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Why Are Some Wealthy Kids Getting Extra Time To Finish Their SAT Tests?

Slashdot - 34 min 18 sec ago
Students from wealthy high schools are more than twice as likely to qualify for extra time to finish their SAT or ACT college entrance tests than students from poor schools -- and in some cases, they're getting 50% more time. An anonymous reader quotes CBS News: About 4.2 percent of students at wealthy high schools qualified for a 504 designation, a plan that enables the students to qualify for accommodations such as extra test-taking time, according to an analysis of federal data for 9,000 by public schools by The Wall Street Journal. By comparison, only 1.6 percent of students in poor high schools qualified for the same designation.... These plans, named after a federal statute prohibiting discrimination against students with disabilities, can cover a wide range of issues, ranging from anxiety to deafness and other impairments. But critics of 504 plans say some families may be abusing the system in order to secure much-needed extra time for their children on the high-stakes exams... About one-sixth of ACT test-takers don't complete the exam within its normal time limit, the Journal noted. And a redesign of the SAT in 2014 signaled how many students struggle with finishing on time, as fewer than half of students completed the math section in a prototype of the new test. Naturally, gaining an extra 50 percent of the allotted time can alleviate some of the stress of time management. And the SATs and ACTs don't alert colleges about whether a student received extra time to complete the tests, eliminating a disincentive for students to request the accommodation. It's apparently been going on for years, according to CBS. In 2000 a California state report found that students getting extra time for their tests "were predominately white, wealthy, and from private schools." And now in Boston's "well-heeled" Newton suburb, about one-third of students qualified for extra time.

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Categories: Geek

Is “Rural Decline” Just a Statistical Artifact?

Kevin Drum - 45 min 39 sec ago

By coincidence, the Washington Post ran a piece yesterday making the same case that I did this morning: rural areas aren’t really in economic decline. The argument presented by Andrew Van Dam is simple and intriguing.

It has to do with the way the Census Bureau defines rural. Basically, it doesn’t. It defines urban, and then labels everything left over as rural. And that’s a problem: their definition of urban is any city (plus its surrounding areas) with a population of 50,000 or more. Regardless of whether you think this is a good definition, you can see one big problem with it: any rural area eventually gets reclassified as urban if it’s successful and growing. By definition, the only areas left over are those that are declining or growing slowly, and those are the ones we classify as rural.

Van Dam makes the case that if we applied the Census definition to the country in 1950 and then tracked all the areas defined as rural in 1950, it turns out that rural America is doing fine. But in real life, we reclassify these areas every few years and move the best performers into the urban column. Here’s what that looks like:

By 2018, we had reclassified so much of America that the population of “rural” America had barely grown at all because the only places left were the slowest-growing bits:

In a way, rural areas serve as urban America’s farm team: All their most promising prospects get called up to the big leagues, leaving the low-density margins populated by an ever-shrinking pool of those who couldn’t qualify….[But] the character of a place doesn’t necessarily change the moment a city crosses the 50,000-resident mark.

….About 6 in 10 U.S. adults who consider themselves “rural” live in an area classified as metropolitan by standards similar to those used above, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in 2017. And 3 in 4 of the adults who say they live in a “small town”? They’re also in a metro area.

Bottom line: the “decline” of rural America is mostly a statistical artifact. We keep redefining rural to exclude any successful rural areas, and by now the only rural places left are the ones that have been persistently bad performers for the past 70 years. But if “persistently bad performer for the past 70 years” is your definition of rural, it’s merely a tautology to say that rural areas are performing badly.

Categories: Politics

Researcher exposes vulnerability in macOS Gatekeeper security mechanism

9to5Mac - 1 hour 16 min ago

Security researcher Filippo Cavallarin has publicized what he says is a way to bypass the Gatekeeper security functionality of macOS. The bypass remains unaddressed by Apple as of last week’s macOS 10.14.5 release.

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Categories: Geek

Rick Wilson: Impeachment Hearings Are A Death By A Thousand Cuts For Trump

Crooks and Liars - 1 hour 22 min ago

Host Joy Reid asked Republican strategist what would he do if he were advising Democrats on how to proceed on impeachment. He dismissed concerns about current public opinion and that the Senate will not convict. Those are irrelevant. Hearings on multiple issues (obstruction, taxes,etc) will produce death by 1000 cuts for Trump, whether the Senate does anything or not. It's the slow drip of blood as information gets out that will sway public opinion. As Wilson ended. There are three things you don't rush: sex, cooking ribs, and impeachment.

