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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Adam Wheeler dupes Harvard

from AP, via Detroit Free Press:

With Posting rights from: IPBiz

Massachusetts prosecutors say 23-year-old Adam Wheeler claimed he had earned a perfect academic record at Phillips Academy in Andover and at MIT before enrolling at Harvard, when in reality he had never attended either school.

The Milton, Del. man is accused of duping Harvard out of $45,000 in financial aid, scholarship money and academic awards.

The Boston Globe gives more details. One wonders how the Harvard admissions people could have been so superficial in their "analysis" of Wheeler's application documents -->

The Globe reports today [18 May 2010] that Wheeler allegedly forged his way into Harvard University by submitting false transcripts saying he had attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the elite Phillips Academy in Andover. He also said he scored a perfect score of 1600 on his SAT. After transferring to Harvard, he earned some $45,000 in scholarship, grants, and financial aid.

Investigators later allegedly found that Wheeler’s initial Harvard application was bogus. They discovered that he had forged a transcript from MIT with letter grades, though MIT uses a numerical system for scoring, and that he had claimed to take classes at Phillips that the academy did not offer.

Wheeler was caught only because of his activities in applying for post-graduate education. If he had just taken his Harvard degree and stopped, he might have gotten away with his fraud! The Harvard Crimson wrote:

Wheeler's transgressions came to light when a Harvard professor [ James Simpson ] noticed similarities between Wheeler's work and that of another professor during the application review process for the Rhodes Scholarship. The professor then compared the two pieces and voiced concerns that Wheeler plagiarized nearly the entire piece.

Wheeler’s file was referred to University officials, who decided—upon discovering the falsified transcript—to open a full review of Wheeler’s academic file. Wheeler was invited to present his case at a disciplinary hearing convened by University officials, but decided to await the decision at his home in Delaware rather than attend the meeting, according to the press release.

The Boston Globe noted:

His “web of lies,” according to Assistant Middlesex District Attorney Verner, unraveled when he applied for prestigious Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships last fall using falsified credentials, including a fake transcript and work he plagiarized from a Harvard professor.

IPBiz notes that the irony of a Harvard student plagiarizing from a Harvard professor is sublime. However, this story confirms that when students get caught plagiarizing, really bad things happen. Wheeler did offer the typical plagiarist excuse:

When confronted with the plagiarism allegation, Wheeler allegedly said, “Ah, I must have made a mistake. I didn’t really plagiarize it,” Verner said.

Boston Globe story: Bail set at $5K in alleged Harvard student scam

A secondary story here is that Wheeler was awarded a Hoopes Prize in the spring of 2009 for a project that he had completed during his junior year. The Harvard Crimson story [Former Harvard Student Indicted For Falsified Applications, Identity Fraud ], and comments thereto, suggest issues here. One comment-->

If I recall correctly, the Hoopes prize goes to both the student and his or her faculty adviser. Assuming Wheeler's piece was fabricated or plagiarized, his adviser was sloppy. Anybody know the topic of his research, or what faculty member oversaw the work?

Another comment-->

According to this Boston Globe article (, Wheeler did indeed plagiarize portions of his thesis. While this oversight is sloppy on the part of his graduate student advisor, I'm also shocked neither of his thesis readers caught it or the Hoopes Prize committee. Makes you wonder.

From the list of 2009 Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize Winners -->

Wheeler, Adam for his submission entitled "The Mapping of an Ideological Demesne:
Space, Place, and Text From More to Marvell" - nominated by Ms. Suparna

The Daily Beast (once home to plagiarist Gerald Posner) noted that Wheeler leveraged his Prize:

One of the places he applied—the political magazine The New Republic—has gone ahead and made his resume public. Its claims include that he is currently writing or in contract to write six different books; that he speaks French, Old English, Classical Armenian, and Old Persian; that he has a 4.0 GPA; and that he was the first non-senior to ever win the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize from Harvard.

**Pretending to hold a degree a chargeable offense?

The Detroit Free Press/AP article included an odd charge against Wheeler: Adam Wheeler is scheduled to be arraigned today in Middlesex Superior Court on a variety of charges including larceny, identity fraud and pretending to hold a degree.

