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Education

NYC To Release Teacher Evaluation Data Over Union Protests 557

Posted by Soulskill
from the modelling-hopelessly-complex-behavior dept.
langelgjm writes "Bringing a lengthy legal battle to a close, New York City's Department of Education will today release detailed evaluation reports on individual English and math teachers as a result of a request under public information laws. The city's teachers union has responded with full page ads (PDF) decrying the methodology used in the evaluations. The court's decision attempts to balance the public interest in this data against the rights of individual teachers. Across the country, a large number of states are moving to evaluate teachers based on student performance in an attempt to raise student achievement in the U.S."
Firefox

Mozilla Partners Up With LG To Combat Apple and Google 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the competition-is-a-good-thing dept.
MrSeb writes "At Mobile World Congress, which begins in three days, Mozilla will finally take the wraps off the Mozilla Marketplace and allow developers to submit their open web technology (HTML5, JavaScript, CSS) apps. While the Marketplace will play an important role in keeping Firefox in step with Chrome, these apps will actually play a far more important role: Boot to Gecko (B2G), Mozilla's upcoming smartphone and tablet OS, will also use the Marketplace. For B2G to succeed it must have apps, and to create apps you need developers. That's why, at MWC, according to a source close to the matter, Mozilla will also be announcing that it has partnered up with LG to make a developer-oriented B2G-powered mobile device. Even more interestingly, Brendan Eich, Mozilla's Chief Technology Officer, says that it will unveil other partners at MWC as well — probably carriers, who are eager to use the open B2G and its Marketplace to escape the huge control that Apple and Google currently exert in the smartphone space."
Medicine

Vaccine Could Cut Heroin Addiction 382

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-make-one-for-nicotine dept.
JumperCable writes "Scientists at Mexico's National Institute of Psychiatry are working on a vaccine that makes the body resistant to the effects of heroin, so users would no longer get a rush of pleasure. The researchers say they have successfully tested the vaccine on mice and are preparing to test it on humans. Mice given the vaccine showed a huge drop in heroin consumption. 'It would be a vaccine for people who are serious addicts, who have not had success with other treatments and decide to use this application to get away from drugs.'"
Crime

US Appeals Court Upholds Suspect's Right To Refuse Decryption 358

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-vulnerable-to-$5-wrench-decryption dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has found that forcing a suspect to decrypt his hard drive when the government did not already know what it contained would violate his 5th Amendment rights. According to Orin Kerr of the Volohk Conspiracy, 'the court's analysis (PDF) isn't inconsistent with Boucher and Fricosu, the two district court cases on 5th Amendment limits on decryption. In both of those prior cases, the district courts merely held on the facts of the case that the testimony was a foregone conclusion.'"
Television

The Best Streaming Media Player 217

Posted by samzenpus
from the line-em-up dept.
DeviceGuru writes "It's looking like 2012 will be a watershed year for cord-cutters wanting to replace expensive cable TV services with low-cost gadgets that stream movies and TV shows from the Internet via free, subscription, and pay-per-view services. Accordingly, this DeviceGuru smackdown pits five popular streaming media player devices against each other. The smackdown compares Roku, Google TV, Apple TV, the Boxee Box, and Netgear's NeoTV, tabulating their key features, functions, specs, supported multimedia formats, and other characteristics, and listing the main advantages and disadvantages of each device. Then, it provides a summary chart that attempts to quantify the whole thing, so you (theoretically) can pick the best one based on what characteristics are most important to you. Of course, the market's evolving so quickly that the entire process will need to be redone in 6 months, but what else is new."
Movies

Should There Be a Sci-Fi Category At the Oscars? 309

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-alien-category dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In this chat with the originator of the light-saber in Star Wars and the Nostromo in Alien, director Roger Christian argues that the Academy Awards needs a special category for 'best science-fiction film.' It's a thorny subject, since such a new category would inevitably either get lumped in with fantasy/horror or further 'ghetto-ise' the genre. But with 2001 and Avatar snubbed for best picture, among many others over the years, does ANY sci-fi film ever have a shot at Best Picture?"
Power

Nordic Nations Pitch For US Data Centers 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the troll-protected dept.
judgecorp writes "Nordic nations are all pitching for business from data centre owners, based on their countries' excellent network provision, plentiful electricity from renewable sources, and a climate where servers can be kept cool cheaply, using the ambient air temperature, with no need for chillers. A Swedish delegation is visiting California to lure other players to follow Facebook into Sweden. Meanwhile, Iceland now has a new multi-tenant data centre to join the existing Thor site, and Denmark has a container-park data centre for its financial industry."
Australia

