There’s still a month left in the year, but it’s probably not too soon to crown “Tiny Hamster” the breakout animal-meme franchise of 2014.
Since his debut in April, this oddly adorable rodent has eaten oddly adorable burritos. He’s tried birthday cake and devoured hot dogs. (Though the hot dogs were made of grapes, dates and carrots, because hamsters can’t actually eat hot dog meat.)
All told, the tiny hamster has starred in four two-minute videos of him eating things. Each video has averaged roughly 3.5 million YouTube views. And his latest installment, “A Tiny Hamster Thanksgiving,” may just be the best one yet: Jezebel has already crowned it “the goddamn greatest thing you’ve ever seen.”
That’s good news for both Denizen, the creative firm that produces the videos, and Joseph Matsushima and Joel Jensen, the creative duo behind it. Matsushima and Jensen have produced work for Budweiser, FedEx and Nissan, among others. But after four years in the business, Denizen’s probably best known for those hamster videos. Of all things.
“We have a policy on pitching stupid ideas,” Jensen said with a laugh, “because the most stupid ideas are often the best ones.”
The hamster idea, for its part, was born of desperation — and a whole lot of Internet browsing. Among other things, Denizen produces “branded content,” or social-media-friendly videos that will, they hope, go viral, to the benefit of the companies that sponsor them. It’s still an emerging industry, and one that bewilders more conservative executives. So, frustrated by many brands’ unwillingness to take on their zanier concepts, Jensen and Matsushima decided to just start a YouTube channel and film zany videos on their own.
That ended up being a bit more difficult than it initially appeared: One does not merely plop a burrito in front of a hamster and expect him to eat it. First, Denizen had to find an animal trainer with trained hamsters willing to endure a 12-hour shoot. (Yes, trained hamsters are a thing that exist — though not in large numbers, because hamsters aren’t the “sharpest little animals” around.)
Then they had to work with a set designer to create tiny hamster-sized tables and chairs. Then a food stylist, in consultation with the trainer, had to devise miniature, all-natural versions of human foods that hamsters could, and would, actually eat. In the birthday episode, for instance, the hamster (and a guest-starring hedgehog) are eating a mash of apples, bananas and rice flour, frosted with yogurt and beet juice. Yum.
This malware’s been quietly active for six years.
A leading computer security company says it has discovered one of the most sophisticated pieces of malicious software ever seen.
Symantec says the bug, named Regin, was probably created by a government and has been used for six years against a range of targets around the world.
Once installed on a computer, it can do things like capture screenshots, steal passwords or recover deleted files.
Experts say computers in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Ireland have been hit most.
It has been used to spy on government organisations, businesses and private individuals, they say.
You know, the more I mull over the Republican complaint about how immigration reform is being implemented, the more I sympathize with them. Public policy, especially on big, hot button issues like immigration shouldn’t be made by one person. One person doesn’t represent the will of the people, no matter what position he holds. Congress does, and the will of Congress should be paramount in policymaking.
Here’s another short clip documenting how I shoot arthropod macros in the field. Special thanks to Kathleen Neeley for filming the outdoor scenes.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says evacuation plans are being prepared and the Red Cross is setting up shelters as rising temperatures melt 7 feet of snow in the Buffalo area, causing a risk of flooding.
In his fifth day in Buffalo, Cuomo said Sunday that the only driving bans remaining in the area are in Lackawanna and South Buffalo as snow removal crews continue to dig out streets. He said the last exit remaining closed on the Thruway will open Sunday.
PHOTOS: Epic Snowfall Pummels Buffalo
“If you live in an area that typically floods or has flooded … prepare to evacuate for a flood situation,” the governor said. “It’s not enough that your house has never been flooded before, right? There’s always a first time. And this may be the first time.”
In response to a local report, Paul Fox, director of the St. Louis County Circuit Court Judicial Administration, said the presiding grand jury judge “has entered no such order and has made no such agreement” to release the evidence if Darren Wilson is not indicted.
