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Submission + - Google: Too Many White/Asian Males Play Computer Scientists on TV and in Movies 2

theodp writes: In partnership with Gallup, Google has released a second report with its take on the state of U.S. K-12 CS education. Entitled Images of Computer Science: Perceptions Among Students, Parents and Educators in the U.S., the report suggests tech's woeful diversity can be traced back to Hollywood's portrayal of Computer Scientists. "Students and parents perceive that there are few portrayals of women, Hispanic or Black computer scientists on TV or in movies," the report explains in its Key Findings. "These groups are much more likely to see White or Asian men engaged in computer science. They also often see computer scientists portrayed wearing glasses." In an accompanying post at the Google for Education blog, Google's Head of R&D for K-12 Education adds, "The results show that there's high value and interest in CS among all demographics, and even more so for lower-income parents. But unfortunately perceptions of who CS is for and who is portrayed in CS are narrow-White, male, smart with glasses. Even though they value it, students often don't see themselves in it." As a result of this and other factors, the report notes that "among the 49 states with at least one student taking the [AP] computer science exam, 12 had no Black students participating in 2014." It's an alarming factoid, but also a misleading one. As Gas Station Without Pumps explained two years ago, it is hardly surprising from a statistical standpoint that there are no Black student test takers in a state if there are essentially no test takers at all. So, let's not forget about girls and minorities, but let's also not forget that pretty much everyone is underrepresented if we look at the big AP CS picture — only 46,344 AP CS scores were reported in 2015 for a HS population of about 16 million students. So, shouldn't the goal at this stage of the game really be CS education for all? Towards that end, perhaps Google might want to look into commissioning a free programming book for kids from O'Reilly instead of another point-the-finger report from Gallup. But if Google wants to continue its search for things that have discouraged kids from coding, it might want to look in the mirror. After all, dropping a programming language for kids — as Google did with App Inventor in 2011 after CEO Larry Page ordered the plug pulled on projects deemed unworthy of Google 'wood' — didn't exactly send kids (and their perplexed teachers) the message that CS was for them, did it?

Submission + - Cloud Harmony Benchmarking Results Reveal Performance Upgrades (

An anonymous reader writes: Benchmarking tests utilizing the Geekbench 3 utility ( for CPU performance and CloudHarmony’s own test results for Disk I/O, pitted similar offerings by Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Liquid Web, and DigitalOcean against each other. According to the resulting metrics, the CPUs in Liquid Web’s VPS instances perform 76% better than Rackspace, 84% better than Digital Ocean, and 191% faster than AWS. Also critical is Disk I/O, which measures the input and output operations (reading or writing data) that can be performed by the storage device every second and is referenced when judging a server’s potential to be slowed by the “bottlenecking” of inbound and outbound data. According to CloudHarmony’s metrics, Liquid Web’s VPS instances were 323% faster than Rackspace, 979% faster than Digital Ocean, and 388% faster than AWS in random write IOPS.

Comment Re:Why the hell would anyone use Go? (Score 2) 185

Why the hell would anyone use Go?

(Serious question, since our editors didn't tell us why Go was created, what Go's intended purpose was and whether or not anyone is actually using Go.)

As a software developer here that likes to fiddle with all languages, the second paragraph from Wikipedia seems to answer your question nicely: "It is a statically typed language with syntax loosely derived from that of C, adding garbage collection, type safety, some structural typing capabilities,[2] additional built-in types such as variable-length arrays and key-value maps, and a large standard library."

So from the first few words someone might know C and desire garbage collection to be handled for them? Golang might be a better selection for them than Java.

Personally for me, the built-in primitives for concurrency make it a great language for tinkering in realms of software design that were once onerous to me. But that's only one of a few of the language's goals.

Maybe a better set of questions would be for an elevator pitch on why someone should use golang? Or perhaps if they have dropped some goals of golang for others as development went forward?

Comment Re:Wisdom of naming it "Go" (Score 2) 185

There's already a game called Go, which has about a gazillion articles on how to program it. Couldn't you come up with a name that would be less ambiguous? Now, when you see a user group for "Go programming", you have no clue which one it is.

In conversation, I refer to it as golang. You are right on your point about potential for confusion but I don't think your example is apt anymore. Googling for programming go appears to yield only results about golang. Also, it is not without tangential benefits like being able to call Go developers "gophers."

I think when I first started programming Groovy long ago I stumbled upon a website promising that software development was groovy ... that's no longer the case when I google for groovy programming resources.

In short the success of your language is a big enough concern than the name of your language is negligible (with the exception of negative words). The search results will follow.

Comment Re:Everyone Is Guilty, Only Enemies Will Be Indict (Score 3, Insightful) 109

If you are a leftist, beating the shit out of private companies is well and good. Remember: corporations are evil! Prosecuting them is only a good thing. Are you a corporate shill?

