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Education

Best Introduction To Programming For Bright 11-14-Year-Olds? 962

Posted by timothy
from the don't-forget-cty-and-other-nerd-camps dept.
firthisaword writes "I will be teaching an enrichment programming course to 11-14 year old gifted children in the Spring. It is meant as an introduction to very basic programming paradigms (conditions, variables, loops, etc.), but the kids will invariably have a mix of experience in dealing with computers and programming. The question: Which programming language would be best for starting these kids off on? I am tempted by QBasic which I remember from my early days — it is straightforward and fast, if antiquated and barely supported under XP. Others have suggested Pascal which was conceived as an instructional pseudocode language. Does anyone have experience in that age range? Anything you would recommend? And as a P.S: Out of the innumerable little puzzles/programs/tasks that novice programmers get introduced to such as Fibonacci numbers, primes or binary calculators, which was the most fun and which one taught you the most?" A few years ago, a reader asked a similar but more general question, and several questions have focused on how to introduce kids to programming. Would you do anything different in teaching kids identified as academically advanced?
The Military

Air Force Looks To Laser-Proof Its Weapons 347

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-you-ever-heard-of-a-mirror dept.
slugo writes "This wired.com article has probably the coolest laser destruction video you have ever seen. The video shows the Israeli and US Air Force working on laser defense systems. The US Air Force is starting to look for ways to laser-proof its bombs and missiles — with spray-on coatings, no less. They think everyone is going to figure this laser thing out sometime and need a defense against what they are already very good at — shooting things out of the sky with a laser."

Comment: Re:Use this link to read article on one page (Score 1) 371

by frantzdb (#23945429) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Reveals All On C++

Not forcing you to carry around a size is a feature, not a bug - if you don't need the size, it's just a waste of space.

In C, the size of the array is there even if you can't get at it. On the stack, the compiler needs to know how big an array is to know where to put the next variable; on the heap, the runtime needs to know how big the buffer was returned from malloc so it knows how to delete it. You just don't have access to that number.

Spam

How To Convince My Boss Not To Spam? 475

Posted by kdawson
from the engendering-ill-will dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The small travel agent that I work for recently received an email from one of our competitors with several thousand of their potential customers in the 'To:' and 'Cc:' fields. My boss now wants to use these addresses to send unsolicited advertisements. I would like to convince him not to do this, as I believe that this practice is morally wrong and legally dubious. However, morals don't go very far in the business world, so I'm asking Slashdot: what business-oriented arguments can I use to dissuade my boss from spamming?"
Software

Boy Scouts Ask Open Source Community For Help 973

Posted by kdawson
from the trustworthy-loyal-helpful-friendly dept.
Lucas123 writes "The Boy Scouts of America are looking to the open-source community for help in building software to use for fundraisers, special events, and other functions, for their more than 121,000 local scout troops. Some open source advocates, who are former Boy Scouts, support the idea, despite a few reservations. According to the article, there are no plans for a scout merit badge in open source — but there has been a merit badge in computers since 1967, 'and it is possible that if the program is successful, it could eventually be used by IT-savvy scouts themselves.'"
Businesses

Verizon Reveals Plans For "C Block" Airwaves 54

Posted by Zonk
from the glad-they-all-have-our-best-interests-at-heart dept.
eldavojohn writes "Now that Verizon has beaten Google in the 'block C' spectrum auction, what are they going to do with it? Well, as of today they've revealed their plans for world domination: they plan to speed up wireless internet connections. It may come as no surprise that they'll also be making this available for other manufacturer's devices. AT&T plans to do the same with their auction winnings, 'AT&T was second to Verizon, winning $6 billion in spectrum licenses, which it also plans to use for high-speed Internet service. But its executives said they didn't bid for the portion subject to the open-access rules. The parts it did land cost AT&T nearly three times as much per unit of spectrum than the portion Verizon bought.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Inventor to Launch Pop Bottle Rocket into Space 285

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the next-comes-the-lawn-chair-with-balloons dept.
DrButts writes "An inventor in British Columbia wants to be the first to launch a pop bottle rocket into space. 'This could be impossible, but the CEO of AntiGravity Research already holds the altitude record for boosting an elongated plastic pop bottle — propelled by a bicycle pump, water and a bit of soap — into the air. Firing the ubiquitous, two-litre plastic container usually consigned to the recycle bin into space might create a whole new definition for space junk, but the dream keeps Schellenberg going.'"
Music

Prince, Village People to Sue The Pirate Bay 435

Posted by Soulskill
from the artist-formerly-known-as-arrrr dept.
castrox writes to tell us that The Pirate Bay's legal concerns are continuing to grow. Prince and the Village People are planning to sue the popular torrent site with the help of the Web Sheriff law firm. John Giacobbi of Web Sheriff has also asked Swedish band ABBA to join the cause. The suit is seeking "millions of dollars" in damages, although it's still uncertain to whom the charges will be directed. The likely targets are the four Pirate Bay founders who were indicted a few weeks ago on charges of breaking copyright law. Prince has taken investigative action against The Pirate Bay in the past.

