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Submission + - Columbia University study slams traditional online classes

lpress writes: "A Columbia University study of the efficacy of "traditional online classes" concluded that “the online format had a significantly negative relationship with both course persistence and course grade, indicating that the typical student had difficulty adapting to online courses.”

A review of the study reports that online results were poor across the board, but there the results were not homogeneous. For example “males, Black students, and students with lower levels of academic preparation experienced significantly stronger negative coefficients for online learning compared with their counterparts". Some courses — social science and professional school classes — also fared poorly online.

The study concludes with four policy recommendations to cope with the problems they found, but only one — wholesale improvement of courses seems viable and we may be learning how to do that in MOOCs."

Submission + - HTC Required by FTC Patch Vulnerabilities on Smartphones and Tablets (

haberb writes: "I always thought my HTC phones were of average or above average quality, and certainly no less secure than an vanilla android install, but it turns out someone was still not impressed.

Mobile device manufacturer HTC America has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the company failed to take reasonable steps to secure the software it developed for its smartphones and tablet computers, introducing security flaws that placed sensitive information about millions of consumers at risk.

Perhaps this will push HTC to release some of the ICS upgrades they promised a few months ago but never delivered, or perhaps the reason they fell through in the first place?"


Submission + - Growing Public Unrest Leads China to Admit to "Cancer Villages" ( 1


Submission + - The Internet Archive to Pay Salaries in Bitcoin, Requests Donations (

hypnosec writes: Bitcoin is gaining popularity among mainstream sites lately and the latest to adopt the digital currency as a medium of donations and payments is the Internet Archive. Ready to accept donation in the form of Bitcoin, the Internet Archive announced that it wants to do so to pay some part of employees’ salaries, if they choose to, in Bitcoin. The Archive, known for its storage of digital documents especially the previous version of webpages, is looking to start part salary payments in Bitcoin by April 2013 if everything goes well.

Submission + - New GPU Testing Methodology Puts Multi-GPU Solutions in Question (

Vigile writes: A big shift in the way graphics cards and gaming performance are tested has been occurring over the last few months with many review sites now using frame times rather than just average frame rates to compare products. Another unique testing methodology called Frame Rating has been started by PC Perspective that uses video capture equipment capable of recording uncompressed high resolution output direct from the graphics card, a colored bar overlay system and post-processing on that recorded video to evaluate performance as it is seen by the end user. The benefit is that there is literally no software interference between the data points and what the user sees making it is as close to an "experience metric" as any developed. Interestingly, multi-GPU solutions like SLI and CrossFire have VERY different results when viewed in this light, with AMD's offering clearly presenting a poorer, and more stuttery, animation.

Submission + - Apple now working with the NYPD to curb iPhone thefts ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Back in late 2012, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attributed the increase in statistical city-wide crime to Apple, noting that thieves had a propensity to target folks using iPhones and iPads. As an illustration of the problem, there were 3,890 more Apple product thefts than in 2012 than there were in 2011.

At the time, Mayor Bloomberg's press secretary Marc La Vorgna explained that "if you just took away the jump in Apple", crime in New York City would have been down year over year. Indeed, the number of major crimes reported in 2011 in NYC came in at 104,948 compared to 108.432 in 2012. If you exclude Apple related thefts from the figures, then the crime rate in 2012 is essentially the same as it was in 2011.

In light of that, a new report from the New York Post details that Apple is now working with the NYPD in an effort to curb iPhone and other Apple related thefts.


Submission + - Flies Get Drunk in Order to Survive (

Copper Nikus writes: In yet another fascinating example of insects being smarter than we give them credit for, this arstechnica article describes how fruit flies are able to fight back against deadly wasps by using alcohol. From the article:

A study in today's issue of Science suggests fruit flies are capable of medicating not only themselves but their offspring as well. And their medication of choice? Alcohol. The threat for these flies is any of a number of small, parasitic wasps. These wasps lay eggs on the larva or pupa of the flies, and their offspring feed on the animal internally, often killing them in the process. (Flies have larval stages, during which we call them maggots, and pupate just as butterflies do before emerging in their adult form.) Once infected, there isn't much one of the larva can do to get rid of the parasite. Its one option: booze. Fruit flies, as their name implies, like to dine on fruit, especially during the larval stages. In many cases, that involves ingesting the alcohol that's produced by natural fermentation of rotting fruit (this can approach 20 percent alcohol content). Some species of flies have developed the ability to tolerate this alcohol as they chew through the fruit as maggots. But for most of the wasp species, even moderate levels of alcohol are toxic.


