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Hackers' Shutdown of 'The Interview' Confirms Coding Is a Superpower

theodp FBI warned theaters of possible cyberattacks (220 comments)

There was a cyberattack threat component, too. FBI warned theaters of possible cyberattacks over 'The Interview': The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation released a warning on Tuesday, advising theaters and other businesses associated with Sony Corp's Hollywood studio's film "The Interview" that they could be targeted in cyberattacks. The private document, which was obtained by Reuters, said that "anyone associated with the production, distribution and promotion" of the film "could possibly become the target of cyberattacks."

2 days ago
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Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

theodp Intro CS Courses Vary by Majors at Large Schools (307 comments)

University of Illinois CS Courses: CS101 (Engineering & Science), CS102 (Non-Tech), CS125 (CS Majors). What seems to be missing is providing slower on-ramps for those who did not have good early training that may be interested in majoring in CS, perhaps one or two courses for no credit, not unlike what CS undergraduate degree holders seeking an MBA would be required to take to catch up on Business/Finance subjects before they can start coursework that counts towards the MBA degree.

about a week ago
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Obama Offers Funding For 50,000 Police Body Cameras

theodp Order 537 more for Congress+Biden+Obama? (262 comments)

The Circle: Meanwhile, the Circle continues to develop a range of sophisticated technologies, including SeeChange, light, portable cameras that can provide real-time video with minimal efforts. Eventually, SeeChange cameras are worn all day long by politicians wishing to be 'transparent', allowing the public to see what they are seeing at all times.

about three weeks ago
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2014 Hour of Code: Do Ends Justify Disney Product Placement Means?

theodp Disney Sued Over Alleged No-Coder-Poaching Accord (125 comments)

Disney, DreamWorks Sued Over Alleged No-Poaching Accord: "Walt Disney Co., DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. and other film industry companies were sued in an antitrust case that may reflect a new wave of litigation applying traditional price-fixing claims to labor markets. Today's lawsuit accusing the California-based companies of colluding to not hire each other's software engineers , digital artists and animators comes as Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. are trying to resolve similar claims after failing to win court approval of a proposed $324.5 million settlement with 64,000 of their technical workers."

about a month ago
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Walt Disney Presents: 'Frozen' Princesses to Star in 2014 Hour of Code

theodp WAPO: 'Frozen' might be everything that's wrong... (1 comments)

'Frozen' might be everything that's wrong with the U.S. economy: "The newer part, experts tell me, is the focus on toys for girls vs. toys for boys. Toy companies have concluded that they can appeal more powerfully to young customers if they appeal to them as boys or girls, rather than as kids. This is a really big trend, it's clearly a commercial success story, but there are some obvious concerns too."

about a month ago
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Education Chief Should Know About PLATO and the History of Online CS Education

theodp Re:$200? (134 comments)

To clarify, Professional Membership PLUS ACM Digital Library: $198 (USD)

about a month ago
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Education Chief Should Know About PLATO and the History of Online CS Education

theodp Re:$200? (134 comments)

You're right. The $200 was based on the suggestion to "supersize" the order up to a full $198 ACM membership, so more than one article could be read. It appears Duncan has the budget for it. :-)

about a month ago
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Education Chief Should Know About PLATO and the History of Online CS Education

theodp Correction: Duncan attended Harvard, not Yale (134 comments)

Oops...Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, after majoring in sociology.

about a month ago
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New Facebook Update Lets You Choose News Feed Content

theodp Reinventing the RSS Wheel (54 comments)

Facebook and Twitter owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to RSS.

about a month and a half ago
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Facebook Wants You To Vote Tuesday

theodp Re:Lucky for Democrats (165 comments)

AARP membership: 37M. Facebook U.S. users: 150M.

about 2 months ago
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Facebook Wants You To Vote Tuesday

theodp Obama's Chief Scientist on Use of Facebook in 2012 (165 comments)

