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Education

Submission + - 100 things we didn't know last year

gollum123 writes: "The BBC news magazine is runnnig a compilation of the interesting and sometimes downright unexpected facts that we did not know last year, but now know ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/index.h tml#a007948 ). some examples — There are 200 million blogs which are no longer being updated, say technology analysts. Urban birds have developed a short, fast "rap style" of singing, different from their rural counterparts. The lion costume in the film Wizard of Oz was made from real lions. Online shoppers will only wait an average of four seconds for an internet page to load before giving up. just one cow gives off enough harmful methane gas in a single day to fill around 400 litre bottles. More than 90% of plane crashes have survivors. For every 10 successful attempts to climb Mount Everest there is one fatality. The word "time" is the most common noun in the English language, according to the latest Oxford dictionary. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobiacs is the term for people who fear the number 666. The egg came first. Thinking about your muscles can make you stronger."

The Rise and Fall of Commodore 340

Andrew Leigh writes "On The Edge: The Spectacular Rise And Fall Of Commodore by Brian Bagnall is fodder for anyone interested in the buried history of the personal computer. Whether you owned a Commodore computer or want to hear a new angle on the early stages of computer development, you'll find this book easy to pick up and almost impossible to put down. Bagnall has gone to a massive amount of effort in telling this tale, researching and interviewing the real personalities involved. It takes readers on an important and often emotional ride that will many times leave you shaking your head at how painfully it all went wrong." Read the rest of Andrew's review

' Naughty Bits' Decision Not So Nice 459

Many readers found stifling Judge Richard P. Matsch's decision yesterday that Cleanflix, a service selling versions of popular movies edited (some would say censored) to remove violence, nudity and other elements, was in violation of U.S. copyright law for selling these edited versions, while others welcomed the decision as appropriately respecting the intent of those who made the original movies. Read on for the Backslash summary of the conversation, with some of the best comments of the more than 1200 that readers contributed to the story.

Teaching Engineers to Write? 656

$hecky asks: "I teach several sections of a first-year writing course at a small, private college where most of the students are, or plan to be, some flavor of engineer. Right now, I'm planning next year's courses and wondering what has (and hasn't) helped Slashdot readers become better writers. Also, I'm wondering which writing skills you, in your roles as workers and teachers, would most like to see emphasized in first year writing courses. Put another way, where do you see people who have completed first-year writing courses screwing up their writing, and which experiences, practices, and pressures you think have made you a better writer?"

McAfee Feigns Fear at Mac Security 403

conq writes "BusinessWeek reports that McAfee has just come out with a report which asks the question 'Is Mac OS X the Next Windows?'." They appear to be attempting to scare consumers into buying anti-virus software for OSX. Blogger Arik Hesseldahl breaks down their claims: "First off, Mac users on average pay more for their computers, are self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer, and by and large are a bit more affluent than those who buy cheapo commodity Windows PCs ... When you take into account the ongoing growth in general PC ownership, even if Apple pushes its annual unit sales to 12 million or more by 2010, its share of the overall market will still account for about 4%, leaving Windows the far more tasty target."

Xbox Live More Popular than iTunes? 86

Microsoft announced this morning that they'd reached 10 Million downloads with the new Xbox Live service, a download rate even faster than the iTunes Music Store. From the Gamespot article: "The tech giant also revealed that more content for Xbox Live is on the way. The company confirmed that new achievements and automobiles will be available for Project Gotham Racing 3, new multiplayer maps are headed to Perfect Dark Zero, and an online cooperative mode for Kameo: Elements of Power will be ready soon. The company did not say whether said downloads would be free or, as is more likely, come at a price."

Coding is a Text Adventure 122

Wired News is running a story about a new approach to crossover working and gaming turning your coding into a MUD-style adventure. Playsh is a "narrative-driven 'object navigation' client, operating primarily on the semantic level, casting your hacking environment as a high-level, shell-based, social prototyping laboratory, a playground for recombinant network toys." Great, now they are combining two of the most horrible addictions in my life.

New Budget NASA Space Science Missions 180

pertinax18 writes "The New York Times is reporting that 'Some of the most highly promoted missions on NASA's scientific agenda would be postponed indefinitely or perhaps even canceled under the agency's new budget.' This looks to directly impact the types of missions that have been NASA's greatest successes like the Mars Rovers. 'Among the casualties in the budget, released last month, are efforts to look for habitable planets and perhaps life elsewhere in the galaxy, an investigation of the dark energy that seems to be ripping the universe apart, bringing a sample of Mars back to Earth and exploring for life under the ice of Jupiter's moon Europa'"

Penn and Teller's Long Lost Game 67

Waxy.org has some good news for Penn and Teller Fans. They have Smoke and Mirrors, a long lost Penn and Teller game. The game is available for download, and features (among other things) a bus drive across the Nevada desert as one of the title's mini-games. From the article: "The most infamous part was 'Desert Bus,' a 'VeriSimulator' in which you drive a bus across the straight Nevada desert for eight hours in real-time. Then you drive it home. Also, I'd read the bus veers to the right, so you can't just leave the joypad propped up. The rumor was that if you won the game, you got one point. I'd assumed for years that the entire thing was a hoax, but last September, Frank Cifaldi (founder of Lost Levels) received a backup CD-ROM made by a fellow videogame writer of a review copy he'd received a decade earlier. He posted extensive screenshots and a review to the Something Awful Forums. He eventually added a torrent, but it's long since dead."
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Journal Journal: Gotta Love it

I just noticed that under the new system, I'm getting a localized +1 Friend-of-Friend bonus looking at my own post...

Amusing.

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