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Submission + - CSTA: Google Surveying Educators on Unconscious Biases of Students, Parents

theodp writes: According to a Computer Science Teachers Association tweet, Google is reportedly asking educators to assess the unconscious bias of students and their parents for the search giant. "We are in the early stages of learning how unconscious bias plays out in schools, and who would benefit most from bias busting materials," begins the linked-to 5-page Google Form, which sports a ub-edu@google.com email address, but lists no contact name. "This survey should take 15 minutes to complete, and your responses are confidential, meaning that your feedback will not be attributed to you and the data will only be used in aggregate form." The form asks educators to "list the names of organizations, tools, and resources that you have used to combat unconscious bias," which is defined as "the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner." A sample question: "Who do you think would benefit most from unconscious bias training at your school (or program)? Rank the following people in order (1=would most benefit to 5=would benefit least) training: Student, Parent (or guardian), Teacher (or educator), Guidance counselor, Principal." Google deflected criticism for its lack of women techies in the past by blaming parents' unconscious biases for not steering their girls to study computer science, suggesting an intervention was needed. "Outreach programs," advised Google, "should include a parent education component, so that parents learn how to actively encourage their daughters."

Submission + - A bit too much transparency for journalists? (washingtonpost.com) 2

schwit1 writes: From The Washington Post's Lisa Rein comes news that the federal government is launching a six-month pilot program with seven agencies to post online documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). "So if a journalist, nonprofit group or corporation asks for the records, what they see, the public also will see," writes Rein. . . .

"As a matter of regular practice, EPA notifies the requester at the time that the response is posted on the foiaonline website. We believe that the posting of the information advances transparency."

And, perhaps, penalizes those who go to great lengths to fetch it. "I do share the concern of other journalists that this could hurt the journalist who made the original request," writes Washington Post Investigations Editor Jeff Leen via e-mail. "It could also affect long-term investigations built on a number of FOIA requests over time."

"FOIA terrorist" Jason Leopold has big issues with the approach. "It would absolutely hurt journalists' ability to report on documents they obtained through a FOIA request if the government agency is going to immediately make records available to the public," writes the Vice News reporter via e-mail. Leopold has already experienced the burn of joint release, he says, after requesting information on Guantanamo Bay. The documents were posted on the U.S. Southern Command's Web site. âoeI lost the ability to exclusively report on the material even though I put in all of the work filing the requests,â he notes.

Submission + - SPAM: Virtual Reality Porn And The Future Of Loneliness

troydinttogf writes: Welcome to the very-near future of porn. A few weeks back, a sex toy company called Lovense and a virtual reality porn company called VirtualRealPorn announced their collaboration. Soon, VirtualRealPorns growing library of VR porn videos will coordinate with Lovenses digitally-endowed vibrator and Fleshlight-esque Max toy to stimulate your sensitive bits in sync with virtual sex. Read More
Link to Original Source

Comment Sales will always be sales (Score 4, Insightful) 170

This tactic has been used in auto sales for years.
Selling customers at closing "undercoating, rustproofing and fabric protection" that are already part of the car, but get people to shell out extra coin for. Extended warranties fall into the same category. Just extra profit if nobody questions it.
I guess all those unemployed car sales-bodies have to take a job somewhere.

Submission + - Eyelashes protect the eye from debris (articlesbase.com)

daynighthealthcare writes: Those fine hairs that grow at the eyelid perform a number of functions, even though they are often regarded as an emphasis of beauty, mainly for women. But, their main function is to protect the eyes from small particles such as dust, sand or debris from entering and harming the eye.

Submission + - Wells Fargo refuses to honor 30-year old CD because they can't find it (kpho.com)

BUL2294 writes: The Consumerist and KPHO-TV Phoenix are reporting the story of a widow who attempted to cash a Certificate of Deposit (CD) at Wells Fargo that had been issued to her late husband for just over $18,000 in 1984. She has been battling with them since 2009, after finding the CD among other paperwork, and a decision in the court case is expected in January. The CD was issued by First Interstate bank, which merged with Norwest, which was bought by Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has no record of the CD, but the physical document itself mentions that it has to be surrendered to receive payment, or could have been paid out by signing an indemnity form--which they also do not have. In addition, there's a fight over whether the CD is worth $60,000 or $400,000, as the CD was self-renewing and was issued when interest rates were 10.9%.

Ultimately, this is a case of data getting lost within 30-years worth of mergers and system changes. Both the existence of this instrument and its terms are probably on some long-lost tape that may no longer be readable, or paper copies were shredded years ago. That being said, we entrust that our banks and regulators can dig up such historical information... So what happens when they can't? As was evidenced during the US mortgage crisis, banks are terrible at appropriate document retention, so how could they prove what was paid out and when? More importantly, how much of banks' historical / legacy accounts are complete guesses?

