Exam anxiety : How remote test-proctoring is creeping students out

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As schools go remote, so do tests and so does surveillance

The stranger on the Zoom call appeared to be sitting in a tent. He wore a black headset and a blue lanyard around his neck. Behind him was white plastic peppered with pictures of a padlock.

“Hi,” the stranger intoned. “My name is Sharath and I will be your proctor today. Please confirm your name is Jackson and that you’re about to take your 11:30PM exam.”

“Correct,” said Jackson Hayes, from his cinder-block dorm room at the University of Arizona.

When he’d signed up for an online class in Russian cinema history, he’d had no idea it meant being surveilled over video chat by someone on the other side of the world. Hayes learned about it via an item on the class syllabus, released shortly before the semester began, that read “Examity Directions.” The syllabus instructed Hayes and his classmates to sign up for Examity, an online test-proctoring service.

To create his account, Hayes was required to upload a picture of his photo ID to Examity’s website and provide his full name, email, and phone number — pretty banal stuff. But it got weirder. At the end, he typed his name again; Examity would store a biometric template of his keystrokes.

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Why Coronavirus will Accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution

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The pandemic’s silver lining is the chance to experiment with technologies and co-operative approaches across borders that could lead to safer, more sustainable and more inclusive global futures.

The theory of punctuated equilibrium, proposed in 1972 by biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge, holds that populations of living organisms tend to experience a significant amount of evolutionary change in short, stressful bursts of time. Gould and Eldredge argued that evolution isn’t a constant, gradual process—it occurs during episodes when species are in environments of high tension or especially crisis.

The human species is going through such a period right now: the Covid-19 pandemic. The profound pressures that individuals, organizations and societies face in this crisis are accelerating the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), blurring the boundaries between the physical, digital and biological worlds. The current state of emergency compels us to consider the necessity of structural shifts in our relationship with the environment and how we conduct ourselves as a global community.

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Elon Musk reveals when Starlink internet service will go live

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SpaceX’s Starlink broadband service will begin private beta testing in around 3 months, with a public beta opening in around 6 months.

Elon Musk revealed this tentative timeline in a tweet after the Wednesday launch of 60 new Starlink satellites.

On Wednesday afternoon, SpaceX sent one of its Falcon 9 rockets into space. It was carrying 60 shiny new satellites that will eventually become part of the company’s Starlink communications network. SpaceX has been launching the pint-sized satellites into space for months already, with over 400 of them now in orbit around Earth.

The long-term plan is for Starlink to serve high-speed data to just about every corner of the globe, but with an estimated 40,000 satellites needed to fulfill the company’s most grand ambitions, it was unclear exactly how long it would take before the system was up and running in any capacity. Thanks to some tweets by SpaceX boss Elon Musk, now we know.

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Want to leave this planet? NASA is offering some seriously cool virtual space tours right now

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Get ready to blast off.

The aerospace experts at NASA are helping everyone socially distancing at home to pass the time.

NASA is ready to entertain and educate you all weekend long.

The aerospace experts are pulling out all the stops to help everyone pass the time home socially distancing. That includes releasing some seriously cool virtual tours and highlighting a few of its coolest places. Check out a selection of seven tours available from NASA below.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX: Now 1 million Starlink user terminals OKed for US internet service

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The Federal Communications Commission has approved SpaceX’s application to roll out a million user terminals in the US to connect with its growing Starlink satellite broadband network.

The approval gives SpaceX a 15-year “blanket license for the operation of up to 1,000,000 fixed earth stations that will communicate with its non-geostationary orbit satellite system”.

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AI can automatically rewrite outdated text in Wikipedia articles

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It’s good to be skeptical of Wikipedia articles for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the possibility of outdated info — human editors can only do so much. And while there are bots that can edit Wikipedia, they’re usually limited to updated canned templates or fighting vandalism. MIT might have a more useful (not to mention more elegant) solution. Its researchers have developed an AI system that automatically rewrites outdated sentences in Wikipedia articles while maintaining a human tone. It won’t look out of line in a carefully crafted paragraph, then.

