Weekend reads: More Impact Factor scrutiny; $10 million fine for overbilling; protected Canadian fraudsters

The week at Retraction Watch featured the loss of a Harvard researcher’s PhD for misconduct, and the harrowing tale of a whistleblower. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: The Impact Factor will soon belong to private equity and money management firms, as Thomson Reuters announces it will sell its Intellectual Property & Science business for $3.55 billion. That was […]

The post Weekend reads: More Impact Factor scrutiny; $10 million fine for overbilling; protected Canadian fraudsters appeared first on Retraction Watch.

The week at Retraction Watch featured the loss of a Harvard researcher’s PhD for misconduct, and the harrowing tale of a whistleblower. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: The Impact Factor will soon belong to private equity and money management firms, as Thomson Reuters announces it will sell its Intellectual Property & Science business for $3.55 billion. That was […]

The post Weekend reads: More Impact Factor scrutiny; $10 million fine for overbilling; protected Canadian fraudsters appeared first on Retraction Watch.

Laying Bare the Bones of Ancient Maya Society

Bones from the animals people ate—or didn’t—offer a glimpse into the daily lives of ordinary Maya outside the ruling class

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Bones from the animals people ate—or didn’t—offer a glimpse into the daily lives of ordinary Maya outside the ruling class

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Immersion is going to be immense

immersive Pokémon; Macbeth; the Illuminati. Those may not sound like they have a lot in common, but they exemplify the three whole new forms of technology-driven entertainment that have erupted in recent years. We’ll soon combine all three–and, eventually, use them to create whole new multi-faceted immersive worlds that will make today’s entertainment look like radio dramas. Read More

immersive Pokémon; Macbeth; the Illuminati. Those may not sound like they have a lot in common, but they exemplify the three whole new forms of technology-driven entertainment that have erupted in recent years. We’ll soon combine all three–and, eventually, use them to create whole new multi-faceted immersive worlds that will make today’s entertainment look like radio dramas. Read More

Catch up on this week’s news with our Instagram roundup

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This week, Instagram posts ranged from tragic to powerful to playful. 

The world is reeling from the attacks in Nice, France, and illustrators are creating poignant tributes. Athletes like Serena Williams and Cristiano Ronaldo dominated the tennis and soccer worlds, while basketball legends Lebron James and Dwayne Wade and more commanded just as much attention on a different stage. Celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Lea Michele went back in time to pay tributes, while others took to Instagram to celebrate new milestones. 

More about Amy Schumer, Euro 2016, Cristiano Ronaldo, Leslie Jones, and Rihanna

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Feed-twFeed-fb

This week, Instagram posts ranged from tragic to powerful to playful. 

The world is reeling from the attacks in Nice, France, and illustrators are creating poignant tributes. Athletes like Serena Williams and Cristiano Ronaldo dominated the tennis and soccer worlds, while basketball legends Lebron James and Dwayne Wade and more commanded just as much attention on a different stage. Celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Lea Michele went back in time to pay tributes, while others took to Instagram to celebrate new milestones. 

More about Amy Schumer, Euro 2016, Cristiano Ronaldo, Leslie Jones, and Rihanna

It never hurts to ask

A simple, effective piece of advice from Jason Fried

A couple of years ago, Jason Fried gave me the simplest, most effective advice I’ve ever received:

It seems so obvious, something you’ve probably heard before: it never hurts to ask. But when you actually put that advice into practice, the results are rather amazing.

In 2014 we sponsored a project management conference. As sponsors we got all the usual promotion: our logo on some slides, some tweets, email callouts, etc.

We wanted to get the most out of our sponsorship, so Jason encouraged me to get creative with what we could do. Here’s what I said:

Jason completely agreed, but I couldn’t think of a good way to pull this off. How could we clearly announce who we were and give them a sense of our friendly personalities? 😁

Aha, what a great idea — that would accomplish exactly what we wanted!

But…stage time wasn’t part of any sponsorship package they offered. And as one of the world’s worst negotiators, I was hesitant to ask for something outside of the existing options. 😶

But I needed to learn. I got over myself. I sent an email to the organizers asking nicely and explaining why it was so important to us.

You can probably guess what happened next. We got our stage time. The organizers were happy to accommodate us. It wasn’t a big deal at all.

