Arkansas to Award Cash for AP Computer Science Exam Scores

Arkansas will be handing out cash to high school students who pass an Advanced Placement test in computer science. The Arkansas Department of Education announced the launch of the Arkansas Advanced Placement Computer Science A Incentive Program designed to encourage computer science education by rewarding students as well as schools. The department will award $1,000 for a student and $250 for a school for a score of five – the highest possible AP exam score.



That’s reduced to a $750 payout per student and $150 per school for a four on the test. And for a score of three – the lowest score most colleges accept for credit – a student can take home $250, with the school pulling in $50. The state as a whole, at the backing of Governor Asa Hutchinson, has made a push toward more computer science education in the last couple years. All high schools are required to offer a computer science course.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Arkansas to Award Cash for AP Computer Science Exam Scores

Elon Musk to Start Hyperloop Project in Maryland

Maryland has given transportation pioneer Elon Musk permission to dig tunnels for the high-speed, underground transit system known as a hyperloop that Musk wants to build between New York and Washington. Hogan administration officials said Thursday the state has issued a conditional utility permit to let Musk’s tunneling firm, The Boring Co., dig a 10.3-mile tunnel beneath the state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, between the Baltimore city line and Maryland 175 in Hanover.



It would be the first portion of the underground system that Musk says could eventually ferry passengers from Washington to New York, with stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia, in just 29 minutes. Maryland’s approval is the first step of many needed to complete the multibillion-dollar project. Gov. Larry Hogan toured a site in Hanover that aides said could become an entry point for the hyperloop. The state does not plan to contribute to the cost of the project, aides said. Hogan said on Facebook he was “incredibly excited” to support the project proposed by Musk, founder of the electric car company Tesla and the rocket firm SpaceX.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Elon Musk to Start Hyperloop Project in Maryland

Data Science Meets Sports Gambling: How Researchers Beat the Bookies

“A trio of data scientists developed a betting strategy to beat bookmakers at football games,” writes austro. [The game Americans call soccer.] New Scientist reports:

The team studied 10 years’ worth of data on nearly half a million football matches and the associated odds offered by 32 bookmakers between January 2005 and June 2015. When they applied their strategy in a simulation, they made a return of 3.5 per cent. Making bets randomly resulted in a loss of 3.32 per cent. Then the team decided to try betting for real. They developed an online tool that would apply their odds-averaging formula to upcoming football matches. When a favorable opportunity arose, a member of the team would email Kaunitz and his wife, one of whom then placed a bet. They kept this up for five months, placing $50 bets around 30 times a week. And they were winning. After five months the team had made a profit of $957.50 — a return of 8.5 per cent. But their streak was cut short. Following a series of several small wins, the trio were surprised to find that their accounts had been limited, restricting how much they could bet to as little as $1.25. The gambling industry has long restricted players who appear to show an edge over the house, says Mark Griffiths at Nottingham Trent University, UK.

The paper “illustrates how the sports gambling industry compensates market inefficiencies with discriminatory practices against successful clients,” adds austro, noting that the researchers posted a paper explaining their methodology on arxiv last week. “They also made the dataset and source code available on github. And best of all, they made an online publicly available dashboard that shows a live list of bet recommendations on football matches based on their strategy here or here for anyone to try.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Data Science Meets Sports Gambling: How Researchers Beat the Bookies

Consumer Reports Refuses to Recommend Microsoft Surface Book 2

Just a few days ago, Microsoft revealed details of the Surface Book 2 which is due to launch in November. But before the device is even available, it has been dealt a blow by Consumer Reports. Earlier in the year, the review group said that problems with reliability meant that it was impossible for it to recommend any Microsoft laptop or tablet. Now Consumer Reports says that this extends to the Surface Book 2, meaning that the device will not be recommended.



The company expressed disappointment in CR’s original decision, saying: “We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation.” Microsoft is likely to be similarly disappointed with CR’s statement about the Surface Book 2. Speaking to Benzinga, CR’s spokesperson James McQueen said: “We will evaluate the performance of the Microsoft Surface Book 2 once we get it into our labs next month for testing, but we will not be able to recommend it. Our decision to withhold our recommendation of all Microsoft laptops and tablets is still in effect.”

