By timothy from Slashdot's cheating-in-schools-geogia-edition department
writes Just weeks after an L.A. Times op-ed called on public schools to emulate high-tech companies by paying high salaries to driven, talented employees whose productivity more than compensates for their high pay, the New York Times reported on the dramatic conclusion to perhaps the largest cheating scandal in the nation's history, which saw a Judge order handcuffed Atlanta educators led off to jail immediately for their roles in a standardized test cheating scandal that raised broader questions about the role of high-stakes testing in American schools. Jurors convicted 11 of the 12 defendants — a mix of Atlanta public school teachers, testing coordinators and administrators — of racketeering, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sowed suspicion about the veracity of the test scores in 2009, and while investigators found that cheating was particularly ingrained in individual schools, they also said that the district's top officials, including Superintendent Beverly L. Hall, bore some responsibility for creating "a culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation" that had permitted "cheating — at all levels — to go unchecked for years."
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By timothy from Slashdot's shameless-plugs-are-welcome department
For those in the northern hemisphere, summer is rapidly approaching, especially for those with kids. Camps, educational programs, and other activities are enrolling now, in advance of the long summer vacation. (Particularly long for Americans!) Aside from conventional sleepaway options for kids, there are science and technology courses, space camps, survival adventures, and more. Whatever your age, and whether on your own or as part of a formal group, do you have any specific learning activities planned for the summer, whether as participant or parent? Are there summer education opportunities you'd like to recommend to others, or ones you'd rate as not worth the price? (Naming details helps, in this context -- which space camp? How much does it cost?)Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's dig-your-shape-baby department
There are expensive dedicated devices that do 3D scanning (like the high-end tablet in Google's Project Tango), and versatile but bulky add-ons, like the Sense from 3D Systems
, but it's not a capability built into the typical cellphone or tablet. That could change, thanks to a microsensor being prototyped now (at low resolution) at CalTech
From The Verge's coverage:The tiny chip, called a nanophotonic coherent imager, uses a form of LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) technology to capture height, width, and depth information from each pixel. LIDAR, which shines a laser on the target and then analyzes the light waves that are reflected back to the sensor, are best known for their use in precision-guided missile systems and self-driving cars.
While LIDAR itself isn't new, [project lead Ali] Hajimiri explains that "by having an array of tiny LIDARs on our coherent imager, we can simultaneously image different parts of an object or a scene without the need for any mechanical movements within the imager." Each "pixel" on the new sensor can individually analyze the phase, frequency, and intensity of the reflected waves, producing a single piece of 3D data. The data from all of the pixels combined can produce a full 3D scan. In addition, the researchers' implementation allows for an incredibly tiny and low-cost scanner, all while maintaining accuracy. According to the researchers, the chip can produce scans that are within microns of the original.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's only-had-one-packet-officer department
writes Rachel Abrams reports at the NYT that six states have passed legislation to ban Palcohol, a freeze-dried, powdered alcohol developed by Mark Phillips who he says was inspired by a love of hiking but a distaste for carrying bottles of adult beverages uphill. "When I hike, kayak, backpack or whatever, I like to have a drink when I reach my destination. And carrying liquid alcohol and mixers to make a margarita for instance was totally impractical," says Phillips, who hopes to have Palcohol on store shelves by the summer. One packet of Palcohol equals one shot with each packet weighing 1 ounce and turning into liquid when mixed with 6 ounces of water. Phillips has vigorously defended his product, called Palcohol, saying it is no more dangerous than the liquid version sold in liquor stores and plans to release five flavors: vodka, rum, cosmopolitan, powderita (which is like a margarita) and lemon drop.
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By timothy from Slashdot's road-trip-redefined department
writes with this news from Wired: Nine days after leaving San Francisco, a blue car packed with tech from a company you've probably never heard of rolled into New York City after crossing 15 states and 3,400 miles to make history. The car did 99 percent of the driving on its own, yielding to the carbon-based life form behind the wheel only when it was time to leave the highway and hit city streets. This amazing feat, by the automotive supplier Delphi, underscores the great leaps this technology has taken in recent years, and just how close it is to becoming a part of our lives. Yes, many regulatory and legislative questions must be answered, and it remains to be seen whether consumers are ready to cede control of their cars, but the hardware is, without doubt, up to the task."
That last one percent is a bear, though.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's camel-caps-galore department
The Verge reports that phone maker OnePlus has introduced its own OS, an Android fork called OxygenOS
.OxygenOS was developed in-house by OnePlus, though at this point it is merely a modest refresh of Android 5.0 Lollipop. In a blog post, the company explains that it took a "back to basics" approach with the software, adding, "We place things like performance and battery life over gimmicks and bloated features." ... The company says its goal with OxygenOS "is to provide faster, more meaningful updates and a better-integrated range of services for every OnePlus user." What it doesn't say is that the software also gives it a way to reduce its dependence on Cyanogen. The two companies have had strained relations since Cyanogen signed an exclusive deal with Indian phone maker Micromax just before OnePlus' planned launch in the subcontinent. It's expected that OxygenOS will eventually be the default on future devices like the OnePlus Two, but, for now, you'll have to install it yourself over Cyanogen if you want it. You can find instructions on OnePlus' website.
(Also at TechCrunch
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By timothy from Slashdot's I'll-cui-bono-you department
Ars Technica reports that another state has buckled to the auto dealership lobby, though with an interesting twist:West Virginia became at least the fifth state to ban the direct-sales approach practiced by Tesla Motors following Friday's signature by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. ... The bill was championed by West Virginia's Senate president, who is an auto dealer in his home state and Kentucky. ... The legislation says a vehicle maker may not “act in the capacity of a new motor vehicle dealer” or “operate a dealership, including, but not limited to, displaying a motor vehicle intended to facilitate the sale of new motor vehicles other than through franchised dealers, unless the display is part of an automobile trade show that more than two automobile manufacturers participate in.” ... The Palo Alto, California-based electric-vehicle company operates so-called "galleries" in Texas, Arizona, and Maryland because the company's sales practices are barred there, too. Customers can see Tesla cars in these galleries, but they may not order vehicles, discuss prices or take test drives."Read Replies (0)