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Comment Re:A simple rant. (Score 2, Interesting) 423

Sometimes it is out of the teachers hands. I am a second year teacher and because of this in my province my students need to take the provincial exam. I personally gave a girl a 30% in the class, the test was worth 40% of her final mark. I found out just the other day that she ended up with a 51%. While talking to the principal about the whole thing he mentioned that every kid should try the class because then they at least have a shot at it and just may get it "whether the mark is legit or not". And that is where the frustration is for me because as a teacher its damn near impossible to fail a child now. The rumour on the street (well the teaching street) is that marks as low as 42% are now being rounded up to a 50%. A friend of mine once said, "When a child is born we should hand them their birth certificate and their high school diploma because thats what education is turning into."

Submission + - Did "Pirates" help save the 'Biz from pira

photomonkey writes: CNN.com reports that Pirates: World's End took in $142M, setting the record for a Memorial Day Weekend premiere. Hollywood's take on the weekend is reported as more than $265M, up $18M from the last Memorial Day Weekend record set in 2004.

Sales thus far into the year are at $3.6B, up 6.4% over last year's.

In the same article, an industry analyst estimates that the summer gross could reach an unprecedented $4B.

Does this mean the end of the MPAA's cries of woe over 'piracy on the intertubes'?

Submission + - SpaceX to Attempt Aborted

An anonymous reader writes: I was just watching the webcast and they aborted launch at T-1:02 for reasons I don't yet know. They are still assessing why.

Submission + - Internet Radio to be killed by the RIAA

Anonymous Coward writes: "Just got this in the mail from Tim Westergren, Pandora's CEO: "I'm writing today to ask for your help. We've had a disastrous turn of events recently for internet radio: Following an intensive lobbying effort on the part of the RIAA, an arbitration committee in Washington DC has just dramatically increased the fees internet radio sites must pay to the record labels — tripling fees and adding enormous retroactive payments! Left unchanged by Congress, this will kill all internet radio sites, including Pandora. Tomorrow afternoon there is an important U.S. Senate hearing on the future of internet radio."

This issue has started to get blog coverage: http://gigaom.com/2007/03/05/webcaster-royalty-rat es-go-up/ and http://www.rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2007 /03/the_vast_potent.html

If you live in the US, please contact your local Congressman now!

Please note that I have no Pandora affiliation except as a very happy user."

Submission + - Top 50 Things To Do To Stop Global Warming

An anonymous reader writes: Global warming is a dramatically urgent and serious problem. We don't need to wait for governments to solve this problem: each one of us can bring an important help adopting a more responsible lifestyle: starting from little, everyday things. It's the only reasonable way to save our planet, before it is too late.

There's an handy list of the Top 50 things to do to fight Global Warming that gives useful advices that everyone can follow in order to help the environment: some of them are at no cost, some other require a little investment but can help you save a lot of money, in the middle-long term!

Submission + - Lego weakens on Open Source?

destinyland writes: "Lego's CEO gave a new interview — but a long-time science teacher questions their commitment to Open Source development. He sees Lego making "a pseudo-move" meant to lower costs, along with Lego's controversial outsourcing of brick manufacturing to China. The Danish toy manufacturer also reneged on their promise to never promote war toys, offering full-fledged mecha-war machines like Galidor and Bionicle. Has the beloved geeky toy succombed to a desperate commercialism?"
The Matrix

Submission + - Do we need to make voting mandatory?

gd23ka writes: "Australia and Belgium force their electorate to the ballot boxes. Disaffected in Australia and don't want to get out of bed on election day? Pay a fine or go to jail or at least explain why you couldn't come. With these laws on their books both countries enjoy a high percentage of participation in their elections. Proponents say that forced participation in the elections strengthens democracy. What are your thoughts on the matter? You can read Slate's opinion piece first or tell me right away: Is mandatory voting a good idea for America?"

