Barence writes "When it comes to programming, the classroom is moving online. A new wave of start-ups has burst onto the scene over the last year, bringing interactive lessons and gamification techniques to the subject to make coding trendy again. From Codecademy — and its incredibly successful Code Year initiative — to Khan Academy, Code School and Udacity, online learning is now sophisticated and high-tech — but is it good enough to replace the classroom? 'We are the first five or six chapters in a book,' says Code School's Gregg Pollack in this exploration of online code classes, but with the number of sites and lessons growing by the week that might not be the case for long."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Hugh Pickens writes "Salvatore Iaconesi, a software engineer at La Sapienza University of Rome, writes that when he was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, his first idea was to seek other opinions. He immediately asked for his clinical records in digital format, converted the data into spreadsheets, databases, and metadata files, and published them on the web site called The Cure. 'The responses have been incredible. More than 200,000 people have visited the site and many have provided videos, poems, medical opinions, suggestions of alternative cures or lifestyles, personal stories of success or, sadly, failures — and simply the statement, "I am here." Among them were more than 90 doctors and researchers who offered information and support.' The geneticist and TED fellow Jimmy Lin has offered to sequence the genome of Iaconesi's tumor after surgery, and within one day Iaconesi heard from two different doctors who recommended similar kinds of 'awake surgery,' where the brain is monitored in real time as different parts are touched. A brain map is produced and used during a second surgery. 'We are creating a cure by uniting the contributions of surgeons, homeopaths, oncologists, Chinese doctors, nutritionists and spiritual healers. The active participation of everyone involved — both experts and ex-patients — is naturally filtering out any damaging suggestion which might be proposed,' writes Iaconesi. 'Send us videos, poems, images, audio or text that you see as relevant to a scenario in which art and creativity can help form a complete and ongoing cure. Or tell us, "I am here!" — alive and connected, ready to support a fellow human being.'"
The tough economic times have had a huge effect on scientific research and development funding. The looming "fiscal cliff" may be the last straw for many programs. "The American science programs that landed the first man on the moon, found cures for deadly diseases and bred crops that feed the world now face the possibility of becoming relics in the story of human progress. American scientific research and development stands to lose thousands of jobs and face a starvation diet of reduced funding if politicians fail to compromise and halt the United States' march towards the fiscal cliff's sequestration of federal funds."
If the thought of a robot apocalypse is keeping you up at night, you can relax. Scientists at Cambridge University are studying the potential problem. From the article: "A center for 'terminator studies,' where leading academics will study the threat that robots pose to humanity, is set to open at Cambridge University. Its purpose will be to study the four greatest threats to the human species - artificial intelligence, climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology."
First time accepted submitter ASDFnz writes "The reward for successfully completing a block (also called mining) is about to halve from 50 bitcoins to 25. From the article: 'Bitcoin is built so that this reward is halved every 210,000 blocks solved. The idea is as bitcoin grows the transaction fees become the main part of the reward and the introduction of new bitcoins slows down to a trickle. This also means that there will only ever be 21,000,000 bitcoins in circulation.' You can watch the countdown here."
A study has found that a decreased pH level in the antarctic is damaging the shells of native wildlife. "Marine snails in seas around Antarctica are being affected by ocean acidification, scientists have found. An international team of researchers found that the snails' shells are being corroded. Experts says the findings are significant for predicting the future impact of ocean acidification on marine life. The results of the study are published in the journal Nature Geoscience (abstract). The marine snails, called "pteropods", are an important link in the oceanic food chain as well as a good indicator of ecosystem health. 'They are a major grazer of phytoplankton and... a key prey item of a number of higher predators - larger plankton, fish, seabirds, whales,' said Dr Geraint Tarling, Head of Ocean Ecosystems at the British Antarctic Survey and co-author of the report."
An anonymous reader writes "We've heard this one before, over and over again: pirates are the biggest spenders. It therefore shouldn't surprise too many people to learn that shutting down Megaupload earlier this year had a negative effect on box office revenues. The latest finding comes from a paper titled: 'Piracy and Movie Revenues: Evidence from Megaupload.'"
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from The Hill: "The past week's violence in Gaza has rekindled calls for Twitter to shutter the accounts of U.S.-labeled terror groups such as Hamas. Seven House Republicans asked the FBI in September to demand that Twitter take down the accounts of U.S.-designated terrorist groups, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Somalia's al Shabaab. The letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller was spearheaded by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who said Wednesday that the recent events vindicated the request. 'Allowing foreign terrorist organizations like Hamas to operate on Twitter is enabling the enemy,' [Poe said] 'Failure to block access arms them with the ability to freely spread their violent propaganda and mobilize in their War on Israel.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The amusing 'but does it run Crysis?' question has a cousin: 'but does it run Minecraft?' The makers of Raspberry Pi can now officially say that yes, yes it does. Called Minecraft: Pi Edition, the latest flavor of the popular game carries 'a revised feature set' and 'support for several programming languages,' so you can code directly into Minecraft before or after you start playing. That means you can build structures in the traditional Minecraft way, but you can also break open the code and use a programming language to manipulate things in the game world."
David Hume writes "The Los Angeles Times has a story about the two-year University of Tulsa Cyber Corps Program. About '85% of the 260 graduates since 2003 have gone to the NSA, which students call "the fraternity," or the CIA, which they call "the sorority."' 'Other graduates have taken positions with the FBI, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security.' According to the University of Tulsa website, two programs — the National Science Foundation's Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service and the Department of Defense's (DOD's) Information Assurance Scholarship Program — provide scholarships to Cyber Corps students."
dncsky1530 writes "UNSW professor Richard Buckland, lecturer of the famous Computing 1 course on YouTube, is now running a large scale open online Computer Science course for the world. UNSW Computing 1 — PuzzleQuest and the Art of Programming starts off with microprocessors and works it way through C with interactive activities while taking students on an adventure of hacking, cracking and problem solving. It's based around a three month long PuzzleQuest with grand and suspiciously unspecified prizes as well as fame and glory for the intrepid. The next class starts December 3rd 2012."
An anonymous reader writes "A dead pigeon discovered a few weeks ago in a UK chimney may be able to provide new answers to the secrets of World War II. Unfortunately, British cryptographers at the country's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have been unable to crack the code encrypting a message the bird was tasked with sending and say they are confident it cannot be decoded 'without access to the original cryptographic material.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Computerworld asks: What will happen if big advertisers declare AdBlock Plus a clear and present danger to online business models? Hint: it will probably involve lawyers. From the article: 'Could browser ad blocking one day become so prevalent that it jeopardises potentially billions of dollars of online ad revenue, and the primary business models of many online and new media businesses? If so, it will inevitably face legal attack.'"
mask.of.sanity writes "This custom Yamaha TRX 850 has been outfitted with wireless sniffing and attack tools, routers, a laptop, Raspberry Pi and even a heads up display integrated within the bike helmet. It was built from open source kit and cheap hardware by a security penetration tester who wanted to make his love of wardriving more nimble. The plans are detailed in a diagram and a video."
An anonymous reader writes with an update about the student refusing to wear an RFID badge in Texas. From the article: "A district court judge for Bexar County has granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) to ensure that Andrea Hernandez, a San Antonio high school student from John Jay High School's Science and Engineering Academy, can continue her studies pending an upcoming trial. The Northside Independent School District (NISD) in Texas recently informed the sophomore student that she would be suspended for refusing to wear a 'Smart' Student ID card embedded with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking chip."