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Comment Re:Expensive (Score 1) 439

If it is, in fact, more effective at teaching students, it could potentially lead to larger class sizes, which could easily pay for the device. I am skeptical that it will be effective, but it could be - that's why they do pilot programs. I'm sure they will quickly begin to use it for other courses, too. I can see it being particularly useful for foreign languages (where being able to hear the text is important). I think the interactive textbook idea can also be really useful in science (especially at the early levels of biology, chemistry, and physics, where animations are so useful), geography (being able to pinch and zoom thousands of old maps, and being able to play games to reinforce learning), civics (being able to actually pull up the essential documents immediately). In fact, it's hard for me to think of a class that couldn't benefit from an iPad.

I think this will really turn out to be best for the students who want to move faster than the class and/or learn the material more thoroughly than required. For those students, this could help counter-balance the modern trend to dumb down the curriculum to produce high standardized test scores, rather than deeply examining the subject and teaching students to appreciate learning and thought. For most students, though, I expect this to be an overpriced toy with little educational value.

Comment Re:The question is still absurd... (Score 3, Insightful) 1042

Not really. A typical suburban American family has 2 cars - one sedan and one minivan/SUV and may be looking at deciding which one to replace.

Also, it's not the ratio between the gas mileages - it's the inverse that you have to look at. A car that gets 30 mpg uses 333 gallons for 10,000 miles. A car that gets 40 mpg (a "33% improvement) goes 250 miles - a savings of 88 gallons. A SUV that gets 12 mpg uses 833 gallons but one that gets 15 mpg (a mere "25%" improvement) uses 667 - a savings of 166 gallons.

If you are replacing one car this year, is it the civic or the Yukon?


Submission + - iPod Touch $20 Upgrade Now Mandatory?

An anonymous reader writes: Last month, Apple made some early iPod Touch adopters unhappy by rolling out a $19.99 software update that included features that some thought should have been there from the beginning. Users had the option of selecting "no thanks" to the upgrade each time they attempted to sync their iPod Touch. Apparently, as of yesterday, the "no thanks" and "update later" buttons no longer work. According to numerous discussions on the Apple support forums, this is a widespread problem with no solution provided by Apple. Without paying $20, it is now impossible to access the iPod Touch features to change which playlists, videos, music, and movies now sync. The only workaround suggested by other users is to prevent iTunes from accessing the Internet.

Comment Re:Not ready for the responsibility (Score 4, Interesting) 838

Wait, you're using something that happened in Russia 23 years ago as a reason why the US is not ready to have nuclear power today? Or maybe you mean Three Mile Island, which was 28 years ago in Pennsylvania, but caused no deaths or injuries? How many people died this year in coal mining incidents?

And then you cite hackable control systems for oil power plants are a reason to avoid nuclear power plants (which are generally far more security-conscious)?

There are issues with nuclear power plants, specifically what to do with the waste long-term.* However, nuclear power plants themselves are actually quite safe, in large part because everyone involved respects the harm that can come if something does go wrong.

[*] - France has largely solved that problem by recycling, something the US refuses to do because it creates weapons-grade plutonium.

Submission + - Protien in HIV functions as resistor

TwilightXaos writes: "Leor Weinberger and Thomas Shenk, two researchers at Princeton, have discovered a new model for how the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) enters and exits dormancy. They claim it functions as a resistor, this is in contrast to other types of regulation models found in other viruses and animals. From the abstract:

Here we show that a dissipative feedback resistor, composed of enzymatic interconversion of the transactivator, converts transactivation circuits into excitable systems that generate transient pulses of expression, which decay to zero. We use HIV-1 as a model system and analyze single-cell expression kinetics to explore whether the HIV-1 transactivator of transcription (Tat) uses a resistor to shut off transactivation. The Tat feedback circuit was found to lack bi-stability and Tat self-cooperativity but exhibited a pulse of activity upon transactivation, all in agreement with the feedback resistor model.

The research could lead to an effective treatment of the HIV virus, and has the possibility of increasing understanding of other viruses like herpes.
Additionally hindu.com has a article on the findings."

Submission + - Undersea cable repair via 19th century technology

An anonymous reader writes: Workers are relying on 19th century technology to fix a very 21st century problem — disruption of the Internet traffic that tech-savvy Asia relies on. "No electronics involved," said John Walters, general manager of Global Marine, one of the firms engaged in the repairs. "It's an old and traditional technique. After arriving at the scene they survey the ocean bottom to assess whether the contour has changed, and the degree of sediment movement. Then the traditional tools are brought out. A rope with a grapnel on the end is played out, down into the depths, and towed over the sea floor until tension registers on a graph on the ship, indicating contact has been made with the cable. Today's fibre optic cables are just 21 millimetres in diameter. The grapnel is a metal tool about 18 by 24 inches (46 by 61 centimetres) which includes a cutter, like a fine razor blade, and a grabbing tool. As tension increases and the cable is slowly pulled up, it is cut, grabbed, and half of it is hoisted to the surface. Dropping the grapnel, dragging the sea bed and recovering the cable can take about 16 hours, Walters said. "It is a tried and tested method." Once the severed half of the cable is on board the boat, debris is cleared from the damaged end, it is tested, sealed and the end boiled off. Then it is attached to a buoy on the water surface while the process is repeated for the second half of the cable before both halves are spliced together and dropped back to the ocean floor. Even before the Boxing Day earthquake, Global Marine had faced a busy year, with about 20 repairs after damage from fishermen or anchors. All those ruptures were fixed using the old grapnel method, he said.

