Education

Arkansas Will Pay Up To $1,000 Cash To Kids Who Pass AP Computer Science A Exam 104

theodp writes: The State of Arkansas will be handing out cash to high school students who pass an Advanced Placement test in computer science. "The purpose of the incentive program is to increase the number of qualifying scores (3, 4, or 5) on Advanced Placement Computer Science A exams," explained a press release for the Arkansas Advanced Placement Computer Science A Incentive Program (only 87 Arkansas public school students passed the AP CS A exam in 2016, according to College Board data). Gov. Asa Hutchinson added, "The Arkansas Department of Education's incentive for high scores on the AP Computer Science A exam is a terrific way to reward our students for their hard work in school. The real payoff for their hard work, of course, is when they show their excellent transcripts to potential employers who offer good salaries for their skills." The tiered monetary awards call for public school students receiving a top score of 5 on the AP CS A exam to receive $1,000, with another $250 going to their schools. Scores of 4 will earn students $750 and schools $150, while a score of 3 will result in a $250 payday for students and $50 for their schools. The program evokes memories of the College Board's Google-funded AP STEM Access program, which rewarded AP STEM teachers with a $100 DonorsChoose.org gift card for each student who received a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam. DonorsChoose.org credits were also offered later by tech-bankrolled Code.org and Google to teachers who got their students coding.
Science

Why Is There No Nobel Prize In Technology? (qz.com) 148

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: As the world focuses its attention on this year's recipients of the planet's most prestigious prize, the Nobel, it feels like something's missing from the list: technology. Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes more than century ago with the instruction that his entire estate be used to endow "prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind." The categories laid out in his will -- physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and peace -- have remained the basis of the awards, and a prize for economics was added in 1968. So, what gives? Why only those five original fields? Nobel didn't say, revealing only that he made his choices "after mature deliberation."

One way of looking at it is that when he was designing his categories, he wanted the prizes to only reflect advances in fundamental science. In this view, "lesser" sciences such as biology, geology, or computer science -- or technology-driven fields such as engineering or robotics -- don't qualify. As genome-sequencing pioneer Eric Lander once said, "You don't get a Nobel Prize for turning a crank." But what then of literature and peace, or the newer prize for economics (an applied science at best, and a pseudoscience at worst)? Technology isn't the only field to get the cold shoulder. Mathematics -- the international language, the foundation of so many scientific pursuits, and arguably the most fundamental theoretical discipline of all -- doesn't have a Nobel Prize, either. Mathematicians have complained about this for decades. One story suggests that Nobel disliked the Finnish mathematician Rolf Nevanlinna, and assumed that he would be the first winner of the mathematics prize, if he decided to award one. Alternatively, math undergraduates are often told that Nobel was jealous of a Swedish mathematician who had an affair with his wife (though this story is ruined by the fact that Nobel didn't actually have a wife).

Government

IRS Awards $7 Million Fraud Prevention Contract To Equifax (politico.com) 115

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Politico: The IRS will pay Equifax $7.25 million to verify taxpayer identities and help prevent fraud under a no-bid contract issued last week, even as lawmakers lash the embattled company about a massive security breach that exposed personal information of as many as 145.5 million Americans. A contract award for Equifax's data services was posted to the Federal Business Opportunities database Sept. 30 -- the final day of the fiscal year. The credit agency will "verify taxpayer identity" and "assist in ongoing identity verification and validations" at the IRS, according to the award. The notice describes the contract as a "sole source order," meaning Equifax is the only company deemed capable of providing the service. It says the order was issued to prevent a lapse in identity checks while officials resolve a dispute over a separate contract. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blasted the IRS decision.
Software

The World Video Game Hall of Fame 2017 Inductees (polygon.com) 73

Dave Knott writes: The 2017 World Video Game Hall of Fame inductees have been announced. The Hall Of Fame "recognizes individual electronic games of all types -- arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile -- that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general." The 2017 inductees are: Donkey Kong, Halo: Combat Evolved, Pokemon Red and Green, and Street Fighter II. These four titles join the inaugural 2015 class, which included Pong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, Doom and World of Warcraft, and the 2016 class which included Grand Theft Auto 3, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog and Space Invaders.
Japan

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Medals To Be Made From Recycled Phones (silicon.co.uk) 56