I am neither a leftist nor a corporate shill. I believe in beating the shit out of private companies that deserve to have the "shit beat out" of them. You need only look at the lengthy history of consumer protection in the United States to find instances where this was and is necessary. Take, for example, Debt Collection Practices. Please, please, please "beat the shit out" of unscrupulous collection agencies. Please "beat the shit" out of the companies that call my grandmother to deliver unsolicited advertisements about a "warranty extension" on her car. There are plenty of private companies that should have this done to them. The issue I take with China's implementation is 1) that it will never target a state owned business and 2) the guidelines are by no means clearly laid out and can be ambiguously interpreted. Who will interpret them? When will they interpret them? Why just in time and by the same state body that made them. Please tell me, how can I prove that my product's advertising does not "Cause detriment to national dignity"?

Comment Do Not Conflate This With Individual Free Speech (Score 2) 109

Communists don't believe in free speech?


It's not that binary. The United States has its own truth in advertising laws that, in my personal opinion, are beneficial at both the federal and state level. Slashdot readers are free to go the Libertarian route and claim the free market would alleviate these issues on its own or perhaps point out how downright pedantic it can be at times. But the truth of the matter is that, as a consumer, we only have so many hours in a day to decide which of the thousands of products we consume in a year we should spend our money on. So it does come down to federal guidelines for what is "Grade A" or "Organic" or "Green" when there is a label espousing these properties and there are consumers paying a premium for this notion. Without those guidelines those words will mean absolutely nothing and there will be no way to tell where your product was made, how much cadmium it has in it or whether it is the end result of spewing carbon into the atmosphere. Without similar laws, you wouldn't be able to trust the nutritional information at the grocery store. Is it free speech to claim that my potato chips cure cancer and lead to weight loss no matter how many of them you eat? People will know that I'm lying? Cigarettes used to sooth sore throats. Trans fats used to taste awesome.

Speech used by an individual to express ideas is free speech. Advertisements -- especially advertisements representing a very large organization -- are not. Corporations should not have the same rights individuals have and I feel that free speech is one of those clear cut distinctions. There is a long history of consumer protection everywhere in the world -- learn about your own country's struggles with it. It's not a simple issue and advertisement should not be regarded as free speech.

Comment Everyone Is Guilty, Only Enemies Will Be Indicted (Score 5, Insightful) 109

Here is the full text of the newly amended law. Here is the WIPO listing the deltas with the older 1994 version of the law (click expand notes). It appears that this is the first change in this law since 1994. Also the WIPO provides a PDF of their English version which seems to be slightly different. I also found a definition of the extent of what is regulated advertising by the PRC. Here's the WIPO's full list of defined restrictions:

1) Overt or covert use of national flag, anthem or emblem of People’s Republic of China or military flag, anthem or emblem;
2) Overt or covert use of the name or image of national public institute or staff of national public institute;
3) Use of words such as “national-level”, “the most” and “the best”, among others;
4) Causing detriment to national dignity or interests, or disclosing national secrets;
5) Interfering with social stability, or causing detriment to social and public interests;
6) Harming personal or property safety, or disclosing privacy;
7) Interfering with social public order, or going against good social norm;
8) Containing obscene, pornographic, gambling, superstitious, terrifying, or violent content;
9) Containing discrimination based on nationality, race, religion, or gender;
10) Affecting protection of environment, natural resources or cultural heritage;
11) Other situations prohibited by laws and regulations.

Merely sounds like another tool for the Party to deal with companies that are not state owned. Most companies will be found guilty of some section of this but they won't be prosecuted until they run afoul of the Party. In China (and increasingly in the US) everyone is guilty of something but only those that the state wants to be prosecuted will be prosecuted.

So looking at the story, we have a new law enacted a month ago and whose head is on the chopping block today? Xiaomi? Well from wikipedia:

Xiaomi Inc. is a privately owned Chinese electronics company headquartered in Beijing, China, that is the world's 4th[4] largest smartphone maker. Xiaomi designs, develops, and sells smartphones, mobile apps, and related consumer electronics.[5]

Aaaaaand there's your problem. Wake me up when a state owned company is prosecuted under these new laws. Xiaomi's true crime was probably doing better than Huawei.

Comment Have We Lost the War to Quid Pro Quo Complacency? (Score 3) 359

Time and time again I see news articles that seem to herald the idea that users are willing to sacrifice something like privacy for the use of software. Take Facebook for an example. You get a robust and snappy storage and website for communication at the cost of control over your life and privacy. And as I try to explain to people the tradeoffs most of them seem to be complacent. Even I myself use GMail, there's just no better mail service. Even if there were, I'd have to run the server from my home to be sure that I'm in control in it and it's truly free (by your definition). So given that much of the populace isn't even prepared technologically to harness truly free software, don't you think they have slowly accepted the trade offs and that the pros of your arguments -- though sound -- are only possibly realized by those skilled enough to edit source code or host their own mail server from their home?

Comment Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 5, Interesting) 359

I found your piece on selling free software to be pretty logical on paper. However, has it ever worked in the wild? Can you name companies or revenues that currently operate on this idea (and I'm not talking about services or support of the software)? I simply can't come up with a widely used monetized piece of software licensed under the GNU GPL whereby the original software was sold at a single price and shipped with the source code -- free for the original purchaser to distribute by the license's clauses. Can you list any revenue generation from that? I must admit I'm not exactly enamored with paying for free software (as in your definition of free) before it's written yet I cannot think of any other way this would fairly compensate the developer.