Australian Govt Re-Kindles Office File Format War 119

Posted by samzenpus
from the list-of-reasons dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Australian Government's peak IT strategy group has issued a cautious updated appraisal of currently available office productivity suite file formats, in what appears to be an attempt to more fully explain its thinking about the merits of open standards such as OpenDocument versus more proprietary file formats promulgated by vendors like Microsoft."
The Internet

Comparing Today's Computers To 1995's 461

Posted by samzenpus
from the pentium-80-how-I-miss-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A look back at two articles from 1995, touting high end computers and 'must haves.' How times have changed... ...'Memory (RAM): We seem to have convinced most manufacturers to adopt eight megabytes as standard, compared with four megabytes in 1994. Don't buy less than eight. The difference in performance between an eight megabyte machine and a four-megabyte machine can be dramatic.'"
Crime

Children Used To Steal Parents' Data 126

Posted by samzenpus
from the virtual-fagin dept.
Barence writes "PC Pro's Davey Winder has revealed how pre-school children are being targeted by data thieves. Security vendors have uncovered a bunch of Flash-based games, colorful and attractive to young kids, which came complete with a remote access trojan. The trojan is usually installed behind a button to download more free games, but BitDefender even found one painting application where the very act of swiping the paintbrush over an online pet to change the color of the virtual animal was enough to trigger redirection to an infected site."
Biotech

"Open Source" Drug Development Company Launched 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the wisdom-of-the-drugged-crowd dept.
First time accepted submitter awjourn writes "During his years working in pharma R&D, Tomasz Sablinski was frustrated by the industry's need for secrecy and its utter inability to design patient-friendly drug trials. So he founded Transparency Life Sciences, a company that's developing three drugs based on input from patients and physicians, who log onto the company's site and voice their opinions about how drugs should be designed and tested."
Movies

Submitting "Nuking the Fridge" To Scientific Peer Review 284

Posted by samzenpus
from the leave-Indiana-alone dept.
An anonymous reader writes "George Lucas claims there was 'a 50/50 chance' Indiana Jones could survive the atomic blast in Legend of the Crystal Skull by hiding inside a refrigerator. Dr. David Shechner subjects this claim to rigorous peer review, and his findings are not good news for people looking to hide from nukes in appliances."
Earth

Remote-Controlled Planes Used For Wildlife Conservation 48

Posted by samzenpus
from the conservation-on-a-budget dept.
Damien1972 writes "Conservationists have converted a remote-controlled plane into a potent tool for conservation. The drone — an HK Bixler equipped with cameras, sensors and GPS — has been used to map deforestation, count orangutans and elephants, and get a bird's eye view of hard-to-access forest areas. During their 4 days of testing in Sumatra, the drone flew 30 missions without a single crash. A mission, which typically lasts about 25 minutes, can cover 50 hectares. The drone, full equipped, costs less than $2,000."
Medicine

Brain Scan Can Detect Autism In Infants 166

Posted by samzenpus
from the early-check dept.
kkleiner writes "A new study shows that brain scans can detect autism in children as young as 6 months old. Researchers at University of North Carolina's Institute for Developmental Disabilities imaged the brains of 92 children who were at high risk for autism. Scans were performed when the children were 6 months, 1-year, and 2-years old. At 2 years, the age when children are typically diagnosed, 30 percent of the children were found to have autism. The researchers then compared the brain images of the autistic children with the others. They saw differences in the brain's white matter, the axon-laden pathways that transmit electrical signals to distant parts of the brain. Of the 15 pathways analyzed, 12 were significantly different between autistic and non-autistic children."
The Internet

MIT Lecturer Defends His Standing As Email Inventor 249

Posted by timothy
from the for-some-values-of-invented dept.
hapworth writes "IT professionals were recently outraged to hear that the Smithsonian acquired some code from MIT lecturer VA Shiva Ayyadurai who has convinced no less august pubs than Time Magazine and The Washington Post that he invented email. While objectors howl on forums and message boards, VA Shiva Ayyadurai spoke up today to defend his standing as email's creator, claiming he doesn't regret not patenting it because he doesn't believe in software patents."

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