Interview with Rayid Ghani, Chief Scientist Obama 2012 Campaign: Q. How did you use facebook and other social networks as part of modeling? A. We used facebook for a few different purposes: We used facebook to reach young voters who were hard to reach using traditional channels such as phone, direct mail, and door-to-door canvassing. We built models using data from users who authorized our facebook app that allowed us to ask our supporters to contact their friends for specific reasons (voter registration, volunteering, going to vote, etc.). Our hypothesis was that getting their friends to ask them was more effective than us asking them directly by broadcasting on our facebook page. We also used facebook to determine people's interest and send them messages that were relevant to them and hence increase their likelihood of taking action.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Did President Obama Infringe on 1995 Microsoft Patent for Teaching Kids to Code?

theodp theodp writes  |  yesterday

theodp (442580) writes ""Imagine further the difficulty of teaching programming to youngsters eight to twelve years in age," reads Microsoft's patent for its Graphical Programming System and Method for Enabling a Person to Learn Text-Based Programming, which was filed in July, 1995. "Only the most intelligent and motivated of children in this age group are likely to be successful in learning to program computers." Microsoft adds, "The ability to edit or create a program using graphical objects is an important aspect of the present invention, since it enables relatively unskilled programmers such as children to quickly make changes and develop programs, and enables them to grasp simple programming concepts. As will be noted below, a user also has the option and is encouraged to increase his/her understanding of text-based programming as it relates to the graphic program developed using graphic objects, by selectively editing the program in other views or modes that expose the underlying text-based programming steps." Which, some patent trolls might argue, is precisely what President Obama did during last week's Hour of Code, when he progressed from moving Disney Princess Elsa using Google's Blockly to advancing her 100 pixels with JavaScript. Which raises two questions: 1. Could Microsoft sue President Obama and the 80MM-and-counting others who "tried" an Hour of Code for patent infringement? 2. Why didn't Microsoft — who has now declared a national coding talent crisis with other Hour of Code backers — use their patent for teaching kids to code to actually teach kids to code over the last 20 years? By the way, the patent application itself is actually pretty thoughtful, which is not too surprising — fourth-grade kids tutored by one of the listed inventors, Microsoft's Devindra Chainani, wowed none other than MIT's legendary Seymour Papert with their programming chops back in 1993."
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Hackers' Shutdown of 'The Interview' Confirms Coding is a Superpower

theodp theodp writes  |  3 days ago

theodp (442580) writes "The idea of programming as a superpower was touched upon by CS teacher Alfred Thompson back in 2010, but it became a rallying call of sorts for the Hour of Code after Dropbox CEO Drew Houston described coding as "the closest thing we have to a superpower" in a Code.org video that went viral. And if the kids who learned to code with the President last week were dubious about the power of coding, this week's decision by Sony to scrap the release of the satirical film 'The Interview' after a massive hack attack should put aside any doubts, especially after new revelations that Sony had reached out to the White House for help and screened the film for administration officials back in June. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that the Obama Administration is viewing the Sony attack as a 'serious national security matter' and is considering a range of possible options as a response, which could turn things into a contest of U.S. Superpower vs. Coding Superpower. In case it wasn't mentioned last week, remember to always use your coding superpower for good, kids!"
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The Joys and Hype of Hadoop

theodp theodp writes  |  4 days ago

theodp (442580) writes ""Investors have poured over $2 billion into businesses built on Hadoop," writes the WSJ's Elizabeth Dwoskin, "including Hortonworks Inc., which went public last week [HDP], its rivals Cloudera Inc. and MapR Technologies, and a growing list of tiny startups. Yet companies that have tried to use Hadoop have met with frustration." Dwoskin adds that Hadoop vendors are responding with improvements and additions, but for now, "It can take a lot of work to combine data stored in legacy repositories with the data that’s stored in Hadoop. And while Hadoop can be much faster than traditional databases for some purposes, it often isn’t fast enough to respond to queries immediately or to work on incoming information in real time. Satisfying requirements for data security and governance also poses a challenge." So, how does this jibe with the experience of you Big Data practitioners?"
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Microsoft Aims to "Reach Every Individual Girl in Her House" w/CS Toolkit/Course

