theodp (442580) writes "In his biography of the late Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson explained that drunk drivers have been very good to those awaiting organ transplants (Jobs received a liver from a young man killed in a car crash). So, with the day of an autonomous Google car in every garage perhaps not as far off as one might think, Fortune's Erin Griffith asks a dark-but-necessary question: If driverless cars save lives, where will we get organs? Citing a 2013 study by the Eno Center for Transportation, Griffith estimates that if 90% of vehicles were autonomous, an estimated 4.2 million accidents would be prevented and 21,700 lives would be saved. And then, notes Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis, "we actually have a whole other problem on our hands of, 'Where do we get organs?' I don't think we'll actually be printing organs until we solve the self-driving car issue. The next problem will be organ replacement.""
theodp (442580) writes "As teachers excitedly tweet about completing their summer CS Professional Development at Google and Microsoft, and kids get ready to go back to school, Code.org is inviting educators to check out their K-5 Computer Science Curriculum (beta), which is slated to launch in September (more course details). The content, Code.org notes, is a blend of online activities ("engineers from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter helped create this tutorial," footnotes explain) and 'unplugged' activities, lessons in which students can learn computing concepts with or without a computer. It's unclear if he's reviewed the material himself, but Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is grateful for the CS effort ("Thank you for teaching our students these critical skills"). By the way, if you missed Lollapalooza, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will partner with Google next week to offer the two-day CPS Googlepalooza Conference."
theodp (442580) writes "Everybody's taking the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and money to fight ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig's disease), reports The Verge, and tech celebs are no exception, including the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page & Sergey Brin, Satya Nadella, and Dick Costolo. What's perhaps telling in some way is how the tech leaders accepted the challenge — e.g., in private (Zuck, Gates, Costolo) or before crowds (Cook, Bezos, Page, Brin, Nadella), self-dousing (Zuck, Costolo, Bezos) or doused by employees (Page, Brin, Nadella) or machines (Gates) or famous musicians (Cook), mostly ice cubes (Page & Brin) or ice & water (everyone else got soaked). Vice calls the craze he latest case of millennial 'hashtag activism". "There are a lot of things wrong with the Ice Bucket Challenge, but the most annoying is that it's basically narcissism masked as altruism," argues Arielle Pardes. "By the time the summer heat cools off and ice water no longer feels refreshing, people will have completely forgotten about ALS. It’s trendy to pretend that we care, but eventually, those trends fade away.""
theodp (442580) writes ""Despite investments from the tech industry in efforts to teach children how to code," laments Microsoft in a post on The NYC Tech Talent Summit and Making Coders, "the present-day 'pipeline problem' remains." So what's the answer? "Bootcamps offer an innovative approach to growing the supply of coders while opening opportunity to groups historically underrepresented in software development jobs," Microsoft concedes. "Still, bootcamps are somewhat unknown and face real challenges," warns Microsoft, and "human resources departments at potential employers might be unaccustomed to assessing skills in less-traditional ways, meaning that skilled graduates of coding bootcamps might not have access to all of the jobs they could successfully do." For its part, Microsoft has proposed solving the 'pipeline problem' via its National Talent Strategy, "a two-pronged approach that couples long-term improvements in U.S. STEM education with short-term, high-skilled immigration reform.""
theodp (442580) writes "Google earned kudos from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week for teaming up with Staples to fund the projects of 367 of the city's 22,519 public school teachers on "begfunding" site DonorsChoose.org. "Everything that you asked for...every project that the teachers put on to help their students learn, exceed and excel here in the city of Chicago, you now have fully funded," Mayor Emanuel said. "Chicago's hardworking public school teachers are doing all that they can-and more-to support their students, but they need more help," said Rob Biederman, head of Chicago Public Affairs at Google. "We jumped at the chance to join with DonorsChoose.org and Staples to make Chicago's local classroom wishes come true." So what kind of dreams did Google make possible? Ironically, a look at Google Chicago's Giving Page shows that the biggest project funded by Google was to outfit a classroom with 32 Microsoft Surface RT tablets for $12,531, or about 6.5% of the $190,091 Google award. Other big ticket projects funded by Google included $5,931 for a personal home biodiesel kit and $5,552 for a marimba (in the middle of the spectrum was $748 for "Mindfulness Education"). In addition to similar "flash-funding" projects in Atlanta (paper towels!) and the Bay Area, Google and DonorsChoose have also teamed up this year to reward teachers with $400,000 for recruiting girls to learn to code (part of Google's $50 million Made With Code initiative) and an unknown amount for AP STEM teachers who passed Google muster (part of Google's $5 million AP STEM Access grant)."
theodp (442580) writes "DonorsChoose CEO Charles Best has provided an update on the partnership his organization formed with Codecademy and Khan Academy to reward teachers who recruit high school girls to learn to code as part of Google's $50 million Made with Code initiative. "To date," reports Best, "more than 2,500 girls have completed a coding course, and nearly $400,000 in classroom funding credits have been unlocked as a result." Best shared the success story of a Chicago public high school teacher who used the program to start an after-school coding club, which the teacher notes is "mostly girls (2 boys have joined)." Thanks to $5,500 in DonorsChoose contributions for her Teach Girls To Code I-II-III projects, the teacher was able to purchase 21 Google Chromebooks."
theodp (442580) writes "Remember how Rumpelstiltskin spun straw into gold? Well, DonorsChoose CEO Charles Best reports that high school teachers are, in essence, spinning their girl student coders into Google gold. "In conjunction with Google's Made with Code initiative, we've partnered with Codecademy and Khan Academy to reward teachers who recruit girls to learn to code," explains Best, "To date, more than 2,500 girls have completed a coding course, and nearly $400,000 in classroom funding credits have been unlocked as a result." Best shares the success story of a high school physics teacher in Chicago who used the program to start an after-school coding club, which the teacher notes is "mostly girls (2 boys have joined)." And, completing the Circle-of-Google-Life, the $5,500 donated to fund the Teach Girls To Code I-II-III projects made it possible for the teacher to buy 21 Chromebooks. Hey, if this keeps up, education sector Chromebook sales could soar even higher!"
