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Comment Re: yay more emojis (Score 2) 199

This is where Emoji came from. Imagine a late 1990's cell phone with the 12 standard buttons, and having to send text messages to someone in Japanese. How do you use those 12 buttons to select from thousands of Kanji symbols?

T9.

Don't try and be an amateur linguistic historian, when people are alive today that sent SMS messages in the mid 1990s. Also, the history of emoji is in Wikipedia.

So what's the real story? Someone at NTT Docomo wanted prettier emoticons. Then once they had that, they decided to shove all their icons into this new dingbat font for ease of use. Softbank wanted feature parity, so they did the same. Then later the two fonts were shoved together, and so we have the unholy union that gives us ðY"' and ðY--, âoe'ï and ðY-, and my favorite ðY" and ðY"Z.

Submission + - Facebook Offers Innumerate Explanation For Its 1% Black Tech Workforce 1

theodp writes: Back in 2014, Gas Station Without Pumps patiently explained that while the case can clearly be made for female and black students being under-represented in Advanced Placement Computer Science exams, pointing to states with zero female or Black AP CS test takers is not the way to do it. Of the eleven states that had no Black test takers in 2013, GSWP explained: "The zero black AP CS test takers for the nine states can be fairly confidently attributed to the lack of AP CS test takers, and in Maine to the shortage of black students. For Alaska, the lack of black AP CS test takers is probably due to the shortage of AP CS test takers in the state." But that didn't stop Facebook from using the dramatic-but-statistically-fallacious arguments on Thursday to explain away its still-1% Black tech workforce. "It has become clear that at the most fundamental level, appropriate representation in technology or any other industry will depend upon more people having the opportunity to gain necessary skills through the public education system," said Facebook Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams, who was tasked with explaining why Facebook's diversity efforts don't seem to be working (Facebook's tech workforce is 48% White, 46% Asian, 3% Hispanic, 1% Black, 2% Other). "Currently, only 1 in 4 US high schools teach computer science," Williams continued. "In 2015, seven states had fewer than 10 girls take the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam and no girls took the exam in three states. No Black people took the exam in nine states including Mississippi where about 50% of high school graduates are Black, and 18 states had fewer than 10 Hispanics take the exam with another five states having no Hispanic AP Computer Science (CS) test takers. This has to change." To give Facebook's innumerate explanation some context, according to 2015 AP Data, Mississippi had a grand total of five AP CS test takers. And in the three states where no girls took the exam — Montana, Mississippi, and Wyoming — boys respectively took zero, five, and three AP CS exams.

Submission + - Texas 9th Grader Shows STEM Smarts, Gets Sent to Juvenile Detention (dallasnews.com)

jddj writes: Award-winning electronics whiz Ahmed Mohamed loved the robotics club in middle school. So when he got to high school, he decided to show the teachers what he could do: he tossed together an electronic clock in about 20 minutes, and housed it in a pencil case.

Irving, Texas school officials did what they do best when confronted with a bright, promising student: they had him arrested and taken to juvenile detention, claiming Ahmed had built a "fake bomb" (something the student never claimed).

Remember folks: Lie down. Don't think for yourself. If you've got smarts, don't show 'em.

Submission + - What Do Old Techies Do After They Retire?

HughPickens.com writes: Peter T. Kilborn writes in the NYT about the generation of the baby boomer programmers, engineers, and technical people who are now leaving the bosses, bureaucracies, commutes and time clocks of their workaday careers to tackle something consuming and new, whether for material reward or none at all. “Retirement gives them the opportunity to flex their experience,” says Dr. William Winn speaking of a postchildhood, postfamily-rearing, “third age” of “productive aging” and “positive aging.” Nancy K. Schlossberg calls men and women who exploit the skills of their old jobs “continuers" and those who take up something new “adventurers.” Continuers and adventurers make up the vigorous end of Dr. Schlossberg’s retirement spectrum, opposite those she calls “retreaters” who disengage from life and “spectators” who just watch.

For example, 75-year-old Seth R. Goldstein, with four degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering from MIT and retired for thirteen years, still calls himself an engineer. But where he was previously a biomedical engineer with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda with 12 patents, he now makes kinetic sculptures in his basement workshop that lack any commercial or functional utility. But his work, some of which is on display at the Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore, has purpose. Goldstein is pushing the envelope of engineering and hoping to stir the imaginations of young engineers to push their own envelopes. For example "Why Knot?” a sculpture Goldstein constructed, uses 10 electric motors to drive 10 mechanisms to construct a four-in-hand knot on a necktie that it wraps around its own neck. Grasping, pulling, aligning and winding the lengths of the tie, Mr. Knot can detect the occasional misstep or tear, untie the knot and get it right. Unlike Rube Goldberg’s whimsical contraptions, Mr. Goldstein’s is no mere cartoon. It works, if only for Mr. Knot.

According to Kilborn, people like Goldstein don't fit the traditional definition of retirement, which according to Webster's Dictionary means the "withdrawal from one's position or occupation or from active working life. Retirement implies that you're just leaving something; it doesn't reflect that you're going to something," says Schlossberg. "But it is really a career change. You are leaving something that has been your primary involvement, and you are moving to something else."

Comment Foxfire Books (Score 4, Informative) 272

Foxfire has been doing this the mid 1960s. How to raise and slaughter animals. How to grow crops. How to bootstrap iron working, including gunsmithing. Everything you need, and with all the mammy-pamby crap from "urban homesteaders" and preppers. Practical knowledge from people that were doing it daily.

Comment Liked BF2, but hated BF3 (Score 1) 208

I've never been a great FPS player, but I do enjoy the genre, or at least I used to. (Apparently, kids these days think camping at spawn points is cool. In my day, that would get you kicked.) I really liked BF2. I liked hopping in anti aircraft batteries and gibbetting whole groups of people until inevitably someone stuck a bomb on the back on detonated it. Loads of fun. When I got BF3, I thought, "What the fuck is this?" Every gun, every add-on had to be unlocked. It was stupid, and made an already frustrating game, unplayable. I was a goddamn sniper, without a goddamn scope! WTF?

Even the single player campaign was boring and by the numbers. It was almost as bad as a rail-shooter, that I couldn't bother to finish it. And that's when I realized that I'd probably never play another FPS. (Well that, and the stupidity of the COD Black Ops demo where I had to walk to a U2, climb up a latter, turn on the plane, fly up, then watch a cut scene. Pointless.)

Comment Re:Their business model sucked (Score 2) 338

The USPS has a history of supporting OCR research, as part of its need to quickly and accurately route mail to its intended destination. That's main reason why ZIP codes and their later evolution of ZIP+4 came about.

That said, the National Security Complex has used the this system to institute the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking, which is a program to expand what used to be law enforcement surveillance technique (mail covers), as part of mass warrantless surveillance.

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