theodp theodp writes  |  5 days ago

theodp (442580) writes ""CS Principles", explains the intro to a Microsoft Research talk on a new Computer Science Toolkit and Gaming Course, "is a new AP course being piloted across the country and by making it more accessible to students we can help increase diversity in computing." Towards this end, Microsoft has developed "a middle school computing toolkit, and a high school CS Principles & Games course." These two projects were "developed specifically for girls," explains Microsoft, and are part of the corporation's Big Dream Movement for girls (not to be confused with Google's Made With Code initiative), which is partnering with the UN, White House, NSF, EU Commission, and others. To questioners who asked if Microsoft had piloted the courses in schools and how the company would get the word out about the tools, it was indicated that getting the material in the hands of all schoolkids was not really a priority ("our real goal is to reach every individual girl in her house"), and that "UN Women, Girl Scouts, and the Girls Collaborative Project, the White House, and the EU will all be pushing people" to BigDreamMovement.com, a website that complements the Microsoft-underwritten and co-produced film Big Dream, which premiered at the Napa Valley Film Festival in November, was screened in Washington DC and Silicon Valley as part of CS Education Week, and will be rolled out to a wider audience in 2015. According to a document on its website, Microsoft Research's other plans for Bridging the Gender Gap in computing include a partnership with the University of Wisconsin "to create a girls-only computer science Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).""
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Google Suggests Schools Ban Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' from Classrooms

theodp theodp writes  |  about a week ago

theodp (442580) writes "To address the challenge of rapidly increasing CS enrollments and increasing diversity, reports the Computing Education Blog, Google in November put out an RFP to universities for its invite-only 3X in 3 Years: CS Capacity Award program, which aims "to support faculty in finding innovative ways to address the capacity problem in their CS courses." In the linked-to RFP document, Google suggests that "students that have some CS background" should not be allowed to attend in-person intro CS courses where they "may be more likely to create a non-welcoming environment," and recommends that they instead be relegated to online courses. According to a recent NSF press release, this recommendation would largely exclude Asian and White boys from classrooms, which seems to be consistent with a Google-CodeCademy award program that offers $1,000 bonuses to teachers who get 10 or more high school kids to take a JavaScript course, but only counts students from "groups traditionally underrepresented in computer science (girls, or boys who identify as African American, Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native)." The project suggested in the Google RFP — which could be worth $1.5 million over 3 years to a large CS department — seems to embrace-and-extend a practice implemented at Harvey Mudd College years ago under President Maria Klawe, which divided the intro CS offering into separate sections based upon prior programming experience to — as the NY Times put it — reduce the intimidation factor of young men, already seasoned programmers, who dominated the class. Google Director of Education and University Relations Maggie Johnson, whose name appears on the CS Capacity RFP, is also on the Board of Code.org (where Klawe is coincidentally an Advisory Board member), the K-12 learn-to-code nonprofit that has received $3+ million from Google and many millions more from other tech giants and their execs. Earlier this week, Code.org received the blessing of the White House and NSF to train 25,000 teachers to teach CS, stirring unease among some educators concerned about the growing influence of corporations in public schools."
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How Best to Hold Tablets, Phablets, Phones?

theodp theodp writes  |  about a week ago

theodp (442580) writes "A photo of the huge Velcro strap gracing a Microsoft Surface produced for the NFL (not unlike that Wham-O catch game you played with as a kid) illustrates that in the still-nascent world of phones, phablets, and tablets we've yet to stumble upon the best way to hold mobile devices. Might a variant of a Chinese finger trap or Ring Pop help you hold your phone? Do you miss having a slide-out keyboard or long for a fixed Blackberry keyboard (or clip-on knockoff) to grab onto? Is the conventional wisdom of a border-to-border screen with touch-only keyboard best, or might a less sleek-looking device be more practical? So, how do you typically hold your tablet, phablet, or phone?"
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2014 Tutorial that 'Taught President Obama to Code' is Straight Out of 2005