Submission + - Possible orphan black hole lies just 90 million light-years from Earth (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: An unusual object about 90 million light-years from Earth might be a supermassive black hole kicked out of its home galaxy during a collision with another galaxy, a new study suggests. If so, it’s the first evictee to be confirmed as such by astronomers. The object, dubbed SDSS1133, lies about 2600 light-years from the center of a dwarf galaxy known as Markarian 177 (both of which lie within the bowl of the Big Dipper, a familiar star pattern in the constellation Ursa Major). SDSS1133 has brightened substantially over the past 2 years but has been spotted in images taken by various instruments during the past 63 years, hinting that the object—whose brightest features measure less than 40 light-years across—probably isn’t a recently exploded supernova. Recent observations of Markarian 177 reveal specific areas of intense star formation, possible signs of a recent galactic collision that expelled SDSS1133 from the parent galaxy where it once resided.

Submission + - Google rents world's biggest digital billboard in Times Square (bbc.com)

mpicpp writes: Google has become the first company to rent to the world's largest and most expensive digital billboard in Times Square, New York.

The billboard is eight stories high and is estimated to cost $2.5m (£1.6m) to hire for four weeks.

The screen, which is the size of a football field, is mounted on the side of the Marriot Marquis hotel.

Around 300,000 pedestrians are estimated to pass by the billboard every day.

Times Square's brightly-lit billboards are some of the most iconic and well-known outdoor advertising spaces.

The new billboard was turned on on Tuesday evening and will show a nature-inspired digital art piece for a week until Google's adverts begin running.

Hundreds of tourists watched as the screen was turned on.

The screen is also connected to cameras, allowing for interactive content.

The US tech giant is reported to have hired the screen until January 2015.

Submission + - Blow On Money to Tell If It Is Counterfeit

HughPickens.com writes: Scientific American reports that simply breathing on money could soon reveal if it's the real deal or counterfeit thanks to a photonic crystal ink developed by Ling Bai and Zhongze Gu and colleagues at Southeast University in Nanjing, China that can produce unique color changing patterns on surfaces with an inkjet printer system which would be extremely hard for fraudsters to reproduce. The ink mimics the way Tmesisternus isabellae – a species of longhorn beetle – reversibly switches its color from gold to red according to the humidity in its environment. The color shift is caused by the adsorption of water vapor in their hardened front wings, which alters the thickness and average refractive index of their multilayered scales. To emulate this, the team made their photonic crystal ink using mesoporous silica nanoparticles, which have a large surface area and strong vapor adsorption capabilities that can be precisely controlled. The complicated and reversible multicolor shifts of mesoporous CPC patterns are favorable for immediate recognition by naked eyes but hard to copy. "We think the ink's multiple security features may be useful for antifraud applications," says Bai, "however we think the technology could be more useful for fabricating multiple functional sensor arrays, which we are now working towards."

Comment Re:I'm not sure why all the cynicism... (Score 4, Insightful) 252

What's not to be cynical about?

" ... I was blown away by how culturally deep it was."

Sure. Correct the flawed stereotypes with more subjective flawed stereotypes by a naive observer.

She was correcting her engrained 'Revenge of the Nerds' stereotype of hackers with an equally arrogant attitude, similar to those of parents who visit a zoo, point to the gorillas and say to their children -- "Hey little Johnny, look at the big monkeys! (while tapping the glass under the sign that says DON"T TAP ON GLASS) Look, at those hands and fingers -- They're just like ours!" -- concluding with huge collective swigs from their BIG GULP clones.

She seems to be aiming to take the logical, thoughtful, democratic behavior hackers exhibit -- which should be the vanguard for all human interaction -- and bending it into an amusing sidebar for WIRED as to the hackers "unusual" habits. All for a chance to get her name in print for some future book jacket blurb regarding "... her insightful and seminal work as she risked her name, sanity and possibly even her life as she descend into the seamy hacker underworld to collect research data..."

This is all much like the gorilla inwardly cringing whenever he's called a monkey.



Submission + - Drones for Peace $100 journalist UAV (suasnews.com)

garymortimer writes: "DronesForPeace provides the key capabilities of a surveillance drone at a world changing price; $100 drones distributed in bulk by journalists to crowdsource the video coverage of a natural or political disaster.

DronesForPeace proliferates aerial video in the same way cell phone cameras provided the story on the ground in recent events like the Arab spring.

Like a robotic carrier pigeon, we carry the footage miles away from the conflict to those who can spread the message."

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