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Comment: Re:These crazy archeologist... (Score 1) 275

by SysKoll (#48662759) Attached to: TSA Has Record-Breaking Haul In 2014: Guns, Cannons, and Swords
I "escorted" a precious cargo on a flight once. It was in a padded plastic case looking a lot like this one. We simply bought a seat for the case! It was not an antique, it was a motherboard tester prototype. We simply couldn't risk getting one of these protos damaged or lost.

Comment: These crazy archeologist... (Score 3, Insightful) 275

by SysKoll (#48653239) Attached to: TSA Has Record-Breaking Haul In 2014: Guns, Cannons, and Swords

From the paternalist, condescending article: Beyond firearms, of course, TSA officers encounter an extremely wide variety of other prohibited items at airport checkpoints, including ... an unloaded cannon.

Because archeologist or collectors should absolutely check in priceless historical artifacts! It's not like baggage handler would steal anything, or the airlines would lose luggage, ho ho, how silly.

Hey, this thing was a firearm once, right? So it's totally justified, innit? Even though the picture even shows that the thing is rusty, unable to fire, and very old.

Do you know how funny it is in Dilbert cartoon when the PHB adopts a tone of condescending smugness to assert misinformed, ill-reasoned opinions? Well, somehow, these bureaucrats don't manage to make it funny.

The Media

Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics' 716

Posted by Soulskill
from the intellectual-brand-recognition dept.
Layzej writes: Prominent scientists, science communicators, and skeptic activists, are calling on the news media to stop using the word "skeptic" when referring to those who refuse to accept the reality of climate change, and instead refer to them by what they really are: science deniers. "Not all individuals who call themselves climate change skeptics are deniers. But virtually all deniers have falsely branded themselves as skeptics. By perpetrating this misnomer, journalists have granted undeserved credibility to those who reject science and scientific inquiry."
Education

Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices 307

Posted by timothy
from the go-to-the-head-of-the-other-class dept.
theodp 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.

Comment: Best source(s) about your work on sunk submarines? (Score 2) 40

by SysKoll (#48330577) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Robert Ballard About Ocean Exploration

Your work on a certain luxury liner is very well documented. However, it's harder to find details about your work to locate and study the wrecks of U.S.S. Thresher and U.S.S. Scorpion.

How much of this is still classified? What good publicly available source(s) would you recommend to learn more about these missions?

Comment: Whoah, wait a minute... (Score -1, Flamebait) 232

by SysKoll (#48033413) Attached to: Antarctic Ice Loss Big Enough To Cause Measurable Shift In Earth's Gravity

The article barks at the wrong tree. The cryosphere page at University of Illinois-Champagne shows that we are currently seeing 1.3 million sq. km more sea ice than the average, and the levels have been sharply rising the last few years.

There is a fine balance between trying to increase awareness and being a downright propagandist. Unfortunately, this article doesn't help the cause. This is exactly the kind of thing that make people believe environmentalists are exaggerating and grasping at straws.

Wired: Stop. You are not helping.

Comment: IBM CLM publicizes their bug backlog on jazz.net (Score 1) 159

by SysKoll (#48014263) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad?
IBM Rational has a product called CLM, an expensive software lifecycle management system, for which the bug and backlog lists are public. So your marketing might want to consider this. Then again, CLM is targetting developers, a crowd that is used to the notion that software has bugs. If you are selling your product to marketing, sales and other professional liars, you might want to hide the bugs. Reality frightens these guys.
Businesses

Tesla Plans To Power Its Gigafactory With Renewables Alone 260

Posted by samzenpus
from the saving-energy dept.
AmiMoJo writes In his press conference, Elon Musk stated that the factory will produce all of its own energy using a combination of solar, wind, and geothermal. Engineering.com looks at the feasibility of the plans. Spoiler alert: it looks possible, though some storage will be required. Fortunately, if there is one thing the Gigafactory won't be short of it's batteries. From the article: "The numbers don’t lie. The site could realistically produce more than 2900 MWh of renewable electricity each day ... 20% more than it needs. These are conservative estimates on production and worst-case estimates on consumption, and it’s clear that there’s enough renewable energy to run the plant with some to spare."
Math

How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct? 305

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the easier-this-way dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes A survey of professional academic economists finds that a large percentage are quite willing to cheat or fake data to get the results they want. From the paper's abstract: "This study reports the results of a survey of professional, mostly academic economists about their research norms and scientific misbehavior. Behavior such as data fabrication or plagiarism are (almost) unanimously rejected and admitted by less than 4% of participants. Research practices that are often considered 'questionable,' e.g., strategic behavior while analyzing results or in the publication process, are rejected by at least 60%. Despite their low justifiability, these behaviors are widespread. Ninety-four percent report having engaged in at least one unaccepted research practice."

