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How To Get High-Schoolers Involved In Real Science? 314

Wellington Grey writes "I'm a physics teacher and have been wondering what ways it's possible to get students to participate in or donate to real science projects. I encourage my students to help out with things like Galaxy Zoo (which has just released a new version) and to get them to install BOINC on their personal computers. Do Slashdotters out there have any other suggestions that would be appropriate for the 11-18 age range? Extra credit if you can think of a way that I can track their progress so that I can give them extra credit."

Comment Re:Keep it simple! (Score 3, Funny) 956

I'm sorry, but that code goes against our coding standard by having non-const parameters and a goto. I suggest the following before submitting your changes:

int multiply(int const a, int const b)
  assert(a >= 0 );
  int x = 0, aNc = a;
  while (aNc--) x += b;
  return x;

Comment Let's make this simple. (Score 3, Insightful) 654

No one cares what you do in your off time. No really they don't. But if you're going to perform watersports on a dog, while licking ice cream off an asian prostitute, while sodomizing a bum, at least put it under an alias.

The shit people do and then link to their name is ridiculous. If I post something under my given name that can reflect badly onto me and the company I work for. Now at the same time if I post something under a pseudonym (kinglink is one) then that at least should not be considered the same thing. However at the same time if I link my account to my last name in any way (signing a post with my real name?) then again that becomes public knowledge. My company likely knows kinglink is me, that's fine I'm not betraying my company I'm not being stupid, I'm not trying to hide who I am, but the minute I would need to believe me, Kinglink will not be the name I try that with.

At the very least let's all realize that the internet is here to stay. So it's fine to post a picture of you as a fairy in a pride parade. But at the same time also realize someone searching for your information is likely to find and can and will make opinions on you or your background based on it.

Oh and a little hint, if you're playing hooky, and you take pictures DONT POST THEM ON FACEBOOK OR ANYTHING LINKED TO YOU! There's too many stories about this with people getting busted. Or again at the very least tamper with the date and time on your camera before you take your pictures.
The Courts

Submission + - Sex Suit in Second Life Develops (

eldavojohn writes: "Second Life has become a growing source of income for some & has recently been the scene of a lawsuit centered around the sale of sexual acts. This story is a follow up of from last month where the plaintiff was seeking the defendant's real name and now have brought suit against the owner of the avatar "Volkov Catteneo." This is a case of copyright law, the lawyer for the plaintiff said, "It's a piece of software and software is copyrightable. It's also expressed in graphics, which also are copyrightable. There is some sizzle. People like to say it's really far out there, but at the end of the day I equate it to basic intellectual property principles ... In a virtual world, you have the ability to gather evidence you don't have in the real world. Everything that happens in 'Second Life' is reflected on computer servers. Depending on how long they keep the records, you could actually replay the event as it happens.""
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Partial nudity in HALO 2 (PC) forcing recall.

Hushed Casket writes: "It appears that HALO 2 (PC) has it another road bump. Next-gen is reporting that partial nudity has been discovered in the retail version of the game that was originally due out on May 8th.

"It has come to our attention that an unfortunate, obscure content error which includes partial nudity was included in our initial production of "Halo 2" for Windows Vista. As such, we have updated the initial game packaging at retailers with a label, so customers are aware before purchasing the game. Additionally, we've developed an online update which can be downloaded from to remove the content."
The delays for HALO 2 (PC) mean that Shadowrun (also by Microsoft Game Studios) will be the first Games for Windows — Live launch title coming out on May 29th. Shadowrun is the first cross-platform shooter that allows XBOX 360 and Vista gamers to play with each other over Live. Now HALO 2 (PC) is set to ship from manufacturers on May 31st."

Submission + - U.S. Senators Threaten Canada Over Movie Piracy

An anonymous reader writes: Michael Geist reports that U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and John Corwyn have written an angry letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to complain about alleged Canadian movie piracy. The Senators rehash discredited claims about the extent and impact of camcording, bizzarely taking credit for the elimination of camcording in the U.S. due to their legislation.

Submission + - Why doesn't lab dark matter behave as it should?

Matthew Sparkes writes: "Experimental results suggest that scientists have succeeded in creating dark matter in a lab. Although this is the stuff that is thought to make up about one-fifth of the mass of the universe, no one has ever managed to see a single particle of it before. But there's something about his team's results that makes no sense. Their dark matter particles — called axions — aren't behaving as they should. They seem to be endowed with a property that means they should have sucked the life out of the sun billions of years ago. Plainly this has not happened, so what is going on?"

Submission + - Music Downloads Don't Decrease Album Sales

DocForbin writes: Koleman Strumpf, Koch Professor of Economics at The University of Kansas, and Felix Oberholzer-Gee of Harvard University analyzed millions of music downloads from 2002. Their Conclusion: "Downloads have an effect on sales that is statistically indistinguishable from zero." The findings, initially published in 2004, faced heavy criticism. After re-analyzing the data, Strumpf and Oberholzer-Gee defended their conclusions again in the Feb. 14 issue of the Journal of Political Economy.

Submission + - Breaking into the C++ programming field

An anonymous reader writes: Does anyone have any advice for breaking into the C++ programming field? I graduated college with a bachelors in CS in 2002, but after being unemployed for a year I took whatever job I could get (SQL Server/Some VB.NET). About a year ago I changed jobs at last, but the only people who looked at me seriously were for SQL Server skills, no one looked at me as a developer at all. Now, deciding that DBA is not really what I want to do, I am unable to even get the time of day for anyone recruiting for Software Engineering jobs. To be honest, I agree that there is a certain skillset I am missing and that is the skills of working on a gigantic project in one of these procedural languages. At my current job database work and development is completely separate, so I can't even touch any source code (mostly in C# anyway). In my previous job there were some web front ends coded in .NET but it was a start up and emphasis was on getting the job done...not proper software engineering. Also, all the .NET code was relatively small. Unfortunately, I cannot find a company to let me start doing real development where I can be introduced to a gigantic project in an imperative (C/C++/Java/C#) language. I would really like to do C++, but even just learning C++ is not enough. Most of the C++ jobs I see also require Java or Java Web Services, or Oracle. As much as I would like to learn all these things, I can't go around learning everything I see in job ads just to get a job, because by the time I do, the next job ad might have something different. Also, at home I just don't have a need for much power, even C++ is usually overkill for the typical home project. I just want to know how I can break into the programming field and without taking a huge paycut (since I have to support a family). Even in my current job as a DBA I am exposed to the software development process, and stored procedures are similar to developing for a procedural language (loops, variables, etc.). So surely somehow my experience must translate into real programming? C++ is my favorite language because of its raw power, but most jobs I see with C++ require 5+ years of work experience with "C/C++", which unfortunately I will never get since no one will hire me to do either.

Blu-ray's Hardware Woes Stacking Up 196

An anonymous reader writes "The bad news just keeps on coming for Blu-ray. First, Sony halved its U.S./Japanese launch shipments of its Blu-ray powered PlayStation 3, blaming a shortage of blue lasers. Then, in the last two weeks, both Sony and Pioneer delayed the releases of their new Blu-ray players, refusing to cite reasons. And this week, at Blu-ray backer LG's annual dealer show, a previously announced LG Blu-ray player was nowhere to be found. LG product development director Tim Alessi had this to say: 'We will provide an announcement when the time is right.'"

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All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford