Daily Archives: March 18, 2014

The only app you’ll ever need

run-awayNew app warns you when people you know are nearby.

Instagram, Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter have meant that we often have a pretty good idea where our friends are.

A new app uses that data to create an ‘antisocial network ‘ letting users easily avoid people they are less keen to meet.

The Cloak app can warn when acquaintances are nearby – and even alert you if they venture perilously close.

It allows users to specify the contacts they really don’t want to run into.

The app then ‘scrapes’ Instagram and Foursquare to find out where they are – and alerts you if the come close.

‘Cloak lets you know where all your friends, ‘friends,’ and nonfriends are at all times so you never have to run into that special someone,’ the firm said.

‘Think of it as the antisocial network.’

Gotta get it.


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Smart Diplomacy™


Entering Sudentenland

Entering Sudentenland

Putin annexes Crimea.

MOSCOW—President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday moved to annex the breakaway Ukrainian region of Crimea but sought to reassure Ukraine by saying Russia has no further designs on its neighbor’s territory.

In an otherwise defiant speech to parliament and top officials, Mr. Putin dismissedsanctions and threats of other consequences from Europe and the U.S., saying the West had “crossed the line” by fomenting what he called a putsch in Kiev earlier this year.

Mr. Putin signed treaties formally annexing Crimea and the port city of Sevastopol, which has long had a separate administrative status.

Even if he stops there, Mr. Putin’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula would be the first such move in Europe since the end of World War II, upending long-held assumptions about security on the continent and potentially condemning Russia to a period of prolonged isolation.

Mr. Putin’s public statements during the crisis haven’t always aligned with Russian actions. Only two weeks ago, he said Moscow had no plans to annex Crimea.


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Heartbreak in the Big Apple


OkCupid Scam Patrol investigates

OkCupid Scam Patrol investigates

Man sues OKCupid for letting him meet a swindling lover.

A self-proclaimed online dating rube from Queens slapped OkCupid with a lawsuit after a man he met on the singles site swindled him out of over $70,000.

Hopeless romantic Michael Z. Picciano blames OkCupid and its parent company, IAC, for failing to conduct “even minimal screening of its subscribers and therefore deceptively creating the impression that their dating service was safe … when in fact … [it] was a trap for the unwary,” he says in his Manhattan civil suit.

Picciano, 65, first received a message from “genuineguy62″ on Feb. 11, 2013.

The Little Neck man says he “felt safe” and “trusted” his online match, purportedly a man named Bruce [ why not “Bruce Lance”? – ed] Thompson, simply because he had a profile on OkCupid, which bills itself as “the best free dating site.”

By March the two had spoken on the phone, over Skype and through their personal email accounts.

He even agreed to Thompon’s suggestion to delete their online accounts since “they had found each other,” according to court papers.

Picciano says he “felt comfortable” with his new beau and readily agreed to wire Thompson $24,000 “for unexpected fees he incurred in his dealings setting up a new computer parts business” — even though the instructions required him to send the money to a “Dennis E. Racer” in Addison, Texas, and an “Edmond Thebeau” in Canada.

Then in April, Picciano, perhaps blinded by his newfound love, sent yet another payment of $46,420 at Thompson’s request to “MacBenson and Associates” in the UK through his Capital One bank account, the suit says.


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The Omega Three of educational snake oil


But I get to hire thirty new administrators to implement it

But I get to hire thirty new administrators to implement it

Brookings Institute study: Common Core claims are bogus.

Bad news for supporters of national education curriculum: States with education standards most closely aligned to Common Core fared worse on math tests than states with their own standards, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by the Brookings Institution, compared standardized test scores for all 50 states over the last five years. It found that states using education standards that are most dissimilar to Common Core tended to score the highest on math.

Though the difference is small, it nevertheless undermines the claims of Common Core’s high profile backers, which include President Obama’s Department of Education, several moderate Republican governors, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Supporters of Common Core argue that strong, effective standards will sweep away such skepticism by producing lasting, significant gains in student learning” wrote the study’s authors. “So far at least–and it is admittedly the early innings of a long ball game–there are no signs of such an impressive accomplishment.”