Molten Salt-Based Solar Power Plant 478

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the would-you-like-fries-with-that dept.
rcastro0 writes "Hamilton Sundstrand, a division of United Technologies, announced today that it will start to commercialize a new type of solar power plant. A new company called SolarReserve will be created to provide heat-resistant pumps and other equipment, as well as the expertise in handling and storing salt that has been heated to more than 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit. According to venture capitalist Vinod Khosla 'Three percent of the land area of Morocco could support all of the electricity for Western Europe.' Molten Salt storage is already used in Nevada's Solar One power plant. Is this the post-hydrocarbon world finally knocking?"
Privacy

Interpol Unscrambles Doctored Photo In Manhunt 370

Posted by kdawson
from the blur-schmlur dept.
jackpot777 writes in with an AP story out of Paris reporting that Interpol has distributed photos of a man suspected of sexually exploiting children. The images were recovered from pictures taken off the Internet in which the man's face had been blurred using something like Photoshop's Filter > Distort > Twirl tool. German police were able to recover recognizable images of the man, whose identity and nationality are not known. Interpol would not discuss the techniques used to recover the images. jackpot777 writes: "It does show one interesting facet of internet privacy that has also been noted with topics ranging from reading blurred check numbers in images to Google's plan to blur out license plate and face data for Street View. And that is: blurring is not the same as completely obscuring. As computers become more adept at extrapolating data of different types, your identity isn't safe unless you completely cover all those identifying features."
Communications

What Do You Want In iPhone 2.0? 436

Posted by Zonk
from the you-know-its-coming dept.
Ian Lamont writes "The predictions about the iPhone being a bust have so far been way off the mark, but that doesn't mean the device is perfect. Besides the dependence on the AT&T Edge network and the lack of an iPhone SDK, there are a boatload of UI, software and hardware issues that should be addressed in the next-generation iPhone. Some complaints include GPS functionality, allowing iPhones to be used as hard drives, adding RSS support, and turning auto-correct into auto-complete. What would you want to see in the next generation of iPhone?"
The Almighty Buck

Canadian Dollar Reaches Parity with US$ 702

Posted by kdawson
from the who's-loony-now-eh dept.
boxlight writes in to mark the occasion when the Canadian dollar hit parity with the US dollar for the first time in 31 years. The article notes that Canada has run a budget surplus in each of the last 10 years. "This is actually bad for the profits of Canadian corporations that sell their products to the US for US dollars (Canada sells far more to the US that the US sells to Canada); but it means us Canucks will get cheaper Macs as the Canadian prices get closer to US prices with every new release."
The Internet

English Wikipedia Gets Two Millionth Article 125

Posted by kdawson
from the tracking-the-milestone dept.
reybrujo writes to inform us of a milestone for the English-language Wikipedia: the posting of its two millionth article. At the time of this posting there is uncertainty over which article achieved the milestone. "Initial reports stated that the two millionth article written was El Hormiguero, which covers a Spanish TV comedy show. Later review of this information found that this article was most likely not two million, and instead a revised list of articles created around two million has been generated, and is believed to be correct to within 3 articles. The Wikimedia foundation, which operates the site, is expected to make an announcement with a final decision, which may require review of the official servers' logs."
Music

RIAA Seeks Royalties From Radio 555

Posted by kdawson
from the deja-vu-all-over-again dept.
SierraPete writes "First it was Napster; then it was Internet radio; then it was little girls, grandmothers, and dead people. But now our friends at the RIAA are going decidedly low-tech. The LA Times reports that the RIAA wants royalties from radio stations. 70 years ago Congress exempted radio stations from paying royalties to performers and labels because radio helps sell music. But since the labels that make up the RIAA are not getting the cash they desire through sales of CDs, and since Internet and satellite broadcasters are forced to cough up cash to their racket, now the RIAA wants terrestrial radio to pay up as well."
The Media

HBO Exec Proposes DRM Name Change 544

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-all-that's-in-the-way dept.
surfingmarmot writes "An HBO executive has figured out the problem with DRM acceptance — it's the name. HBO's chief technology officer Bob Zitter now wants to refer to the technology as Digital Consumer Enablement. Because, you see, DRM actually helps consumers by getting more content into their hands. The company already has HD movies on demand ready to go, but is delaying them because of ownership concerns. Says Zitter, 'Digital Consumer Enablement would more accurately describe technology that allows consumers "to use content in ways they haven't before," such as enjoying TV shows and movies on portable video players like iPods. "I don't want to use the term DRM any longer," said Zitter, who added that content-protection technology could enable various new applications for cable operators.'"

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