JOY REID: But the question of whether or not ongoing hearings will the thing that jump-starts the Republicans or that suddenly concentrates the public's mind, impeachment hearings would be like an OJ trial, they would be pushed on social media. This would be the thing that no one could look away from. They would be one focused media stage that the Democrats would have if Republicans had this opportunity. give us a sense of what they would be doing if they had the same scenario of a president ignoring them and going off of the rails. what would they do.

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Categories: Politics

WormBase Manet is DOWN, 1558800966

WormBase Manet - 1 hour 33 min ago
Categories: Bio

'How I Cheated On My Microsoft Job Interview'

Slashdot - 1 hour 34 min ago
Robert Sweeney spent 10 years working as a software engineer at Microsoft and Netflix, before becoming founder and CEO of the software development agency Facet. This week he blogged about how he cheated on his 2004 interview for a job at Microsoft. It was his first job interview ever, when he was still a college senior majoring in computer science, and a Microsoft recruiter had invited him to an interview at an on-campus career fair: I immediately called my good friend Eli who had just started a new job at Microsoft. I asked him what the on campus interviews were like and how I should prepare for them. He explained that they would ask a random programming question that I would need to solve on a sheet of paper. If you did well, then they would fly you out for a full day of interviews at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington. He had been asked to write a function that, when given an array of length n + 1 containing integers 1 through n, find the duplicate integer in an array. I wasn't sure how to prepare for answering a "random programming question", so I decided to just use the question Eli had been asked as practice and hope for the best... Most of the interview is a blur, but I remember the interviewer being nice and I remember the programming question he asked me... I couldn't believe it. He asked me the exact same question as Eli. Should I tell him? I hesitated for a moment, pretending to be thinking about how to solve the problem. In reality I was having an intense internal debate on the ethics of interviewing. He didn't ask me if I had heard the question before, he just asked me to solve it. So I decided to just answer the question... I slowly wrote out the solution I had come up with over days of thinking about the problem, being sure to pause periodically as if I was figuring it out for the first time... A few days later I received an invite to fly out to the Microsoft main offices. I interviewed with two teams over a period of 6+ hours. I didn't get asked any questions I had heard before this time, but I did my best... Sure enough, that next week I had a job offer from Microsoft from both teams... Within a couple of years of graduating from college, I had shipped software that was being used by nearly a billion people... I've struggled with this a lot over the years, but I finally decided to share my story. I don't think I would have made it past the first round of interviews at Microsoft if I hadn't gotten so lucky. So pretty much, my entire career is built on one amazing stroke of luck. I also think my experience is a great example of one of the many reasons why the coding problems we use in developer interviews are so problematic: on the spot coding is just not a good way to judge technical ability. Stack Overflow's CEO founder Joel Spolsky actually wrote some of Microsoft's internal programmer-testing guidelines when he worked there in the mid-1990s, and he later publicized them in a 2006 blog post which he says was later adopted by other tech companies, including Google. He has since said that recruiting for IT is broken, adding "I think that I'm responsible." Microsoft has since changed its interviewing practices.

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Categories: Geek

Atlanta Suburb Sends Long-Time Mail Carrier Into Retirement With Love And Style

Crooks and Liars - 1 hour 36 min ago
Atlanta Suburb Sends Long-Time Mail Carrier Into Retirement With Love And Style

Remember that time or two when Social Media didn't suck? And neither did humanity? Here's one of those times.

Floyd Martin has been a mail carrier in Marietta, GA for over 20 years. Retirement is upon him, and the people on his route decided to show him just how beloved he is. It so happens his route includes Jennifer Brett, who is a journalist for the Atlanta Journal Constitutional, and she hopped in his mail truck to keep him company on the last day of his mail deliveries. According to The Washington Post,

Neighbors in Marietta decorated their mailboxes for him, presented him with gifts and threw a tearful block party as they recounted all they ways he has been more than a mail carrier over the past 20 years.

Jennifer Brett, a journalist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wanted to document what her town was doing for Martin, so on his last day, she jumped in his truck with him and rode along as he delivered mail to some of the 500 houses on his route. Then she wrote a Twitter feed about what she saw.“Mr. Floyd is our hometown celebrity,” Brett said in an interview with The Washington Post.