States that followed a hybrid approach to standards — utilizing some aspects of the Common Core and some aspects of their own standards — fared worse than both full-Common Core states and non-Common Core states.


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Boy, is he strict!

The Taco Bell put down

The Taco Bell put down

Mr. Manners strikes, at Taco Bell.

A Taco Bell patron grabbed a fellow diner around the throat and struck him with a chair after accusing the victim of not excusing himself after he burped inside the South Carolina eatery.

Isaiah Morris, 20, told cops that he and a friend were “sitting in a booth eating” Sunday afternoon when an unknown white male asked if he “had just belched and not said excuse me,” according to a Tega Cay Police Department report.

When Morris asked the man what he had said, the attacker picked up a chair and struck Morris in the elbow. Morris said that the man then grabbed him by the throat and tried to head-butt him. At that point, Cara Martin, a 17-year-old Taco Bell worker, interceded and ordered the man to leave the restaurant.

My father used to tell us to take our elbows off the table without saying “please”, and that bit of childhood trauma kept me on a therapist’s couch for years. Poor Isaiah Morris.


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And two more contracts


27 Thornhill

27 Thornhill

27 Thornhill, between Riverside Land and Sheephill in NoPo, came on the market January 27 at $1.379 million, reports a contingent contract today. Sold for $1.230 in 2007 and so far as I can tell, nothing significant was done to it since.


25 Rustic View

25 Rustic View

25 Rustic View, off Stanwich, took longer to sell because it started out last year at $1.825. It dropped to $1.585 in January and now has a contract. I like Rustic Vew, despite its sub development name. Nice street.

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Contracts and a sale

464 Cognewaugh Rd

464 Cognewaugh Rd

464 Cognewaugh, perhaps the only contemporary in Greenwich with a red plastic hot tub, has been asking $1.349 million recently and now reports a contract. Started at $1.625 two years ago but despite its nice design, separate guest cottage and that hot tub, it took a while to find its new owner.

25 Windabout

25 Windabout

25 Windabout Drive, which only yesterday appeared as a new listing at $3.495, already has a contract. Sometimes these quick deals happen when private negotiations fall through and the seller lists the property to pressure the buyer. I have no idea whether that’s what happened here, but a buyer certainly stepped up quickly.

189 Old Mill Road

189 Old Mill Road

And 189 Old Mill Road, asking $995,000, has sold for $900,000. It’s on just a half-acre in the 4-acre zone, but hey, how much land to you want to take care of, anyway?


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Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum.

"Weill Cottage" 440 Round Hill Rd, Greenwich, CT

“Weill Cottage”
440 Round Hill Rd, Greenwich, CT

Historical Society hosts exhibit on Greenwich’s “Great Estates”.

“Enjoying the Country Life: Greenwich’s Great Estates” covers five decades, from about 1880 to 1930 — “a period marked by unbridled spending by America’s elite to build estates of staggering proportions.”

Of the nine estates mentioned in the exhibition, slated for April 9 through Aug. 31, none stands in its original form: seven have been demolished and one, Indian Harbor, was significantly altered and reduced in size in 1938. Another, Rocklyn, built in 1895, was damaged by fire and reconstructed around 1927.

I wonder how many of the maxi-pads erected in Greenwich during the past twenty years will still be standing in 2030?


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Maybe Sean Penn and Joe Kennedy can help assemble CARE packages to help out

Viva Chavez!

Viva Chavez!

Venezuela runs out of flour, cooking oil and toilet paper. NPR expresses puzzlement over why this is so: could be nefarious, scheming businessmen, could be the result of central planning and price controls, who knows? but doesn’t disturb its listeners with even an idle thought about why shortages like these occur only in centralized, socialist/ communist countries. Just bad luck, I suppose.


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Sale price reported on Ginkgo Lane


7 Ginkgo Lane

7 Ginkgo Lane

No. 7, asked for $1.850, got $1.685. The house didn’t work for me, notwithstanding its renovation; it felt cramped, but as I just pointed out, different houses for different people.