And from that one success, I burned Jason’s advice into my brain: it never hurts to ask.

Since then, I’ve had plenty of success with Jason’s advice. Yet I’m still fascinated by how well it works.

Last week I was reminded how simple and powerful “just asking” can be.

I’d written an article about how I built my first Android open source library, and was looking for ways to share it beyond our normal blog audience.

I’m a big fan of The Practical Dev, and I figured the article might be of interest to their audience. But how could I get them to share it?

I remembered Jason’s advice — it never hurts to ask. So that’s exactly what I did. I sent them a link to my article and politely asked if they’d consider sharing it. A couple of hours later they were nice enough to do so. Success!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this advice can also apply to product design.

In the Basecamp 3 Android app we recently added a “what’s new” dialog. This lets customers know what new features we added, but also gives us a chance to ask for their review.


Any idea when we started asking for reviews? 😏

I fully admit I was skeptical that a simple “rate us” button would have any impact our ratings.

Wow, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Our positive ratings and reviews skyrocketed! 🚀

Once again Jason’s advice held true — all we had to do was ask for reviews, and people were happy to do it.

I can’t tell you how many times “it never hurts to ask” has turned out positively for me. Even if I don’t end up getting what I hoped for, it’s still nice to know that I at least asked. Nobody gets offended or upset by reasonable requests. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think this comes down to one fundamental truth: people want to help you.

Sure, not everyone is super generous. But as a rule I think most people try to be. If you ask for something in a nice, humble, and confident manner, they’ll try to find a way to help you.

So the next time you want something, remember: it never hurts to ask!

If you liked this article, I’d really appreciate if you click the heart button down below. And if there’s anything I can help you with, just ask!

We’ve been hard at work making Basecamp 3 and its Android app the best way to run your projects and small business. Won’t you give them a try? 😀



It never hurts to ask was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

 

Read the responses to this story on Medium.

How Prosecutors Buried Tamir Rice: Best #Cityreads of the Week

A roundup of the best stories on cities and urbanism we’ve come across in the past seven days.

The Tamir Rice Story: How to Make a Police Shooting Disappear,” Sean Flynn, GQ

The prosecutor pacing in front of the witness was holding a toy gun that looked like a real gun, which was the same kind of toy the boy had been playing with the day he got shot. A rookie Cleveland police officer had fired twice at close range, and one bullet hit the boy just left of his belly button, carved downward through his intestines and a major vein, and embedded in his pelvis an inch to the right of center.

The witness, a retired cop named Roger Clark, thought the gun was a curious prop for a grand jury. The boy was dead, and had been for more than a year. He’d been accused of no crime, ever. Why the toy? There is no need for theatrics in grand-jury proceedings. They are entirely one-sided forums. Prosecutors decide what witnesses to call and what evidence to present. They instruct the grand jurors, ordinary citizens drawn from the same pool as trial jurors, on the law. There is no defense present because the most a grand jury can do is issue an indictment, which means only that there’s enough evidence of a crime that a judge or jury should sort it out. It is a very low threshold, and it is reached as a matter of plodding routine. It also is done entirely in secret. Who was a prop supposed to impress?

Why Highways Have Become the Center of Civil Rights Protest,” Emily Badger, The Washington Post

After activists protesting the death of Philando Castile left the governor’s mansion in St. Paul, Minn., on Saturday night, they marched through the city down Lexington Parkway and then onto the highway, across all eight lanes of traffic. There, some of them sat down, a provocative gesture of civil disobedience in the face of rushing commerce.

They were occupying a highway that, a half-century ago, was constructed at the expense of St. Paul’s historically black community. Interstate 94, like urban highways throughout the country, was built by erasing what had been black homes, dispersing their residents, severing their neighborhoods and separating them from whites who would pass through at high speed.

That history lends highways a dual significance as activists in many cities rally against unequal treatment of blacks: As scenes of protest, they are part of the oppression — if also the most disruptive places to call attention to it.


Demonstrators block Highway 880 in Oakland. (Reuters/Stephen Lam)

Remembering Sandra Bland’s Death in the Place I Call Home,” Karen Good Marable, The New Yorker

In Dixie’s blessed semi-solitude, Mama Marable and I found comfort and common ground in cheesy Hallmark movies, after-church dinner at Cracker Barrel, and our love of cable news. So it was that, one July morning, after putting my daughter down for a nap, I turned on the television and heard a newscaster describe a video documenting an exchange between a state trooper and a black woman in Prairie View. The woman had been arrested and was found dead in her jail cell three days later.

