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Education

Brown CS Department Hiring Student Diversity, Inclusion Advocates 178

theodp writes: Brown University's Department of Computer Science is seeking to hire student advocates for diversity and inclusion as part of its new action plan to increase diversity. The new hires, who will also serve as members of the CS Diversity Committee, will support students, plan inclusion activities, and educate TAs on issues of diversity. Also on the diversity front, Brown touted last weekend's Hack@Brown, the school's annual student hackathon, as being "unlike any other hackathon" -- welcoming, inclusive, and inviting to students of all experience levels." A cynic might point out that Hack@Brown's tech giant sponsors boast track records that are quite the opposite. By the way, Brown@Hackathon certainly upped the ante on conference Codes of Conduct, warning that those anonymously-charged with making others feel uncomfortable on the basis of "gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion (or lack thereof)" will be "expelled from the event without travel reimbursement at the discretion of the event organizers." Brown explained that travel reimbursements were provided to promote "economic diversity", ensuring that students who couldn't otherwise afford to get to and from Providence could attend the Ivy League event. Hey, what "economically diverse" kid wouldn't want to go to a conference where rubbing someone the wrong way could leave them stranded in Rhode Island!
Programming

Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality 247

itwbennett writes: A team of researchers in Sri Lanka set out to test whether common refactoring techniques resulted in measurable improvements in software quality, both externally (e.g., Is the code more maintainable?) and internally (e.g., Number of lines of code). Here's the short version of their findings: Refactoring doesn't make code easier to analyze or change (PDF); it doesn't make code run faster; and it doesn't result in lower resource utilization. But it may make code more maintainable.

Comment Balance (Score 1) 336

What about the opposite problem? Doctor performs a procedure in his office which includes the use of a $100 disposable device. Medicare pays him $35 for that procedure. Doctor either eats that difference, or chooses not to see Medicare patients.

This is a red herring. If they are looking to save money, look at the lawyers, insurance companies, and drug companies.

(I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.)

Comment 1 in a Billion (Score 5, Insightful) 527

From the article:

    "We can reduce the size of the haystack when we are looking for that one-in-a-billion terrorist," said TSA Administrator John Pistole.

Wow.

So if there's 7 Billion people in the world, then... there are only 7 people we need to find. Wow we're wasting a lot of time, money, and resources at the airports.

Games

The Right Amount of "Challenge" In IT & Gaming 103

boyko.at.netqos writes "In an essay entitled 'An Epiphany I Had While Playing Pac-Man,' the author talks about how smart people need to find a certain amount of intellectual challenge from day to day. If they don't find it in their workplace, they'll end up playing complex, 'smart' games, like Civilization IV or Chess — and if they do find it in their workplace, they're more likely to sit down with a nice game of Pac-Man, Katamari Damacy, or Peggle. Quoting: 'When I look back on my life, and I compare the times in my life when I was playing simple games compared to the times in my life when I was playing complex ones, a pattern emerges. The more complexity and mental stimulation I was getting from other activities — usually my day job at the time — the less I needed mental stimulation in my free time. Conversely, in times when I was working boring jobs, I'd be playing games that required a lot of thinking and mental gymnastics.' The author then goes on to speculate that some IT workers might subconsciously be giving themselves more challenges by choosing to deal with difficult problems, rather than performing simple (but boring) preventative maintenance and proactive network management."
Privacy

Submission + - Are the Pirates in the Vanguard of a New Politics? (computerworlduk.com)

E5Rebel writes: "The Swedish Pirate Party has secured a seat in the European Parliament. Its vote, 7.1% of the Swedish,suggests that there is something deeper going on here than a few bored voters choosing a joke party. The Pirate Party has just three basic policy areas. It wants to "fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens' rights to privacy are respected." Whether it is software, pharmaceuticals or just the right to live your life as you please, this is a breakthrough."
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft Is Buying Their Way Into Spanish Schools (opensourcereleasefeed.com)

volume4 writes: "HispaLinux is up in arms about the Spanish Goverment's announcement that Microsoft will be powering computers in their education system instead of Open Source and Linux after a, seemingly successful, paid for experiment run in schools in Aragon. Paul Brown, editor-in-chief, speaks his mind about the situation and why he believes there is more to the deal then meets the eye."
Idle

Submission + - Company Produces THC Tomatoes (thecrit.com) 2

Corpuscavernosa writes: Scientists at Montsaint Genie Tech Inc. announced today that they have successfully transferred the gene segment that produces the psychotropic chemical THC in cannabis plants to many other common garden plants, including tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, and more.

But is it legal? "Actually, yes," says Vale. "Our research qualifies as GMO 'intellectual property', as does the process itself. Since tomatoes and other plants are not illegal, a person would be well within the law to grow them and use them as they please."

Media

CoS Bigwig Likens Wikipedia Ban to Nazis' Yellow Star Decree 567

We mentioned on Thursday that Wikipedia has banned edits originating from certain IP addresses belonging to the Church of Scientology; reader newtley writes now that Scientology leader (CEO and Chairman of the Board of the linked, but legally separate, Religious Technology Center) David Miscavige calls the ban "a 'despicable hate crime,' and asks, 'What's next, will Scientologists have to wear yellow, six-pointed stars on our clothing?' During World War II, Hitler forced Jewish men, women and children to wear a a yellow cloth star bearing the word Jude to brand them in the streets of Europe, and in the Nazi death camps."
Data Storage

Nanotech Memory Could Hold Data For 1 Billion Years 239

Hugh Pickens writes "Digital storage devices have become ubiquitous in our lives but the move to digital storage has raised concerns about the lifetime of the storage media. Now Alex Zettl and his group at the University of California, Berkeley report that they have developed an experimental memory device consisting of a crystalline iron nanoparticle enclosed in a multiwalled carbon nanotube that could have a storage capacity as high as 1 terabyte per square inch and temperature-stability in excess of one billion years. The nanoparticle can be moved through the nanotube by applying a low voltage, writing the device to a binary state represented by the position of the nanoparticle. The state of the device can then be subsequently read by a simple resistance measurement while reversing the nanoparticle's motion allows a memory 'bit' to be rewritten. This creates a programmable memory system that, like a silicon chip, can record digital information and play it back using conventional computer hardware storing data at a high density with a very long lifetime. Details of the process are available at the American Chemical Society for $30."

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