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Two different stars of the open house tour, each different

61 Ridgeview Avenue

61 Ridgeview Avenue

Gila Lewis is the listing agent for 61 Ridgeview Avenue and has priced it at $2.695, now that $2.9 didn’t do the trick. I guess $2.9 was too high – certainly the market thought so, but at its new price, I love it. This house is exactly what great contemporaries should be, but often fail to achieve: it’s bright, open, and warm. The setting is gorgeous, set back from the road in the woods (but still light, as I noted), and overlooking a great little pond. It’s my kind of dream house, secluded, snug, and yet close to town (my particular dream doesn’t include being close to town, but others seem to like that). Really a winner, to my taste.

63 Patterson Ave

63 Patterson Ave

And if contemporary isn’t to your liking, Steve Archino’s got 63 Patterson Avenue on the market for $2.740 million, a 1900 charmer with enough updating to satisfy most (? – I like it as is, anyway) buyers. Patterson’s a busy street, what with Brunswick and GA traffic to service, but the location’s convenient, houses usually sell quickly, and the owners stay put, so there’s something that about this street that appeals. I prefer the house to the street, personally, but that’s just me. This has a very nice yard of reasonable size, given the location, and the house itself feels right-sized for a family.

Many buyers will find something not to like about either of these houses; they may not like contemporaries, they may find the Patterson home too small, but that’s what makes Greenwich’s real estate market different from, say, some of the more modern suburban towns. There are lots of different homes in different locations here and within reason, one of them will suit your needs and tastes. I like these two.

Comments Off on Two different stars of the open house tour, each different

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The science is unsettled

Lucky-Strike-Doctor-Cigarette-AdOmega-3 oil doesn’t do diddly. Next thing you know, they’ll debunk the “truth” that saturated fats are bad for you – oh wait, they just did that.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my grandfather’s own contribution to good health (although in fact, he didn’t smoke):

John Gilbert


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It’s because I lack a penis

Dr. Helen Smith: “Negotiating While Stupid”

Over at Slate, there is a ridiculous article about a female academic who asks for too much and is rejected for the job. Naturally, it’s because she is female. Seriously, after looking at the list of demands she wants, who would want her?:

As you know, I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of coming to Nazareth. Granting some of the following provisions would make my decision easier[:]

1) An increase of my starting salary to $65,000, which is more in line with what assistant professors in philosophy have been getting in the last few years.

2) An official semester of maternity leave.

3) A pre-tenure sabbatical at some point during the bottom half of my tenure clock.

4) No more than three new class preps per year for the first three years.

5) A start date of academic year 2015 so I can complete my postdoc.

The dumb advice given by feminists and books like Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead might make women feel good but no one, male or female does themselves any favors being this entitled when looking for a job. Would you hire this list of demands, male or female?

Here’s the college’s response, by the way:

Thank you for your email. The search committee discussed your provisions. They were also reviewed by the Dean and the VPAA. It was determined that on the whole these provisions indicate an interest in teaching at a research university and not at a college, like ours, that is both teaching and student centered. Thus, the institution has decided to withdraw its offer of employment to you.

Thank you very much for your interest in Nazareth College. We wish you the best in finding a suitable position.


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Forget it, it’s Chicagotown, Jake

Chicago-is-famous-for-three-thingsCriminal pedigree required for entry into Democrat rule, still.

CHICAGO, March 17 (Reuters) – In the Illinois primary elections on Tuesday, candidates on Chicago’s Democratic ballot will include someone who served a prison term for bribery, another who is due to go on trial on bribery charges this spring and a third charged with bank fraud.

“It’s a terrible indictment” of the local political culture, said Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman who teaches at University of Illinois at Chicago. “There is still a patronage-based political army on the West Side of Chicago.”

Political experts say all three candidates are either guaranteed victory or heavily favored to win.


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As MISA sinks deeper into the bog, a request for more money

MISA building committee meets in  the La Brea conference room

MISA building committee meets at the La Brea Conference Center

Another request raises the cost to $46.1 million, and counting.

Original estimate back in 2009 was $27,815,000 – so precise, right down to the “final” fifteen thousand dollars.

But don’t worry, be happy – this is absolutely the last time the MISA folks will be back for more:

The Building Committee chairman [Joe Ross] said he hopes that the $2.37 million contingency allocation comprises his panel’s latest request for project funding.

“At this point, we think this is everything we need,” he added.

Uh huh.


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