Mickeycaskill quotes a report from Silicon.co.uk: The medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be made from recycled mobile phones in an effort to engage the Japanese nation and meet sustainability criteria. The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee has called on the Japanese public to donate their "discarded or obsolete electronic devices" to provide the eight tonnes of metal required for the production of the medals. The production process will reduce this eight tonnes down to around two, enough to produce 5,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals. Collection boxes will be installed in the stores of partner organizations NTT DOCOMO and the Japan Environmental Sanitation Center (JESC) from April, with the collection ending when the eight-tonne target is reached.
Businesses

Netflix Partners With iPic To Release Its Original Movies In Theaters, NATO Urges To 'Tread Lightly' (variety.com) 134

turkeydance quotes a report from Variety: The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is sounding the alarm over a recent deal between Netflix and iPic, in which the luxury-theater chain will screen 10 movies simultaneously with their release on the streaming service. The lobbying organization represents the country's theater chains and has been a staunch defender of traditional release windows that keep films exclusively on screens for roughly 90 days before they debut on home entertainment platforms. In a statement, NATO chief John Fithian warned that while iPic was free to make its own decisions, "We all should tread lightly and be mindful that over the years, the film industry's success is a direct result of a highly successful collaboration between film makers, distributors and exhibitors." The deal with iPic should help Netflix' movies quality for awards. Variety reports: "iPic will release the war thriller 'The Siege of Jadotville,' starring Jamie Dornan ('Fifty Shades of Grey'), on Oct. 7. That will be followed by Christopher Guest's mockumentary 'Mascots' on Oct. 13. This summer, iPic first tested showings of Netflix's 'The Little Prince.'" "Simultaneous release, in practice, has reduced both theatrical and home revenues when it has been tried," Fithian said in a statement. "Just as Netflix and its customers put a value on exclusivity, theater owners and their customers do too."
Government

World Anti-Doping Agency Says It Was Hacked By Russia (theverge.com) 97

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is accusing Russian state-sponsored hackers of hacking its database of athletes involved in this year's Olympic Games in Rio. Whether it's in response to the WADA banning 119 Russian athletes from participating in the games due to a doping scandal, it has yet to be determined. The Verge reports: The agency claims the state-sponsored group Fancy Bear is behind the attack, although it doesn't clarify how that attribution was made. The accessed data included medical information, like Therapeutic Use Exemptions issued by International Sports Federations and National Anti-Doping Organizations. The group has reportedly released some of this data and threatened to release more. The attackers reportedly relied on spear phishing emails to gain access to the database and eventually used credentials specifically made for the Rio Olympic games. Fancy Bear was the same group responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee earlier this year.
Businesses

IFA 2016 Award Winners (digitaltrends.com) 28

For the technology addicts out there, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and International Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) are events to pay close attention to. They are annual trade shows that exhibit consumer electronics from hundreds of exhibitors to thousands of attendees. IFA is coming to an end and the folks over at Digital Trends have put together a list of their "Top Tech picks of IFA 2016 in each major tech category." The "Top Picks" of each category include:

BEST OF SHOW: LENOVO YOGA BOOK
AUDIO: AUDEZE INSINE 10
COMPUTING: LENOVO YOGA 910
COOL TECH: YUNEEC BREEZE
COOL TECH: BOTSCAN
HOME: LG INSTAVIEW SIGNATURE FRIDGE
HOME: NETATMO SMART VALVE
LATIN INNOVATION: SOLIDMATION
MOBILE: ZTE AXON 7 MINI
VIDEO: PHILIPS 901F 4K UHD OLED TV
WEARABLES: SAMSUNG GEAR S3 FRONTIER

Have any Slashdotters been paying close attention to IFA 2016? If so, how do you think this year's event stacks up to past IFA events?
Earth

