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Education

Submission + - Rise of the online code schools (pcpro.co.uk)

Barence writes: "When it comes to programming, the classroom is moving online. A new wave of start-ups has burst onto the scene over the last year, bringing interactive lessons and gamification techniques to the subject to make coding trendy again. From Codecademy — and its incredibly successful Code Year initiative — to Khan Academy, Code School and Udacity, online learning is now sophisticated and high-tech — but is it good enough to replace the classroom? “We are the first five or six chapters in a book,” says Code School's Gregg Pollack in this exploration of online code classes, but with the number of sites and lessons growing by the week that might not be the case for long."
Science

Submission + - Artificial Muscles Pack a Mean Punch (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Here's a twist: Scientists have designed a flexible, yarnlike artificial muscle that can also pack a punch. It can contract in 25 milliseconds—a fraction of the time it takes to blink an eye—and can generate power 85 times as great as a similarly sized human muscle. The new muscles are made of carbon nanotubes filled with paraffin wax that can twist or stretch in response to heat or electricity. When the temperature rises, the wax melts and forces the nanotubes to contract. Such artificial muscles, the researchers say, could power smart materials, sensors, robots, and even devices inside the human body.
Mandriva

Submission + - Mandriva Foundation Gets A New Name: OpenMandriva (muktware.com)

sfcrazy writes: Mandrive, once the Ubuntu of Linux world, is struggling for new identity and new life. After its fork as Mageia the distribution is enjoying new life with support from Russian investors. The distribution and foundation is looking for a new identity. They have chosen Open Mandriva as the name of the foundation, the new name of the distribution is yet to be decided.

Submission + - Raspberry PI Model B now has 512Mb of ram (raspberrypi.org) 1

EricTheRed writes: "The raspberry pi foundation announced this morning that as of today the Model B is shipping with double the memory — 512Mb of it.

"With this in mind, we’re pleased to announce that from today all Model B Raspberry Pis will ship with 512MB of RAM as standard. If you have an outstanding order with either distributor, you will receive the upgraded device in place of the 256MB version you ordered. Units should start arriving in customers’ hands today, and we will be making a firmware upgrade available in the next couple of days to enable access to the additional memory.""

Education

Submission + - Pressure Rises on German Science Minister in Plagiarism Scandal (thelocal.de)

An anonymous reader writes: Germany's minister for science and education, who is currently under investigation by her alma mater for plagiarising parts of her PhD thesis, is facing new accusations: a total of 92 alleged incidents of plagiarism (German) have been documented by a blogger, who calls "this number of violations inexcusable".
Programming

Submission + - cHTeMeLe is a board game about HTML (geek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: cHTeMeLe is a board game about writing HTML5 code. In cHTeMeLe, players endorse their favorite web browser (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, or IE) and then score points by correctly laying out HTML tags, while also trying to bug or crash their opponents’ code.

Despite cHTeMeLe’s technical theme, its developers claim you don’t need any web programming experience to play. The game takes web design standards and boils them down into game rules that even children can learn. To help less technical players keep everything straight, the tag cards use syntax highlighting that different parts of code have unique colors — just like an Integrated Developer Environment. No one is going to completely pick up HTML5 purely by playing cHTeMeLe, but it does have some educational value for understanding basic tags and how they fit together.

Canada

Why Worms In the Toilet Might Be a Good Idea 124

derekmead writes "Billions worldwide still don't have access to proper sanitation, and those that do still require a ton of water and electricity to keep waste flowing. A French company is offering one solution: Use turd-eating worms to compost waste right at the source. Ecosphere Technologies has developed an outhouse that, rather than relying on chemicals like a port-a-john, relies on about a pound of red wiggler worms. A new installation in Quebec uses imported worms, placed inside of a mixture of dung and straw underneath to toilet, to devour feces delivered to them by a conveyor belt system. (When someone uses the toilet, pee filters through sand to wash away, while a pedal allows the user to transport their poo to the worm space.) The whole system uses no water or electricity, and a series of passive vents allegedly keeps the toilet smelling great. The company claims it can be used 10,000 times without servicing, which is far better than what a port-a-potty can boast, although with a current price tag of $40k for the worm system, port-a-potties are still a lot cheaper."
Cloud

Submission + - RightScale, Scalr, enStratus: Comparing the APIs (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: "Back in May, I took a look at three cloud management platforms: RightScale, Scalr, and enStratus. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that people from two of those companies—RightScale and Scalr—took note of the article and replied in the comments, offering some clarification on their offerings. (And they were very civil: thank you!)

What I’d like to do next is re-visit these platforms, but focus directly on the APIs that the three offer—not so much coding, but a high-level picture of them. How do they stack up? What features do they have? How do they fit with standards? And what can you expect from the long-term?"

Submission + - Bacon shortage 'baloney,' but prices to rise (seattlepi.com)

PolygamousRanchKid writes: The economics of the current drought are likely to nose up prices for bacon and other pork products next year, by as much as 10 percent. But U.S. agricultural economists are dismissing reports of a global bacon shortage that lent sizzle to headlines and Twitter feeds last week. Simply put, the talk of scarcity is hogwash.

"Use of the word 'shortage' caused visions of (1970s-style) gasoline lines in a lot of people's heads, and that's not the case," said Steve Meyer, president of Iowa-based Paragon Economics and a consultant to the National Pork Producers Council and National Pork Board. "If the definition of shortage is that you can't find it on the shelves, then no, the concern is not valid. If the concern is higher cost for it, then yes."

Security

Submission + - Breakthrough silicon scanning discovers hardware backdoor in military ASIC chip (cam.ac.uk) 3

StealthHunter writes: Cambridge researchers found a hardware backdoor after discovering additional functionality in the JTAG (hardware debugging / programming) interface. While such attacks have been theorized, this is thought to be the first real-world instance. The vulnerable product is the Actel ProASIC3, and, since the backdoor is in the hardware, there is no patch other than to physically replace the chip.
ISS

Submission + - Space Station Saved by a Toothbrush?

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Denise Chow reports that two spacewalking astronauts successfully replaced a vital power unit on the International Space Station today, defeating a stubborn bolt that prevented the astronauts from properly installing the power unit on the ISS's backbone-like truss with the help of some improvised tools made of spare parts and a toothbrush. Astronauts Sunita Williams and Akihiko Hoshide started by removing the power box, called a main bus switching unit (MBSU), from where it had been temporarily tied down with a tether, then spent several hours troubleshooting the unit and the two bolts that are designed to secure it in place on the space station's truss. After undoing the bolts, the spacewalkers examined them for possible damage, and used improvised cleaning tools and a pressurized can of nitrogen gas to clean out the metal shavings from the bolt receptacles. "I see a lot of metal shavings coming out," Hoshide said as he maneuvered a wire cleaner around one of the bolt holders. Williams and Hoshide then lubricated a spare bolt and manually threaded it into the place where the real bolt was eventually driven, in an effort to ensure that the receptacle was clear of any debris. Then the two applied grease to the sticky bolt as well as extra pressure and plain old jiggling until finally 4½ hours into the spacewalk, Hoshide reported: "It is locked." When Hoshide reported that the troublesome bolt was finally locked into place, the flight managers erupted in applause while astronaut Jack Fischer at Mission Control told the astonauts "that is a little slice of awesome pie.""

Submission + - Breakthrough in battery technology could lead to practical electric cars (bbc.co.uk) 3

An anonymous reader writes: An Israeli engineering firm has developed a breakthrough battery technology that can near instantly recharge the battery of an electric vehicle. Long battery recharge times have long been a barrier to widespread adoption of electric vehicles. The BBC article reviews this new technology.

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