This charge also appears in the Harvard Crimson story: Adam Wheeler, 23, was indicted on 20 counts of larceny, identity fraud, falsifying an endorsement or approval, and pretending to hold a degree.

ABC article Harvard Imposter? Adam Wheeler Pleads Not Guilty in Education Fraud Case: "The crux of these offenses are identity theft, fraud, larceny and falsification of documents," Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone said.

***from WBUR How Could This Happen? Plagiarism, Fraud In Academia

a commenter noted: It’s that when grades matter more, people tend to cheat more. Making academic performance a greater determinant of success than familial connections, race, or wealth is a major advance. If the spread of cheating is the corollary, we should do all we can to combat it – but understand it in those terms, and not with smug superiority.

***Wheeler, as a Delaware person and 2005 grad of Caesar Rodney High, made KYW local news on 18 May 2010. He was in the top 10% of his class but wasn't valedictorian in 2007.

Information from the Harvard Crimson indicates that Yale University (not Harvard) made some inquiries to the people at Caesar Rodney High, and that the folks at Rodney, noting the factual discrepancies, initially thought the real Adam Wheeler was a victim of identity theft:

Kevin Fitzgerald, who was the principal of Caesar Rodney during the time of Wheeler’s attendance, said he believes that the Yale admissions office did not contact Caesar Rodney in April out of suspicion regarding the authenticity of Wheeler’s application, but to conduct a standard vetting procedure of applicants. But with the emergence of the various warning signs, the Yale admissions office contacted its counterpart at Harvard, which Wheeler had left in the fall of 2009 when faced with charges of academic dishonesty.


In fact, when the high school began to learn of the inconsistencies between the claims made in Wheeler’s transfer application and his actual time in high school, the initial concern on the minds of administrators at Caesar Rodney was the possibility that Wheeler was a victim of identity theft.

“That was our first reaction, that the Adam Wheeler that we’re seeing on this application does not fit the Adam Wheeler that we knew when he was in high school,” Fitzgerald said. It was only after the application had gone through a verification process that the high school “confirmed that that was our Adam Wheeler…It really seemed out of character for him.”

***An alternative view of Adam Wheeler appears in a comment on the post Adam Wheeler–Boy Genius :

So before we demonize him for his lack of hygiene, lack of morals, and lack of class, allow me to spin an alternative (and admittedly selfish/revenge-driven) perspective on Adam Wheeler. Yes, he lied. Yes, he cheated. Yes, he claims to have achieved that which I ACTUALLY achieved, and his ass actually got in and received SCHOLARSHIP money, yet I was rejected. HOWEVER, I am willing and able to overlook all of that due to my profound respect for his mastery of the craft of using Harvard’s bullshit tactics against them, in order to infiltrate from the inside out, for 3 YEARS, only to horribly embarass them in the end, and to unmask in true Scooby Doo style, the fact that the “nice black lady from the admissions office” is actually a bitter old corner store owner named Mr. Clemens who would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for this damned kid. So rather than unnecessarily stating the obvious that Adam Wheeler is a toolbox that embodies everything that is wrong with the freakshow circus that is the American education system, I will instead tip my cap to him, and offer him a genuine heartfelt THANK YOU for returning the favor on my behalf to an institution whose moral and ethical codes are questionable at best, and criminal at worst.

Adam Wheeler: The Audacity of an Academic Con:

After Harvard discovered the fraud, Wheeler was dismissed from the university in October but still managed to continue defrauding institutions. He applied for an internship to McLean Hospital in Massachusetts in January and tried to get into both Yale and Brown as a transfer student.

The New Republic posted the resume that Wheeler sent to it. Therein, Wheeler asserted co-authorship of four books with Marc Shell, who really is a professor at Harvard.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Did Apple just lose another iPhone?

Either this is the most authentic-looking fourth-generation iPhone fake I've ever seen, or Apple has somehow managed to let yet another new iPhone slip through its fingers.

