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Back to school advice for STEM students

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes | 1 hour ago

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StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Labor Day is this coming Monday, and that means the new school year is about to start. Whether you are or whether you know a young person, say in middle-or-high school, you’re likely very close to someone facing a lot of uncertainty about not only their future, but about their present. Who can be expected to know exactly what they want to do and exactly how to get the most out of it when they’re only a teenager? Yet that’s what we expect most students to do. For students that are interested in STEM — science, technology, education and mathematics — the pressure is even greater. So what advice should you give them? Here’s a great start, from someone who’s been there and who’s helped a generation of kids go through it!"

Australian consumer watchdog takes Valve to court

angry tapir (1463043) writes | 3 hours ago

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angry tapir (1463043) writes "The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a government funded watchdog organisation, is taking Valve to court. The court action relates to Valve's Steam distribution service. According to ACCC allegations, Valve misled Australian consumers about their rights under Australian law by saying that customers were not entitled to refunds for games under any circumstances."
Link to Original Source

MIPS Tempts Hackers with Raspbery Pi-like Dev Board

DeviceGuru (1136715) writes | 3 hours ago

1

DeviceGuru (1136715) writes "In a bid to harness the energy and enthusiasm swirling around today’s open, hackable single board computers, Imagination Technologies, licensor of the MIPS ISA, has unveiled the Creator C120 development board, the ISA's counter to ARM's popular Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black SBCs. The MIPS dev board is based on a 1.2GHz dual-core MIPS32 system-on-chip and has 1GB RAM and 8GB flash, and there's also an SD card slot for expansion. Ports include video, audio, Ethernet, both WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, and a bunch more. OS images are already available for Debian 7, Gentoo, Yocto, and Arch Linux, and Android v4.4 is expected to be available soon. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the board is that there's no pricing listed yet, because the company is starting out by giving the boards away free to developers who submit the most interesting projects."
Link to Original Source

How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

Rick Zeman (15628) writes | 4 hours ago

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Rick Zeman (15628) writes "The Center for Public Integrity has a comprehensive article showing how Big Telecom (aka, AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Time Warner) use lobbyists, paid-for politicians, and lawsuits (both actual and the threat thereof) in their efforts to kill municipal broadband. From the article: "The companies have also used traditional campaign tactics such as newspaper ads, push polls, direct mail and door-to-door canvassing to block municipal networks. And they’ve tried to undermine the appetite for municipal broadband by paying for research from think tanks and front groups to portray the networks as unreliable and costly. " Unfortunately, those think tanks and front groups are also paid for by the companies."

Microsoft Ships Replacement Patch With Two Known Bugs

snydeq (1272828) writes | 4 hours ago

1

snydeq (1272828) writes "Microsoft has re-released its botched MS14-045/KB 2982791 'Blue Screen 0x50' patch, only to introduce more problems, InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard reports. 'Even by Microsoft standards, this month's botched Black Tuesday Windows 7/8/8.1 MS14-045 patch hit a new low. The original patch (KB 2982791) is now officially "expired" and a completely different patch (KB 2993651) offered in its stead; there are barely documented revelations of new problems with old patches; patches that have disappeared; a "strong" recommendation to manually uninstall a patch that went out via Automatic Update for several days; and an infuriating official explanation that raises serious doubts about Microsoft's ability to support Windows 9's expected rapid update pace.'"

IBM opens up its Watson supercomputer to researchers

Anonymous Coward writes | 5 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "IBM has announced the "Watson Discovery Advisor" a cloud-based tool that will let researchers comb through massive troves of data, looking for insights and connections. The company says it's a major expansion in capabilities for the Watson Group, which IBM seeded with a $1 billion investment. "Scientific discovery takes us to a different level as a learning system," said Steve Gold, vice president of the Watson Group. "Watson can provide insights into the information independent of the question. The ability to connect the dots opens up a new world of possibilities.""

The downside of police having cameras

Presto Vivace (882157) writes | 6 hours ago

3

Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Why do we object to people wearing Google Glass but call for police to be equiped with cameras? True wearing a camera would make it more difficult for officers to lie (unless the camera accidentaly breaks). But just as Google Glass picks up everything — so would a police offier's camera. Do we want that?"

Magnetic stimulation boosts memory in people

sciencehabit (1205606) writes | 7 hours ago

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sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Our memories are annoyingly glitchy. Names, dates, birthdays, and the locations of car keys fall through the cracks, losses that accelerate at an alarming pace with age and in neurodegenerative diseases. Now, by applying electromagnetic pulses through the skull to carefully targeted brain regions, researchers have found a way to boost memory performance in healthy people. The new study sheds light on the neural networks that support memories and may lead to therapies for people with memory deficits, researchers say."
Link to Original Source

Drought Inspires a Boom in Pseudoscience, From Rain Machines to 'Water Witches'

merbs (2708203) writes | 7 hours ago

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merbs (2708203) writes "Across drought-stricken California, farmers are desperate for water. So many of them are calling dowsers. These 'water witches', draped in dubious pseudoscience or self-assembled mythologies—or both—typically use divining rods and some sort of practiced intuition to "find" water. The professional variety do so for a fee. And business is booming. They're just part of a storied tradition of pseudoscientific hucksters exploiting our thirst for water, with everything from cloudbusters to rainmachines to New Age rituals."

