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Education

Are High MOOC Failure Rates a Bug Or a Feature? 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-wouldn't-try-fixing-it-with-code dept.
theodp writes "In 'The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course,' NPR's Eric Westervelt reports that 2013 might be dubbed the year that online education fell back to earth. Westervelt joins others in citing the higher failure rate of online students as evidence that MOOCs aren't all they're cracked up to be. But viewed another way, the ability to try and fail without dire debt or academic consequences that's afforded by MOOCs could be viewed as a feature and not a bug. Being able to learn at one's own pace is what Dr. Yung Tae Kim has long argued is something STEM education sorely lacks, and MOOCs make it feasible to allow students to try-try-again if at first they don't succeed. By the way, if you couldn't scrape together $65,000 to take CS50 in-person at Harvard this year, today's the first day of look-Ma-no-tuition CS50x (review), kids!"
Japan

Fukushima Leak Traced To Overflow Tank Built On a Slope 76

Posted by timothy
from the castle-built-on-sand dept.
AmiMoJo writes "The ongoing leak of radioactive wastewater at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been traced to an overflow tank that was built on a slope. Because one side of the tank is lower than the other, water slops over the side when it is nearly full. TEPCO estimates that 430 litres of wastewater seeped outside the barrier around the tank and say some of this water may have flowed into the sea, about 200 meters away. They detected 200,000 becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances in water pooled inside the barrier around the tank. The safety limit is 30 becquerels per liter. Officials say that a miscommunication with contractors led to the blunder."

Comment: Re:Might be? (Score 1) 314

This is the story with me as well, it has become more of a hobby than an addiction to nicotine. If you mix your own liquid, there is an element of chemistry involved (PG/VG ratios, nicotine content, flavorings, all mixed with pipettes and beakers), if you roll your own coils you need to be aware of Ohms law and battery discharge rates, and there are all the new shiny new mods to buy, collect, and trade with your friends. Even if you run around buying all of the latest mods, tanks, and atomizers out there, you are still saving a ton over smoking just due to the outrageous taxes placed on tobacco. It is the perfect hobby for a nerd that wants to consume nicotine in a safer manner. Being around longer for my kids, the health benefits, and cost savings over smoking tobacco products were my main reasons to switch initially, but I find that I am simply enjoying the activity of vaping as well.
Iphone

Apple Acknowledges iPhone 5 Camera Flaw 472

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-a-bug-it's-a-feature dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Many iPhone 5 users are complaining that its camera is adding a purple flare to their photos. Speculation is that it's caused by the new sapphire lens cover that Apple touted as 'thinner and more durable than standard glass with the ability to provide crystal clear images.' Apple's response to those who've complained? 'The purple flare in the image provided is considered normal behavior for iPhone 5's camera.'"
Google

The Patent Mafia and What You Can Do To Break It Up 205

Posted by Soulskill
from the he-sends-one-of-yours-to-east-texas-you-send-one-of-his-to-norcal dept.
colinneagle sends this quote from an article about the ever-growing patent racket in the tech industry: "The lawsuits are raging all across the tech world. Oracle sues Google, Yahoo sues Facebook, they counter-sue. Others threaten, others buy more patents and the circle goes round and round. Don't be fooled by the lawsuits between these tech titans though. The real cost that the patent mafia extracts from the tech world is on the smaller companies who can't afford to battle the Apples and Microsofts of the world. Their choices are far simpler. They can abandon their innovations or they can choose to pay and allow the Mafiosos to wet their beaks. Also, don't be fooled about who the real losers are here. The the real losers are you and me. ... So what do do? Here is my opinion. I would make it just as expensive for the offensive patent prosecutors. Just as the government put in the RICO act to combat organized crime, I would put a similar law in place on patents. RICO calls for treble damages. I would have treble awards of costs and legal fees. If a patent holder sues another entity for patent violation and that suit fails, the plaintiff who brought the suit should pay treble damages to the defendant. Three times what the defendant paid to defend."
Education

Yahoo CEO Wrongly Claimed To Have Degree In Computer Science 363

Posted by samzenpus
from the was-that-wrong? dept.
jmcbain writes "Scott Thompson, Yahoo!'s CEO who was hired on January 4 of this year, was found to have lied about his CS degree from Stone Hill College. Investigation from an activist shareholder revealed that his degree was actually in accounting, and apparently Thompson had been going with this lie since the time he served as president of PayPal's payments unit."
Data Storage