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "A decade ago, Washington University prof Caitlin Kelleher, then a student at CMU, figured out how to make introductory computer science engaging for millions of kids. Too bad nobody's giving her credit for it now. On Monday, President Obama kicked off the U.S. Hour of Code by praising Code.org for its "incredible work" before he sat down and 'learned to code' himself by using this year's flagship Disney-Code.org tutorial to make a princess from the blockbuster Disney hit Frozen ice skate forward 100 pixels. Which looks a lot like, one might argue, a dumbed-down version of a learn-to-code Alice tutorial described in Kelleher's 2006 CMU thesis, which used essentially the same paradigm employed in the Disney-Code.org tutorial to make a 3D ice skater move forward 1 meter. Hey, at least the President was spot-on when he later told girls that guys sometimes get credit for women's earlier pioneering CS work. So, perhaps someone should let the President know that some of the credit billionaire-backed Code.org and Disney are getting for 'making computing cool' should rightfully go to Kelleher, whose game-changing work earned her the highest praise in 2007 from late CMU CS prof Randy Pausch, who called it "the best 'head fake' of all time" as he described the novel Alice Project in his Last Lecture. The NY Times also took note of Kelleher's pioneering work in 2011, and Kelleher received the Innovation Award from the Academy of Science of St. Louis earlier this year."
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Seeking Coders, Tech Titans Turn to K-12 Schools

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "Politico reports on how a tech PR blitz on the importance of coding in K-12 schools has won over President Obama, who's now been dubbed the 'coder-in-chief' after sitting down Monday to 'write' a few lines of computer code with middle school students as part of a PR campaign for the Hour of Code, which has earned bipartisan support in Washington. From the article: The $30 million campaign to promote computer science education has been financed by the tech industry, led by Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, with corporate contributions from Microsoft, Google, Amazon and other giants. It’s been a smash success: So many students opened up a free coding tutorial on Monday that the host website crashed. But the campaign has also stirred unease from some educators concerned about the growing influence of corporations in public schools. And it’s raised questions about the motives of tech companies, which are sounding an alarm about the lack of computer training in American schools even as they lobby Congress for more H-1B visas to bring in foreign programmers. Much of the marketing for the campaign, run by the nonprofit Code.org, explicitly touts the need to train more employees for the industry. “Nowhere else in education do we start by saying ‘We have a need for this in the K-5 curriculum because there are good industry jobs at Google,’” said Joanna Goode, an associate professor at the University of Oregon who works on computer science education. “I’m not doing this work to train Google employees.” Such skepticism hasn’t slowed the industry’s momentum. Founded just last year, Code.org created three introductory programming courses for students in elementary and middle school in a matter of months. The curriculum has not been formally tested — but already, about 60,000 classrooms nationwide already have committed to using it. The group is also promoting two courses for high school students that were developed before Code.org was formed, under grants from the National Science Foundation. The NSF had been rolling the courses out slowly to research their effectiveness. Now, with NSF’s blessing, Code.org is racing full-speed ahead: Industry funds will be used to train 25,000 teachers in 60 public school districts from New York to Los Angeles."
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Obama Administration Counting on Wealthy to Train 35,000 K-12 CS Teachers

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "On the first day of Computer Science Education Week 2014, the Obama Administration announced that it was relying on over $20 million in philanthropic contributions to train 35,000 teachers to teach computer science by Fall 2016. A separate White House Fact Sheet notes that the Administration is counting on the generosity of deep-pocketed Code.org backers Google, Microsoft, the Omidyar Network, Salesforce.com, Ballmer Family Giving, John and Anne Doerr, Bill Gates, Reid Hoffman, Drew Houston, Sean Parker, Ali and Hadi Partovi, Diane Tang and Ben Smith, and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Later in the day, the President joined middle schoolers to celebrate the nation's Hour of Code, working through a new Disney Blockly tutorial exercise featuring Frozen princesses Elsa and Anna (WH video) before moving on to advance Elsa 100 pixels with one line of Javascript. "We have a Coding President!" declared new U.S. CTO and former Google VP Megan Smith. In the past, the President told the kids, women sometimes did groundbreaking CS work, but weren't given the credit. Hey, kind of like how Disney is taking the credit for coming up with a way to 'make computing cool' for millions of kids and teaching the President to code with its 2014 ice-skating themed learn-to-code tutorial, while Caitlin Kelleher gets no mention for a groundbreaking, similarly-themed circa-2005 tutorial she constructed as a student for the Alice Project, right? If it's any consolation, Kelleher at least earned the highest praise from her PhD adviser, the late Randy Pausch, in The Last Lecture."
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Should Disney Credit the Late Randy Pausch for its Hour of Code Tutorial?

