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Submission + - Google Throws Teachers Under the Bus, Blames Them for Tech's Diversity Problem 1

theodp writes: Over at the Google Research Blog, Director of Education and University Relation Maggie Johnson gives the diversity-challenged search giant an attaperson for its computer science outreach efforts, but throws teachers under the bus in her list of "reasons why the pipeline for technical talent is so small and why the diversity pipeline is even smaller." Johnson writes: "Many teachers are oblivious to or support the [CS] gender stereotypes by assigning problems and projects that are oriented more toward boys, or are not of interest to girls. This lack of relevant curriculum is important. Many women who have pursued technology as a career cite relevant courses as critical to their decision." Johnson also points to an earlier Google white paper that blames parents' lack of support and encouragement for keeping many girls from considering computing as a career. In the comments, retired Stanford prof Jeffrey Ullman and others challenge the low CS/CE Bachelor's degree production figures that Google offers as evidence of a looming CS worker shortage. "There seems to be a bit of misinformation here," Ullman explains. "The 16K BS/CS figure [cited by Google] appears to be taken from the most recent (2013-4) Taulbee study. But that looks at only the PhD-granting institutions." Hey, good enough for government work!

Submission + - Pluto Probe Phones Home, Data Size As Expected, Craft Feels Good (

Tablizer writes: YouTube User comments: "These are key moments. The probe only gets one chance to fly by the Pluto system, and it had to pass through a potential debris field around Pluto (think thin rings) and couldn't report back to Earth during the closest approach phase due to the probe's design. This is essentially the good-or-fail "phone home" news-point of the mission. The data collection size (comparable to file size) and craft conditions are reported back to be as expected, and the error log (count) is empty. After spending a decade or more on the project, this is the 4th quarter game 7 mission championship moment."

Submission + - US Government detained Laura Poitras every time she flew .. ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Since the 2006 release of “My Country, My Country,” Poitras has left and re-entered the U.S. roughly 40 times. Virtually every time during that six-year-period that she has returned to the U.S., her plane has been met by DHS agents who stand at the airplane door or tarmac and inspect the passports of every de-planing passenger until they find her (on the handful of occasions where they did not meet her at the plane, agents were called when she arrived at immigration).

Each time, they detain her, and then interrogate her at length about where she went and with whom she met or spoke. They have exhibited a particular interest in finding out for whom she works.

Submission + - Critical Internet Explorer 11 Vulnerability Identified After Hacking Team Breach

An anonymous reader writes: After analyzing the leaked data from last week's attack on Hacking Team, Vectra researchers discovered a previously unknown high severity vulnerability in Internet Explorer 11, which impacts a fully patched IE 11 web browser on both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. The vulnerability is an exploitable use-after-free (UAF) vulnerability that occurs within a custom heap in JSCRIPT9. Since it exists within a custom heap, it can allow an attacker to bypass protections found in standard memory.

Submission + - Wind Power Generated 126% of Scotland's Household Energy Needs Last Month (

Taffykay writes: According to new statistics released by the World Wildlife Fund Scotland, Scottish renewable energy had a “bumper month” in October, 2014, with wind power alone generating an estimated 982,842 MWh of electricity. This is enough clean energy to power around 3,045,000 homes, and equates to 126 percent of the electricity needs of Scottish households. Solar power and hot water generation also performed well, despite the country’s reputation for grey and misty weather.

Submission + - 'Star Wars: Episode VII' has a title: 'The Force Awakens' (

schwit1 writes: If you feel a disturbance in the Force, it’s millions of voices suddenly crying out the new title of Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. The reveal comes as the movie finishes its final day of shooting (with many more months of post-production to come.)

Although there were still a few days left of shooting, the cast of the J.J. Abrams film already celebrated their wrap party last weekend, following a bumpy few months of principal photography thrown into crisis when Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford, broke his leg on set in an accident involving a falling door on the Millennium Falcon.

Submission + - How Women Became Gamers Through D&D (

An anonymous reader writes: To shed further light on the currently controversy surrounding female participation in gaming, via Playing at the World comes an in-depth historical look at the unsurprisingly male origins of the "gamer" identity and the way that Dungeons & Dragons pretty much accidentally opened the door to women in gaming — overturning a sixty-year-old dogma that was born when Wells's Little Wars first assumed the 'disdain' of women for gaming.

Submission + - How English Beat German as the Language Of Science writes: German was the dominant scientific language in 1900. Today if a scientist is going to coin a new term, it's most likely in English. And if they are going to publish a new discovery, it is most definitely in English. Look no further than the Nobel Prize awarded for physiology and medicine to Norwegian couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser. Their research was written and published in English. How did English come to dominate German in the realm of science? BBC reports that the major shock to the system was World War One, which had two major impacts. According to Gordin, after World War One, Belgian, French and British scientists organized a boycott of scientists from Germany and Austria. They were blocked from conferences and weren't able to publish in Western European journals. "Increasingly, you have two scientific communities, one German, which functions in the defeated [Central Powers] of Germany and Austria, and another that functions in Western Europe, which is mostly English and French," says Gordin.

