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Submission + - Study Shows Professors With Tenure Are Worse Teachers

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: We all know the stereotype about tenured college professors: great researchers, lazy teachers. Now Jordan Weissmann writes in the Atlantic that a new study confirms the conventional knowlege that faculty who aren't on the tenure-track appear to do a better job at teaching freshmen undergraduates in their introductory courses than their tenured/tenure-track peers. “Our results provide evidence that the rise of full-time designated teachers at U.S. colleges and universities may be less of a cause for alarm than some people think, and indeed, may actually be educationally beneficial." Using the transcripts of Northwestern freshmen from 2001 through 2008, the research team focused on two factors: inspiration and preparation. The team began by asking if taking a class from a tenure or tenure-track professor in their first term later made students more likely to pursue additional courses in that field. That's the inspiration part. Next the researchers wanted to know if students who took their first course in a field from a tenure or tenure-track professor got better grades when they pursued more advanced coursework. That's the preparation part. Controlling for certain student characteristics, freshmen were actually about 7 percentage points more likely to take a second course in a given field if their first class was taught by an adjunct or non-tenure professor and they also tended to get higher grades in those future courses. The pattern held "for all subjects, regardless of grading standards or the qualifications of the students the subjects attracted" from English to Engineering. The defining trend among college faculties during the past 20 years or so (40, if you really want to stretch back) has been the rise of the adjuncts. "That said, there is something appealingly intuitive in these results," concludes Weissmann. "Professionals who are paid entirely to teach, in fact, make for better teachers. Makes sense, right?"

Comment That's why you need automated candidate testing (Score 5, Insightful) 207

There's a lot of recruiter hate going on here but it seems to miss the real problem. Having spent the last 6 years on the hiring side, it's very obvious that Jeff Atwood's FizzBuzz problem is too hard for 90% of the people applying for programming positions out there. When you end up with a situation like this, traditional hiring methods just don't work. Job board postings will get you hundreds of resumes in a single day but the quality is really crap and it is prohibitively expensive to do traditional interviews for every single resume received. HR recruiters, hated as they are, actually do provide higher quality candidates than posting on the job boards. However, it's something like an increase from 1% quality candidates to 5% quality. Still very poor.

We've ended up using a multi-prong approach to hiring ourselves. Besides using recruiters and posting to SIG boards, we've also optimized our candidate screening to handle the flood that comes in from job board postings. Since you can't tell much from resumes (some candidates lie, but an amazing number of good developers are also very bad at writing resumes), we try to call in all but the worst of the resumes received. Then we sit them through an automated testing system (we use Codility). Candidates that pass the equivalent of the FizzBuzz problem are then interviewed by technical interviewers that go over the code with them detail and attempt to thoroughly assess their true skill level. That automated testing step filters out the equivalent of 90% of our candidates, resulting in an almost 90% savings in our HR costs. It's very expensive to have good technical people spending hours interviewing after all, and they tend to hate it anyway.

It's not perfect. There are of course great people who get rejected or who even refuse to take an automated test. However, automated candidate testing means the difference between our top technical people spending 10% of their time interviewing or 100% of their time interviewing. With the scarcity of really good technical talent, we obviously chose to optimize our techie time.

Comment Re:Isn't Chinese Law (Score 1) 812

that any factory or venture in China must be at least 51% domestically owned, such that they always will have the power?

No. That law was scrapped a while ago. There are now quite a few WOFE (Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprises) in China. They do have some minor restrictions (e.g. some paperwork stuff that requires that they work through intermediaries instead of doing things themselves) but for the most part are free to operate normally.

China is actually more welcoming to foreign enterprises than the US. I've worked in both countries.


Submission + - Application development for the OLPC laptop

desNotes writes: IBM DeveloperWorks (registration required) has a tutorial on developing Python activities for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) computers. It covers the XO laptop architecture, internals, and talks about its application environment with the Sugar UI written in Python , accessible to everyone (including kids). The tutorial explores the APIs and shows how to develop and debug a graphical activity using Python, and platform emulation with QEMU (for those /. ers who did not order their own). The G1G1 program is running through 31 December.