Wrong Chemical Dumped Into Olympic Pools Made Them Green (arstechnica.com) 180

Z00L00K writes: [Ars Technica reports:] "After a week of trying to part with green tides in two outdoor swimming pools, Olympic officials over the weekend wrung out a fresh mea culpa and yet another explanation -- neither of which were comforting. According to officials, a local pool-maintenance worker mistakenly added 160 liters of hydrogen peroxide to the waters on August 5, which partially neutralized the chlorine used for disinfection. With chlorine disarmed, the officials said that 'organic compounds' -- i.e. algae and other microbes -- were able to grow and turn the water a murky green in the subsequent days. The revelation appears to contradict officials' previous assurances that despite the emerald hue, which first appeared Tuesday, the waters were safe." I would personally have avoided using the green pools, but that's just me. "Hydrogen peroxide is sometimes used in pools -- often to de-chlorinate them," reports Ars. "Basically, the chemical, a common household disinfectant, is a weak acid that reacts with chlorine and chlorine-containing compounds to release oxygen and form other chlorine-containing compounds. Those may not be good at disinfecting pools, but they still may be picked up by monitoring systems. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to disinfect pools but must be maintained in the waters -- not a one-time dumping -- and can't be used in combination with chlorine." Apparently, the green water irritates eyes and smells like farts.
Social Networks

Olympic Committee Prohibits Streaming Apps, Vines and GIFs From Its Events (techcrunch.com) 188

An anonymous reader writes: The Olympics Committee has introduced a new set of social media guidelines for the 2016 games. Not only will streaming applications and vines be prohibited, but GIFs will be too. TechCrunch reports: "Part of the new restriction appears in the official broadcast rules (PDF), under 'Internet and Mobile Platforms': '[...] the use of Olympic Material transformed into graphic animated formats such as animated GIFs (i.e. GIFV), GFY, WebM, or short video formats such as Vines and others, is expressly prohibited.' Then, in the FAQ for the social and digital media guidelines (PDF): 'Broadcasting images via life-streaming applications (e.g. Periscope, Meerkat) is prohibited inside Olympic venues.' The versions of these documents updated for the 2014 games in Sochi don't have any comparable language, or at least nothing this specific. A possible exception is the 'Photographer's Undertaking,' which states: 'The dissemination of moving images or sound captured in an Olympic venue, through any media, including display on the internet, Mobile Platform and other interactive media or electronic medium, is strictly prohibited.'"
Medicine

Olympic Swimmers 'Certain' To Pick Up Virus From Three Teaspoons of Rio Water (independent.co.uk) 280

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Independent: The Associated Press has released a 16-month-long study that shows just days before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro begin, the waterways in the city are teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria. The report says both athletes and tourists are at risk of getting ill from the contaminated water. "The first results of the study published over a year ago showed viral levels at up to 1.7 million times what would be considered worrisome in the United States or Europe," reports The Independent. "At those concentrations, swimmers and athletes who ingest just three teaspoons of water are almost certain to be infected with viruses that can cause stomach and respiratory illnesses and, more rarely, heart and brain inflammation -- although whether they actually fall ill depends on a series of factors including the strength of the individual's immune system." Many of the athletes have been taking antibiotics, bleaching oars and donning plastic suits and gloves to prevent illnesses, but antibiotics combat bacterial infections, not viruses. The AP investigation found that infectious adenovirus readings turned up at nearly 90 percent of the test sites over 16 months of testing. What's more is that "the beaches often have levels of bacterial markers for sewage pollution that would be cause for concern abroad -- and sometimes even exceed Rio state's lax water safety standards," reports The Independent.
Security

Rio Olympics Will Be First Sporting Event Watched By 'Eye In The Sky' Drone Cameras (fastcompany.com) 33

tedlistens quotes a report from Fast Company: When the Olympic Games begin next month in Rio de Janeiro, billions of people are expected to watch athletes from countries around the world compete. But also watching over the Olympic and Paralympic events will be a set of futuristic, balloon-mounted surveillance camera systems capable of monitoring a wide swath of the city in high resolution and in real-time. Initially developed for use by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan by Fairfax, Virginia-based Logos Technologies, the technology is sold under the name Simera, and offers live aerial views of a large area, or what the company calls 'wide-area motion imagery,' captured from a balloon tethered some 200 meters above the ground. The system's 13 cameras make it possible for operators to record detailed, 120-megapixel imagery of the movement of vehicles and pedestrians below in an area up to 40 square kilometers, depending on how high the balloon is deployed, and for up to three days at a time. The Rio Olympics marks the "first time [Simera] will be deployed by a non-U.S. government at a large-scale event," according to the company. Simera is being compared to a live city-wide Google Maps combined with TiVo, as it can let law enforcement view ground-level activities in real time in addition to letting them rewind through saved images. Doug Rombough, Logo's vice president of business development, says the image clarity is not good enough to make out individual faces or license plate numbers, though it is clear enough to follow individual people and vehicles around the city. "However, a higher resolution video camera attached to the same balloon, which captures images at 60 times that of full HD resolution, or 15 times 4K, at three frames per second, will allow operators to get a closer look at anything or anyone that looks suspicious," reports Fast Company.
Businesses

