An anonymous reader writes "According to Phoronix, AMD will be open-sourcing its Linux execution and compiler stack as part of jump-starting the Heterogeneous System Architecture Foundation. The HSA Foundation was started earlier this month at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit and AMD plans to open up its stack so that others can utilize the code without causing HSA fragmentation. This will include LLVM code, the HSA run-time, an HSA kernel driver for Linux distributions, an HSA assembler, and other components."
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New submitter sjdupont writes "A trio of University of South Florida (USF) engineering graduate students have decided to make a change in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in an unusual and exciting way: by creating their own superhero personas and dressing in costumes as members of the Scientific League of Superheroes. Focused on elementary education, they have created a unique education program called the Superhero Training Network, a curriculum-based video series designed for the classroom which focuses on teaching STEM topics while engaging students in a fun way. Fifth grade classrooms in Hillsborough County (Florida) pilot tested the series during the 2011-2012 school year and enjoyed visits from the scientific superheroes to experience scientific demonstrations and participate in hands-on activities."
New submitter ryanakca writes "In a followup to a story we discussed on Sunday, Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has ordered a halt to the installation of eavesdropping equipment at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport until a privacy review could be completed. Although 'similar audio-video equipment has been operating at other Canadian airports and ports of entry for "many years,"' the Canadian Border Safety Agency failed to complete the Privacy Commissioner's required 'privacy impact assessment' before the Ottawa airport installation."
Jason Levine writes "My son is 8 years old. I'd love to get him interested in science-fiction, but most of the books I can think of seem to be targeted to older kids/adults. Thinking that the length of some novels might be off-putting to him, I read him some of the short stories in Isaac Asimov's I, Robot. He liked these, but I could tell he was having a hard time keeping up. I think the wording of the stories was too advanced and there was too much talking and not enough action. Personally, I love Asimov, but I think much of it just went over his head. Which science fiction and/or fantasy books would you recommend for an 8-year-old? (Either stories he could read himself or that we could read together over the course of a few weeks.)"
itwbennett writes "If you buy into the idea that tablets (and ultrabooks, and smartphones) in the enterprise are nothing more than glorified thin clients, then Microsoft's Surface presentation seemed more flashback than future. And if you're a fan of free software, the announcement might also have struck fear in your heart. While Microsoft has never locked out apps based on license, it's not impossible that they might chose a more locked-down Apple-esque approach for Surface, writes blogger Brian Proffitt. 'And that could put free software for end users very much at risk.'"
Hodejo1 writes "[Tuesday] morning we learned that Google fired the first volley against YouTube conversion sites by blocking YouTube-MP3.org's servers from accessing its service and sending a letter threatening legal action. It looks like the fast growing Clip.dj also got the letter based on the note posted on the site: 'We're sorry to announce this, but Clip.dj has shut its service down for good.'"
judgecorp writes "Frustrated at the off-topic chatter on Twitter, British MP Louise Mensch has launched a supposedly rival service. Despite the name, Menshn, this is apparently not a hoax, but a site aimed at 'on-topic' conversation, initially around the U.S. election. Mensch is a former 'chick lit' author, and a Member of Parliament since 2010. She has taken part in questioning of Rupert and James Murdoch, and urged control of social media." If "control of social media" urged by sitting politicians strikes you as undesirable, or the hyper-focused content seems constraining, take heart: an anonymous reader points out an online community of a different stripe — a social network launched by Wikileaks, intended to be "a secure, surveillance-resistant social network purpose-built for Friends of WikiLeaks." Whether or not your politics line up with those of most Wikileaks supporters, you might wish for some of the features FoWL is designed to provide: "By design your details are encrypted, and hidden from everyone except your immediate contacts. Even we can't access them. Connected by FoWL, friends of WikiLeaks will communicate however they like, including using secure person-to-person methods. As the network grows away from the site infrastructure, it becomes autonomous and decentralized, opaque to observers and impossible to compromise."
jones_supa writes "NVIDIA's PR department has issued a statement following the harsh comments by Linus Torvalds last week where he referred to the graphics company as the single worst company he's ever dealt with, called them out on not supporting Optimus, and other issues. Basically the company replied they're committed to Linux using their proprietary driver that is largely common across platforms, and this allows for same-day Linux support with full OpenGL implementation. They also say that they're active in ARM Linux for Tegra and support a wide range of hardware under Linux. Despite having not made any commitment to better support Optimus under Linux nor providing technical assistance to the Nouveau community, NVIDIA assures us that 'at the end of the day, providing a consistent GPU experience across multiple platforms for all of our customers continues to be one of our key goals.'"
