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+ - Tech Looks to Obama to Save Them From "Just Sort of OK" U.S. Workers

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Following up on news that the White House met with big biz on immigration earlier this month, Bloomberg sat down with Joe Green, the head of Mark Zuckerberg's Fwd.US PAC, to discuss possible executive actions President Obama might take on high tech immigration (video) in September. "Hey, Joe," asked interviewer Alix Steel. "All we keep hearing about this earnings season though from big tech is how they're actually cutting jobs. If you look at Microsoft, Cisco, IBM Hewlett-Packard, why do the tech companies then need more tech visas?" Green explained why tech may not want to settle for laid-off U.S. talent when the world is its oyster. "The difference between someone who's truly great and just sort of okay is really huge," Green said. "Culture in tech is a very meritocratic culture," he added. "The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries because they want to work with the very best.""

+ - Had Google Driverless Cars Existed, Would Steve Jobs Have Gotten a Liver? 2

Submitted by theodp
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.""

+ - Reading, Writing, 'Rithmetic, and Blockly

Submitted by theodp
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, 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, 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."

+ - Tech Leaders Accept ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Submitted by theodp
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.""

+ - Microsoft: Coding Bootcamp Grads May Not Be Considered for Jobs They Can Do

Submitted by theodp
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.""

+ - Chicago Mayor Praises Google for Buying Kids Microsoft Surfaces

Submitted by theodp
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 "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 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)."

+ - Teachers: There's Gold in Them Thar Girl Coders! 1

Submitted by theodp
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."

+ - High School Teachers Spinning Girl Student Coders into Google Gold

Submitted by theodp
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!"

+ - Halt and Catch Fire's COMDEX '83: Cheesy, But No More Than Real Thing 1

Submitted by theodp
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!"

+ - How Many Members of Congress Does it Take to Screw in a $400MM CS Bill?

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Over at, 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 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, 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."

+ - US Army to transport American Ebola victim to Atlanta hospital from Liberia-> 1

Submitted by acidradio
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

+ - CDC Issues Ebola Guidance for Airlines

Submitted by theodp
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.""

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