No escape as 'snow day' becomes 'e-learning day'

BBC News

Snowy weather has already arrived in parts of the US and Europe and is forecast for the UK later this month. For school students, it means the chance of benefiting from the long-standing tradition of the "snow day", when schools are forced to close and students get an unexpected day off. It's a familiar theme from American film and TV shows, with children getting the good news and then running outside for some seasonal snowman-building and snowball throwing, against a montage of Eighties pop music. But the tradition is now over for pupils in US states such as South Carolina, Nevada, Georgia, Atlanta and Indiana. This academic year, many school boards have introduced policies which require students to work from home if the school is shut by snow or extreme weather.

Why is the military doing medical training on live animals? California lawmakers are asking.

Los Angeles Times

Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) and Joe Heck (R-Nevada) and nearly 70 bipartisan members of the U.S. House want to know how the military plans to stop using live animals in medical combat-trauma training. The Department of Defense began scaling back the use of pigs, goats, monkeys, chickens and other animals as part of its medical training in 2015. A letter from Speier and Heck, signed by the others, points to recent research by the Department of Defense that using simulated human tissue rather than live animals is cheaper and provides better training. "The Department of Defense has the responsibility to provide the best available combat preparation to its medics. But according to its own studies, simulations are more effective than maiming and killing animals for medical training," Speier said in a news release.

How Artificial Intelligence Can Change Higher Education


On the day I met Sebastian Thrun in Palo Alto, the State of California legalized self-driving cars. Gov. Jerry Brown arrived at the Google campus in one of the company's computer-controlled Priuses to sign the bill into law. "California is a big deal," said Thrun, the founder of Google's autonomous-car program, "because it tends to be hard to legislate here." He said it with typical understatement. An idea that was in its technological infancy a decade ago, when Thrun and his colleagues were racing to develop a vehicle that could drive itself more than a few miles on a desert test course, was now being officially sanctioned by the country's most populous state.



Recitations from Tel-Aviv University introductory course to computer science, assembled as IPython notebooks by Yoav Ram. Exploratory Computing with Python, a set of 15 Notebooks that cover exploratory computing, data analysis, and visualization. No prior programming knowledge required. Each Notebook includes a number of exercises (with answers) that should take less than 4 hours to complete. Developed by Mark Bakker for undergraduate engineering students at the Delft University of Technology.

An Interview with Stanford University President John Hennessy

Communications of the ACM

John Hennessy joined Stanford in 1977 right after receiving his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He soon became a leader of Reduced Instruction Set Computers. This research led to the founding of MIPS Computer Systems, which was later acquired for 320 million. There are still nearly a billion MIPS processors shipped annually, 30 years after the company was founded. Hennessy returned to Stanford to do foundational research in large-scale shared memory multiprocessors. In his spare time, he co-authored two textbooks on computer architecture, which have been continuously revised and are still popular 25 years later. This record led to numerous honors, including ACM Fellow, election to both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences. Not resting on his research and teaching laurels, he quickly moved up the academic administrative ladder, going from the CS department chair to Engineering college dean to provost and finally to president in just seven years. He is Stanford's tenth president, its first from engineering, and he has governed it for an eighth of its existence. Since 2000, he doubled Stanford's endowment, including a record 6.2 billion for a single campaign. He used those funds to launch many initiatives--which often cross departmental lines--along with new buildings to house them. Undergraduate applications also doubled, for the first time making Stanford even more selective than Harvard.