Vietnamese tech forum Taoviet just posted pictures and video (which I learned of via Engadget) of what looks to be a slightly more refined version of the next-gen iPhone that Gizmodo revealed to the world last month.

There's no way to verify whether the phone in this video is in fact the new iPhone (well, short of a letter from Apple requesting its property back), but it certainly looks like the real deal, from the flat, glossy front and back panels to the new, flat aluminum edges, the front-facing camera, the camera flash in back, and the new microSIM slot, similar to the one on the just-released iPad. Unfortunately, it looks like the handset refuses to boot; instead, all we can see on the display is a picture of a fireball and some apparent debug text in the bottom corner of the screen.

If anything, the apparent fourth-generation, 16GB iPhone in the Taoviet photos looks a little more finished than the one Gizmodo was showing off a few weeks ago, with the pair of screws that had been visible on the bottom edge of Gizmodo's iPhone missing in the most recent pictures.

The Taoviet site (which is slammed by traffic right now, so be patient) also posted teardown photos of the phone, revealing what appears to be a version of Apple's new A4 mobile processor, the same one that powers the iPad.

So how did these enterprising techies manage to nab what appears to be their own fourth-generation iPhone? Well, if an Engadget reader's translation is to be believed, the "unnamed source" who handed over the phone got a cool $4,000 for his trouble, or a thousand bucks less than what Gizmodo paid for its next-gen iPhone.

A couple of observations about this latest iPhone leak, assuming it's authentic: I want this phone. Slim, glossy and now without the unsightly screws on the bottom of the Gizmodo iPhone, it makes for eye candy of the first order, and the front-facing camera can mean only one thing: video chat at last (although how AT&T's 3G network would handle video calls is an open question). A new iPhone this summer would be my fourth in four years, so go ahead, call me a lemming. It's beyond my control.

Observation No. 2: If this is, in fact, a real next-generation iPhone we're looking at here, what the heck is going on with Apple's supposedly airtight security? In past years, Apple has managed to keep most of its high-profile products — particularly its iPhones — almost completely under wraps, but starting with the hapless Apple engineer who left his test iPhone on a Redwood City barstool in March, and now (apparently) this ... well, it looks like the folks in Cupertino are getting a little sloppy. Either that, or it's all part of Apple's evil master plan to whip up interest in the next iPhone (sounds pretty farfetched to me, but hey, anything's possible.)

What do you think? Does this latest "leaked" iPhone look like the real deal to you?

World's Most Weird Structures

These odd, eye-popping structures — in England, China, and elsewhere — are worth a detour.

Between all the bubbly novelties that went up in pre-Olympics Beijing, and Dubai’s feverish invention over the past decade, nothing should surprise us. Except that some buildings still do. And these eccentric edifices, breathtaking in their strangeness, are worth a detour—if only to ginger up your worldview a bit.

Selfridges Department Store

Birmingham, England

The Birmingham branch of Selfridges is a billowy mattress of a building, clad in 15,000 shimmery aluminum discs like that famous Paco Rabanne dress. It was designed by Future Systems—the name tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the firm—to be a landmark and a catalyst for the revitalization of a largely moribund city center. “An ersatz urban cliff, a giant sea anemone, a friendly, blob-like alien, the mother of all magic mushrooms,” wrote Guardian architecture critic Jonathan Glancey. “This is the department store as unalloyed architectural entertainment.”

Step Inside: The interior, with floaty white escalators crisscrossing in an open atrium, looks like a scene from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

The Bar Code Building, St. Petersburg, Russia
Anton Chmelev
The Bar Code Building

St. Petersburg, Russia

Near the banks of the Neva River, this trade complex by Vitruvius & Sons transforms the world’s most ubiquitous symbol of commerce—the bar code—into a powerful architectural motif. It can be read as an update of American-style roadside classics like the giant Dixie Cup water tower of Lexington, KY, or Detroit’s giant Uniroyal Tire. The rust-red steel building brightens an otherwise bleak urban setting.

Strange Trend: There’s also a Barcode House by the Dutch architecture firm MVRDV on the outskirts of Munich, but it’s much more subtle.

