2. There's discussion of introducing pre-university tests in the UK assessing generic "thinking skills", additional to the traditional subject-specific academic tests. However, the sample "plausible reasoning" question looks frankly bizarre. I vaguely agree with their answer, but cannot really say why that answer is correct and the others are wrong. What do you think? Can convincing arguments be made for any of the other answers? For any of the answers at all, really?
3. An a capella music band sing famous video game themes - embedded Windows media file, about 9 MB. Another blog, which I shall not link to, links and mocks declaring it "bad geekery". I disagree. Firstly, I take the liberal view that declaring good genres of geekery and bad genres of geekery is inherently bigoted and prejudiced, though obviously distinguishing between good geekery and bad geekery within a genre is possible. Secondly, this is imaginitive, creative, funny geekery; I say two thumbs up and give it a glowing write-up rather than flaming the knocker.
3b. From the same site, a clip supposedly from the British game show Countdown - embedded Flash video, 4 MB, not-quite-safe-for-work video, safe-for-work audio. Now obviously it's been altered for the sake of some good old-fashioned obscenity, but the interesting question is how little. Letters 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8 look 'shopped to me; note the audio cut failing to announce letter five - and there seems to be a slight repeat in Richard Whiteley's laughter, but it can't be too far from having happened. What did happen for real, I wonder?
4. We read that meetup.com is about to charge $9/month or more to people using the site to, er, organise meetups. ($9+/month per group organiser, not per attendee.) This seems to spell instant site death to me to such an extent that I am convinced they plan to back down. As they say, "We expect the number of Meetups will go down at first, but the community will rebound stronger than ever. The Group Fee will weed out less committed groups; the community will be smaller in the near-term, but it will be made up of the best Meetup Groups."
Now there are some big and vibrant Meetup groups out there, especially in the very big cities and for the very big topics, but surely fewer than 5,000 viable groups worldwide so far. If they were to say "$4/month for a group with 20 members, $8/month for a group with 40 members, $12/month for a group with 80 members, $16/month for a group with 160 members" or similar then I don't think people would object too strongly, but meetup hasn't reached nearly critical mass yet and a move like this will really stop new groups from being formed using the service. A shame. Any meetup.com's demise might well inspire competitors, but the value in the system is in the number of links, proportional to the square of the number of members, so splitting the space evenly between three competitors reduces the net utility to one-third.
5. My planned availability for the near future includes the following:
- Saturday 23rd April to Monday 25th April: Athens, GA and Atlanta, GA with dezzikitty
- Wednesday 27th April to Tuesday 3rd May: Boston, MA with dezzikitty
- Thursday 5th May to Monday 9th May: United Kingdom - I land in Manchester after an overnight flight and will dash home to vote, but might end up rushing off somewhere else after that.