Category Archives: Cunning Scheme

Dance-Powered Pile Driver

Seen in Thailand.



Computer Programmer Fired for Outsourcing his Job to China


It was revealed in the security audit of a major, yet unnamed, American software company that one of their star developers had outsourced his work to China at a cost of 1/5th of his (6-figure) salary, allowing him to do whatever he felt like at work.

The analysis of his workstation found hundreds of PDF invoices from the Chinese contractors and determined that Bob’s typical work day consisted of:

9:00 a.m. – Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos

11:30 a.m. – Take lunch

1:00 p.m. – Ebay time

2:00-ish p.m – Facebook updates, LinkedIn

4:30 p.m. – End-of-day update e-mail to management

5:00 p.m. – Go home

The scheme worked very well for Bob. In his performance assessments by the firm’s human resources department, he was the firm’s top coder for many quarters and was considered expert in C, C++, Perl, Java, Ruby, PHP, and Python.

Further investigation found that the enterprising Bob had actually taken jobs with other firms and had outsourced that work too, netting him hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit as well as lots of time to hang around on internet messaging boards and checking for a new Detective Mittens video.

Security Audit Finds Dev Outsourced his Job to China to Goof Off at Work   [theRegister]

Hurricane House


This ‘hurricane house’ was designed by New York-based architect Edwin Koch in 1939. According to Popular Science, “[t]his amazing dwelling would revolve automatically to face into the oncoming storm, meeting it like the wing of an airplane and passing it smoothly around its curving sides toward its pointed tip.” It was designed to pivot around a master point in the middle of the house through which electricity, water and sewage could be routed.


How to Be a Parent


On Reddit, someone reports that their (presumably teenage) sister had her phone taken away for a week by their parents as a punishment. Not only, however, was her phone confiscated. They’ve also been using it to upload a series of self-portraits like the above to her Facebook page.


Robbing Banks is a Crappy Way to Make a Living

A study commissioned by the Royal Statistical Society and American Statistical Association has offered me some very disappointing news: robbing banks isn’t a very good way to make a living. They even described the returns as ‘rubbish’. In a summary of the paper, John Timmer writes:

The basic problem is the average haul from a bank job: for the three-year period, it was only £20,330.50 (~$31,613). And it gets worse, as the average robbery involved 1.6 thieves. So the authors conclude, “The return on an average bank robbery is, frankly, rubbish. It is not unimaginable wealth. It is a very modest £12,706.60 per person per raid.”

“Given that the average UK wage for those in full-time employment is around £26,000, it will give him a modest life-style for no more than 6 months,” the authors note. If a robber keeps hitting banks at a rate sufficient to maintain that modest lifestyle, by a year and a half into their career, odds are better than not they’ll have been caught. “As a profitable occupation, bank robbery leaves a lot to be desired.”

Worse still, the success of a robbery was a bit like winning the lottery, as the standard deviation on the £20,330.50 was £53,510.20. That means some robbers did far better than average, but it also means that fully a third of robberies failed entirely.

Economists Demonstrate Exactly Why Bank Robbery is a Bad Idea   [ArsTechnica]

Clever Sucker-Bets

From Richard Wiseman, here are 10 bets you’ll never lose. I especially like number 10!


Presidential Crossword

The day before the 1996 American presidential elections, the New York Times crossword correctly predicted the winner. How did they do it? The answer is here.