Bioscleave House,East Hampton, N.Y.
Eric Striffler/The New York Times/Redux
Bioscleave House

East Hampton, N.Y.

Husband and wife artists Arakawa and Madeline Gins designed this intentionally unsettling house in 2008. With its bumpy, hilly floors and a wildly asymmetrical plan—even the electrical outlets are at weird angles—it’s supposed to stimulate the immune systems of its occupants by keeping them from ever becoming comfortable. This relentless “tentativeness,” the artists believe, is the key to immortality.

Embrace the Strange: This house can be yours. It’s currently offered by Sotheby’s Realty for $4 million.

Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto
Richard Johnson
Ontario College of Art and Design


This crossword puzzle checked box appears, at a distance, to be hovering Close Encounters–style above an otherwise mundane Toronto neighborhood. As you approach, its improbability only increases. British architect Will Alsop planted this collection of galleries and studio spaces on brightly colored columns so insouciantly angled and skinny that they barely look like they can support themselves.

Nearby Oddity: There goes the neighborhood: Daniel Libeskind’s bizarre 2007 crystalline addition to Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum is just a mile away.

Ramot Polin Apartments, Jerusalem, Israel
Israel images/Alamy
Ramot Polin Apartments

Jerusalem, Israel

Polish-born architect Zvi Hecker’s experiment in multi-unit residential construction is not as well known as the Habitat housing Moshe Safdie designed for Expo 67 in Montreal, but at 720 units is much larger. It was also an exercise in using prefabricated components, at least in the first two of its five phases. With its crazy pentagonal design, the Ramot Polin Apartments resemble a housing project for honeybees.

Behind the Scenes: This highly unorthodox complex was commissioned by the Israeli ministry of housing specifically for highly orthodox Jewish families.

Columbus Lighthouse, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
M. Timothy O'Keefe/Alamy
Columbus Lighthouse

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Under construction for some 40 years, and inaugurated in time for the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s initial landing in the New World (which was not on Hispaniola, but in the Bahamas), this monstrously spooky concrete monument, half a mile long and 688 feet tall, reputedly cost the impoverished nation some $70 million to build. The lighthouse contains what are purported to be the explorer’s bones.

Weird Wiring: When the lighthouse projects a cross-shaped beam into the night sky, it’s so bright that not only can it be seen in Puerto Rico, but it drains electrical power from surrounding neighborhoods. It’s not turned on very often.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai, China
Oriental Pearl TV Tower

Shanghai, China

Nothing else on earth quite looks like the Oriental Pearl. It was once the tallest structure on the Pudong side of Shanghai’s Huangpu River until it was overshadowed by the Shanghai World Financial Center in 2007. Designed by Jiang Huan Cheng of the Shanghai Modern Architectural Design Co. and completed in 1995, it stands 1,535 feet tall and is easily the world’s greatest assemblage of habitable disco balls (11!), housing several sightseeing observatories, a revolving restaurant, and a “space hotel.”

Tall Tale: Both Shanghai towers have recently been dwarfed by the 2,001-foot-tall Guangzhou TV and Sightseeing Tower.

Spittelau District Heating Plant, Vienna, Austria
Spittelau District Heating Plant

Vienna, Austria

Highly eccentric painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, fond of bright colors, crooked lines, and overall visual cacophony, designed this garbage-burning heating plant on the Donau Canal to look like Vienna’s answer to the Magic Kingdom. With its crazy quilt façade, decorative columns topped with gold balls, and a pollution-scrubbing smokestack, it suggests a mirage rather than a working piece of urban infrastructure.

Odd Couple: There are two of these oddities. The Maishima Incineration Plant in Osaka, Japan, is an exact replica.

Elbe Philharmonic, Hamburg, Germany
Herzog & de Meuron
Elbe Philharmonic

Hamburg, Germany

What’s really freakish here is the contrast between the new building—a liquidy-looking glass thingamajig—and the old building it uses for its podium: a stolid, workaday 1960s waterfront warehouse. This odd couple, united by the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and scheduled for completion in 2012, will be a new cultural complex for Hamburg’s harbor, featuring a public plaza on the old warehouse roof, a hotel, some apartments, and a wildly biomorphic philharmonic hall.

