Crowd-funding your kid’s birthday party
Yale concludes that this Computer Science thing may be not be a fad, after all
Prison sucks. It just does.
Race cars…without race car drivers (video)
Four stories that caught my eye. Maybe not entirely new’ish, but definitely read-worthy.
Because birthday parties for eleven year olds are expensive…
Parents Are Crowd-Funding Their Kids’ Birthday Parties
Depending on who you ask, it’s either the smartest way to throw a birthday party on a budget or it’s the worst possible representation of keeping up with the Joneses.
Either way, it’s a real thing: Parents are using crowd funding to pay for kids’ birthday parties.
One such fundraiser on GoFundMe reads: “My pumpkins 2nd birthday is coming around faster than i could ever imagine. I managed to throw an amazing 1st birthday for [name omitted] and would like to follow through with an amazing 2nd birthday for my blue eyed princess!!. . due to a series of unfourtunate [sic] events in our lives recently money is tight. . every dollar helps!! thank you in advance for any donations made <3″
“Crowd funding is in the air and on the news, so moms — along with everyone else — are more aware of the idea,” said Rebecca Michals, director of BabyCenter’s global community. BabyCenter‘s parenting experts spotted the trend of crowd-funding kids’ parties.
The number of birthday-related campaigns within the “Celebrations & Special Events” category on GoFundMe has “skyrocketed,” according to a site official. Since the company launch in 2010, nearly $1 million has been raised for birthday celebrations from more than 20,000 donors. There was a 330 percent increase in donation volume for birthday campaigns between 2013 and 2014.
“Social media has an influence,” said Michals. “Some moms see photos of their friends giving their children amazing birthdays and holidays and just want that for their own child. While it’s not a sure thing that donations will come rolling in, moms feel that it can’t hurt to try. There is also some sense of what goes around, comes around. … If you give to my child’s birthday party, I’ll give back to yours.”
The idea of crowd-funded birthday parties has it’s critics.
“It ridiculous,” said Lyss Stern, CEO and founder of Divamoms.com. “There is no reason to put yourself in debt or ask other people to pay for a birthday party.”
Children want to be surrounded with their friends and family, smiling and laughing on their birthday,” said Stern. “They don’t care if the party had all the bells and whistles. They will cherish the happy memories not the excessiveness.”
Is it me, or does this sort of suck all the fun out of motorsports?
Driverless Car Takes to the Racetrack
NBC News Stanford University researcher Chris Gerdes showcases Shelley, Stanford’s autonomous race car.
(Click da link. I spent 25 minutes of my life trying to figure out how to imbed/embed/put the video here, without success. I give up. You win, computer.) :
If you’re contemplating a prison stay, here are 8, um, suggestions:
Different nations take very different approaches to the convicts they deem the most dangerous. From Russia’s prison island to Saudi Arabia’s unexpectedly cushy cellblocks, here are some of the most notable.
1. San Pedro Prison, Bolivia
The prison’s only goal is to prevent escape. There are no guards inside the walls. Its 1,500 inmates must purchase or rent their cells, according to their means; they govern their own community, complete with markets for food, clothes and drugs. Wives and children often stay inside, and there are two nurseries within the prison.
2. Ezeiza Penitentiary Complex, Argentina
Despite underground movement-detection cables, remotely controlled doors and extensive video surveillance, 13 inmates managed to escape at once from the maximum-security facility in August 2013 through a tunnel. In all, roughly 100 inmates escaped from Argentine prisons in 2013, most likely aided by corrupt staff.
3. Pollsmoor Prison, South Africa
An elaborately structured prison gang called the Numbers Gang — and its subgangs, the 26s, 27s and 28s — plagues the overcrowded Pollsmoor. The Numbers have operated for decades throughout South African prisons, with baroque hierarchies and rituals; its power is so widespread that years of attempts to eradicate the gang have failed.
4. Al-Ha’ir Prison, Saudi Arabia
Though Saudi Arabia is routinely criticized for public floggings, executions and suspected use of torture, this high-security prison for inmates under terrorism charges is known for its high level of comfort. It offers welfare payments for families and a hotel for extended family visits — all intended to entice dissidents to recommit to society.
5. Tihar Jail, India
The largest prison complex in South Asia, Tihar encompasses nine high-security facilities with more than 11,000 inmates, despite an official capacity of 5,200. Nearly 25 percent are in for murder charges or convictions. Rehabilitation programs include art and music therapy, meditation and workshops for carpentry, baking and textiles.
6. Bang Kwang Prison, Thailand
Known as Big Tiger or the Bangkok Hilton, Bang Kwang holds death-row inmates and those with sentences longer than 25 years. Until 2013, it was common practice to weld metal shackles onto the legs of prisoners for years at a time; permanently for those condemned to death.
7. Petak Island Prison, Russia
Here, in total isolation on an island in Novozero Lake, 193 prisoners serve life sentences. Only two small wooden bridges connect the island to the mainland. Prisoners spend 22.5 hours a day in a small-group or single cell and the other 1.5 hours in an outdoor cage.
8. Qincheng Prison, China
This maximum-security prison holds many political prisoners who are accused of crimes against the state. According to several memoirs, prisoners are largely isolated from one another and identified only by number. More recently, it has become home to corrupt politicians, who are held in more luxurious conditions.
Yale caves, and concedes that maybe computer science is worth a look after all. Progress!
Yale Stepping Up Computer Science After Students Demand Better Tech Training
by John Lauerman
Students line up for commencement on campus of Yale University in New Haven, Conn. on May 20, 2013.
Photographer: Jessica Hill/AP Photo
(Bloomberg) — Yale University said it will expand its computer science department after years of student and faculty complaints that the Ivy League school had fallen behind rivals.
Yale will add seven professors over the next few years, bringing the size of the department to 26, the school said. Two anonymous donors will partly fund the new positions.
Colleges across the U.S. are competing to excel in the fast-growing and lucrative field and are eager to replicate the success of schools such as Stanford University, birthplace of search company Google Inc. Even the wealthiest colleges, such as Yale, with an endowment of $23.9 billion, are struggling to retool.
“Increasingly, the skills at the heart of computer science are the means by which we move ideas forward in today’s world,” Yale President Peter Salovey said in a statement. “We are acknowledging the vital importance of those skills.”
More than 1,000 Yale students and alumni signed a petition over the past month complaining its computer science “faculty shortage” is holding back teaching and research at the New Haven, Connecticut, school. The college’s computer-science faculty is about the same size as it was three decades ago, yet it has 181 undergraduate majors — about four times as many as in 2010, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.
This fall Yale will import Harvard’s most popular course, an introductory programming class called CS50 — a move the department called innovative while students have characterized it as humiliating.
The expansion “comes as a huge relief to a lot of CS students,” said Mohan Yin, a junior majoring in computer science who signed the petition. “It seemed like the program was kind of in dire straits until this announcement.”
Tamar Gendler, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences since July, said the expansion is among her top priorities.
“This is a great first step,” Joan Feigenbaum, who heads the school’s department and has been calling publicly for more faculty, said in an e-mail. “Yale’s CS department will still be small after this initial growth spurt, and it will be important to sustain growth.”
Computer science will also become part of Yale’s School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. Yale will build an underground concourse that will connect the computer science department with other engineering buildings.
Computer programing is among the fastest growing careers in the U.S. and students are demanding more and better computer science classes.
Last year, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Steve Ballmer gave his alma mater Harvard University a gift estimated at $60 million to increase the school’s computer science faculty to 36 from 24. Princeton University, which already has 30 professors in the discipline, has said it will also expand.