angry tapir writes "'Nigerian scams' (also known as '419 scams' but more accurately called 'advance fee fraud') continue to clog up inboxes with tales of fantastic wealth for the recipient. The raises the question: Do people still fall for this rubbish? The emails often outline ridiculous scenarios but promise millions if a person offers to help get money out of a country. The reason for the ridiculous scenarios seems obvious in retrospect: According to research by Cormac Herley at Microsoft, scammers are looking for the most gullible people, and their crazy emails can help weed out people who are savvy enough to know better. Contrary to what people believe, the scams aren't 'free' for the scammers (PDF): sending an email might have close to zero cost attached, but the process of getting money out of someone can be quite complicated and incurs costs (for example, recruiting other parties to participate in the scam). So at the end of the day, the scammer wants to find people who will almost certainly fall for the scam and offer a good return."
The Washington Post is reporting that the sophisticated 'Flame' malware was created by the United States and Israel in order to collect intelligence on Iranian computer networks. The intel was to be used in a cyber-sabotage campaign intended to slow Iran's development of nuclear weapons. This follows confirmation a few weeks ago that the U.S. and Israel were behind Stuxnet, which caused problems at Iran's nuclear facilities. From the article: "The emerging details about Flame provide new clues to what is thought to be the first sustained campaign of cyber-sabotage against an adversary of the United States. 'This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action,' said one former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official, who added that Flame and Stuxnet were elements of a broader assault that continues today. 'Cyber-collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.' ... The scale of the espionage and sabotage effort 'is proportionate to the problem that's trying to be resolved,' the former intelligence official said, referring to the Iranian nuclear program. Although Stuxnet and Flame infections can be countered, 'it doesn't mean that other tools aren't in play or performing effectively,' he said."
New submitter MoriT sends this excerpt from a post examining the correlation between women's enrollment in computer science programs at college and their access to the internet. "There is currently a responsibility-dodging contest between industry and academia over who is to blame for the declining enrollment of women in Computer Science and declining employment of women in software development. I hear people in industry bemoan the 'empty pipeline,' while academics maintain that women aren't entering their programs because of perceptions of the industry. I have compiled some data that may help resolve the question by highlighting a third factor common to both: access to an Internet-based culture of computing. ... I conclude that in the last 10 years among many Northern European nations, rising Internet access is correlated with falling interest in computer science relative to other professions among women. The group of Mediterranean nations that show a positive correlation should be a fruitful area for future research, but seem outliers from the Northern cohort."
retroworks writes "Bloomberg News makes the case that when the federal government offers tuition assistance, students apply to more expensive colleges, giving the institutions an incentive to raise tuition and a disincentive to lower it. (The Wall Street Journal has a similar article, but it's paywalled.) This reminds me of the debate over President Reagan's cuts to the Pell Grant program in the 1980s. MIT's Campus Paper 'The Tech' quoted the MIT administration as saying it had 'no idea what really will occur' when Reagan's proposal to cut Pell came to Washington. So the question is, 25 years later, do we know now? Did cuts to federal tuition assistance hurt the education of the lower income students? Did increases to Pell grants create more opportunity? Or is federal money the milkshake, and students are just the straw?"
david.emery writes "Julian Assange, his appeals in the United Kingdom having run out, today went to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to request asylum from his pending extradition to Sweden to face questioning for 'unlawful coercion and sexual misconduct including rape.'"
sciencehabit writes "The first-ever use of interactive computer tasks on a national science assessment suggests that most U.S. students struggle with the reasoning skills needed to investigate multiple variables, make strategic decisions, and explain experimental results. The results (PDF) are part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress that was given in 2009 to a representative sample of students in grades four, eight, and 12. What the vast majority of students can do, the data show, is make straightforward analyses. More than three-quarters of fourth grade students, for example, could determine which plants were sun-loving and which preferred the shade when using a simulated greenhouse to determine the ideal amount of sunlight for the growth of mystery plants. When asked about the ideal fertilizer levels for plant growth, however, only one-third of the students were able to perform the required experiment, which featured nine possible fertilizer levels and only six trays. Fewer than half the students were able to use supporting evidence to write an accurate explanation of the results. Similar patterns emerged for students in grades 8 and 12."
ananyo writes "In a revelation that could bring down the country's government, Romania's Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, stands accused of copying large sections of his 2003 PhD thesis in law from previous publications, without proper reference. Documents compiled by an anonymous whistle-blower indicate more than half of Ponta's 432-page, Romanian-language thesis on the functioning of the International Criminal Court consists of duplicated text. Last month, the country's education and research minister, computer scientist Ioan Mang, resigned following accusations of plagiarism in at least eight papers." Looks like it's contagious.