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Consumer Reports Refuses to Recommend Microsoft Surface Book 2

ME: Andromeda Dev Chalks Up Some of the Game's Problems to a Lack of Diversity

Longtime game designer Manveer Heir, who spent years at BioWare working on Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda, talks frankly about the problems he and his colleagues faced in getting the latter to ship. When the game debuted earlier this year it caught some criticism for glorifying colonialist fantasies, for example, and now Heir says there were people within the team who spoke up about the issue years in advance — and in vain.



“I wasn’t the only one. There were other people, there were other white people, white men, who spoke up. There’s a lot of really good people inside of BioWare who spoke up on this stuff,” he said. “This is what happens when, I think, you have a homogeneous leadership. The leadership of Mass Effect: Andromeda was all white men.” He also ruminated on what it was like to be someone who works at a large, high-profile studio and also speaks publicly about topics like diversity, race, and representation in games. Heir describes being “talked to all the time about speaking up” and feeling like some people in the company wanted him to stop rocking the boat.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – ME: Andromeda Dev Chalks Up Some of the Game’s Problems to a Lack of Diversity

Twitter explains why it takes time to roll out new safety rules

Twitter has been trying to stamp out harassment, violence and abuse on its platform for years, but it’s nowhere near achieving that goal. Since its administrators regularly get a lot of flak for not moving fast enough to make the website safer, Twitt…

Source: Engadget – Twitter explains why it takes time to roll out new safety rules

Baking Soda and Vinegar Are Not the Sink-Saving Combo You've Been Led to Believe

Everyone loves a natural home-cleaning solution, not least because you’ve likely got the ingredients in your pantry already. Baking soda and vinegar are two of the most common components, and if you’ve ever seen a science fair volcano, you have a sense of why.

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Source: LifeHacker – Baking Soda and Vinegar Are Not the Sink-Saving Combo You’ve Been Led to Believe

Stop Asking For Beer in 'Frosty' Glasses

There’s a bar in my neighborhood that has a huge sign up that says “No Frosty Glasses” on it, presumably because people would ask for beer in one. While the idea of banning frozen glasses might seem like a stunt by a hipster bar, there’s actually a lot of good reasons to not drink your beer out of a frozen glass.

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Source: LifeHacker – Stop Asking For Beer in ‘Frosty’ Glasses

Google Offers $1,000 Bounties For Hacking Dropbox, Tinder, Snapchat, and Others

An anonymous reader quotes Mashable:
Google, in collaboration with bug bounty platform HackerOne, has launched the Google Play Security Reward Program, which promises $1,000 to anyone who can identify security vulnerabilities in participating Google Play apps. Thirteen apps are currently participating, including Tinder, Duolingo, Dropbox, Snapchat, and Headspace… If you find a security vulnerability in one of the participating apps, you can report that vulnerability to the developer, and work with them to fix it. When the problem has been resolved, the Android Security team will pay you $1,000 as a reward, on top of any reward you get from the app developer. Google will be collecting data on the vulnerabilities and sharing it (anonymized) with other developers who may be exposed to the same problems. For HackerOne, it’s about attracting more and better participants in bounty programs.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Google Offers ,000 Bounties For Hacking Dropbox, Tinder, Snapchat, and Others

CO₂ benefits of regrowing forests nothing to shake a stick at

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Source: Ars Technica – CO₂ benefits of regrowing forests nothing to shake a stick at

Apple Hit with Trademark Lawsuit over iPhone X "Animoji" Feature

Tokyo-based Emonster kk has sued Apple in federal court in San Francisco, saying it holds the U.S. trademark on the term animoji and that Apple’s use of the word is a “textbook case” of deliberate infringement: Emonster chief executive Enrique Bonansea launched an animated texting app in 2014 called Animoji and registered a trademark on the product name, according to the lawsuit. Apple had full knowledge of Emonster’s app because it is available for download on Apple’s App Store, the lawsuit said.