The second effect of World War One took place in the US. Starting in 1917 when the US entered the war, there was a wave of anti-German hysteria that swept the country. In Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota there were many, many German speakers. World War One changed all that. "German is criminalized in 23 states. You're not allowed to speak it in public, you're not allowed to use it in the radio, you're not allowed to teach it to a child under the age of 10," says Gordin. The Supreme Court overturned those anti-German laws in 1923, but for years they were the law of the land. What that effectively did, according to Gordin, was decimate foreign language learning in the US resulting in a generation of future scientists who come of age with limited exposure to foreign languages. That was also the moment, according to Gordin, when the American scientific establishment started to take over dominance in the world. "The story of the 20th Century is not so much the rise of English as the serial collapse of German as the up-and-coming language of scientific communication," concludes Gordin.

Submission + - Mystery Signal Could be Dark Matter Hint in ISS Detector (

astroengine writes: Analysis of 41 billion cosmic rays striking the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle detector aboard the International Space Station shows an unknown phenomena that is “consistent with a dark matter particle” known as a neutralino, researchers announced Thursday. Key to the hunt is the ratio of positrons to electrons and so far the evidence from AMS points in the direction of dark matter. The smoking gun scientists look for is a rise in the ratio of positrons to electrons, followed by a dramatic fall — the telltale sign of dark matter annihilating the Milky Way’s halo, which lies beyond its central disk of stars and dust. However, “we have not found the definitive proof of dark matter,” AMS lead researcher Samuel Ting, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and CERN in Switzerland, wrote in an email to Discovery News. “Whereas all the AMS results point in the right direction, we still need to measure how quickly the positron fraction falls off at the highest energies in order to rule out astrophysical sources such as pulsars.” But still, this new finding is a tantalizing step in the dark matter direction.

Submission + - Busy Days Precede a March Focusing on Climate Change (

mdsolar writes: In a three-story warehouse in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, hundreds of people are working to turn the People’s Climate March planned for Sunday into a visual spectacle.

There were victims of Hurricane Sandy from the Rockaways toiling with artists on a 30-foot inflatable life preserver, and immigrant artists constructing a papier-mâché tree embedded with axes. Elsewhere, religious leaders were building an ark and scientists were constructing a chalkboard covered with calculations about carbon.

The run-up to what organizers say will be the largest protest about climate change in the history of the United States has transformed New York City into a beehive of planning and creativity, drawing graying local activists and young artists from as far away as Germany.

“This is the final crunch, the product of six months of work to make the People’s March a big, beautiful expression of the climate movement,” said Rachel Schragis, a Brooklyn-based artist and activist who is coordinating the production of floats, banners and signs.

Submission + - NASA Inspector General lobs big rocks at agency's asteroid hunting program (

coondoggie writes: Lack of money, management structure and staff are hampering NASA’s ability to effectively identify and track comets, meteorites and asteroids that might threaten Earth. The space agency’s Inspector General, Paul Martin, issued a scathing report this week that said while NASA’s Near Earth Object program has done substantial work in identifying the sometimes massive rocks hurtling around the planet it is substantially behind in its goal of cataloging 90% of those 140 meters in diameter by 2020, among other issues.

Submission + - GOG Making Inroads to DRM-Free Movie Distribution

jones_supa writes: Good Old Games is prepping to bring another medium into its trademark DRM-free digital distribution platform: movies! To get things rolling, the shop is already serving a couple of dozen indie films as we speak. Currently the bigger studios are waiting for someone else gnaw on the rock and prove that selling DRM-free movies works. "Their reaction was kind of funny because ... they know that DRM doesn't work because every single movie is on torrent sites or illegal places at launch or even before," Marcin Iwinski, CD Projekt RED and GOG joint-CEO reminds us. GOG plans to bring more movie titles on a weekly basis.

Submission + - Human altruism has early roots (

i kan reed writes: According to Hillary Clinton, "it takes a village to raise a child".
And new research suggests that it's exactly this attitude that created an evolutionary push towards higher cooperative functions within our species, such as language and altruism. One of the earliest evolutionary distinctions between the apes that became humans and our nearest relatives, chimpanzees, is the apparent evolution of cooperative breeding. The term cooperative breeding is defined as

the caring for infants not just by the mother, but also by other members of the family and sometimes even unrelated adults

The team's research found

a close linear correlation between the degree to which a species engages in cooperative breeding and the likelihood that members of the group would help fellow animals get the food treat.

Submission + - Climate damage 'Irreversible' according leaked climate report 1

SomeoneFromBelgium writes: According to Bloomberg a leaked climate report of the IPPC speaks of 'Irreversible Damage'.
The warnings in the report are, as such, not new but the tone of voice is more urgent and more direct than ever.

It states among other things that global warming already is affecting “all continents and across the oceans,” and that “Risks from mitigation can be substantial, but they do not involve the same possibility of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts as risks from climate change, increasing the benefits from near-term mitigation action,”

Submission + - All pornography in the United Kingdom to be censored by default ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: Arguing that pornography is "corroding childhood", British Prime Minister David Cameron is to announce that UK Internet Service Providers must filter all online pornography unless users decide to opt-in to receiving it. In addition, pornography depicting rape will be outlawed, and a database of "banned child porn images" will be constructed to identify anyone viewing these images. Cameron also wants search engines to pop up warning messages when people appear to be searching for prohibited content. He concludes, "This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence."

This is not an April Fool.

"Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown!" -- The Ghostbusters