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Education

Submission + - Educators will come to regret relying on video games in the classroom (nytimes.com)

stern writes: Per the New York Times, there's a role for play in the classroom, and there's a role for computers in the classroom, but there is little if any evidence that computer games help teach. Rather, they hurt attention spans and set expectations that may discourage students from learning things that, however important, can't be turned into a game.

Submission + - The Internet has transformed modern divorce (nytimes.com)

stern writes: The internet may be contributing to divorces (thanks, Facebook!) but it's also reducing the pain, especially the bitter fighting associated with joint custody. Calendars are now much easier to coordinate, and if one parent denies a court-ordered phone call to another, there's no way to hide the fact that the call didn't happen. Because of these and other technologies, divorce has changed radically in the last ten years.

Comment I think there has been a change recently (Score 1) 201

I am also in Vine, and I don't think I am more generous to the free products that I get. In fact, it is sometimes the opposite, as Vine almost by definition provides things you don't really want, and I'm less likely to give a strong review to something I don't really want.

Membership in Vine makes me sensitive to the number of reviews each item on Amazon has, and I have recently noticed that the average number has increased dramatically. It used to be than an obscure or expensive item had 2-3 reviews. Now, virtually every item I look at has hundreds of reviews. Yesterday I called up a newly released $2500 camera lens to find that it already had almost 100 reviews. It feels odd to me, and I suspect that there may be astroturfing taking place on a massive scale, but I have no way to prove it.

Comment Re:Ha ha rupert (Score 3, Insightful) 52

You ignore the fact that they earned income on it in the meantime. Revenue in 2008 was $900 million (I don't know what the profit was). I believe that News Corp's investment in MySpace may have been quite profitable, even if they had only a stub left at the end.

Submission + - How to Tell if Your Neighbor is a Bombmaker Read (stratfor.com)

stern writes: "Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula publishes an English-language magazine with called "Inspire." Every issue contains a section called "Open Source Jihad" teaching how to make bombs in your kitchen.

This link is to an summary by the political risk consultancy StratFor."

Comment I had two rolls in for the final processing (Score 5, Interesting) 262

Kodachrome is hard film to use; I gave up trying to take indoor photos with it years ago. I have continued to use it (about 25 rolls in the last two years), mostly because the quality of the images is obviously different from modern film or digital, and evokes nostalgia in older viewers. And I liked the bragging rights. It's no surprise that Kodachrome is gone; Kodak had been phasing it out for years -- first killing the larger format versions, then the iso25 and iso200 variants, and the motion picture film. The economics just weren't there; virtually every other color film uses identical (C41 or E6) processing chemicals, and Kodachrome used a different and apparently more toxic set. Without scale, it was more expensive to buy and process than other color films, and the emulsion can't even be scanned by most slide scanners. You're left with only nostalgia and archival properties to drive sales, enough for a small specialty chemical company perhaps, but not for Kodak.

Bug

Submission + - Fossil of 8 foot sea scorpion discovered (newscientist.com)

stern writes: "The fossil remains of a giant claw have been found in Germany. Scientists believe it came from a sea scorpion 8 feet long, about 390 million years ago. I appreciate we are supposed to save the environment and all, but sometimes you have just got to thank God for extinction. Deeply distressing illustration available at http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn12941/dn12941-1_351.jpg"
Security

Submission + - Using Google to crack MD5 passwords. (lightbluetouchpaper.org) 2

stern writes: "A security researcher at Cambridge, trying to figure out the password used by somebody who had hacked his website, ran a dictionary through the encryption hash function. No dice. Then he pasted the hacker's encrypted password into Google, and Shazzam — the all-knowing Google delivered his answer. Conclusion? Use no password any other human being is ever likely to use for any purpose, I think."
Math

Submission + - Simplist Universal Turing Machine Has Been Proven (wolfram.com)

stern writes: "Five months ago, Stephen Wolfram announced a contest to prove that a two state, three color Turing machine was universal (which is to say, that it could simulate any other Turing machine, regardless of complexity). It is known that no 2,2 universal machines exist, so the 2,3 machine, if it could be proven universal, would be the most simple possible universal machine.

A 20 year old English student found the proof in only five months, and Wolfram has awarded him $25,000 for his trouble."

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