Phil Schiller, Apple’s chief marketing officer, touted the animoji feature during the iPhone X launch event on Sept. 12, calling it a “great experience” for communicating with family and friends. “Apple decided to take the name and pretend to the world that ‘Animoji’ was original to Apple,” Emonster said in the complaint. Emonster said it is seeking unspecified money damages and a court order blocking Apple from using the term while the lawsuit is pending.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Apple Hit with Trademark Lawsuit over iPhone X “Animoji” Feature

First Wave of Original Xbox Backwards Compatible Games Leaked

Renowned Microsoft leaker h0x0d has tweeted an image with the covers of the first wave of original Xbox backwards-compatible titles: these include Ninja Gaiden Black, Knights of the Old Republic, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, and BloodRayne II.



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Source: [H]ardOCP – First Wave of Original Xbox Backwards Compatible Games Leaked

Tech Writer Robert Scoble Accused of Sexual Harassment by Multiple Women

Over the course of the past few weeks, the media world has been experiencing a bit of a wake-up call about rampant sexual harassment throughout the industry after an anonymously sourced list of allegations circulated on Google Drive. At the same time, growing numbers of women have been using the hashtag #MeToo to talk…

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Source: Gizmodo – Tech Writer Robert Scoble Accused of Sexual Harassment by Multiple Women

Why Are We Still Using Passwords?

Here’s some surprising news from the Akamia Edge conference. chicksdaddy writes:
[E]xecutives at some of the U.S.’s leading corporations agreed that the much maligned password won’t be abandoned any time soon, even as data breaches and follow-on attacks make passwords more susceptible than ever to abuse, the Security Ledger reports. “We reached the end of needing passwords maybe seven years ago, but we still use them,” said Steve Winterfeld, Director of Cybersecurity, at clothing retailer Nordstrom. “They’re still the primary layer of defense.”
“It’s hard to kill them,” noted Shalini Mayor, who is a Senior Director at Visa Inc. “The question is what to replace them with.” This, even though the cost of using passwords is high and getting higher, as sophisticated attacks attempt to compromise legitimate accounts using so-called “credential stuffing” techniques, which use automated password guessing attacks against web-based applications… Stronger and more reliable alternatives to passwords already exist, but the obstacles to using them are often prohibitive. Shalani Mayor said Visa is “looking at” biometric technologies like Apple’s TouchID as a tool for making payments securely. Such technologies — from fingerprint scans to facial and retinal scans — promise more secure and reliable factors than alphanumeric passwords, the executives agreed. But customers often resist the technologies or find them error prone or too difficult to use.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Why Are We Still Using Passwords?

Mining Monero On The CPU & Ethereum On The GPU

Following his recent article about Mining Ethereum With AMD Threadrippers Paired With Four RX Vega 64 GPUs, Phoronix German reader Thomas Frech is back with another guest post. This time he’s talking about his adventures about mining the Monero crypto-currency on the CPU while using the GPUs for Ethereum mining…

Source: Phoronix – Mining Monero On The CPU & Ethereum On The GPU

Twitter Will End Revenge Porn Next Week, Hate Speech in Two

For months, Twitter has offered few details about what it would do to take on harassment and hate speech: that changed late yesterday, when Twitter posted a timeline with specific promises on actions it will take, starting next week. On October 27, Twitter will expand what types of “non-consensual nudity” (aka “revenge porn”) that it takes action against. The company will already act when a victim complains, but Twitter will soon act even in cases where the victims may not be aware images were taken, instances like upskirt photos and hidden webcams.



This won’t be a quick or easy fix, but we’re committed to getting it right. Far too often in the past we’ve said we’d do better and promised transparency but have fallen short in our efforts. Starting today, you can expect regular, real-time updates about our progress. Sometimes, this may be insight into the difficult questions we’re asking ourselves, even before we have the answers. This is the first time we’ve shared this level of visibility into our work, and we hope it helps build trust along the way.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Twitter Will End Revenge Porn Next Week, Hate Speech in Two

The Dates for the Next 3 Steam Sales Have Been Leaked

Speaking to three developer sources today, Kotaku UK has learned the dates and times of the next three Steam Sales. According to images provided by these developers, the next three sale dates are October 26th 2017 to November 1st 2017 (Halloween Sale), November 22nd 2017 to November 28th 2017 (Autumn Sale), and December 21st 2017 to January 4th 2018 (Winter Sale).



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Source: [H]ardOCP – The Dates for the Next 3 Steam Sales Have Been Leaked