Can Tech Workers Skip The Olympics As Easily As Athletes? (networkworld.com) 93

netbuzz writes: [Network World reports:] "Golfer Jordan Spieth announced this morning that he will not play in the Olympics, citing Zika, meaning the world's top four players in his sport have now opted out of going to Brazil. They're self-employed and answer to no one. But what of the rank-and-file employees who work for major technology companies sending large contingents to Brazil? Are they being asked -- or compelled -- to ignore the risks? Conversely, could women of child-bearing age be denied the opportunity to go at an employer's discretion?" Major vendors like Cisco and GE say they're not making anyone go, though at least one expert says that doing so wouldn't necessarily be a violation of employment law. When asked if anyone declined to go, a Cisco spokesperson said via email: "We're not in a position to confirm whether employees have opted out (that is between them and their manager), but we provide for that option." GE provided a similar response, saying, "No GE employees have opted out of going, but GE employees are free to opt out at any time." Patricia Pryor, an attorney at Jackson Lewis P.C. in Cincinnati who has addressed these issues in a piece for The National Law Review earlier this year, was asked by Network World as well. She says: "Employers are wise to be flexible with travel requirements to Zika-infested areas when they can and when doing so is reasonable. However, there are some jobs where the purpose of the job/or the essential functions of the job require travel to these areas. If it is not reasonable or possible to delay travel to the area, an employer generally can require employees to travel."
Patents

Patent Troll VirnetX Wants To Ban FaceTime and iMessage, Increase Damages Award By $190M (9to5mac.com) 94

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this year, patent troll VirnetX won a court battle with Apple to the tune of $625 million. Now, the company wants to increase the damages award by $190 million. Law360 reports: "At a post-trial hearing Wednesday, Texas technology company VirnetX argued that although an injunction blocking Apple's popular video chatting and messaging features, along with a virtual private network on demand feature, may seem like a harsh remedy, it is necessary because of the irreparable harm Apple's infringement caused the company. VirnetX also asked the court to increase the jury's damages award by at least $190 million, arguing that Apple has been the 'poster child' for unreasonable litigation tactics." VirnetX also wants the court to block FaceTime and iMessage entirely. "Meanwhile, Apple argued that in light of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decisions rejecting the four patents-in-suit, an injunction would be inappropriate, as would any ongoing royalty based on FaceTime, iMessage and virtual private network on demand features. The tech giant also sought a mistrial based on a purportedly inappropriate argument to the jury and argued that the company is entitled to a judgment of non infringement, despite the jury verdict, based on VirnetX's allegedly insufficient evidence," reports Law360.
Microsoft

Microsoft Awards Grants To Deliver Affordable Internet Access (cnet.com) 25

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Microsoft said Tuesday it had awarded grants to 12 businesses as part of the company's Affordable Access Initiative, part of the software giant's effort to encourage low-cost Internet around the world. Grant recipients include businesses from Argentina, Botswana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Uganda, the UK and the US. In addition to financial support, each company will have access to Microsoft resources, software and services to help them develop their technology. "With more than half of the world's population lacking access to the Internet, connectivity is a global challenge that demands creative problem solving," Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development, said in a press release. "By using technology that's available now and partnering with local entrepreneurs who understand the needs of their communities, our hope is to create sustainable solutions that will not only have impact today but also in the years to come." Google and Facebook are also working on bringing affordable Internet access around the world. Google has plans to broadcast Internet from hot air balloons via Project Loon, while Facebook plans to beam Internet down to earth from drones.
Network

DARPA Extreme DDOS Project Transforming Network Attack Mitigation (networkworld.com) 21

coondoggie quotes a report from Networkworld: Researchers with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have quickly moved to alter the way the military, public and private enterprises protect their networks from high-and low-speed distributed denial-of-service attacks with a program called Extreme DDoS Defense (XD3). The agency has since September awarded seven XD3 multi-million contracts to Georgia Tech, George Mason University, Invincea Labs, Raytheon BBN, Vencore Labs (two contracts) and this week to the University of Pennsylvania to radically alter DDOS defenses. One more contract is expected under the program. [DARPA says the XD3 program looks to develop technologies that: Thwart DDos attacks by dispersing cyber assets (physically and/or logically) to complicate adversarial targeting, disguise the characteristics and behaviors of those assets to confuse or deceive the adversary, blunt the effects of attacks that succeed in penetrating other defensive measures by using adaptive mitigation techniques on endpoints such as mission-critical servers.]
Earth