“If the grand jury returns a no true bill, the judge anticipates the court will receive requests for grand jury records. Some of those requests will require the court to analyze the need for maintaining secrecy of the records with the need for public disclosure of the records,” Fox wrote in a document released Sunday.
The community anticipated a grand jury vote as early as Saturday, but the members now plan to meet next on Monday.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch previously said the evidence seen by the grand jury over the past few months would be presented to the public if Wilson is not indicted, which many people expect will be the outcome.
(CNN) — Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords completed an 11-mile cycling event Saturday, marking another milestone in her recovery from a 2011 mass shooting.
She was greeted with cheers and applause at the finish line.
Alongside her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, Giffords crossed the finish line of El Tour de Tucson riding a recumbent bike, which has three wheels and puts the rider in a reclining position.
Organizers say some 9,000 people participate in the annual ride, which they call America’s largest perimeter cycling event for cyclists of all ages and abilities
It’s an interesting dilemma - if the harm was small do you undermine the patient’s confidence in their treatment? If the harm was great, do you encourage the lawsuit? Also be warned that this is a non scientific, small sample size, non random selection group in the study.
Patients who suffer injuries, infections or mistakes during medical care rarely get an acknowledgment or apology, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report.
The study was based on responses of 236 patients who completed ProPublica’s Patient Harm Questionnaire during the one-year period ending in May 2013 and who agreed to share their data.
Results of the study, led by professor of surgery Marty Makary and conducted independently from ProPublica, were published online Nov. 13 by the Journal of Patient Safety.
If you plagiarize then some media organizations are more forgiving than others. IMHO if you are a serial plagiarizer then you need to go, but it’s the first offense there should be some flexibility.
A CJR cover story in 1995 analyzed 20 cases of plagiarism in the previous seven years, concluding, “Punishment is uneven, ranging from severe to virtually nothing even for major offenses.” Laura Parker was fired from The Post in 1991 for lifting quotes from the Associated Press and Miami Herald. Denver Post columnist Ken Hamblin, meanwhile, was suspended for two months in 1994 after he copied five paragraphs from a Rocky Mountain News report. “The sin itself carries neither public humiliation nor the mark of Cain,” CJR’s Trudy Lieberman wrote. “Some editors will keep a plagiarist on staff or will knowingly hire one if talent outweighs the infraction.”
A University of Maryland study found similar ambiguity in 76 newspaper plagiarism cases between 1997 and 2006. Forty-three of those offenders — 56 percent — lost their jobs, with the rate of punishment steadily increasing from minor to major to repeated infractions. Perhaps more interestingly, the papers’ word choice in publicly responding to those crimes largely correlated with their eventual sanctions — “plagiarism” typically garnered termination while synonymously described offenses earned lesser punishments.
A September analysis by Politico reporter Dylan Byers and two media ethics experts argued that Zakaria had indeed plagiarized a number of articles by “patch writing,” small changes to language that mask theft of larger ideas. “Case by case, the examples here qualify more as violations or misdemeanors than serious crimes,” Byers wrote. “But taken together, they show an undeniable pattern of behavior.” Disputing such behavior is a hard case to make without more details from Zakaria. The writer and TV host has remained relatively silent other than an August email to Politico rebutting some of the charges. He and CNN did not respond to emails seeking comment for this story.
Early next year, AMD will ship Carrizo, its most integrated x86 processor to date, combining I/O with — in some versions — new x86 and GPU cores.
Advanced Micro Devices announced at its “Future of Compute” event in Singapore two new integrated x86 processors on its roadmap, Carrizo and Carrizo-L. The chips are AMD’s most integrated parts to date, putting not only the CPU and GPU but the south bridge on a single die, a design move that should improve performance and certainly costs.
The new parts replace the current Kaveri and Beema chips with ones AMD says will deliver a significant leap in performance and energy efficiency in 2015, targeting business and consumer markets.