Submission + - France Plans 20 Billion National Broadband Plan (

judgecorp writes: "France is planning a €20 billion programme to get super-fast broadband to its rural population About half the funds will come from government investment, and President Holland believes the work will create 10,000 jobs. Half the population should have fast broadband in the next five years, and the whole country in ten years. France is at a disadvantage for broadband as it is a large country with a lot of rural areas. However, it also has a more left-leaning government willing to take on infrastructure projects."
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - How game streaming went from shaky webcams to the PS4 (

An anonymous reader writes: A slightly different take on Sony's PS4 semi-launch this week. This article traces the history and growing trend of capturing/recording and streaming your gameplay on the internet, from the early days of Let's Play articles with screenshots to today, where pro-gamers make money by playing live on, and the technology is built into the PlayStation 4: "Multiplayer video games have been around since the beginning — just look at Pong. Sony’s real breakthrough with the PS4 might not be the specs, but its ability to turn every game you play into a multiplayer one."

Submission + - Homeland Security Stole Michael Arrington's Boat ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, lives near Seattle and bought a boat there. He ordered it from a company based near him, but across the border in Canada. Yesterday, the company tried to deliver it to him, and it had to clear customs. An agent for the Department of Homeland Security asked him to sign a form. The form contained information about the bought, including its cost. The price was correct, but it was in U.S. dollars rather than Canadian dollars. Since the form contained legal warnings about making sure everything on it is true and accurate, Arrington suggested to the agent that they correct the error. She responded by seizing the boat. 'As in, demanded that we get off the boat, demanded the keys and took physical control of it. What struck me the most about the situation is how excited she got about seizing the boat. Like she was just itching for something like this to happen. This was a very happy day for her. ... A person with a gun and a government badge asked me to swear in writing that a lie was true today. And when I didn’t do what she wanted she simply took my boat and asked me to leave.'

Submission + - Pwnie Express releases network hacking Kit (

puddingebola writes: From the article, "The folks at security tools company Pwnie Express have built a tablet that can bash the heck out of corporate networks. Called the Pwn Pad, it’s a full-fledged hacking toolkit built atop Google’s Android operating system.
Some important hacking tools have already been ported to Android, but Pwnie Express says that they’ve added some new ones. Most importantly, this is the first time that they’ve been able to get popular wireless hacking tools like Aircrack-ng and Kismet to work on an Android device."

Pwnie Express the price is $795.


Submission + - First asteroid-tracking satellite will be Canadian (

cylonlover writes: In the wake of the meteor blast over Russia and the close quarter fly by of asteroid 2012 DA14 last week, many people's thoughts have turned to potential dangers from above. It is timely then that the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will next week launch NEOSSat (Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite), the world’s first space telescope for detecting and tracking asteroids, satellites and space debris.

Submission + - Lights, cameras, reaction: Resistance builds against red-light cameras (

quantr writes: ""Red light cameras are one piece of a growing network of automated traffic enforcement. Cameras now monitor speed, bus and high-occupancy-vehicle lanes and intersections with stop signs. Proponents like Lanier say they help to deter accidents, nab violators and allow states and municipalities to keep an eye on the roads for less.

But critics of red light programs worry about the Big Brother aspect of using cameras instead of cops. Many also say cameras, which are generally run by private companies, have spread not because they make streets safer, but because they mean profit for cities and companies.
“What the issue really comes down to is these companies are ripping people off by hundreds of millions of dollars, in the name of caring about our safety and our health and our kids,” said New Jersey Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, who has introduced anti-red light camera legislation to the state Legislature.
Recent news stories have fueled opposition. In Chicago, an alleged pay-to-play scandal led the mayor to ban one company from bidding for future contracts. Millions were spent on pro-camera lobbying in Florida and other states. In Iowa, doubts about the constitutionality of using cameras as traffic enforcers led a state senator to introduce a bill to ban red-light cameras – a move already taken by at least nine other states.""

Submission + - AL-Qaeda's 22 tips and tricks to dodge drones ( 3

Dr Max writes: Ever wondered how AL-Qaeda operate under the ever watchful eye of the US army? Well here is a list of 22 of there tips and tricks on pulling a fast one. Most of it consists of the obvious like stay in the shadows, or under thick trees, with zero wireless communication; However there is also some less obvious solutions like the $2595 Russian "sky grabber" which can track the drones, or covering your roof and car with broken glass (not really sure why). They also claim good snipers can take out the reconnaissance drones which fly at a lower level. Now the question is, will all this still be relevant during the robo-apocalypse?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Language With Access-Controlled Sandboxes

ari_j writes: I often find myself in need of a programming or scripting language with good access control. For instance, a multi-user game where each user's code and data should have only the access to other users' code and data that is expressly granted. Basically, I want the kind of access control one would expect from a good database system except I want that access control to apply to objects and method calls rather than to tables, rows, and columns. I also tire of rolling my own language. What are my turnkey or near-turnkey options?