The machine learning-based system is trained to recognize the differences between a Wikipedia article sentence and a claim sentence with updated facts. If it sees any contradictions between the two sentences, it uses a “neutrality masker” to pinpoint both the contradictory words that need deleting and the ones it absolutely has to keep. After that, an encoder-decoder framework determines how to rewrite the Wikipedia sentence using simplified representations of both that sentence and the new claim.

The system can also be used to supplement datasets meant to train fake news detectors, potentially reducing bias and improving accuracy.

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Ad blocking takes off on mobile phones, a challenge for publishers

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 About 15% to 30% of website traffic is from people with ad-blocking software, online ad firm Blockthrough reports.

The number of people using ad-blocking technology on mobile browsers has surged to 527 million, an increase of 64% over the last three years, according to a report published Thursday. Combined with ad blocking on personal computers, that means a total of 763 million devices were running ad blockers in the fourth quarter of 2019, the report said.

That means about 15% to 30% of website traffic is using an ad blocker, said Marty Kratky-Katz, chief executive of Blockthrough, a Toronto-based company that helps publishers try to cope with ad blocking.

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SpaceX launches 60 new Starlink satellites, sticks rocket landing at sea

Watch: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 60 satellites into orbit

Following the successful launch, the rocket’s first stage gently touched down on a SpaceX drone ship landing platform.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX successfully launched its fourth batch of Starlink satellites into orbit and landed a rocket landing Wednesday following days of weather delays for the mission.

A sooty Falcon 9 rocket — which made its third flight with this launch — roared to life at 9:06 a.m. ET, lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station here in Florida. The rocket carried 60 Starlink satellites for SpaceX’s growing constellation, the second such launch by the company this month.

Last week, strong upper level winds forced the private spaceflight company to postpone the Starlink-3 mission’s launch. SpaceX then aimed for the backup launch date of Jan. 28, but rough seas where the drone ship was waiting may have thwarted any attempt at a landing.

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88% of Americans use a second screen while watching TV. Why?

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Second screens and the sickness unto death.

 When it comes to tech, I like to think I’m a pretty hoopy frood. I added the System Tuner UI to my Android phone’s settings. I’ve crimped my own ethernet cables. I got Wing Commander III running, back when that required the dark arts of HIMEM.SYS tweaking. What I’m trying to say is: I am with it!

Except when it comes to staring at screens while staring at other screens. I just don’t suss it. But apparently 88 percent of Americans do.

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These are the technologies that will transform the 2020s – From 5G to vertical farming

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Renault autonomous car concept

Shared mobility, advanced plastic recycling and protein production are also going to be key to future prosperity.

2020 is set to be the year of 5G, shared mobility and new ways of recycling plastic, says research group Lux, along with new battery technology and artificial meat also set to make a big impact.

The provider of tech-enabled research has produced its “20 for 20” list of “the technologies and trends that will transform the way we live, work, and play over the next decade”.

5G networks will lead the way thanks to their role as an enabling technology for so many other parts of the every-expanding digital landscape. “From robotic surgery to self-driving cars, 5G will be critical to advances in the internet of things,” Lux says. “5G has officially left the realm of research and entered reality, with more than 2,200 patents being filed this year.”

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Quantum states in conventional electronics may beat end of Moore’s law

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Graduate students Kevin Miao, Chris Anderson, and Alexandre Bourassa monitor quantum experiments at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering

Scientists at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering have found a way to produce quantum states in ordinary, everyday electronics. By harnessing the properties of quantum mechanics without exotic materials or equipment, this raises the possibility that quantum information technologies can be created using current devices.

For decades, the computer industry has benefited from Moore’s law, which is a rule of thumb that predicts that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit will double about every two years. As this has held up, computers have gone from giant machines that were part of the buildings that housed them to tiny devices that can fit on a thumbnail, yet can outperform any supercomputer from previous generations.

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