Video CanSat Helps Students Make & Launch Sub-Orbital 'Satellites' (Video) 22

The Magnitude (motto: "Powered by Curiosity") "Can-sized satellites" aren't technically satellites because they're launched on rockets that typically can't get much higher than 10,000 feet, or as payloads on weather balloons that can hit 100,000+ feet but (obviously) can't go beyond the Earth's atmosphere. But could they be satellites? Sure. Get a rocket with enough punch to put them in orbit and off you go -- something Magnitude Co-founder and CEO Ted Tagami hopes to see happening in his local school district by 2020. Meanwhile, they'll sell you assembled CanSat packages or help you build your own (or anything in between), depending on your schools resources and aspirations. Have a question or an idea? Talk to Ted. He'd love to hear from you. Use the Magnitude Web form or send email to hello at magnitude dot io. Either way works.

Video How Will IT Workers' Roles Change in the Next Five Years? (Video) 138

We asked Sarah Lahav this question. She's founder and CEO of service management and help desk software company SysAid, and a staunch supporter of Sysadmin Appreciation Day, so keeping an eye on the future of IT is essential for her company, her clients, and the friends she's made in her years as an IT person and -- later -- IT service company executive. As she says in the interview, "[Some] people say that the IT person will not exist because everything will go to the cloud. And the other half claims that people from the IT [department] will have new skills. It wouldn’t be the same IT person as we know him now, there will be focus more on firewalls than on fixing computers and stuff like that." Is she right? Is she wrong? Or will changes in IT people's roles be so different from company to company that there is no one right answer?

Interviews: Ask Dr. Temple Grandin About Animals and Autism 131

Being listed in the "Time 100" of the most influential people in the world in the "Heroes" category, is just one of the many awards received by Temple Grandin. Diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Temple overcame many obstacles and earned a doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a professor at Colorado State University. Dr, Grandin is recognized as an expert in animal behavior and one of the leading advocates for the rights of autistic persons. She lectures, and has written numerous books on animals and autism, and was the subject of the award-winning, biographical film, Temple Grandin . Dr. Grandin has agreed to take some time out of her schedule to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.

Comment Baidu Team's Apology Appended to Official Notice (Score 3, Insightful) 94

From the official announcement found in the NYT article (full of details we mostly already know) there comes an update with the team's response:

Message from the team in question:

Dear ILSVRC community,

Recently the ILSVRC organizers contacted the Heterogeneous Computing team to inform us that we exceeded the allowable number of weekly submissions to the ImageNet servers (~ 200 submissions during the lifespan of our project).

We apologize for this mistake and are continuing to review the results. We have added a note to our research paper, Deep Image: Scaling up Image Recognition, and will continue to provide relevant updates as we learn more.

We are staunch supporters of fairness and transparency in the ImageNet Challenge and are committed to the integrity of the scientific process.

Ren Wu – Baidu Heterogeneous Computing Team

So, while they deserve the year ban, the apology is nice. It's a shame we can never know what results a fair competition could have yielded ... and an even bigger shame that the media misreported Baidu as overpowering Google. I suppose the damage is done and the ILSVRC has made the right choice.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the classification problem but why isn't this run like most other classification problems (like Netflix and many other data challenges) where you get ~80% for training and the remaining 20% are held back for the final testing and scoring? Is the tagged data set too small to do this? Seems like wikimedia would contain a wealth of ripe public domain images for this purpose ...

Comment Re:You're Talking About a Different Scale (Score 5, Insightful) 276

Frankly put, I'm unaware of "American organized political trolling" that rivals this.

Americans are quick to believe the Official Narrative, no matter how absurd. Mass media is the professional 'troll' that gets people to fight each here.

Again, you're conflating two things that are significant enough that I don't see a simple one-to-one comparison here.

The clear difference here is that the trolls in the article are a nebulous entity whereas the media trolls are not. I know to laugh at Glenn Beck and Katie Couric. I know who they are. I recognize their blubbering stupid talking heads. They're a trainwreck of lies and half truths. On the other hand, you can't stop google from returning search results that confirm what you're looking for. When it's a "trending hastag" on Twitter, you can't figure out if it's legit or not. How do I know that podonski432 on Twitter is the same individual on Youtube named ashirefort posting videos of an explosion is the same person retweeting podonski432 and adding ashirefort's video to their tweet?

Mass media doesn't employ subterfuge and I sure as hell can stop reading the New York Post & Washington Times & CNSNews & Huffington Post and all that other drivel. I can't, however, identify easily that this account on Twitter is just the new troll account that tricked me last time.

You do know that it's news if the New York Times is caught lying or spreading known falsities, right? I watched Jon Stewart hold a "reporters" feet to the WMD fire on one of his recent episodes. There's no self-policing mechanism like that among trolls.

Adapt. Enjoy. Survive.