Submission + - Northern Lights choreographer revealed

An anonymous reader writes: Recently four spacecraft, part of the European Space Agency's Cluster mission, provided a behind-the-scenes look at what choreographs the auroras or Northern Lights (at the South Pole they're called Southern Lights). Researchers have known that relative static electric fields, which hover parallel to Earth's magnetic fields, play an important role in the acceleration of electrons that causes the auroras to shine. From the Space.com article: In the recent study, one of the spacecraft crossed the auroral arc at high altitude in the Earth's magnetotail. As expected, it detected the U-shaped structure when crossing the boundary within the plasma sheet. Just 16 minutes later another Cluster spacecraft crossed the same boundary and revealed an asymmetric S-shaped structure, which was a surprise since the S-shape was thought to arise at the polar cap boundary. Within that 16-minute period, the plasma density and associated electric currents plummeted at the plasma boundary. So the boundary ended up resembling the steep drop-off in particle density between the aurora edge and the polar cap." This fits with the theory set forth in 2004 by Göran Marklund from the Alfvén Laboratory, that U-shaped circuits form at a plasma boundary between a region within the magnetotail at equatorial latitudes and one at higher latitudes and the S-shapes occur at the boundary between the plasma sheet (at the inner edge of the auroral oval) and the polar cap.

Submission + - Google: Don't blame heat for disk drive failures

BobB writes: "Temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit may not be damaging to disk drives, according to new research by Google engineers which casts doubt on previous findings linking heat to elevated failure rates. After studying five years worth of monitoring statistics from Google's massive data centers, researchers say they could find no consistent pattern linking failure rates to high temperatures or high utilization levels. http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/022607-googl e-disk-drives.html"

Submission + - Work unhappy or move on?

dunnowhat2type writes: "I grew up around a big city (suburbs of NY) and went to college in a relatively different area (upstate NY.) After graduating last May, I took a job in the area where I went to college. I started in July and was given a relocation package contingent on me staying for a year. Since August I haven't been happy with the area I have been living in and have actively been pursuing employment back in the city. In January, the program I was working on got cancelled and my manager didn't want to commit me to something long-term with the knowledge that I didn't plan on staying more than six months. He made me a time-based offer (probably expiring soon) that he'd take every effort to get the relocation payback waived if I were to resign, find an internal transfer, or another job. I had a couple of interviews a month ago, but nothing else has happened, and this uncertainty, with the pressure of having to make this decision has made the last two weeks really hellish. I wanted to make this decision within the next couple of days and have spoken to friends, but I wanted to pose the question here. What am I better off doing, being miserable around here, but at least having money, work experience, and health insurance, or going home and being happy, but being unemployed?"

Submission + - Kansas Adopts New Science Standards

porcupine8 writes: The Kansas State Board of Education has changed the state science standards once again, this time to take out language questioning evolution. This turnaround comes fast on the heels of the ouster given this past election to the ultra-conservative Board members who originally introduced the language. "Science" has also been re-redefined as "a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations" (the word "natural" had been previously stricken from the definition).

If you'd like to see the new standards, a version showing all additions and deletions is available from the KS DOE's website (PDF).

Submission + - Ethics of proxy servers

Mav writes: "I was recently asked to host a website for free in return for a lot of advertising. After querying them about how they knew the site would produce traffic they stated the site was going to be running PHPProxy (an open source web proxy). The traffic was a result of him and his contacts (nearly one thousand of them) using the site to bypass his school's firewall in order to view their MySpace pages and get access to their MSN messengers. Given all the attention social networking sites have recently received and the various laws attempting to block or control access to them I feel guilty and unsure making this available. Are there legal implications that I need to worry about? Could I be held liable if one of the students got in trouble? Most importantly, what's the moral thing to do?"
User Journal

Journal Journal: Not So Global Warming

A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models. This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human acti


Submission + - Not so Global Warming

OverlordQ writes: A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models. This comes soon after the latest report by the that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity. David Bromwich, professor of professor of atmospheric sciences in the Department of Geography, and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, reported on this work at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at San Francisco.

Submission + - Microsoft blasts IBM in open letter

carlmenezes writes: Arstechnica has an article on Microsoft's open letter to IBM that adds fresh ammunition to the battle of words between those who support Microsoft's Open XML and OpenOffice.org's OpenDocument file formats. Microsoft has strong words for IBM, which it accuses of deliberately trying to sabotage Microsoft's attempt to get Open XML certified as a standard by the ECMA. In the letter, general managers Tom Robertson and Jean Paol write: "When ODF was under consideration, Microsoft made no effort to slow down the process because we recognized customers' interest in the standardization of document formats." In contrast, the authors charge that IBM "led a global campaign" urging that governments and other organizations demand that International Standards Organization (ISO) reject Open XML outright.
Could MS actually be getting a taste of their own medicine?

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