That less than 4% engage in "data fabrication or plagiarism" might seem low, but it is a terrible statistic . ... 40% admit to doing what they agree are "questionable" research practices, while 94% admit to committing "at least one unaccepted research practice." In other words, almost none of these academic economists can be trusted in the slightest. As the paper notes, "these behaviors are widespread.""
Government

White House Worried About Discrimination Through Analytics 231

Posted by Soulskill
from the codifying-the-digital-divide dept.
Cludge writes "Describing concerns about the potential for big data methods to inadvertently classify people by race, religion, income or other forms of discrimination, the White House announced it will release a report next week that reviews the adequacy of existing privacy laws and regulations in the era of online data collection. The review, led by Obama's senior counselor, John Podesta, will outline concerns about whether methods used for commercial applications may be inherently vulnerable to inadvertent discrimination. 'He described a program called "Street Bump" in Boston that detected pot-holes using sensors in smartphones of citizens who had downloaded an app. The program inadvertently directed repair crews to wealthier neighborhoods, where people were more likely to carry smartphones and download the app.' 'It's easy to imagine how big data technology, if used to cross legal lines we have been careful to set, could end up reinforcing existing inequities in housing, credit, employment, health and education,' he said."

+ - US nuclear commander suspended over gambling->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The No 2 officer at the military command in charge of all US nuclear war-fighting forces has been suspended and is under investigation by the naval criminal investigation command for issues related to gambling, officials said on Saturday.

The highly unusual action against a high-ranking officer at US strategic command was made more than three weeks ago but not publicly announced.

Air force general Robert Kehler, who heads Strategic Command, suspended the deputy commander, navy vice admiral Tim Giardina, from his duties on September 3, according to the command's top spokeswoman, navy captain Pamela Kunze. Giardina is still assigned to the command but is prohibited from performing duties related to nuclear weapons and other issues requiring a security clearance, she said."

Link to Original Source

+ - GE Canada struggling to find PDP-11 programmers for its nuclear control systems 5

Submitted by AmiMoJo
AmiMoJo (196126) writes "A representative from GE Canada has posted a job offer to the Vintage Computer forum for a PDP-11 assembly language programmer. Apparently the original job posting failed to turn up any qualified candidates to support the nuclear industry's existing robotic control systems, which they say they are committed to running until 2050. If they are having trouble finding anyone now one wonders how hard it will be in 37 years time."

+ - First Cases of Flesh-Eating Drug Emerge in the United States

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Having spent the last decade wreaking havoc in Russia, Eliza Gray reports at Time Magazine that a flesh-eating drug called Krokodil has arrived in Arizona where the Banner Poison Control center has reported the first two users of the drug which makes user’s skin scaly and green before it rots away (Warning: Graphic Images). Made of codeine, a painkiller often used in cough syrup, and a mix of other materials including gasoline, paint thinner, and alcohol, Krokodil become popular in Russia, where it was first reported in 2002, because it costs 20 times less than heroin and can be made easily at home. Also known as Desomorphine, Krokodil has sedative and analgesic effects, and is around 8-10 times more potent than morphine and when the drug is injected, it rots the skin by rupturing blood vessels, causing the tissue to die. As a result, the skin hardens and rots, sometimes even falling off to expose the bone. ”These people are the ultimate in self-destructive drug addiction,” says Dr. Ellen Marmur. “Once you are an addict at this level, any rational thinking doesn’t apply.” The average life span of a Krokodil user is two to three years, according to a 2011 TIME investigation of the drug’s prevalence in Russia."

+ - Georgia Tech and Udacity to offer $7K Masters' degree in CS

Submitted by SysKoll
SysKoll (48967) writes "Is the college bubble about to pop for good? Georgia Tech and Udacity are offering http://www.omscs.gatech.edu/"> the first accredited Online Master of Science in Computer Science taught entirely online. The $7K cost is subsidized through a partnership with AT&T (who sponsors the program to the tune of $2M). Bonus: if you don't want to enroll for credits and a degree, you'll still be able to view the course for free on Udacity. $7K would not even cover a year if out-of-state tuition at many state colleges. Enrollment opens in Fall 2014. The exams will be proctored in one of 4500 facilities, so no cheating!"

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