Odd Trend: This new building atop old building thing is a bona fide trend. See: New York’s Hearst Tower by Foster + Partners.

The Atomium, Brussels, Belgium
The Atomium

Brussels, Belgium

A 1958 World’s Fair leftover, the Atomium is far more eccentric than the 1964 Unisphere in New York or the 1962 Space Needle in Seattle. Conceived by an engineer, André Waterkeyn, it is a gigantic replica of an iron crystal molecule and was intended to symbolize “the peaceful use of atomic energy for scientific purposes.” Five of its nine spheres are accessible to visitors, as is its maze of interconnecting tubes.

Quirky Quote: According to the Atomium website: “The completely steel-clad Atomium is a kind of UFO in the cultural history of Humanity, a mirror turned simultaneously towards the past and the future, comparing our Utopias of yesterday with our dreams for tomorrow.”

For Freddy Adu, Timing is everything

American soccer's million-dollar baby saw his World Cup dream extinguished on Tuesday, a full month before the sport's greatest showpiece has even begun.

Based on how Freddy Adu's career has faltered in recent years, it was no shock that he was left off the United States' preliminary World Cup roster, ensuring him a summer spent in front of a television screen instead of packed stadiums in South Africa.

Yet given the outlandish projections made for Adu in 2003 – when, as a 13-year-old, he was handed a million-dollar endorsement deal with Nike and touted as the future of the national team – the decline has been both sad and dramatic.

By now, according to the experts, Adu was supposed to be one of the best players in the world – the first American to become a global star. Instead, he is floundering in the lowly regarded Greek league, and Tuesday's announcement means U.S. head coach Bob Bradley does not even rate him among this country's 30 best players.

Adu's backstory used to resemble the first few chapters of a fairy tale but is now little more than a cautionary tale against overhyping young phenomena. He emigrated to the States from Ghana as an 8-year-old after his mother won the Green Card lottery, and was quickly spotted in the junior ranks in Maryland.

Observers could barely believe their eyes when witnessing such skills in one so young, and the soccer world soon caught on. Giant Italian club Inter Milan offered him a contract as a 10-year-old. US Soccer chiefs positively salivated at the prospect of a future superstar.

In 2004, Adu made U.S. sports history by becoming the top overall pick in the Major League Soccer draft and making his debut for D.C. United at age 14. In hindsight, such acceleration into the senior ranks smacks of madness. Back then, it was seen as merely the first stepping stone on the path to greatness.

Growing up in the spotlight didn't do Adu much good, with the big contract, big expectations and constant scrutiny weighing heavily on his shoulders.

Since 2006, he has resembled a soccer nomad, bouncing from D.C. to Real Salt Lake and then Benfica, the Portuguese club that retains his rights but has now farmed him out on loan to three separate clubs in three years. Some positive performances for the national team in age-restricted events were interspersed, in the Under 20 World Cup in 2007 and the Beijing Olympics (where most players must be 23 or younger) the following year.

The regular spot on the senior team never came, a decision effectively taken out of the hands of Bradley by Adu's failure to lock down regular playing time for his European clubs.

Back when the draw for the World Cup was made in December, Adu still retained some hope of being selected for Bradley's squad.

"I'm gonna say something right now," he wrote on his Twitter account. "I have never wanted to be a part of something as bad as I wanna be in this World Cup. Work and prayer."

This year's World Cup was earmarked as Adu's time to stamp his mark on the world game. From that time years earlier, when Nike hurled cash in his direction and his future looked golden, there was always an eye on 2010.

The 2006 World Cup was seen as too soon. This one, on the African continent of his birth, was perfect.

In the end, it just wasn't to be. The culmination of that plan did not take place in Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, where the United States will meet England on June 12. It was instead in Adu's club apartment in Thessaloniki, with the announcement of a roster that didn't feature his name. Back to the drawing board.

So where did it all go wrong for Adu? Were the hype and expectations too much to handle? Or was he just never destined for stardom?