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Categories: Politics

An asteroid big enough to have its own moon will pass Earth on Saturday night

Daily Kos - 1 hour 47 min ago

Don’t get out your nuclear missiles. All dinosaurs are safe this time, as the closest approach of asteroid 1999 KW4 will be about 3 million miles—about 12 times the distance from Earth to Moon. So on the list of scary encounters, this is low on the “buy canned food” scale. In fact, this same asteroid has swung past four times before since its discovery, and on one of those occasions it came closer still.

However, it’s big on the interesting scale, because the asteroid sweeping by on Saturday isn’t one body, it’s two. The space rock first found by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) collaboration between NASA, the Air Force, and MIT back in 1994, was determined by JPL researchers in 2001 to actually be a “binary pair” where one asteroid acts as the moon of the other.

aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzEwNS84MTgvb3JpZ2luYWwvMTk5OS1rdzQtYXN0ZXJvaWQuZ2lm.gif  1999 KW4 Image from team led by Dr. Steven Ostro at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Radar imaging during previous close approaches has made the nature of the system and the shape of the two big stones much more apparent. The larger of the pair is just under 0.8 miles wide, making it about 1/100th the mass of the asteroid or comet that carved out the Chicxulub crater and made Tyrannosaurs a non-factor in your daily commute. However, it’s still large enough that if it were to impact, it could be a civilization-ending event. Thankfully neither the big asteroid, or its 0.3 mile moonlet is going to to get all that near on Saturday night. However, they will be back in 2036 for an approach that’s more than twice as close.

Even then, they’re not any kind of threat; unlike the kilometer-wide asteroid 99942 Apophis which is set to pass closer to the Earth than many satellites in 2029. On that one, people will definitely be double-checking their math, and maybe hoping that the planned Asteroid Redirect Mission produces good results. Apophis was named for the “uncreator” who was an enemy of Ra in Egyptian myths so someone seems to have been a little pessimistic when working out those orbital results. 

The 1999 KW4 pair will not be visible to the naked eye, but telescope operators may spot it in the night sky over the next few days near the constellation Hydra.

Categories: Politics

AirBeamTV mirrors your iOS or macOS device to a TV without Apple TV [sponsor]

iDownloadBlog - 2 hours 7 min ago

With the AirBeamTV app on your iOS or macOS device, you can share your screen and cast content onto your television whether you have a Roku, Chromecast, or Amazon FireTV.
Categories: Geek

Tim Cook shows off ‘Chronicles of San Francisco’ mural with unique iPhone integration

9to5Mac - 2 hours 8 min ago

Tim Cook took to Twitter this morning to showcase a new mural from the artist JR. Entitled “Chronicles of San Francisco,” the video mural is currently on display in San Francisco, and features unique integration with an accompanying iOS app.

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Categories: Geek

Supporters Of Splitting Washington To Form 51st State Hold Bake Sale Fundraiser

Crooks and Liars - 2 hours 20 min ago
Supporters Of Splitting Washington To Form 51st State Hold Bake Sale Fundraiser

That's almost word-for-word the Associated Press headline. These wack-a-doodles honestly believe that they can split up Washington State (and parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, and Montana) to create some kind Christianist sanctuary state, because the United States is “a Christian nation” under siege by atheists and Communists. The stupid it burns brightly, especially in the interior of Washington State around the Spokane Valley.

Source: Associated Press

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Proponents of creating a 51st state held a bake sale to raise money for their cause.

The Spokesman-Review reports that supporters of the proposed Christian conservative state, which would span parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, raised money by auctioning pies and other desserts.

The Liberty State Gala drew about 200 people in the city of Spokane Valley on Thursday evening.

Speakers included Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, a Spokane Valley Republican who has championed the Liberty State movement.

Shea spoke of the cultural and political differences between eastern and western Washington, denied the existence of global warming, and claimed the United States is “a Christian nation” under siege by atheists and Communists.

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Categories: Politics

Survey Suggests That White Racial Resentment Is Easing

Kevin Drum - 2 hours 33 min ago

A few months ago I wrote a piece for the magazine suggesting that white racial resentment had steadily increased during Barack Obama’s presidency as a reaction against eight years of a black president. But when Obama left, the bubble burst and racial resentment returned to its usual levels. For this reason, Democrats have no reason to fear that a focus on things like immigration reform or racial justice will hurt them electorally in 2020.