30 Blu-ray Discs In a 1.5TB MiniDisc-Like Cassette 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the answering-a-question-nobody-asked dept.
MrSeb writes "Hot on the heels of the most successful storage mediums of all time — MiniDisc and Zip disks — Sony has announced the Optical Disc Archive, a system that seems to cram up to 30 Blu-ray discs into a single, one-inch-thick plastic cassette, which will have a capacity of between 300GB and 1.5TB. As far as I can tell, the main selling point of the Optical Disc Archive is, just like MiniDisc, the ruggedness of the cassettes. Optical discs themselves are fairly resistant to changes in temperature and humidity, and the cassettes are dust and water resistant. What is the use case for these 1.5TB MiniDiscs, though? In terms of pure storage capacity, tape drives are still far superior (you can store up to 5TB on a tape!) In terms of speed and flexibility, hard drives are better. If you're looking for ruggedness, flash-based storage is smaller, lighter, and can easily survive a dip in the ocean. The Optical Disc Archive might be good as extensible storage for TV PVRs, like TiVo and Sky+ — but as yet, we don't even know the cost of the system or the cassettes, and I doubt either will be cheap."
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For Linux Telecommuting Tools? 212

Posted by timothy
from the skype-works dept.
First time accepted submitter rodrix79 writes "Hi all. I am trying to move from Windows to Linux (Ubuntu, but maybe to Mint). The problem is I telecommute full time and I am having a hard time trying to find the right tools to keep communication flowing with my clients (which are mostly on Windows / Mac). Any good recommendations from Linux telecommuters?"
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Note-Taking Device For Conferences? 300

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-notes dept.
First time accepted submitter Duncan J Murray writes "I will be attending a 3-day science conference soon, consisting mainly of lectures, and was wondering what people thought would be the ultimate hardware/software combo note-taking device, taking into account keyboard quality, endurance, portability, discretion & future ease-of-reference. Is a notepad and pen still king? What about an Ipad? N900? Psion 5mx? A small Thinkpad X-series? And if so which OS? Would you have a GUI? Which text-editor?"
Politics

Scientists Say People Aren't Smart Enough For Democracy To Flourish 1276

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-voted-for-who? dept.
cold fjord writes "The inability of the incompetent to recognize their own limitations is a story that has been covered before on Slashdot. But, what happens when you apply that finding to politics? From the article: 'The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies. The research shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people's ideas. If people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments...democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they "effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders."'"
Transportation

Did the Titanic Sink Due To an Optical Illusion? 166

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-no-iceberg dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "According to new research by British historian Tim Maltin, records by several ships in the area where the Titanic sank show atmospheric conditions were ripe for super refraction, a bending of light that caused a false horizon, concealing the iceberg that sank the Titanic in a mirage layer, which prevented the Titanic's lookouts from seeing the iceberg in time to avoid collision. According to the new theory, Titanic was sailing from Gulf Stream waters into the frigid Labrador Current, where the air column was cooling from the bottom up. This created a thermal inversion, with layers of cold air below layers of warmer air, creating a superior mirage. The theory also explains why the freighter Californian was unable to identify the Titanic on the moonless night, because even though the Titanic sailed into the Californian's view, it appeared too small to be the great ocean liner. The abnormally stratified air may also have disrupted signals sent by the Titanic by Morse Lamp to the Californian to no avail. This is not the first time atmospheric conditions have been postulated as a factor in the disaster that took 1,517 lives. An investigation in 1992 by the British government's Marine Accident Investigation Branch also suggested that super refraction may have played a role in the disaster (PDF, see page 13), but that possibility went unexplored until Maltin mined weather records, survivors' testimony and long-forgotten ships' logs."
Canada

Outgoing CRTC Head Says Technology Is Eroding Canadian Culture 404

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-of-us-one-of-us dept.
Patchw0rk F0g writes "Canada's outgoing CRTC head, Konrad von Finckenstein, has some choice words for his successor: Internet and wireless technology has disarmed federal regulators of their weapons to protect cultural identity. The retiring Finckenstein cites over-the-top broadcasting, new Internet technologies and (perhaps most importantly) the fact that the CRTC is antiquated and can't keep up with these emerging technologies as factors in the (still)-growing culture-loss of Canada to the U.S. 'We have now moved into an era where the consumer is in control, and where thanks to the Internet and mobile devices, you cannot control access any more,' he said in one of his last interviews."
Microsoft

New Remote Flaw In 64-Bit Windows 7 284

Posted by samzenpus
from the hole-in-the-wall dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "Researchers are warning about a new remotely exploitable vulnerability in 64-bit Windows 7 that can be used by an attacker to run arbitrary code on a vulnerable machine. The bug was first reported a couple of days ago by an independent researcher and confirmed by Secunia. In a message on Twitter, a researcher named w3bd3vil said that he had found a method for exploiting the vulnerability by simply feeding an iframe with an overly large height to Safari. The exploit gives the attacker the ability to run arbitrary code on the victim's machine."

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