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Comment Also, self-interest (Score 1) 300

Also, if you asked a plumber if everyone should learn plumbing, or a mechanic if everyone should learn how to fix their car, they would similarly say no -- it's in their vested financial interest to keep the field small.

I don't know why large publications / websites keep giving these people oxygen in the face of such an obvious conflict of interest. Ask a computer science professor from a respected college if THEY think kids should learn these skills and I guarantee you'll get a different answer.

Comment It only takes a single child... (Score 1) 300

Just like music, language skills and art, programmers benefit from learning core computer science skills in early childhood.

Sure, an adult can learn these things. Will they ever be as good? Will an adult who learns how to play violin in adulthood ever be as good as someone who learned as an adult? No.

However, we live in a technology-driven society now, and unlike where the value of the occasional child violin prodigy could be questioned, there is no question that if even one child out of the thousand who take these introductory computer science classes excels at it, the world-changing innovations they could potentially achieve make the entire exercise more than worthwhile.

Submission + - Michael Chertoff Makes the Case against Back Doors

koan writes: Schneier on Security had an interesting link to a comment made by Michael Chertoff When asked about whether the government should be able to require back doors. He provided this response:

I think that it’s a mistake to require companies that are making hardware and software to build a duplicate key or a back door even if you hedge it with the notion that there’s going to be a court order. And I say that for a number of reasons and I’ve given it quite a bit of thought and I’m working with some companies in this area too.

More at the link.

Submission + - Air-Gapped computer hacked (again) (

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from Ben Gurion University managed to extract GSM signals from air gapped computers, they demonstrates password extraction using this technique.

Submission + - What is code? (

lems1 writes: Bloomberg Businessweek writes a very interesting article on what code is. This is for the minds of the CEOs, CTOs and others in the organization who outrank you in some odd way, yet make 1/3 less salary than you!
"Here is what you’ve been told: All of the computer code that keeps the website running must be replaced. At one time, it was very valuable and was keeping the company running, but the new CTO thinks it’s garbage. She tells you the old code is spaghetti and your systems are straining as a result. That the third-party services you use, and pay for monthly, are old and busted. Your competitor has an animated shopping cart that drives across the top of the screen at checkout. That cart remembers everything customers have ever purchased and generates invoices on demand. Your cart has no memory at all."

Submission + - 2K, Australia's Last AAA Studio, Closes Its Doors (

beaverdownunder writes: 2K Australia, the Canberra studio that most recently developed Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, is closing its doors.

The entire studio is closing, and all staff members will lose their jobs. “All hands are gone,” said a source for Kotaku Australia.

2K Canberra was the last major AAA-style studio operating out of Australia. The costs of operating in Australia are apparently to blame for the decision.

This raises questions as to the viability of developing major video games in Australia.

Submission + - The e-voting machine anyone can hack

Presto Vivace writes: Meet the e-voting machine so easy to hack, it will take your breath away

Virginia election officials have decertified an electronic voting system after determining that it was possible for even unskilled people to surreptitiously hack into it and tamper with vote counts.

The AVS WINVote, made by Advanced Voting Solutions, passed necessary voting systems standards and has been used in Virginia and, until recently, in Pennsylvania and Mississippi. It used the easy-to-crack passwords of "admin," "abcde," and "shoup" to lock down its Windows administrator account, Wi-Fi network, and voting results database respectively, according to a scathing security review published Tuesday by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. The agency conducted the audit after one Virginia precinct reported that some of the devices displayed errors that interfered with vote counting during last November's elections.

Submission + - The car that knows when you'll get in an accident before you do (

aurtherdent2000 writes: I’m behind the wheel of the car of the future. It’s a gray Toyota Camry, but it has a camera pointed at me from the corner of the windshield recording my every eye movement, a GPS tracker, an outside-facing camera and a speed logger. It sees everything I’m doing so it can predict what I’m going to do behind the wheel seconds before I do it. So when my eyes glance to the left, it could warn me there’s a car between me and the exit I want to take. More at Robot Learning lab at Cornell University and Stanford University: Brain4Cars project.

Submission + - Turing Manuscript Sells for $1 Million

itwbennett writes: A 56-page notebook manuscript by Alan Turing, the English mathematician considered to be the father of modern computer science, was sold at auction Monday for $1.025 million. Turing apparently wrote in the notebook in 1942 when he was working in Bletchley Park, England, trying to break German military code.

Submission + - Acetaminophen reduces both pain and pleasure, study finds (

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers studying the commonly used pain reliever acetaminophen found it has a previously unknown side effect: It blunts positive emotions. Acetaminophen, the main ingredient in the over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol, has been in use for more than 70 years in the United States, but this is the first time that this side effect has been documented.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Best Strategies For Teaching Kids CS Skills? (

beaverdownunder writes: We're currently working on developing a teaching platform based around our BASIC interpreter DiscoRunner, and we would love to hear from Slashdot readers as to what methods they've used in the past to teach kids computer science concepts — which worked, what didn't, and why.

This will obviously be invaluable to us when it comes to working out the lessons that will be taught in our fight-to-save-the-world-from-evil learning environment, and we would be eternally grateful for any scraps of wisdom you could toss our way. =)

Thank you!

Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.