"It is difficult when young players do not have enough time to develop, when too much is asked too soon," said Hector Cuper, a well-respected Argentinean coach now in charge of Adu's Greek team, Aris. "Extra time allows for a more well-rounded game. He has ability, we can all see that."

Yet if Adu is ever to ascend to the heights he still dreams of, it will be a grind through the ranks and a constant battle to overturn perception of him as a bust. European soccer is a cutthroat world, and there won't be anything easy about it.

"I want to be one of the best players to play this sport one day," Adu said in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated. "I still have the chance to do that, and I want to work hard to get there."

"Getting there" is no longer a given. Recent signs have been reasonable, with some solid performances for Aris taking him to the brink of the 30-man U.S. squad after he was barely in contention months earlier. However, there is still a long and uncertain way to go.

"Freddy is still young and he will tell you there are things along the way he did right and things he did wrong," Bradley said. "Now he has to take all those things to the situation he is in and show he is continuing to grow."

Adu's Twitter account was silent early Tuesday, perhaps a reflection of the bitter disappointment he must have seen coming.

Freddy Adu is 20 years old and he feels like yesterday's man. Maybe his time will still come, but it won't be this summer.

Ludacris - My Chick Bad Remix ft. Diamond, Trina, Eve

Ludacris - My Chick Bad ft. Nicki Minaj

Justin Bieber - Baby ft. Ludacris

Taio Cruz - Break Your Heart ft. Ludacris

Taio Cruz Ft. Ludacris

Britney Spears & Jason Trawick Call It Quits - Professionally: Tie the Knot

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Britney Spears and agent Jason Trawick have split ways - at least when it comes to work.

The pop star and her agent/boyfriend are no longer mixing business with pleasure.

"[Britney and Jason] have decided to end their professional relationship and focus on their personal relationship," a rep for the Brit said in a statement to Access Hollywood, which was first reported by People.

Britney may no longer have Jason on her professional team, but she's reportedly still hard at work.

"Since wrapping her recent world tour, Spears has been busy in the studio working on her next album," the rep continued.

The duo, who have reportedly been an item since last summer, are apparently in the midst of relationship bliss.

"They are very happy," a source told People. "Things are really good with them."

Starting The "Recovery" Process

Eminem's "Not Afraid," the first single from his upcoming album Recovery, enters the Hot 100 at #1. It's the first song to debut in the top spot since Britney Spears' "3" did it in October. It's only the second rap song ever to debut at #1, following "I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans (featuring 112) in 1997. "Not Afraid" is Eminem's third #1 on the Hot 100, following "Lose Yourself," his Oscar-winning smash from 8 Mile, and "Crack A Bottle," his all-star collaboration with Dr. Dre and 50 Cent.

"Not Afraid" sold 379,000 copies in its first week. That's the biggest weekly sales tally so far this year. Only three songs in digital history have sold more copies in their first week. All were 2009 releases: Flo Rida's "Right Round" (636,000), the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" (465,000) and the aforementioned "Crack A Bottle" (418,000).

"Not Afraid" posted the biggest weekly sales total since Ke$ha's "Tik ToK" rang up sales of 394,000 in the week ending Jan. 3. (That was the final week of the 2009 chart year.)

Recovery, Eminem's sixth studio album, is due for release on June 22. Eminem's last album, Relapse, debuted at #1 in May 2009. It posted first-week sales of 608,000 copies. Only one album, Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream, sold more copies in any one week last year.

"Not Afraid" also enters Hot Digital Songs at #1. It's Eminem's fifth #1 on that list, following "Just Lose It" in 2004, "When I'm Gone" in 2005," "Smack That" in 2006 (an Akon smash on which he was featured) and "Crack A Bottle." ("Lose Yourself" was released in September 2002, nine months before the introduction of the Digital Tracks chart. The anthemic hit has sold 2,702,000 copies.)

The arrival of "Not Afraid" pushes the ebullient "OMG" by Usher featuring down to #2 on Hot Digital Songs. The song sold 213,000 copies this week, bringing its six-week total to 977,000. The song hit #1 on the Hot 100 last week.