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Many countries have been quick to emphasize education for skills like programming, while students in the United States are falling behind in math and science. Google software engineer Neil Fraser recently visited Vietnam and spent some time in schools to see how the country's computer science curriculum compared. The students all used Windows XP, and they begin by learning about floppy disks in the 2nd grade — but by their 11th year, Fraser didn't just see students that excelled beyond those in the US, he saw students who could pass the interview process at Google.

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Three children alone — General Wang’s son, Wang Jun; Deng’s son-in-law, He Ping; and Chen Yuan, the son of Mao’s economic tsar — headed or still run state-owned companies with combined assets of about $1.6 trillion in 2011. That is equivalent to more than a fifth of China’s annual economic output.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-26/immortals-beget-china-capitalis...

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Mayra’s transformation from housewife to witch is dramatic. Others had spoken to me about her but I didn’t believe them, so I had to see for myself.

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call -151 writes "Many years ago, a human-generated intentionally nonsense paper was accepted by the (prominent) literary culture journal Social Text. In August, a randomly-generated nonsense mathematics paper was accepted by one of the many low-tier 'open-access' research mathematics journals. The software Mathgen, which generated the accepted submission, takes as inputs author names (or those can be randomly selected also) and generates nicely TeX'd and impressive-sounding sentences which are grammatically correct but mathematically disconnected nonsense. This was reviewed by a human, (quickly, for math, in 12 days) and the reviewers' comments mention superficial problems with the submission (PDF). The references are also randomly-generated and rather hilarious. For those with concerns about submitting to lower-tier journals in an effort to promote open access, this is not a good sign!"


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Anti-U.S. protests erupted across the Muslim world after an anti-Islam film appeared on YouTube. Occupy Wall Street marked the one year anniversary of the movement. Some 60,000 people gathered for the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.

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An anonymous reader writes "Alan Jacobs at The Atlantic writes about a book called New Model Army (NMA), which takes the idea of Anonymous — a loose, self-organizing collective with a purpose — and adds twenty-five years of technological advancement. The book's author, Adam Roberts, 'asks us to imagine a near future when electronic communications technologies enable groups of people to communicate with one another instantaneously, and on secure private networks invulnerable, or nearly so, to outside snooping.' With the arrival of advanced communications tech, such groups wouldn't be limited to enacting their will from behind a computer screen, or in a pre-planned flash mob; they could form actual armies. 'Again, each NMA organizes itself and makes decisions collectively: no commander establishes strategy and gives orders, but instead all members of the NMA communicate with what amounts to an advanced audio form of the IRC protocol, debate their next step, and vote. Results of a vote are shared to all immediately and automatically, at which point the soldiers start doing what they voted to do. ... They are proud of their shared identity, and tend to smirk when officers of more traditional armies want to know who their "ringleaders" are. They have no ringleaders; they don't even have specialists: everyone tends the wounded, not just some designated medical corps, and when they need to negotiate, the negotiating team is chosen by army vote. Each soldier does what needs to be done, with need determined by the NMA which each has freely joined.' Let's hope resistance isn't futile."


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TEDxColumbus - Bart Overly - Being 104: My Future Habitat

As our population rapidly ages and lives much longer, how so might the habitats we have constructed for our comforts adapt to this change? A global review of attitudes towards this longevity crisis (or opportunity) might enlighten design and development's reaction towards it. As a student of architecture, Bart will share his perspectives on this ever dynamic and somewhat troubling dilemma.
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There were to be no “gotcha” moments during Platon’s photo shoot with Rick Perry, the Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate, who appears on the cover of this week’s issue of TIME. Which is not to say the photographer didn’t strive for the revelatory.

“I want your soul,” he told Perry. “Give it to me.”

Ever the politician, Perry pushed back: “Well, you can’t have that.”

Platon responded, “You don’t realize it. But I’ve already got it.”

The playful exchange set the tone for the entire sitting between Platon and Perry, which took place on September 13 in Miami, one day after a GOP debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express. From his inflammatory remarks on Social Security to his HPV mandate, Perry took punches from nearly all his opponents on stage that night, which led Platon to ask the Governor how he deals with failure.

“He told me that from the time he was six, he’d been using this metaphor of riding a horse—probably because he’s from Texas—that when you get knocked off, you get back on,” Platon said. “He said it with this very relaxed smile, and I thought, ‘That’s it?’”

Many now consider Perry to be the frontrunner to capture the nomination in the 2012 Republican primary. But Platon says he tried to capture “a human picture, not a political one.” To that end, the photographer and subject talked more about music and pop culture than policy and politics. Platon, a lifelong Beatles fan, asked the Governor to name his favorite song by the band. “Perry told me it was ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ so I wasn’t sure if he just knew the greatest hits, or if he was a real Beatles fan,” Platon said. “So I tested him a bit, and he knew George Harrison had written it. He knew it was on Abbey Road. He even told me which track on the album it was.”

Of his cover image, Platon says it represents a man fully committed to his beliefs, both personal and political. “You can criticize or agree with Perry’s policies, but in that moment on the cover, he’s 100 percent committed to what he’s talking about,” he said. “You can see belief in his eyes. It’s a magical thing that happens in a shoot. I always strive for it, but I don’t always get it.”

Platon

Selected images from Platon's book Power.

That last sentence would be considered an understatement by anyone but the photographer himself. With images published in magazines from the New Yorker to Rolling Stone, Platon is one of the most accomplished contemporary portrait photographers.

And on Thursday evening, some of Platon’s most famous images will be sold at the Matthew Marks Gallery in New York City to benefit Human Rights Watch, an organization the photographer has worked with for the past year and a half. From photographing Burmese refugees to setting up a portrait studio in the middle of Cairo’s Tahrir Square amid the Egyptian revolution, Platon says he tries to humanize the statistics reported by Human Rights Watch. “My job is that of a storyteller. It’s not that 800 people were killed. It’s who those 800 people were—they had families, they had children. They were children themselves in some cases.”

The images for sale and on display are culled from Power, Platon’s book of portraits of world leaders. “It’s a kind of an ironic situation—selling images of the powerful to try to empower the powerless,” he said, before quickly adding, “But it’s all the same. No one’s more important than anyone else. That’s one thing I’ve been trying to show.”

Feifei Sun is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @Feifei_Sun or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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