links for 2009-11-03

  • Inside the imposing British Crown Court here, Phillipa Curtis, 22, and her parents cried as she was remanded for 21 months to a high-security women’s prison, for killing someone much like herself. The victim was Victoria McBryde, an up-and-coming university-trained fashion designer.
    Ms. Curtis had plowed her Peugeot into the rear end of Ms. McBryde’s neon yellow Fiat, which had broken down on the A40 Motorway, killing Ms. McBryde, 24, instantly.
    The crash might once have been written off as a tragic accident. Ms. Curtis’s alcohol level was zero. But her phone, which had flown onto the road and was handed to the police by a witness, told a story that — under new British sentencing guidelines — would send its owner to jail.
  • Two sophomore girls have sued their school district after they were punished for posting sexually suggestive photos on MySpace during their summer vacation.
    The American Civil Liberties Union, in a federal lawsuit filed last week on behalf of the girls, argues that Churubusco High School violated the girls’ free speech rights when it banned them from extracurricular activities for a joke that didn’t involve the school. They say the district humiliated the girls by requiring them to apologize to an all-male coaches’ board and undergo counseling.

  • A language-learning application that’s already big in Japan is coming to the U.S. in the form of a new iPhone app. Smart.fm, based in Tokyo, says that the adaptive-learning algorithms behind its software can help users memorize all kinds of information.
    Remember this: Though originally designed for language learning, Smart.fm’s software has been expanded; now the system can include user-generated material on topics such as the Internet memes shown above.
    Credit: Smart.fm
    Smart.fm is one of several companies selling software designed to help users remember. The company’s algorithms were inspired by research that shows people remember information more effectively they try to memorize it at key times, says founder and chairman Andrew Smith Lewis.
  • Many parents also worry that younger users of social sites could be targets for online predators. While there are some concerns that kids aren’t mature enough to make good decisions about their privacy, Subrahmaynam and Lenhart said most are savvy enough by their early teens to know what, and who, to avoid. Younger children, they say, need more parental supervision.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s