Harvard Scientist: Rio Olympics Could Spark 'Full Blown Global Health Disaster' (independent.co.uk) 147

An anonymous reader writes: Doctors have warned that the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro could spark a "full-blown public health disaster" with the spread of the Zika virus. The World Health Organization has declared a health emergency in response to the disease's spread through Latin America. Rio has the highest number of cases of any state in the country. Dr Amir Attaran said in the Harvard Public Health Review the Olympic Games could increase the spread of the virus, suggesting the Games should be hosted by a different city in Brazil. "While Brazil's Zika inevitably will spread globally, given enough time, viruses always do -- it helps nobody to speed that up," he said. "In particular, it cannot possibly help when an estimated 500,000 foreign tourists flock into Rio for the Games, potentially becoming infected, and returning to their homes where both local Aedes mosquitoes and sexual transmission can establish new outbreaks." It's highly unlikely the virus will cause officials to take drastic action since the Games start on August 5th. With economic and political issues in the country, the Zika virus is just one more thing undermining confidence in the country's ability to host the Olympics. It was reported earlier this year that Rio has given up on its promise to eliminate 80 percent of the sewage found in the city's notoriously filthy water.
Books

2016 Hugo Awards Shortlist Dominated By Rightwing Campaign (theguardian.com) 702

Dave Knott quotes a report from The Guardian: The annual Hugo awards for the best science fiction of the year have once again been riven by controversy, as a concerted campaign by a conservative lobby has dominated the ballot. The Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies movements, which both separately campaign against a perceived bias towards liberal and leftwing science-fiction and fantasy authors, have managed to get the majority of their preferred nominations on to the final ballot, announced today. Since 2013, the Puppies factions have posted recommendations of works to combat the Hugo tendency to reward works that leaders of the movement deem "niche, academic, overtly to the left in ideology and flavor, and ultimately lacking what might best be called visceral, gut-level, swashbuckling fun." The Rabid Puppies has been successful in getting its nominations on the shortlist again this year; out of 80 recommendations, 62 have received sufficient votes to make the ballot. At MidAmeriCon II this year, it was announced that more than 4,000 nominating ballots were cast for the 2016 Hugo awards, almost double the previous record of 2,122 ballots. This news was initially greeted with cautious optimism, but the shortlist shows that the Puppies and their supporters have redoubled their efforts to "game" the awards. The shortlist will be voted upon and the winners revealed at the forthcoming Worldcon in Kansas in August.
Japan

Japan To Begin Testing Fingerprints As 'Currency' (the-japan-news.com) 106

schwit1 quotes a report from The Japan News: Starting this summer, the government will test a system in which foreign tourists will be able to verify their identities and buy things at stores using only their fingerprints. The government hopes to increase the number of foreign tourists by using the system to prevent crime and relieve users from the necessity of carrying cash or credit cards. It aims to realize the system by the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The experiment will have inbound tourists register their fingerprints and other data, such as credit card information, at airports and elsewhere. Tourists would then be able to conduct tax exemption procedures and make purchases after verifying their identities by placing two fingers on special devices installed at stores. The Inns and Hotels Law requires foreign tourists to show their passports when they check into ryokan inns or hotels. The government plans to substitute fingerprint authentication for that requirement.
PlayStation (Games)

Fallout 4 Wins Best Game At Bafta Awards (bbc.com) 120

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BBC: Fallout 4 has won the best game of the year at 2016's British Academy Games Awards. It marks the first time its US-based developer Bethesda has won the prize. It did not win in any other category. Fallout 4 is an action-focused role-playing game set in Boston following a nuclear war. It contains hundreds of hours of storyline to explore. Like last year's winner -- Destiny -- it had not won a prize in any of the other categories before taking the top award. The studio's European managing director said he had not expected the result, and recalled that although Fallout is now one of gaming's biggest franchises, it too started out small. "You don't have to have the multi-million dollar budgets to make great games -- I've seen a huge amount of evidence for that tonight," said Sean Brennan.

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