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "Tens of millions of kids across the nation will take to school computers this week to participate in the 2014 Hour of Code. In this year's signature tutorial, kids will be introduced to coding concepts through exercises like using Google's Blockly to make Disney Frozen Princess Anna ice skate in a square. If this strikes you as familiar, it could be that you've seen this Disney movie before. In The Last Lecture, the late CMU CS professor Randy Pausch displays a programmable cartoon ice skater from an Alice Project tutorial as he explains how the project's novel approach to programming could stealthily teach tens of millions of kids to code (YouTube) [by making characters skate in a square, for example]. "To the extent that you can live on in something," said Pausch, "I will live on in Alice." He added, "I, like Moses, get to see the promised land, but I won’t get to set foot in it. And that’s OK, because I can see it. And the vision is clear. Millions of kids having fun while learning something hard. That’s pretty cool. I can deal with that as a legacy." So considering the similarities, and that Pausch spent sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering (Disney even sells The Last Lecture ), isn't it kind of surprising that neither Disney nor Code.org mentioned Pausch or Alice in their announcements of the flagship Hour of Code tutorial? Is this a case of the left Disney hand not knowing what the right is doing?"
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2014 Hour of Code Frozen Tutorial: Disney Remake of CMU's 2005 Alice Ice Skater?

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "Thanks to the backing of some of tech's wealthiest corporations and individuals, tens of millions of kids across the nation will take to school computers next week to participate in the 2014 Hour of Code. In this year's signature tutorial, kids will be introduced to some basic computer science concepts for the first time by using Google's Blockly to advance Disney Frozen Princess Anna a specified number of units, turning her 90 degrees, and repeating the steps 4 times to skate in a square. While neither Disney nor Code.org mentioned it in their announcements, their 2014 Hour of Code tutorial looks very similar to a circa-2005 ice-skater based learn-to-code tutorial from the Alice software research group at CMU that was once led by the late Randy Pausch (Pausch mentions the Alice project in The Last Lecture). A quick Google search even turns up a 2009 Alice homework assignment that asks kids to make their animated 3D ice skater skate in a square. Commenting on Duke's recent CS 201 cheating scandal, CS Prof Owen Astrachan (coincidentally, a Code.org advisor) noted that there is a fine line between collaboration and cheating in computer science. So, could the flagship tutorial for this year's Hour of Code — touted as 'the largest learning event in history' by its organizers — be one of those cases?"
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All I Really Need to Know About Coding I Learned in Monopoly

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "Thanks to the backing of some of tech's wealthiest corporations and individuals, tens of millions of kids across the nation will take to school computers with high-speed internet connections next week to participate in the 2014 Hour of Code. In this year's signature tutorial, kids will be exposed to important computer science concepts for the first time by advancing Disney Frozen Princess Anna a specified number of units, turning her 90 degrees, and repeating the steps 4 times to skate in a square. Yep, kind of like what one might learn by playing the board game Monopoly, which also exposes one to other coding concepts like IF and GOTO statements! By the way, while neither Disney nor Code.org mentioned it in their announcements, their 2014 Hour of Code tutorial looks like it has roots in a circa-2005 ice-skater based learn-to-code tutorial (associated skate-in-a-square HW assignment) from the Alice software research group that was once led by the late Randy Pausch."
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Google, National Parks Partner to Let Girls Program White House Xmas Tree Lights