That'll teach Reid Hoffman to click 'Accept'...
COMDEX '83 Pics: Halt and Catch Fire version (above), real convention (below). Yep, that's young Bill Gates.
theodp (442580) writes "AMC's Halt and Catch Fire, the fictionalized insider's view of the personal computer revolution, has its season finale Sunday night. In last week's episode, the Cardiff Electric gang took their "featherweight" 15-lb. 'Giant' luggable PC clone to COMDEX 1983 for its debut. It'd be easy to write off the episode's cheesy Vegas hospitality suites, garish attire, and funky trade show floor displays, booths, and exhibits as the flights of fancy of the show's designers, were it not for Dan Bricklin's videos of Fall COMDEX 1983. You'll see 28-year-old Bill Gates talking about Xenix development, a pre-Mac mouse and paint program on an Apple IIe, a demo of pre-1.0 Microsoft Windows, and see why Lotus 1-2-3 Rocks. There's no doubt that Cardiff Electric's 'Giant' could have held its own against the Pied Piper ("leads your business exactly where you want to go," reads the brochure) or even IBM's humorless hands-on demo of 72 IBM PC Jr.'s (holy cow, a clock program!). While there was some Buck Rogers tech on display, e.g., HP's Touch 150 and speech on the T.I. Professional Computer, those were simpler times — it's hard to believe the Mac was waiting in the wings!"
theodp (442580) writes "Over at Code.org, they're banging the gong to celebrate that more than 100 members of Congress are now co-sponsoring the Computer Science Education Act (HR 2536), making the bill "to strengthen elementary and secondary computer science education" the most broadly cosponsored education bill in the House. By adding fewer than 50 words to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, HR 2536 would elevate Computer Science to a "core academic subject" (current core academic subjects are English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography), a status that opens the doors not only to a number of funding opportunities, but also to a number of government regulations. So, now that we know it takes 112 U.S. Representatives to screw in a CS education bill, the next question is, "How many taxpayer dollars will it take to pay for the consequences?" While Code.org says "the bill is cost-neutral and doesn’t introduce new programs or mandates," the organization in April pegged the cost of putting CS in every school at $300-$400 million. In Congressional testimony last January, Code.org proposed that "comprehensive immigration reform efforts that tie H-1B visa fees to a new STEM education fund" could be used "to support the teaching and learning of more computer science in K-12 schools," echoing Microsoft's National Talent Strategy."
acidradio (659704) writes "American air charter specialist Phoenix Air has been contracted by the US Army to haul an American physician afflicted with Ebola from Liberia to the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. This will be the first "purposeful" transport of an Ebola victim to the US. The patient will be flown in a special Gulfstream III (formerly owned by the Danish Air Force) outfitted for very specialized medical transports such as this. I dunno. I know there are brilliant doctors and scientists in Atlanta who handle highly-communicable diseases, but is this such a brilliant idea?"
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
theodp (442580) writes "In response to the Ebola outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued Interim Guidance about Ebola Virus Infection for Airline Flight Crews, Cleaning Personnel, and Cargo Personnel. "Ebola virus is transmitted by close contact with a person who has symptoms of Ebola," the CDC explains. "Close contact is defined as having cared for or lived with a person with Ebola or having a high likelihood of direct contact with blood or body fluids of an Ebola patient. Examples of close contact include kissing or embracing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, close conversation (3 feet), physical examination, and any other direct physical contact between people. Close contact does not include walking by a person or briefly sitting across a room from a person.""
theodp (442580) writes "Having seen this movie before, U.S. civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson called on the Obama administration Monday to scrutinize the tech industry's lack of diversity. "There's no talent shortage. There's an opportunity shortage," Jackson said, calling Silicon Valley "far worse" than many others, such as car makers that have been pressured by unions. He said tech behemoths have largely escaped scrutiny by a public dazzled with their cutting-edge gadgets. Jackson spoke after meeting with Labor Secretary Tom Perez to press for a review of H-1B visas, arguing that data show Americans have the skills and should have first access to high-paying tech work. Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition plans to file a freedom-of-information request next month with the EEOC to acquire employment data for companies that have not yet disclosed it publicly, which includes Amazon, Broadcom, Oracle, Qualcomm and Yelp. Unlike the DOL, Jackson isn't buying Silicon Valley's argument that minority hiring statistics are trade secrets. Five years after Google's HR Chief would only reassure Congress the company had "a very strong internal Black Googler Network" and its CEO brushed off similar questions about its diversity numbers by saying "we're pretty happy with the way our recruiting work," Google — under pressure from Jackson — fessed up to having a tech workforce that's only 1% Black, apparently par for the course in Silicon Valley."