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Comment Methodology seems dodgy (Score 1) 386

The small sample of 25 young adult participants were asked to predict which one would randomly turn red, make a mental note of this, then wait. After one of the circles took on a crimson hue, the participants had to record via keystroke whether they had predicted correctly, incorrectly, or didnâ(TM)t have time to complete their choice.

The journal article is paywalled, so I'm relying on the linked articles for my information.
Why not have the participants enter their choice BEFORE the circle is displayed and then and automatically record whether or not their response was correct? It would keep participants honest. I think a more reasonable interpretation than "we are seeing the future because we have no free will" is that the participants simply did not have time to solidify a guess in their minds and were simply lying (even if they were doing it subconsciously) about their guess.

Comment I disagree (Score 5, Interesting) 158

The Hour of Code isn't supposed to actually teach Javascript or other "real" languages. Instead, it's designed to give students an idea of how programming works in general and maybe pique the interest of students who might not realize that they'd enjoy programming. If the CS-for-all movement is to happen, then using a "dumbed-down" language with easy rewards is a good decision: most students would be bored to tears and turned off to programming if their program wasn't working because they mistyped a word or forgot a semicolon somewhere. A drag-drop interface is also great because students can easily experiment without having to worry about making syntax mistakes; instead, they focus on the big picture of how to make the robot do what it is they want it to do. After all, nothing is stopping schools from offering "real" programming classes to interested students or bright students like the author himself from learning how to code independently.

FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous 354

An anonymous reader writes The FBI is concerned about moves by Apple and Google to include encryption on smartphones. "I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the contents," FBI Director James Comey told reporters. "What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law." From the article: "Comey cited child-kidnapping and terrorism cases as two examples of situations where quick access by authorities to information on cellphones can save lives. Comey did not cite specific past cases that would have been more difficult for the FBI to investigate under the new policies, which only involve physical access to a suspect's or victim's phone when the owner is unable or unwilling to unlock it for authorities."

3D-Printed Car Takes Its First Test Drive 132

An anonymous reader points out this advancement in 3D printing. This week, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Arizona-based automobile manufacturer Local Motors stole the show. Over the six day span of the IMTS, the company managed to 3D print and assemble an entire automobile, called the "Strati," live in front of spectators. Although the Strati is not the first ever car to be 3D printed, the advancements made by Local Motors with help from Cincinnati Inc, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have produced a vehicle in days rather than months.

Couchsurfing Hacked, Sends Airbnb Prank Spam 44

Slashdot regular (and Couchsurfing.org volunteer) Bennett Haselton writes with a report that an anonymous prankster hacked the Couchsurfing.org website and sent spam to about 1 million members, snarkily advertising their commercial arch-rival Airbnb as "the new Couchsurfing." (Read on below for more on the breach.) As of now, the spam's been caught, but not the spammer.

Comment Re:I hope not. (Score 3, Informative) 113

It does, because teachers are expected to utilize methods that support common core

Could you please provide an example? I teach high school math and I have not felt pressured by the Common Core to use certain methods, so I'm genuinely curious. To me, it sounds like the real problem is with lousy administrators micromanaging teachers, not with the standards themselves.

Comment Re:I hope not. (Score 5, Informative) 113

Common Core isn't a curriculum, it's a set of standards. It does not have anything to do with homework, instruction methodology, grading rules, or anything like that. See for yourself. If your district is using shoddy curriculum like Engage NY, that is their fault.

I'm not saying that the CCSS are beyond criticism, but the criticism should be accurate.

The Internet

Demonoid BitTorrent Tracker Apparently Back Online 134

Freshly Exhumed writes "TorrentFreak has broken the news that after more than a year of downtime the Demonoid tracker is back online. The tracker is linked to nearly 400,000 torrent files and more than a million peers, which makes it one of the largest working BitTorrent trackers on the Internet. There is no word yet on when the site will make a full comeback, but the people behind it say they are working to revive one of the most famous file-sharing communities. As the single largest semi-private BitTorrent tracker that ever existed, Demonoid used to offer a home to millions of file-sharers. Note that this is apparently the original Demonoid and not the d2 site that claims to be using the Demonoid database."

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