theodp theodp writes  |  about three weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "The Washington Post reports the White House holiday decor is going digital this year, with dog-bots and crowdsourced tree lights. "Thanks to Google's Made with Code initiative," reports a National Park Foundation press release, "girls across the country will experience the beauty of code by lighting up holiday trees in President’s Park, one of America’s 401 national parks and home to the White House." Beginning on December 2, explains the press release, girls can head over to Google's madewithcode.com (launched last June by U.S. CTO Megan Smith, then a Google X VP), to code a design for one of the 56 state and territory trees. Girls can select the shape, size, and color of the lights, and animate different patterns using introductory programming language and their designs will appear live on the trees. "Made with Code is a fun and easy way for millions of girls to try introductory code and see Computer Science as a foundation for their futures. We're thrilled that this holiday season families across the country will be able to try their hands at a fun programming project," said former Rep. Susan Molinari, who now heads Google's lobbying and policy office in Washington, DC."
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'94 Harvard Crimson: Require CS or Grads of 'Much Shittier Schools' Get Jobs

theodp theodp writes  |  about three weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "Produced by Code.org, Computer Science Education Week kicks off on Dec. 8th, which its organizers explain is all about extending CS beyond 'the lucky few'. It's quite a pivot from more than 20 years ago, when the Harvard Crimson reported on a call from a Code.org co-founder for mandatory CS coursework to essentially extend Computer Science to 'the lucky few' in an effort to prevent people from 'much shittier schools' than Harvard from getting hired for computer-related jobs. From the 1994 Crimson article: "It would not be bad if there was some sort of simple math or science or statistic or computer science course required," says Ali Partovi '94. "It is really going to be a big thing in the future. People from much shittier schools will get jobs because they know more about computers." It's nice to see things are pivoting towards computer-science-for-all — heck, Codecademy notes that Asian and White boys are now the only students Google says don't count towards the $1,000 funding bonuses Google's offering to public school teachers who get 10 students to take a JavaScript course!"
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A Programmer's Life

theodp theodp writes  |  about three weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "If you're a programmer who's put a few miles on your life, be sure to check out Stephen Hazel's Bout Steve which may just be the most poignant 'About Me' you'll ever read. Tucked away behind his PianoCheetah piano practice software website, Hazel covers the ups and downs of his journey from being born into a family headed by a manic depressive missionary father to his current life as a (young) grandfather, and he frames it all within the context of an illustrated timeline of family, music, electronics, computers, and software. This is Parenthood for the Slashdot set, kids!"
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Codecademy: Google Bonus for Getting Kids to Code Excludes Asian/White Boys

theodp theodp writes  |  about three weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "The Good News, according to a recently revised web page at Codecademy, is that Google will no longer only provide funding for teachers who convince high school girls to take a JavaScript course. The Bad News, however, is that under the revised deal described by Codecademy, Google will now provide public school teachers with bonus funding for getting all HS students to learn to code — except Asian and White boys. "Thanks to Google," reads Codecademy's new copy (old/new screenshots), "students like you at U.S. public high schools who complete this 12-hour JavaScript curriculum will receive a $100 DonorsChoose.org gift code to put toward awesome resources for your classroom. If your teacher helps 10 or more students from groups traditionally underrepresented in computer science (girls, or boys who identify as African American, Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native) complete the course, they’ll earn an additional $1,000 DonorsChoose.org classroom funding credit." To those who would ask, "Why is the bonus funding specifically geared for girls and students of color?," Codecademy points to Google's Diversity Page, suggesting that today's Asian/White boys are paying the price for Google's past hiring sins. Coincidentally the move comes as Harvard faces a new lawsuit filed on behalf of Asian-American applicants for engaging in racial "balancing." In a recent Talks at Google video, Google gave its employees an update on how Google.org is working behind the scenes on K-12 experiments with partners like Codecademy, DonorsChoose, Code.org, Equal Opportunity Schools, and CollegeBoard, including data mining kids' PSAT test scores to cherry pick students of high potential to help determine which under-served schools will get AP STEM funding."
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Tech Companies Stoking Fears of Talent Shortage to Get Cheaper Labor?

theodp theodp writes  |  about a month ago

theodp (442580) writes "Things subject to the Tinkerbell effect, explains Wikipedia, exist only so long as we believe in them. Need a real-life example? Well, while President Obama believed it was necessary to take executive action to expand the controversial OPT STEM visa work program (his wealthy dining companions are still hungry for something more), Businessweek is reporting that The Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist. “There’s no evidence of any way, shape, or form that there’s a shortage in the conventional sense,” says Hal Salzman, a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers. So, why then would Tech Companies Stoke Fears of a Talent Shortage? “It seems pretty clear that the industry just wants lower-cost labor,” argues Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “We don’t dispute the fact at all that Facebook and Microsoft would like to have more, cheaper workers,” adds Daniel Kuehn, a research associate at the Urban Institute. “But that doesn’t constitute a shortage.” Asked what evidence existed of a labor shortage, a spokesperson for Facebook e-mailed a one-sentence statement: “We look forward to hearing more specifics about the President’s plan and how it will impact the skills gap that threatens the competitiveness of the tech sector.”"
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Back to School: Steve Ballmer's Guest Lecture at Harvard's CS50

theodp theodp writes  |  about a month ago

theodp (442580) writes "GeekWire looks at the 'game film' from ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's guest lecture at Harvard's CS50, in which Harvard alum Ballmer touched on a wide variety of topics, including the LA Clippers ("500 times less complicated than Microsoft"), how his career started at Microsoft (BillG convinced him to drop out of Stanford Business School), his views on Net Neutrality, his favorite products ("Surface Pro 3 in modern days and Windows 1.0 in historic days"), and his 15-year-old's biggest concern about Dad leaving Microsoft (no more early access to new Halo releases). Ballmer was fairly subdued in the lecture and Q&A, but couldn't resist cranking it up to 11 for a CS50 intro. Ballmer, who was an applied math and economics major at Harvard, was visiting his alma mater to drop off a $60 million check to beef up Harvard's Computer Science faculty."
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2014 Hour of Code: Do Ends Justify Disney Product Placement Means?

theodp theodp writes  |  about a month ago

theodp (442580) writes ""The purpose of product placement/product integration/branded entertainment," explains Disney in a job posting, "is to give a brand exposure outside of their traditional media buy." So, one imagines the folks in Disney Marketing must be thrilled that Disney Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa will be featured in the 'signature tutorial' for CSEdWeek's 2014 Hour of Code, which aims to introduce CS to 100 million schoolkids — including a sizable captive audience — in the weeks before Christmas. "Thanks to Disney Interactive," announced Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi, "Code.org’s signature tutorial for the 2014 Hour of Code features Disney Infinity versions of Disney’s 'Frozen' heroines Anna and Elsa!." Partovi adds, "The girl-power theme of the tutorial is a continuation of our efforts to expand diversity in computer science and broaden female participation in the field, starting with younger students." In the tutorial, reports the LA Times, "students will learn to write code to help Anna and Elsa draw snowflakes and snowmen, and perform magical 'ice craft.' Disney is also donating $100,000 to support Code.org’s efforts to bring computer science education to after-school programs nationwide.""
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Would She-Ra Have Been a Better Choice for CSEdWeek Than Disney's Anna and Elsa?

theodp theodp writes  |  about a month ago

theodp (442580) writes "While the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) emphasizes the importance of gender neutrality, this year's CSEdWeek will feature Disney Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa in Code.org's signature tutorial for the 2014 Hour of Code event, which aims to introduce CS to 100 million schoolkids. Code.org maintains that Anna and Elsa are princesses-for-all-genders, even though the Disney Store and Washington Post suggest otherwise. So, if you were picking a Princess to teach girls and boys to code, wouldn't She-Ra: Princess of Power (YouTube) have broader cross-gender appeal?"

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