If you care at all about technology (and as a reader of this website, you probably do) odds are that back in February you were one of the roughly 12 million people who viewed the video “What Most Schools Don’t Teach,” featuring the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh encouraging kids to learn to code. The launch of the video, directed by Lesley Chilcott (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman), also marked the launch of Code.org, a website with resources for students and teachers who are curious about coding and want to teach themselves. Both the video and the site were productions of Silicon Valley investor Hadi Partovi, a former Microsoft employee and advisor to Zuckerberg in Facebook’s early days.
Eight months later, Code.org has grown from a mere website to a national network of advocates and educators dedicated to bringing computer science to every school in the country.
At a press conference this afternoon, Partovi revealed a list of the organization’s principle backers, which includes Gates, Zuckerberg, and Reid Hoffman, as well as Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and others. Code.org has also entered a long-term partnership with the National Science Foundation, through which they will share the results of curriculum evaluations and educational research and work together to develop two new courses for high school-level computer science scholars.
Most significant, however, may have been Partovi’s third announcement: the Hour of Code campaign, part of Computer Science Education Week, an annual celebration that Partovi hopes this year to turn into a national movement. Code.org and its partner in Computer Science Education Week, a group called Computing in the Core, will publish hour-long coding tutorials on a variety of platforms, from desktop to Xbox, and even an offline tutorial, and encourage student teachers to put aside their regular lessons for the day—be they in trigonometry or civics or French—and give their students an hour of code. The goal: teach 10 million people to code.
Dropbox and Skype have each pledged to provide $10 gift certificates to students who complete the tutorial, and Teach for America, Boys & Girls Club, the Girl Scouts, and the College Board have all committed to spread the word to their constituencies.
Computer Science Education Week begins December 8.
In a sample of chicken nuggets sourced over the counter from two national fast food chains near the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Dr. Richard Deshazo discovered that muscle made up only 40% to 50% of the nuggets. Under the microscope, he and his team found that the rest of the nuggets was mostly fat, with a hearty helping of “epithelium and other supporting tissue” (skin). One contained organ tissue, with a splash of nerves and blood vessels, while the other contained shredded bits of bone.
"If you can cut an hourlong commute each way out of your life, it’s the [happiness] equivalent of making an extra $40,000 a year if you’re at the $50,000 to $60,000 level. It’s an easy way for us to get happier. Move closer to your place of work.”
The Towed Glider Air-Launch is an experimental project (still awaiting government approval) that would fire air-launching rocket boosters from a drone glider. In Budd’s modest words, the proposal offers “affordable, flexible access to space.” A glider would be towed into high altitudes by military transport aircraft on planned flights and would be released by the plane—the glider would then fire a rocket booster (with a satellite enclosed) into orbit. Afterward, pilots located in remote NASA facilities safely guide the glider home.
Tweeter Home Entertainment (TWTRQ) was a consumer electronics retailer that sold TVs, car radios, home theater systems, and the like at more than 100 U.S. stores. In 2007 it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and had its assets sold to a new owner, who also filed for Chapter 11 a year later.