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Submission + - NSF K-12 CS Program Focuses on All But Asian/White Boys Who Aren't Poor/Disabled

theodp writes: "This program aims to provide all U.S. students the opportunity to participate in computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) education in their schools at the K-12 levels," explains the synopsis for the NSF's new $20 million Computer Science for All Researcher Practitioner Partnerships program that was teased by the White House earlier this month. "With this solicitation, the National Science Foundation (NSF) focuses on researcher-practitioner partnerships (RPPs) that foster the research and development needed to bring CS/CT to all schools. Specifically, this solicitation aims to provide high school teachers with the preparation, professional development (PD) and ongoing support that they need to teach rigorous computer science courses, and K-8 teachers with the instructional materials and preparation they need to integrate CS/CT into their teaching." And in case anyone's unclear as to what 'for all' means, the NSF explains it thusly: "In order to ensure that advances in computing education are inclusive of our diverse student populations (the 'for All' part of 'CS for All'), proposals on either strand must address, in a significant manner, the longstanding underrepresentation in computing. Groups traditionally underrepresented or underserved in computing include women, persons with disabilities, African Americans/Blacks, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Native Pacific Islanders, and persons from economically disadvantaged backgrounds." The NSF's singling-out-by-omission of Asian and White boys in its CS for All grant program evokes memories of a $1 million dollar Google grant program called Promoting Introductory CS for All that offered up to $4,000 in DonorsChoose credits to high school teachers who got students other than Asian/White boys ("girls, or boys who identify as Black, African American, Native American, or Latino") to complete either Codecademy or Khan Academy’s 15-hour intro to computer science course. Wording similar in spirit to the Google and NSF grant programs (i.e., "female students, minority students, English learners, children with disabilities, and low-income students who are often underrepresented in critical and enriching subjects,") found its way into the K-12 CS-inspired sections of the Every Student Succeeds Act, a tech-backed sweeping rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act that elevated CS to the same status as other K-12 academic subjects when it comes to funding. Interestingly, in a recent ACM blog post — How We Teach Should Be Independent Of Who We Are Teaching — CS prof and former NSF program director Valerie Barr took a more inclusive view of 'for all', suggesting that discussions of what we should be doing in the CS classroom that are silent on the subject of White/Asian men are problematic. "We have to use varied content and pedagogies regardless of whom we see in the room and work to connect to what students know or care about," Barr argues. "This approach will guarantee that all students, including those from the groups that currently dominate computing, will be exposed to a rich, multi-faceted, view of computing, be better equipped to address the challenges of the field, and be better equipped to work collegially within a diverse workforce."

Submission + - US Efforts To Regulate Encryption Have Been Flawed, Government Report Finds (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. Republican congressional staff said in a report released Wednesday that previous efforts to regulate privacy technology were flawed and that lawmakers need to learn more about technology before trying to regulate it. The 25-page white paper is entitled Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate and it does not provide any solution to the encryption fight. However, it is notable for its criticism of other lawmakers who have tried to legislate their way out of the encryption debate. It also sets a new starting point for Congress as it mulls whether to legislate on encryption during the Clinton or Trump administration. "Lawmakers need to develop a far deeper understanding of this complex issue before they attempt a legislative fix," the committee staff wrote in their report. The committee calls for more dialogue on the topic and for more interviews with experts, even though they claim to have already held more than 100 such briefings, some of which are classified. The report says in the first line that public interest in encryption has surged once it was revealed that terrorists behind the Paris and San Bernardino attacks "used encrypted communications to evade detection."

Submission + - SourceForge Joins the Bundle Wagon

An anonymous reader writes: The irony of submitting this on /. is not lost on me.
"Apparently, SourceForge's mysterious "sf-editor1" has also claimed ownership of a number of other accounts for open source and other software projects."
SF is claiming ownership of these projects for the specious reason of them being "abandoned" when in fact these project simply stopped using SF (apparently for good reason).

Submission + - Sir Isaac Newton, Alchemist

Hugh Pickens writes: "It wasn't easy being as obsessed about science as Sir Isaac Newton. Newton didn't play sports or a musical instrument, gamble at whist or gambol on a horse. Newton was unmarried, had no known romantic liaisons and may well have died, at the age of 85, with his virginity intact. But, when Natalie Angier writes in "The Hindu," that it is now becoming clear that Newton had time to spend thirty years of his life slaving over a furnace in search of the power to transmute one chemical element into another, it is somewhat akin to hearing that Einstein believed in astrology. "How could the ultimate scientist have been seemingly hornswoggled by a totemic psuedoscience like alchemy, which in its commonest rendering is described as the desire to transform lead into gold," writes Angier. Now new historical research describes how alchemy yielded a bounty of valuable spinoffs, including new drugs, brighter paints, stronger soaps and better booze. "Alchemy was synonymous with chemistry," says Dr. William Newman, "and chemistry was much bigger than transmutation." Newman adds that Newton's alchemical investigations helped yield one of his fundamental breakthroughs in physics: his discovery that white light is a mixture of colored rays that can be recombined with a lens. “I would go so far as to say that alchemy was crucial to Newton’s breakthroughs in optics,” says Newman. “He’s not just passing light through a prism — he’s resynthesizing it.”""

Submission + - Sloppy Linux Admins Enable Slow Bruteforcers (blogspot.com) 1

badger.foo writes: Peter N. M. Hansteen reports that a third round of the low-intensity, distributed bruteforce attacks is now in progress, and that sloppy admin practices on Linux systems is the main enabler: The fact that your rig runs Linux does not mean you're home free. You need to keep paying attention. When your spam washer has been hijacked and tries to break into other people's systems, you urgently need to get your act together, right now. The article has more info and references.

Comment John McCain on blogs (Score 5, Interesting) 479

In 2006, John McCain gave the commencement address at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, and took the opportunity to mock individual expression:

When I was a young man, I was quite infatuated with self-expression, and rightly so because, if memory conveniently serves, I was so much more eloquent, well-informed, and wiser than anyone else I knew. It seemed I understood the world and the purpose of life so much more profoundly than most people. I believed that to be especially true with many of my elders, people whose only accomplishment, as far as I could tell, was that they had been born before me, and, consequently, had suffered some number of years deprived of my insights. I had opinions on everything, and I was always right. I loved to argue, and I could become understandably belligerent with people who lacked the grace and intelligence to agree with me. With my superior qualities so obvious, it was an intolerable hardship to have to suffer fools gladly. So I rarely did. All their resistance to my brilliantly conceived and cogently argued views proved was that they possessed an inferior intellect and a weaker character than God had blessed me with, and I felt it was my clear duty to so inform them. It's a pity that there wasn't a blogosphere then. I would have felt very much at home in the medium.

His contempt for citizens expressing their views is, presumably, why he introduced legislation that would basically have shut down comments on blogs and on sites like Slashdot. Under John McCain, if you are an individual blogger and you allow user comments or user profiles, you'd have to follow the same reporting rules as an ISP, but you'd be subject to even harsher penalties. The EFF called McCain's bill a "constitutionally dubious proposal ... made apparently mostly based on fear or political considerations."

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