreciate your patience, as I gather evidence and relevant information, since I only became aware of the allegations about my work on the evening of May 19, 2015, when the not peer-reviewed comments in "Irregularities in LaCour (2014)," were posted publicly online.
I must note, however, that despite what many have printed, Science has not published a retraction of my article with Professor Green. Science Editor McNutt was provided information as to why I stand by the findings in LaCour & Green (2014). I've requested that if Science editor McNutt publishes Professor's Green's retraction request, she publish my statement with it.
Someone is going to come out of this looking worse than we expected.
People in California are installing fake grass lawns made of plastic.
Today's fake grass, they say, is nothing like the preternaturally green stuff that used to carpet the local miniature golf course.
The venerable Hollywood Bowl, one of the nation's most iconic amphitheaters, recently made the switch. Mark Ladd, the venue's assistant director of operations, notes that the fake greenery looks authentic: The height and color of the blades are varied, with a few brown ones thrown in to emulate dead thatch.
"Nobody has a truly perfect lawn," Ladd said. "The old stuff would look really kitschy."
On the one hand, hey, it's better than water-guzzling real grass.
On the other hand, you have got to be fucking kidding me.
I saw a guy the other day wearing a not-vintage, vintage-style Reagan Bush '84 t-shirt. What an ass. It must be nice to be so simple-minded.
This is too horrifying not to share. I'm sorry.
A woman was found in a Maryland park on Friday morning, pushing her dead three-year-old son on a swing ... The sheriff's office said that a resident called authorities at 6:55 a.m. to say that a woman had been pushing a child on a swing in Wills Memorial Park in La Plata for a very long time, possibly since the previous day ... the child and his mother had been seen by witnesses at the park the day before, but it was unclear if the child was alive then.
I went on a kindergarten field trip yesterday, up to the Children's Museum in Austin. It was fine. Growing up, our default field trip was to the coquina fort in St. Augustine, or sometimes to Marjorie Kinnan Rawling's house, once to Washington DC for a week, once to the movies*, and once to Epcot in high school. There must have been other trips, but they did not leave much of an impression on me.
*"Big", on my birthday, 6th grade for good behavior. I was permitted to take a can of soda from home as a treat. I put it in a purse, which I spun on my finger for hours until the movie started. When I opened the soda, the entire thing exploded all over me. My sense of embarrassment outweighed my desire to clean up, so I sort of pushed the coke suds onto the floor from my lap and sat still.
Nick S writes: People writing about the LA minimum wage increase seem to agree that (a) we don't know exactly what the effects will be, (2) that it will be interesting to find out and (c) that it's possible that $15 is too high (but also possible that the phase-in time will mean that inflation will reduce the value of that $15 number).
It made me curious if there was any clear sense, yet, of how the Seattle minimum wage increase was going. It's still early, but I found this article interesting. It looks specifically at restaurants, which makes sense because that's one of the types of businesses which will be most affected (low margin, high labor costs).
I was most intrigued by this bit:
Ivar's, the Seattle-based seafood chain, has responded to that dilemma by experimenting with doing away with tipping entirely. Since April, the menus at Ivar's Salmon House, the company's sit-down restaurant on Lake Union, include a note saying that tipping is no longer expected.
The restaurant has also raised menu prices 21 percent. A fifth of that increase will allow the company to immediately raise the starting wage at the restaurant to $15 an hour, three years ahead of schedule. The other 17 percent, which Ivar's president Bob Donegan said is the equivalent of the average tip at the restaurant, will be shared by all employees, in both the front and back of the house.
That seems like a great idea (but I was convinced by an article that Witt linked to a while back that getting rid of tipping is already a good idea).
Heebie's take: Has there been any country or city that has ever set the minimum wage at a level where clear-headed people have, in hindsight, agreed that it was too high and the negative consequences outweighed the positive?