Slashdot Was Right: That Bricked-Prosthetic-Hand Story Was False

willoremus (3803309) writes | 8 hours ago

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willoremus (3803309) writes "A wounded Army vet had his $75k prosthetic hand bricked when someone stole his iPod Touch? Yeah, not so much. I'm a tech reporter for Slate.com, and a Slashdot post earlier this week prompted me to look into this story and ultimately debunk some of the key info. Sorry for self-posting, but I thought folks here might be interested in the truth since the false story was one of the top posts earlier this week."
Link to Original Source

Why women have no time for Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes | 9 hours ago

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Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "Wikipedia is well known to have a very large gender imbalance, with survey-based estimates of women contributors ranging from 8.5% to around 16%. This is a more extreme gender imbalance than even that of Reddit, the most male-dominated major social media platform, and it has a palpable effect on Wikipedia content. Moreover, Wikipedia editor survey data indicate that only 1 in 50 respondents is a mother – a good proportion of female contributors are in fact minors, with women in their twenties less likely to contribute to Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation efforts to address this "gender gap" have so far remained fruitless. Wikipedia’s demographic pattern stands in marked contrast to female-dominated social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, where women aged 18 to 34 are particularly strongly represented. It indicates that it isn’t lack of time or family commitments that keep women from contributing to Wikipedia – women simply find other sites more attractive. Wikipedia’s user interface and its culture of anonymity may be among the factors leading women to spend their online time elsewhere."

Russia is Trolling Finnish Airspace

Anonymous Coward writes | 10 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Possibly because of the somewhat stressful world politics situation, Russia seems to have an increased interest to troll Finnish airspace to see what the responses are. Thursday's incident was the third in less than a week, following two in late May. Earlier, Defence Minister Carl Haglund said that it was "very difficult to see how this could be a coincidence" and that the events are "unacceptable". Today foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja agreed but declined to speculate further about the incident before full information becomes available. "After that, the question is whether there are characteristics that warrant making direct contact on the political level," he explains. "From the standpoint of aviation safety, of course all of these kinds of violations are serious questions, and if there are these kinds of characteristics, then aviation authorities will also have to hold discussions on them," adds Tuomioja. The normal procedure is that the Finnish Border Guard carries out a preliminary investigation before the Russian Embassy is contacted."
Link to Original Source

Brian Stevens Resigns as Red Hat CTO to pursue New Opportunity

darthcamaro (735685) writes | 11 hours ago

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darthcamaro (735685) writes "Since November of 2001, Brian Stevens has been the CTO of Red Hat but as of August 28 that's no longer the case. Under Stevens' tenure, Red Hat transformed its business, adding Red Hat Enterprise Linux, acquiring JBoss, Qumranet, Gluster and Ceph as well as joining (and now leading) the OpenStack Foundation. So why did he leave? No official word, but apparently it is to purse a new opportunity that Stevens just could not pass up."
Link to Original Source

How the World's Fastest Electric Car Is Pushing Wireless Charging Tech

Anonymous Coward writes | 11 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "With the first ever season of Formula E revving up in China next month, it's clear there’s more to electric cars than Tesla. But the race cars hitting the track in Beijing don’t have anything on the speed of Drayson Racing Technology's Lola B12 69/EV, which holds the record for the world’s fastest lightweight electric car, and which uses the kind of power technologies that could one day have applications off the track too—like charging your phone wirelessly."

Canada tops list of most science-literate countries

Anonymous Coward writes | 12 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "A recent survey of scientific education and attitudes showed the Canadian population to have the highest level of scientific literacy in the world, as well as the fewest reservations about the direction of scientific progress (full report). A key factor is a high level of scientific knowledge among the general population (despite comparatively low numbers of people employed in STEM fields). Another is a higher level of comfort with choosing rationality over religious belief — only 25% of Canadians surveyed agreed with the statement "We depend too much on science and not enough on faith", as opposed to 55% in the U.S. and 38% in the E.U.

I also wonder if the vaunted Canadian healthcare system plays a role. When advances in medical science are something you automatically expect to benefit from personally if you need them, they look a lot better than when you have to scramble just to cover your bills for what we have now."

Link to Original Source

PHP 5.6.0 Released

Anonymous Coward writes | 12 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "The PHP team has announced the release of PHP 5.6.0. New features include constant scalar expressions, exponentiation using the ** operator, function and constant importing with the use keyword, support for file uploads larger than 2 GB, and phpdbg as an interactive integrated debugger SAPI. The team also notes important changes affecting compatibility. For example: "Array keys won't be overwritten when defining an array as a property of a class via an array literal," json_decode() is now more strict at parsing JSON syntax, and GMP resources are now objects. Here is the migration guide, the full change log, and the downloads page."
Link to Original Source

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