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Marvel's Female Superheroes Are Gradually Becoming More Super 228

New submitter RhubarbPye writes: A new study shows an increasing trend in the power and significance of female superhero characters in the Marvel comic book universe. Several criteria were used to examine the trend, including cover art, dialog, and the actual superpowers. Over 200 individual comic books from Marvel's 50+ year history were compared for the study. What's of particular interest is the study's author is a 17-year-old high school student from Ohio.

LAUSD OKs Girls-Only STEM School, Plans Boys-Only English Language Arts School 599

theodp writes: Citing statistics that showed a whopping 46 more boys than girls passed the AP Computer Science Exam in 2011-12, the 640,000+ student Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on Tuesday approved a waiver to enable the District to operate a single-gender, all-girls STEM School called the Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA). Students in GALA will follow a six year sequence of computer courses starting in middle school that will culminate in AP Computer Science Principles. "Fewer females take AP courses in math, science, or computer science, and they are not as successful as males in receiving passing scores of 3, 4 or 5," argued the General Waiver Request (PDF, 700+ pages). "An all girls environment is reasonably necessary for the school to improve the self-confidence of girls in their academic abilities, especially in STEM areas where an achievement gap currently exists. GALA's admissions shall also comply with AB 1266 to ensure male students who identify as female are admitted to the school." The school's CS-related Partners include the UCLA Exploring Computer Science Program, as well as Google-bankrolled Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, and NCWIT. One of the reasons the all-girls STEM school reportedly got the green light is that its backers satisfied federal regulations requiring a "substantially equal school" for excluded male students by submitting a plan for a companion all-boys school that would emphasize English Language Arts, where they often fall short of girls' test scores, rather than GALA's focus on STEM. One suspects the no-fan-of-gender-restricted-public-schools ACLU may call BS on this maneuver.

Comment Re:I'm interested in this sort of thing for my hou (Score 1) 107

Smashing with a rock looks suspicious, and almost anyone that sees you do it will call the police. If you've got a fully-wired home, and an attacker compromises it, they can find out exactly when you're not home (from automated lights and climate control settings), unlock the door, and walk out with whatever high-value items they think they can get away with.

Comment Re:How do you make a lego character female? (Score 1) 208

I'm not sure I understand your first point. Lego sells interesting models, and the pieces necessary to build them. For castles, this means a lot of blocks that are rectangular, and some special ones for things like gargoyles and drawbridge winches. For spaceships, this means a lot of angles and greebly-bits that you can make look like engines and weapons and exhaust ports. There's not some sort of "trick" where Lego is forcing you to buy high-margin specialty pieces; people want those pieces because they let you make things that look better. And, sure, if you try to take the pieces from a castle and make a spaceship, you'll end up with a blocky-looking spaceship. But I fail to see how providing the option of sleek pieces (which you could also use to make a sleek, elven-looking castle?) somehow degrades the experience. There are very few pieces in modern Lego sets that are genuinely single-purpose; a spaceship control surface could easily be an angel wing, a ship's rudder, or the fairing of a racecar.

Minecraft supplements, not replaces, Lego in the minds of creative kids. Minecraft is neat, and it lets you do a lot, but there's something special about being physically engaged with what you're building. You can't take your Minecraft creation out back to play by the stream (unless you recreate it with Legos?).

Comment Re:How do you make a lego character female? (Score 1) 208

There was a time when this was true, but not so much within the past ~5 years. Can you give me a definition of what you'd call an "ordinary" brick, and what percentage of a set needs to be ordinary bricks (it's easier by piece count, but I suppose a by-volume comparison could be made) before you can classify it as general purpose? Or is there some other definition you'd prefer? Whatever it is, please make it quantitative; there are plenty of meticulously-maintained online resources we can use to determine exactly how many bricks of what types are in pretty much every Lego set ever made.

Comment Re:Better answer (Score 5, Insightful) 572

Five years from now, just two categories of game will be made: Multi-player for consoles, solo (with multi-player functionality) for mobile devices.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of the "gaming by the numbers" studios and publishers move that way. But I can guarantee that the people pouring millions of dollars into independent Kickstarter and greenlight games, and getting DRM-free software written by devs who care in return, will still be doing it in five years.

The Military

United States Begins Flying Stealth Bombers Over South Korea 567

skade88 writes "The New York Times is reporting that the United States has started flying B-2 stealth bomber runs over South Korea as a show of force to North Korea. The bombers flew 6,500 miles to bomb a South Korean island with mock explosives. Earlier this month the U.S. Military ran mock B-52 bombing runs over the same South Korean island. The U.S. military says it shows that it can execute precision bombing runs at will with little notice needed. The U.S. also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting its allies in the region. The North Koreans have been making threats to turn South Korea into a sea of fire. North Korea has also made threats claiming they will nuke the United States' mainland."

Comment Re:Sorry to be frank but what did he think (Score 1) 308

Sure, but I think that's a grave mistake. Certainly, no console game can match the depth of the very deepest PC games, but there are still plenty of games that require strategy, knowledge, and reflex to complete (or be competitively successful). People aren't popping out a few minutes of Halo IV on the train to work.

He's dead, Jim.