what is a 'nail house'?

I just heard of the term "nail house" (in Chinese) or "real estate holdout". It's a home or business building where the owners refuse to be bought out by government or developers to make way for construction or mining. In some places, the homeowner is protected by law and the construction or mining proceeds AROUND the home. Interesting that sometimes the new building plan has to be greatly modified to accommodate the holdout. Some homes are right in the middle of highways.
[pics] [wiki] [also interesting]

should everybody vote?

Some snippets from a NY Times article...

"Those who think everyone should vote also think that voting should be adequately informed about the candidates and issues. But there’s a tension here, since there’s considerable evidence from polling - not to mention just reading online comments about politics - that many people are poorly informed about candidates and issues. In 'The Ethics of Voting,' the philosopher Jason Brennan has argued that such people have a duty *not* to vote. It’s unlikely that many of them would agree with that conclusion, but given a large number of poorly informed voters, we might consider dropping campaigns urging everyone to vote or even insisting that we all have a duty to vote."

"We would never accept deciding important and highly publicized [jury] trials by a vote of the general public. We think only people fully informed of the facts and relevant arguments put forward in a trial should make such important judgments. Shouldn’t we be at least as careful in deciding who should be president?"

"Notice that answering yes does not imply the elitist view that only a small minority of citizens are capable of making informed votes. The idea is not that voters are too stupid or biased to access the needed information; it’s just that they don’t have the time and resources to do so. Ideally, we would provide everyone with the relevant knowledge, but that would be impractical, time-consuming and expensive."

"Why not, then, randomly choose, from the list of registered voters, a national jury that would meet for a week or two before the election? The jurors would be sequestered and listen to presentations from and debates among the candidates and their policy teams. The jury might also hear from and question experts on major policy issues. The result would be voters informed to a level most us can only hope to achieve. We would need a fairly large jury - perhaps several thousand - to properly represent the nation’s diverse views and interests. Televising the proceedings would help ensure transparency. Since the jury was randomly chosen, its vote would very likely represent the outcome of an election in which we were all well-informed voters."

[some mention of constitutional right to vote, so everyone must be allowed to vote]

"We could, however, get many of the jury system’s benefits without eliminating our current form of elections. We could have an unofficial jury - chosen, perhaps, by a consortium of major universities or of television news divisions - that would meet, discuss in depth and vote several weeks before the actual election. Coverage of its proceedings could substantially raise the quality of debate in the final weeks of the campaign. Candidates might hesitate to participate at first, but if so the project could begin with informed and articulate nonofficial supporters making their cases. Once the jury established itself as a significant factor in the national electoral debates, candidates would likely insist on taking part themselves. Even though the jurors would not decide the election, their vote would very likely come to exercise considerable influence on the result. Such a jury might well be the best practical way toward more informed and intelligent voting."

"A deeper worry is that even the will of a majority may have little or no influence on how the country is governed. There’s a widespread conviction that rich people and corporations determine government actions, and recent research by political scientists offers at least preliminary support for that conclusion. Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page looked at almost 1,800 cases of controversial policy issues in the United States and explained: 'The majority does not rule - at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.' They added, 'Even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.'"

AMC to allow customers to text during films

"AMC chief executive Adam Aron said he wanted to encourage so-called millennials to visit the cinema. He told Variety magazine: 'You can't tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That's not how they live their life.'"

Well, I'm out. Let's keep caving in to every entitled group out there so we can have a nation full of disrespectful crybabies.

"But he said he would have to find a solution that did not disturb other movie-goers."

Like what, back row only? Allowing phone use at all opens the gate to carelessly leaving the ring/text sound on. People will be focused on their phone, giggling, etc. How about you just don't go to a movie IF YOU DON'T WANT TO WATCH A MOVIE? [link]

Shakespeare's grave is missing his skull

Shakespeare's skull is likely missing from his grave, an archaeologist has concluded, confirming rumors which have swirled for years about grave-robbers and adding to the mystery surrounding the Bard's remains. Four hundred years after his death and burial at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon, central England, researchers were allowed to scan the grave of England's greatest playwright with ground-penetrating radar. But in the area under the church floor where the Bard's skull was expected to be, they found signs of interference. [link]

a.i. beats world Go champion

Over a decade ago I was commissioned to write a software key generator for a guy on the Internet. During our conversations he told me that the game of Go hadn't been solved by a computer yet. I was skeptical because Chess A.I. could beat world champions, and Go is just black and white dots on a grid, right?
 
Fast forward to today's headlines. Google's DeepMind AlphaGo program has beat world Go champion, Lee Se-dol, in game one of five.
From the article: "Go is a 3,000-year old Chinese board game and is considered to be a lot more complex than chess where artificial intelligence scored its most famous victory to date when IBM's Deep Blue beat grandmaster Gary Kasparov in 1997. But experts say Go presents an entirely different challenge because of the game's incomputable number of move options which means that the computer must be capable of human-like 'intuition' to prevail." [link]

sidecar racing photos

I don't think I've heard of sidecar racing before, but I just stumbled upon it today. I haven't read up on it, but it looks like you have a driver and a passenger who appears to be a key factor in the turns by leaning very far out of the vehicle, sometimes seeming to slide on the race track. Here are some [pics].

lack of transparency in the Clinton Foundation

Around 2007, the Clinton Foundation was criticized for a lack of transparency. People felt the names of donors should be disclosed because Hillary was running to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

A lengthy donors list was then released by the Foundation in December 2008, which included several politically sensitive donors, such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Blackwater Worldwide.

Contributions from foreign donors who are prohibited by law from contributing to political candidates in the U.S. constitute a major portion of the foundation's income.

In March 2015, Reuters reported that the Clinton Foundation had broken its promise to publish all of its donors, as well as its promise to let the State Department review all of its donations from foreign governments. In April 2015, the New York Times reported that when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, the State Department had approved a deal to sell American uranium to Russians who had donated to the Clinton Foundation, and that Clinton had broken her promise to publicly identify such donations. About this news, the other media made a list of questionable items. In a May 2015 book regarding the Foundation, author Peter Schweizer wrote, "We see a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds."

After her January 2009 appointment as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton proposed hiring long-time Clinton friend and confidant Sidney Blumenthal as an advisor, however, Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, blocked Blumenthal's appointment at the State Department. Blumenthal was subsequently hired by the Clinton Foundation, earning a Foundation salary of about $10,000 a month.

Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, in April 2014 said, "It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons." [link]