A new study confirms this—sort of. It uses results from a panel survey that re-interviews the same people periodically. Here are the results:

What the authors find is that racial resentment stayed roughly steady during Obama’s presidency and then plummeted afterward. This is different from my theory but it has the same basic shape: a dam broke after the 2016 election and racial resentment declined compared to Obama’s time in office.

This is one smallish survey, so as usual I’d caution against taking it too seriously. But it matches a lot of other evidence that, as I suggested last year, “the alienation of the white working class from the party associated with racial diversity was caused by the simple presence of a black man in the White House.” Now that he’s gone, that alienation is easing.

Categories: Politics

Replacing JavaScript: How eBay Made a Web App 50x Faster With WebAssembly

Slashdot - 2 hours 34 min ago
"Online marketplace eBay has revealed how it boosted performance of a demanding web app by 50x using WebAssembly," reports TechRepublic: The "astonishing" speed-up after switching from a JavaScript-based to a largely WebAssembly-based web app was detailed by the eBay engineering team, who say the performance boost helped make it possible to build a highly-accurate barcode scanner as a web app... a feature it offers in its Android and iOS apps to allow sellers to scan items they are auctioning. "WebAssembly was different. It has tremendous potential, we just did not have the right use case. Well, that changed recently," write the eBay software engineering team. One of the advantages of WebAssembly (Wasm) is that it offers code portability for a variety of languages, allowing developers to take code they've written for other platforms and compile to WebAssembly so it can run in major web browsers. Consequently eBay was able to take the existing version of its barcode scanner written in C++ and compile that to Wasm using Emscripten, adopting the Docker and Node.js-based approach outlined here. After a few minor teething problems, the eBay team were able to run the barcode scanner in the browser, using a Worker thread and JavaScript glue code. The Wasm-based scanner was able to process images of the barcode at 50 Frames per Second (FPS), compared to about 1FPS in an earlier JavaScript-based scanner eBay had tested, a speed-up the team described as "astonishing". Unfortunately, the Wasm code only successfully completed scans 60% of the time, because it wasn't using the inbuilt APIs available for the C++ code to either autofocus or provide user tap focus for the center of the scanned object. eBay's team ultimately ended up implementing three separate worker threads running the Wasm code, the open-source barcode reader ZBar, and their original JavaScript-based scanner code. "The winning response (i.e. the first one to send a valid barcode) is sent to the main thread, and all workers are terminated... With three threads racing against each other, the success rate was indeed close to 100%."

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Categories: Geek

WSJ: Snapchat planning to compete with TikTok, add deeper music integration

9to5Mac - 2 hours 49 min ago

As TikTok continues to prove incredibly popular around the world, Snapchat is looking to expand its support for music. The Wall Street Journal reports that Snap is in talks with record labels to “expand the ways users can include music in posts” on Snapchat.

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Categories: Geek

Irony Alert: Owners Of Noah's Ark Replica Sue Over...Flood Damage

Crooks and Liars - 2 hours 51 min ago

In a perverse sort of way, you've got to admire the chutzpah of these con artists. Despite getting millions in tax breaks, flouting all kinds of labor laws, and never once turning a profit, the company behind this testament to fleecing the rubes now is suing their insurance carriers for refusing to cover...wait for it....an act of God.

And yes, those are dinosaurs on their stupid Ark.

Source: Louisville Courier-Journal

The owner of the life-size replica of Noah’s Ark in Northern Kentucky has sued its insurers for refusing to cover, of all things … rain damage.

Ark Encounter, which unveiled the 510-foot-long model in 2016, says that heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its access road, and its five insurance carriers refused to cover nearly $1 million in damages.

In a 77-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Ark Encounter asks for compensatory and punitive damages.

The ark itself was not damaged and the road has been rebuilt, according to the suit.