I stood up and put my hand on my hip, as if the gesture alone could help me understand what I was hearing. Though I have lived in many places, Prairie View, a rural college town about fifty miles northwest of Houston, is the place I’ve called home for forty-five years. I lived in the same red-brick house until I was eighteen years old, when I left for Washington, D.C., to attend Howard University, or, as I described it then, “The blackest college I can find the farthest away from home.” Back then, I was ready to leave the place where I believed nothing ever happened. Now something had happened, and it was terrible.

Mama Marable joined me on the couch. Our souls were still weary from the massacre at Mother Emanuel, in Charleston, South Carolina, where nine black people in a Wednesday Bible study were killed by a young white man less than a month before. We were about to confront another incident, yet another video of another disastrous encounter between the police and a black person. So many others had come before: Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, LaQuan McDonald, Tamir Rice.


A woman places roses at a memorial for Sandra Bland in Prairie View, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

White Privilege and Gentrification in Denver, ‘America’s Favorite City,’” Caroline Tracey, The Guardian

Immediately after I parked my car in the Swansea neighbourhood of Denver, Colorado this June, a woman in a white SUV drove by, rolled down her window and yelled: “Not for sale!”

Residents of Swansea, Elyria, and Globeville, the neighbourhoods that make up north-east Denver, are receiving stacks of postcards on their porches with offers to buy their homes. Globeville saw an increase of 67% in median home values in the last year. All three neighbourhoods are dotted with yard signs that read “My community is not for sale/Mi comunidad no está en venta.” What else would a white woman carrying a notebook be doing in the neighbourhood, but speculating?

In her novel Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver describes Denver as having “endless neighbourhoods of sweet old brick houses with peaked roofs and lawns shaded by huge maples.” The Denver of my childhood also had wide boulevards lined with 50s-era filling stations, 60s strip malls, 70s dentists’ offices. Downtown, which had some beautiful, historic stone buildings, also had plentiful surface parking – a sign that the city’s economy had not caught up with the space afforded it. The city was calm; there was a sense of community.

That Denver has now gone. Partially thanks to the work of the Colorado Tourism Board, people from all over are flocking here, and jobs are following. This year, US News and World Report voted Denver the best place to live in America. Half of the cars have out-of-state plates, and the rest have bumper stickers that read “Native-ish”.


Denver City Councilman Rafal Espinoza has seen  his neighborhood of modest bungalows occupied by largely Latino families abruptly transformed into a collection of condominiums housing affluent professionals.” (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Detroit-made Bicycles are Taking Over Bike-Share Programs,” Tim Higgins, Bloomberg Businessweek

The Detroit Bikes factory sits on the West Side of the city near scattered abandoned homes and a junkyard full of rusted car parts. Inside, workers are taking test rides through the 50,000-square-foot facility on a fleet of freshly assembled bicycles destined for New York’s Citi Bike bike-share program. On foot, founder Zak Pashak, 36, dodges the riders, navigating a path around the chaotic floor and holding forth on the virtues of American-made chromoly steel—which, in case you’re not a metallurgist, is lighter and stronger than standard steel and is what Pashak uses in his house line. He stops and points to the loading dock, where a tractor-trailer waits to haul the bikes more than 600 miles to Citi Bike headquarters in Brooklyn. “This was my dream when we got the factory—watching semis drive away at the end of the day,” Pashak says.

When his factory opened in 2013, bicycle manufacturing in the U.S. had all but disappeared. The long, downward spiral began in the 1980s, when industry-giant Schwinn shifted work to Asia, a cost-saving move that other manufacturers such as Huffy soon copied. In 2015 only 2.5 percent of the estimated 12.6 million bikes sold in the U.S. (not including those for children) were made here, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association. “A lot of people thought it was really goofy when I first started this,” says the bearded Pashak, who describes Detroit as “a good spot for urban revitalization to take hold” and is prone to similarly grandiose talk about changing the world. If his technology weren’t 200 years old, he could pass for a startup founder.

