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EA Shuts Down Pandemic Studios, Cuts 200 Jobs 161

lbalbalba writes "Electronic Arts is shutting down its Westwood-based game developer Pandemic Studios just two years after acquiring it, putting nearly 200 people out of work. 'The struggling video game publisher informed employees Tuesday morning that it was closing the studio as part of a recently announced plan to eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 16% of its global workforce. Pandemic has about 220 employees, but an EA spokesman said that a core team, estimated by two people close to the studio to be about 25, will be integrated into the publisher's other Los Angeles studio, in Playa Vista.' An ex-developer for Pandemic attributed the studio's struggles to poor decisions from the management."

The Fresca Rebellion 776

theodp writes "They can ban the Marlboros, tax the Cokes, and zone the Whoppers, says Slate's William Saletan on the subject of today's morality cops. But it's time to put the brakes on the paternalistic overreaching of the food police, Saletan argues, when they come after his editor's beloved Fresca ('there are concerns that diet beverages may increase calorie consumption by justifying consumption of other caloric foods'), which will have to be pried from his cold, dead hands. '40 states have enacted special taxes on soda or junk food. And the soda taxers are becoming ever bolder. Their latest manifesto is an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, co-authored by the health commissioner of New York City, the surgeon general of Arkansas, and several others. It declares soda fair game for government intervention (PDF) on the grounds that "market failures" in this area are causing "less-than-optimal production and consumption."' Where do we draw the line?"

Comment Re:Missing the point, really. (Score 1) 347

Teaching a 150+ student lecture, it's quite hard for a professor to understand what the "common problems" are in a classroom. Not all students have the time to talk with the professor after class, since many have other classes to go to, or perhaps a job.

A "clicker" (which I'll now refer to as PRS (Personal Response System), as that's what I'm used to) is a great way for a professor to ask a tricky question, and find out what the class thinks as a whole. As an example, my physics teacher asked a question about the direction of an acceleration vector. The question was, "If a ball is thrown into the air, which way is the acceleration vector pointing just before the ball is caught?"

Obviously, the vector is pointing down, but many students were confused about this, and answered either up or that it was the zero vector. This gave the professor a chance to address those students who answered wrong, and explain to them again why the vector was pointing down. Normally, by just raising hands, the professor could never get such an accurate answer of who thought what. He would then assume everyone understood completely, and just continue teaching, while half the class thought that the acceleration vector pointed up.

I've used PRS in quite a few classes. Many times, there is no grade on your actual answer to "PRS quizzes", but rather just a "participation grade", which further translates into just an attendance grade. Many professors don't know how to properly use the system to the advantage of themselves or the students. On the other hand, some know very good ways in which to make a possibly boring giant lecture hall into an interactive room with actual learning taking place.

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