Submission + - AP Computer Science A Exam Growth Fell as Easier AP CSP Course Launched

theodp writes: According to recently-released College Board AP Program Data, the year-over-year percentage growth in the number of high school students taking the AP Computer Science A Exam in 2017 fell to a nine-year low despite a massive national private/public effort to promote K-12 CS. Touted as "the fastest growing A.P. course" just last April by the NY Times, AP Computer Science A saw only 2,582 more exams administered in 2017 than in 2016, or 4.5% YOY growth. The AP CS A growth slowdown occurred as students embraced AP Computer Science Principles (CSP), a new course created by the College Board at the urging of the NSF to address AP CS A's failure to attract many girls or underrepresented minorities. Computer Science Principles, explained the Times (which dubbed the course Coding Lite), is less coding heavy, more project-oriented and strives to be real-world relevant. Over 44,000 students took the AP CSP exam in its inaugural year, and students enjoyed a pass-rate of 74.5%. As it killed the more rigorous AP CS AB exam in 2008, the College Board cited "our intensified commitment to AP Computer Science A." But with support from the likes of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and tech-bankrolled Code.org, could the success of AP CSP spell the death knell for AP CS A and perhaps ultimately even Java?

Submission + - Equifax Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin Has Retired (marketwatch.com)

phalse phace writes: Following on the heels of a story that revealed that Equifax hired a music major with no education related to technology or security as its Chief Security Officer, Equifax announced on Friday afternoon that Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin has quit the company along with Chief Information Officer David Webb.

Chief Information Officer David Webb and Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin retired immediately, Equifax said in a news release that did not mention either of those executives by name. Mark Rohrwasser, who had been leading Equifax’s international information-technology operations since 2016, will replace Webb and Russ Ayres, a member of Equifax’s IT operation, will replace Mauldin.

Submission + - Chinese Scientists Developed Dental Cavity Vaccine (nature.com)

hackingbear writes: Dental caries is one of the most common global chronic diseases affecting all ages of the population, scientists at Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences developed low side effects and high protective efficiency against caries using flagellin-rPAc fusion protein, KFD2-rPAc, a promising vaccine candidate. In rat challenge models, KFD2-rPAc induces a robust rPAc-specific IgA response, and confers efficient prophylactic and therapeutic efficiency against caries as does KF-rPAc, while the flagellin-specific inflammatory antibody responses are highly reduced.

Submission + - Mystery of Sonic Weapon Attacks At US Embassy In Cuba Deepens (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room. Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 U.S. victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. The top U.S. diplomat has called them “health attacks." New details learned by the Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling U.S. officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up.

Suspicion initially focused on a sonic weapon, and on the Cubans. Yet the diagnosis of mild brain injury, considered unlikely to result from sound, has confounded the FBI, the state department and U.S. intelligence agencies involved in the investigation. Some victims now have problems concentrating or recalling specific words, several officials said, the latest signs of more serious damage than the U.S. government initially realized. The United States first acknowledged the attacks in August — nine months after symptoms were first reported.

Submission + - Fire spotting aircraft hits drone in Oregon. (suasnews.com)

garymortimer writes: Fire Spotter Bradley Goldman thinks he may have hit a drone. Reports reached me yesterday of this incident, but Mr Goldman has broken cover on Facebook today.

I was told he was routing along the beach at Newport, Oregon on Wednesday the 13th of September and at 440 feet, at about 15:00 local he struck something and landed normally.

A formal investigation is believed to be in progress, with early reports of plastic found!

Submission + - 8,500 Verizon Customers Disconnected Because of 'Substantial' Data Use (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Verizon is disconnecting another 8,500 rural customers from its wireless network, saying that roaming charges have made certain customer accounts unprofitable for the carrier. The 8,500 customers have 19,000 lines and live in 13 states (Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin), a Verizon Wireless spokesperson told Ars today. They received notices of disconnection this month and will lose access to Verizon service on October 17. Verizon said in June that it was only disconnecting "a small group of customers" who were "using vast amounts of data—some as much as a terabyte or more a month—outside of our network footprint." But one customer, who contacted Ars this week about being disconnected, said her family never used more than 50GB of data across four lines despite having an "unlimited" data plan. We asked Verizon whether 50GB a month is a normal cut-off point in its disconnections of rural customers, but the company did not provide a specific answer.

Submission + - South Park's Season Premier Sets Off Everyone's Amazon Echo (maxim.com)

SonicSpike writes: It's hard to believe that Trey Parker and Matt Stone didn't know exactly what they were doing with Wednesday night's season premiere of South Park.

This episode marked the beginning of the show's 21st season and as usual, South Park took on current issues like tiki torch-wielding white supremacists and... home digital assistants.

The latter meant lots of gags in which Cartman and other characters addressed Amazon Echo's Alexa and Google Home as well. And that ended up being a problem for viewers who own those devices.

South Park writers absolutely knew their lines would do this and probably had a hilarious time coming up with funny commands for the home assistants.

Submission + - Equifax says almost 400,000 Britons hit in data breach (bbc.co.uk)

MalachiK writes: Data about British people "may potentially have been accessed" during the data breach at the US credit rating firm Equifax.
The UK arm of the organisation said files containing information on "fewer than 400,000" UK consumers was accessed in the breach.

In a statement, the UK office of Equifax said an internal investigation had shown that data on UK consumers was accessed during the hack.
It said data on Britons was being held in the US due to a "process failure" which meant that a limited amount of information was stored in North America between 2011 and 2016.

Submission + - Google's Stake Through the Hearts of Obnoxious Autoplay Videos (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: I also mentioned that in my view Google has taken a much more rational approach — focused on specific content issues without breaking fundamental network paradigms — and in that context I mentioned their plans to tame obnoxious autoplay videos.

We all know about those videos — often ads — that start blaring from your speakers as soon as you hit a site. Or even worse, videos that lurk silently on background tabs for some period of time and then suddenly blare at you — often with loud obnoxious music. Your head hits the wall behind you. Your coworkers scatter. Your cat violently pops into the air and contemplates horrific methods of revenge.

Submission + - Cassini Spacecraft crashes into Saturn (washingtonpost.com)

sqorbit writes: Early Friday morning the Cassini spacecraft crashed into Saturn. "The signal from the spacecraft is gone and within the next 45 seconds so will be the spacecraft". Launched in 1997, Cassini was the first prode to orbit Saturn. The Cassini help better understand Saturn's rings and also explored two moons, Titan and Enceladus.

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