Submission + - Need a non-MS HR database (soon!)

bbrecht writes: My UK-based employers were on the verge of buying a .NET-based HR "solution" which would have locked us into IE and MS SQL Server. I've managed to get it delayed for a week or so while I come up with some Open alternative(s). Something that works with MySQL and Firefox, maybe? I've found some names (Orange HRM, Snowdrop, Intellect, ...) but haven't much time to sort wheat from chaff. Who out there has had good / bad experiences with less-proprietary HR databases and front-ends?

Submission + - The thing that cannot be Googled

tetsuo29 writes: So, I'm dissecting a Perl script that a co-worker wrote and not being very familiar with Perl, I have no idea yet what the line "$| = 1;" means. In trying to google for it, I've discovered that "$|" cannot be searched for by Google. Try it. It doesn't even return the standard page that says:

Your search — "[search terms]" — did not match any documents


        * Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
        * Try different keywords.
        * Try more general keywords.

The results page is the equivalent of Google nothingness. Now, I think that "$|" is somehow related to CGI.pm and therefore probably CGI in general, but still shouldn't the brilliant coders at Google be able to code for this and index this as a search term so that clueless dolts like me can google for it to find out what it means?

So, I ask you Slashdotters:

    * What does '$| = 1;' mean in Perl?
    * Is there a way to google for that term?
    * Has anyone else found any text that Google will return 'Google nothingness' as I've described it?

Submission + - Wireless Power is finally here

oxide7 writes: "Wireless battery technology was unveiled at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show by Powercast LLC, promising to set consumers free from power cables and heavy power adapters. The company claims its Powercaster and Powerharvester modules can recharge batteries in consumer devices smaller than a cellphone using RF broadcasts from up to a meter away."

Submission + - Security Theater, With Ads

yali writes: Security experts like Bruce Schneier have criticized America's airport screening system as a lot of security theater and not much else. Well, what happens when the theater starts running ads? CNN reports that, following a pilot program at LAX, the TSA is getting ready to sell ad space in those ubiquitous gray X-ray trays in order to raise revenue. Is it right for a government agency to foist advertisements on a captive audience? And once the TSA becomes dependent on ad revenue, will it get that much harder to convince them to roll back ineffective procedures?
The Internet

Submission + - Desperate House Gamers Launches Site for Women

An anonymous reader writes: January 12, 2007 — While the world of video gaming still remains a male-dominated one, gaming amongst females is on the rise. Yet despite the growing numbers of so-called "girl gamers", little marketing is directed or tailored towards their particular perspective. To address this gap, Desperate Housegamers (DHG) is announcing the launch of its female-oriented gaming site, dedicated to all aspects of gaming. Boasting the same features found on most gaming sites, such as game and gadget reviews, DHG caters to the female perspective while acknowledging that women are just as interested in gaming as men.

As with men, female gamers can be found in every age group. One of the fastest growing segments of the market is made up of women over the age of 18, who currently represent 38% of the gaming market — a larger segment than that represented by under-18 males, according to the Electronic Software Association. Casual games, such as Bejeweled or Tetris, are largely responsible for the boom in gaming by women over 18. Younger women often enjoy games typically thought of as "boy games", but are frequently overlooked or misunderstood by marketers.

"Female gamers of every stripe exist out there," says DHG founder Mike Krakauskas, "but they're largely ignored by the gaming industry. Most existing gaming sites are very male-oriented, from their design to their content." DHG aims to give female gamers a place they feel comfortable, and where they won't have to battle their male counterparts for respect. DHG also intends to provide female gamers with a forum where they can express their views and voice their opinions, as well as simply socialize with likeminded women.

About Desperate Housegamers: The Desperate Housegamers website can be found at www.desperatehousegamers.com. Updated daily with news features, articles and reviews, DHG provides gamers with the latest gaming information tailored specifically for women. Features include community forums as well as a live voice chat room where women can discuss anything from gaming to general chit-chat.
The Internet

Submission + - Jail for EU p2p file sharers?

An anonymous reader writes: The European Parliament will vote at the end of this month on a controversial directive to criminalise infringements of all intellectual property rights (trademark, copyright, patents, etc). Some deputies has tabled amendments to require jail for non-commercial copyright infringements, such as internet filesharing. One of those deputies is Janelly Fourtou, the wife of Jean-René Fourtou, boss of Vivendi-Universal. Other amendments intends to criminalise "attempting, aiding or abetting and inciting" copyright infringements, which could render illegal all filesharing software. Recently, a court in Japan found the software author of Winny guilty of aiding copyright infringements.

MPAA Caught Uploading Fake Torrents 579

An anonymous reader writes "The MPAA and other anti-piracy watchdogs have been caught trapping people into downloading fake torrents, so they can collect IP addresses, and send copyright infringement letters to ISPs. The battle between P2P networks and copyright holders seems to be a never ending battle. It will be interesting to see how much the anti-piracy groups practices change once they begin begin selling movies and TV shows legally on bittorrent.com."

IBM Breaks Patent Record, Wants Reform 130

An anonymous reader writes "IBM set the record for most patents granted in a year for 2006. At the same time, IBM points out that small companies earn more patents per capita than larger enterprises and pushes for reform to address shortcomings in the process of patenting business methods: 'The prevalence of patent applications that are of low quality or poorly written have led to backlogs of historic proportions, and the granting of patents protecting ideas that are not new, are overly broad, or obvious.' And the company has been committing itself to a new patent policy: 'Key tenets of the policy are that patent quality is the responsibility of the applicant; that patent applications should be open to public examination and that patent ownership should be transparent; and that business methods without technical content should not be patentable.'"

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