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Categories: Politics

Bill Barr Is The Administration's 'Trained Seal'

Crooks and Liars - 3 hours 8 min ago

Kate Bolduan asked reporter Evan Pérez to break down the implications of the Tangerine Tyrant directing his Roy Cohn to conduct an actual witch hunt, going after those who rightly raised alarms about Russian interference into our elections. Pérez explained that one of the ways the Orange Oppressor is accomplishing this degradation of our democracy is to issue an executive order allowing his Roy Cohn (AG Bill Barr) to declassify any material he wants to be able to make public if it helps smear Trump's opponents.

This isn't how they're technically explaining it, of course - they're saying there has to be an investigation into the origins of the Mueller report because they believe the unflattering information about Trump and Russia was ill-gotten. That HE was the one unfairly targeted. Of COURSE he was. Pérez quoted Rep. Adam Schiff's quite appropriate analysis that "while Trump stonewalls the public from learning the truth about his obstruction of justice, Trump and Barr conspire to weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies."

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Categories: Politics

Colorado just became the first state to cap the cost of insulin. The price might surprise you

Daily Kos - 3 hours 23 min ago

One example of an early plot point in a dystopian movie: People not being able to afford life-saving medications because corporations are gouging prices. But wait! That’s actually a reality in the U.S. One state, thankfully, is working to change this.

While this law doesn’t apply to the entire country (or even all medications), Governor Jared Polis (who is also the first openly gay Governor and first Jewish Governor in the state), a Democrat in Colorado, signed an exciting bill into law that will ensure people with diabetes (who have insurance) have to spend no more than $100 each month on insulin in co-pays. This is, at minimum, an excellent first step. 

Is $100 a lot? In one perspective: Undoubtedly, yes. Compared to what Colorado residents have been paying, as reported by CBS Denver, however, it’s likely to be a relief. CBS Denver reports that people living with diabetes have been paying between $600 and $900 per month in Colorado. This amount is almost beyond comprehension.  

This price cap will take effect in January 2020. Basically, the law caps co-pays on insulin for Colorado residents no matter how much they need. To be clear: It doesn’t actually cap what insulin manufacturers can charge insurers, but insurance companies have to cover the additional cost or differential, as opposed to the patient. It also refers to people with private insurance.

Colorado state Rep. Dylan Roberts introduced the bill. Roberts, a Democrat, lost his younger brother, Murphy Roberts, to type 1 Diabetes, as reported by CBS Denver. When signing the bill, Polis noted that the bill is to honor Murphy’s life, and “of course for the 400,000 Coloradans who live with diabetes.”

Categories: Politics

Russiagate ICYMI Open Thread: Paul Manafort’s Chicago Banker Busted

Balloon Juice - 3 hours 25 min ago

This was an insanely busy week — and not just for national politics — but it’s good to remember that the work of uncovering the Oval Office Occupation’s myriad crimes goes on, relentlessly. I take this (apart from the obvious) as a reminder to any other Big Money Guys who might’ve approved some less-than-Grade-A Trump-associate transactions… that the Mueller team and its state associates are not demonstrating the kind of sympathetic, who-among-us attitude to which the GOP has accustomed them.

Categories: Politics

WormBase Manet is DOWN, 1558793766

WormBase Manet - 3 hours 33 min ago
Categories: Bio

NASA Announces First Commercial Partner For A Space Station Orbiting The Moon

Slashdot - 3 hours 34 min ago
"NASA has chosen its first commercial partner for a proposed space station, known as the Lunar Gateway, to be built near the Moon," reports Ars Technica: On Thursday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Maxar Technologies would build the first component of the Gateway -- the power and propulsion element. Like the name suggests, it will provide electricity to the Gateway and help move it around. "This time when we go to the Moon, we're actually going to stay," Bridenstine said in making the announcement... Under NASA's current plans to land humans on the Moon by 2024, this is where astronauts will launch to from Earth before climbing aboard pre-positioned landers to take them down to the lunar surface.... The contract announced Thursday is worth a maximum of $375 million. Intriguingly, Maxar said Blue Origin and Draper will join the team in designing, building, and operating the spacecraft. Such a partnership raises the possibility that the power and propulsion element, which will weigh about 5 tons fully fueled, could be launched on Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket. During a teleconference with media, Maxar's Mike Gold said the company would choose a commercial rocket for the power and propulsion element launch in the next 12 to 18 months... The station will use solar electric propulsion to maintain its orbit and have the ability to maneuver into other orbits around the Moon. Before humans visit the Gateway in 2024, the space agency plans to add a small "habitat" module.

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