It probably was really goofy, based purely on economics. But at a time when we want our kale organic and our beer microbrewed, manufacturing bicycles in the cradle of the U.S. transportation industry turns out to be just rational enough. Shinola, which also sells bikes, might have stolen Pashak’s thunder by becoming the face of Detroit’s rebound. Yet Detroit Bikes’ contract with Motivate, the company that runs bike-sharing programs in 12 metro areas, has helped put Pashak’s company on pace to churn out 10,000 bikes this year. It’s nice that in doing so he’ll employ 50 people in a city with 10 percent unemployment, about double the national rate. It’s perhaps more significant that without this Canadian transplant’s operation, options for how busy urbanites get from point A to point B might literally be fewer and farther between.

Cool Haunted Mansion Umbrella Will Make You Smile On a Rainy Day

Haunted Mansion Umbrella Exterior

You walk into Disney’s Haunted Mansion, and whether you’re in Orlando, Anaheim, or Tokyo, after the foyer you enter a place known as The Stretching Room. The Ghost Host intones, “Our tour begins here in this gallery where you see paintings of some of our guests as they appeared in their corruptible, mortal state. Your cadaverous pallor betrays an aura of foreboding, almost as though you sense a disquieting metamorphosis. Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination, hmmm? And consider this dismaying observation: This chamber has no windows and no doors, which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out!”

And the room stretches, growing many many feet taller, the four paintings on the wall (by Imagineer Marc Davis) also stretch, revealing that the seemingly innocent pictures are actually much more devious and reveal peril at every turn for those portrayed in them.

Haunted Mansion Umbrella Inside

If you’re a Haunted Mansion fan then you know all this backward and forward. But how would you like to carry The Stretching Room around on a rainy day to cheer you up with a fancy new Stretching Room Umbrella? The price is $34.99 with a money back guarantee. The seller gives the details:

Stretching Room Umbrella. Imagine you are in the Haunted Mansion every time you open your umbrella

Made from 100% polyester pongee waterproof fabric.

Image imprinted using heat sublimation technique to prevent discoloring.

Opens up to 41″ span.

Can be reduced to a collapsed height of 9″

8 ribs made from strong fiber for extra support.

Each rib consists of 3-section aluminum for flexibility and strength.

Main holder made from reinforced plastic.

Buy it here.

Haunted Mansion Umbrella Exterior

You walk into Disney’s Haunted Mansion, and whether you’re in Orlando, Anaheim, or Tokyo, after the foyer you enter a place known as The Stretching Room. The Ghost Host intones, “Our tour begins here in this gallery where you see paintings of some of our guests as they appeared in their corruptible, mortal state. Your cadaverous pallor betrays an aura of foreboding, almost as though you sense a disquieting metamorphosis. Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination, hmmm? And consider this dismaying observation: This chamber has no windows and no doors, which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out!”

And the room stretches, growing many many feet taller, the four paintings on the wall (by Imagineer Marc Davis) also stretch, revealing that the seemingly innocent pictures are actually much more devious and reveal peril at every turn for those portrayed in them.

Haunted Mansion Umbrella Inside

If you’re a Haunted Mansion fan then you know all this backward and forward. But how would you like to carry The Stretching Room around on a rainy day to cheer you up with a fancy new Stretching Room Umbrella? The price is $34.99 with a money back guarantee. The seller gives the details:

Stretching Room Umbrella. Imagine you are in the Haunted Mansion every time you open your umbrella

Made from 100% polyester pongee waterproof fabric.

Image imprinted using heat sublimation technique to prevent discoloring.

Opens up to 41″ span.

Can be reduced to a collapsed height of 9″

8 ribs made from strong fiber for extra support.

Each rib consists of 3-section aluminum for flexibility and strength.

Main holder made from reinforced plastic.

Buy it here.

Crunch Report | Coup Attempt in Turkey Blocks Social Media

Coup attempt in Turkey and social media like Facebook, Twitter and youtube gets blocked, Obama launches the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, Lines share price jumps 50% on debut, Netflix launches Flixtape, NASA shows off its new Mars Rover design. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

Coup attempt in Turkey and social media like Facebook, Twitter and youtube gets blocked, Obama launches the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, Lines share price jumps 50% on debut, Netflix launches Flixtape, NASA shows off its new Mars Rover design. All this on Crunch Report. Read More