Submission + - MaxDB Taken Proprietary/Closed Source by SAP

An anonymous reader writes: Specifically: "In October 2007, SAP assumed full sales and commercial support for MaxDB. MaxDB 7.6 is now closed source, available free-of-charge (without support, and with usage restrictions) for use with non-SAP applications. Commercial support models for using MaxDB outside of SAP environments are under consideration." No explanation/clarification from SAP is yet forthcoming as to why MaxDB was taken closed source.
Portables (Apple)

Submission + - Iphone is now unlocked for free, as in free beer (

The_Angry_Canadian writes: "Folks, it's official, for free, you can now unlock you Iphone. No need to pay a third party, now, an open source option for unlocking the iphone is availalble ! Has reported on the Dev Wiki of the iphone "You wanted it, we have it. Enjoy your free iPhone.", an open source option to unlock the iphone is available ! Go go GO ! I'm now officially buying an iphone @ job and puting my rogers sim in it !"

Submission + - Indiana University Dumps Google for ChaCha

theodp writes: "Come Monday, no more Indiana University searches will be powered by computer-driven Google. Only by people-powered ChaCha. The move was announced by new IU President Michael McRobbie, who until recently sat on ChaCha's Board of Directors (5-29 SEC filing, PDF). IU will draft hundreds of librarians and IT employees to be ChaCha Guides for the university's websites, although a FAQ accompanying IU's press release tells librarians not to expect any checks for their efforts from ChaCha, which IU notes is backed by Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Compaq founder Rod Canion."

Submission + - Plant grown insulin could be a diabetes cure. ( 2

MamaEri writes: "In a study by UCF professor Henry Daniell, he found that by genetically splicing insulin into Tobacco and Lettuce plants, these produce an insulin laced plant. Then he gave a freeze-dried powder of these plants to mice with diabetes. After 8 weeks the mice had normal sugar levels and were producing their own insulin."

Submission + - Digg signs 'deal with the devil' (

PhxBlue writes: Google is out, and Microsoft is in for advertising at SlashDot rival Digg, according to an Associated Press report published to Forbes Magazine's Web site:

"We at Digg couldn't think of a better partner to get to where we need to go," said Jay Adelson, the company's chief executive officer. "They're a young ad service, they're innovative, they're willing to work with us on the cutting edge."

Neither Microsoft nor Digg revealed the financial details. Google declined to comment for the report.


Submission + - Google's privacy chief says no more ties at work

StonyandCher writes: Google's global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer, wants to see t-shirts replace the tie as standard business attire, saying the tie "constricts circulation to the brain." In addition, the tie "acts as decorative camouflage for the business suit, designed to shield the middle-aged male physique, with its shrinking shoulders and protruding paunch, from feeling sufficiently self-conscious to hit the gym," Fleischer wrote in a recent letter to The Financial Times.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Silicon Knights engages in Epic lawsuit (

seebs writes: "According to various stories, Silicon Knights is suing Epic, the developers of Unreal Engine, alleging, well, all sorts of bad stuff. Gamasutra covers it too. This is a big deal for a lot of people, as UE3 has been licensed by lots of companies (some sources say 150!) for lots of games, and now there's allegations (which Epic denies) that it doesn't perform well, isn't usable on the PS3, and so on. Gamer drama! Bring popcorn."
The Courts

Submission + - Neteller to forfeit $136M, redistribute U.S. funds

Cody writes: Neteller, perhaps best known as a payment service for online gambling, announced yesterday its settlement with the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (USAO). Under the terms of the settlement, Neteller will forfeit US$136 million to the US government and will begin redistibuting funds to U.S. customers who had their accounts frozen earler this year. FAQs for US customers can be found here.
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - An In Depth Look Into Chinese "Gold Farming

Henry V .009 writes: The The New York Times describes the life of a Chinese World of Warcraft "Gold Farmer": At the end of each shift, Li reports the night's haul to his supervisor, and at the end of the week, he, like his nine co-workers, will be paid in full. For every 100 gold coins he gathers, Li makes 10 yuan, or about $1.25, earning an effective wage of 30 cents an hour, more or less. The boss, in turn, receives $3 or more when he sells those same coins to an online retailer, who will sell them to the final customer (an American or European player) for as much as $20.

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