Bruce66423 writes with news that the IRS hasn't made much progress improving its poor IT security. From the article: "The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the IRS had only partially implemented 42 percent of the corrective plans it checked off as completed in recent years. ... The review (PDF) showed that the IRS failed to properly track its progress toward completing many of the fixes auditors had recommended in recent years. The agency closed most of the cases without adequate documentation and did not always upload the necessary information into a database that helps ensure compliance."
Full disclosure - I have been a public school teacher of both advanced and remedial Math/Science classes in a major metropolitan area for the past 15 years. While I agree that there are some "bad" teachers that can not be easily fired due to union rules, they are in the extreme minority. The 400 pound gorilla that everyone wants to ignore is parent responsibility. If a student skips class, is disruptive when they are present, refuses to do homework, and thus scores poorly, how does that reflect on the teacher rather than the parent? The difference between an "A" student and a "D" is effort...yes, partially on the part of the teacher, but MUCH more so on the part of the child and their parent(s). A "failing school" says more about a community's decline than it does teacher performance. Those of you that bash the teachers' unions fail to realize that even though they are not perfect, they are the ONLY entity that fights for smaller class sizes (40 in my district), teacher training/development and fair wages.
Art3x writes: The rise of the Internet has led to a 'shortage of local, professional, accountability reporting' says a a 475-page report by the FCC, and the consequences could be 'more government waste, more local corruption,' 'less effective schools' and other problems. Even though there are more media choices today than ever, newspapers have been laying off reporters, leaving a gap that is yet to be filled.
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from TechCrunch: "Facebook has confirmed that it is indeed making Facebook Credits mandatory for Games, with the rule going into effect on July 1 2011. Facebook says that Credits will be the exclusive way for users to get their 'real money' into a game, but developers are still allowed to keep their own in-game currencies (FarmBucks, FishPoints, whatever). For example, Zynga can charge you 90 Facebook Credits for 75 CityCash in CityVille. ... The company acknowledges that some developers may not be pleased with the news, explaining this is why it is announcing the news five months in advance, so it can 'have an open conversation with developers.' The rule only applies to Canvas games (games that use Facebook Connect aren't affected), and while it's games only at this part, Facebook says that it eventually would like to see all apps using Facebook Credits. It's a move that's been a long time coming — there has been speculation that Facebook would do this for a year now, spurring plenty of angst in the developer community."
So, pick a republican backed fundamental program (probably one which subsidizes big businesses) and this intelligent community can all go over and intelligently propose the same thing to YouCut. If they can shape media, so can we.
As of this posting, Firefox 3.6.3 no longer works going to www.apple.com (but the store still does). Safari 5 allows you to see the home page, but none of the links (iPhone, iPad, etc.) show properly. Nice QC Apple!
How is calculating odds for gambling/sports forecasting any different from calculating odds for gambling/the stock market?
Clayperion writes: I teach at I high school program for gifted students which emphasizes Math, Science, and Technology. Currently we have two computer labs for the students: A new Programming Lab (all Dell PCs running XP, MS Visual C++, Eclipse, and SolidWorks for programming and CAD) and an old general-purpose lab (all Macs running 10.3, with software ranging from some legacy OS 9 science applications to MathCad). Most of our students eventually pursue graduate degrees in science and engineering, and we would like them have experience with the tools they will find out in industry. As we look to replace the old machines, there has been a push to switch to PCs with XP so that there is only a single platform to support. There are over 5000 machines on the districts network and the IT department is VERY small (less than 10 people), so the fewer hardware and software differences between the machines, the better. Without opening flame war as to which one is "better", I'd like to know what those of you in the science and engineering fields actually use more in your labs (Hardware, OS, Software), so that we can decide which platform to support. It will most likely have to be either XP or OS 10.6 with very restricted permissions to students and teachers, as that is the comfort level of IT and administration, but I'll push for whatever would benefit the students the most.
ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes: The new Liberal Democrat/Tory coalition government has pledged to create a level playing field for open-source software. John Spencer looks at the UK failure to put open source in school: "No open source organisation or company exists which can compete with the sheer scale of the proprietary software ICT outsource companies or the scale of their projects. There is no Open Source 'Capita' nor now will there ever be."
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
Clayperion writes: I teach at I high school program for gifted students which emphasizes Math, Science, and Technology. Currently we have two computer labs for the students: A new Programming Lab (all PCs) and an old general-purpose lab (all Macs). As we look to replace the old machines, there has been a push to switch to PCs so that there is only a single platform to support. Most of our students eventually pursue graduate degrees in science and engineering, and we would like them to use the tools they will find out in industry. Without opening up the can of worms as to which one is "better", I'd like to know what those of you in the science and engineering fields use more in your labs.
ras writes: "Last September Australian quietly added a new check box to the customs declaration form you must fill in when you enter the country. To paraphrase: are you carrying porn?. We Ozzies have only just woken up to it. If you do check a box on the form, you are normally required to hand over all relevant material the customs officials for inspection. In the case of porn, this would include your laptop, camera and memory cards, DVD's, and raunchy magazines. They promise to be discrete."
That the Texas school board is batshit insane is not even in question (they are). The problem is that because Texas mandates that all of its schools use the same textbooks, publishers wanting to pander to their largest single purchaser CUSTOMIZE THEIR TEXTBOOKS FOR THE TEXAS MARKET. Unfortunately, this is at the behest of unbiased facts, and these textbooks are then used by the rest of the U.S.. I know it's an urban myth that the Texas Constitution allows them to secede from the nation, but can't we start a "T" party to force them out?
An anonymous reader writes "A California steel contractor spent 2,200 total hours over the last three years racking up a high score in Bejeweled 2. He exceeded the 2^31-1 maximum score programmed for the score display, proving that there is, in fact, an end to the game. I suppose congratulations or condolences are in order."
greenrainbow writes with this excerpt from Inhabit: "The material shown in the picture above is just ice, right? Look again. Elastic water, a new substance invented by researchers at Tokyo University, is a jelly-like substance made up of 95% water along with two grams of clay and a small amount of organic materials. As is, the all-natural substance is perfect for medical procedures, because it's made of water, poses no harm to people, and is perfect for mending tissue. And, if the research team can increase the density of this exciting new substance, it could be used in place of our current oil-based plastics for a host of other things."
Seeing as we have pretty much removed the stick, the carrot may be worth a try. Without trying to sound like a curmudgeon....when I was in school (in the 80s) we would have been suspended or paddled for a large majority of things kids get away with in today's public schools. From my personal experience, a HUGE proportion of "under preforming" students just don't take school seriously. While not always the case, this is often because their parents aren't doing their jobs at home. Teacher to parent: "Brian hasn't turned in ANYthing for 2 weeks. If we don't get him to start taking his education seriously, he's going to fail this class." Parent's response: "I just don't know what to do with him. He's always out with his friends, and I can never get him to do his homework."
...grow a pair and take some responsibility.
Public schools are faaaaaar from perfect, but they're caught, in that they can only react to external problems...and with a dwindling set of tools.