Blog Posts by Tecca

  • The state is sponsoring the creation of 50 digital textbooks

    The younger generations may one day never need to lug around heavy and expensive textbooks for their classes. California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills yesterday that will fund the creation of 50 open source digital textbooks and will launch the California Open Source Digital Library to host them. The law could help bring down the ballooning expenses of college for students and their families.

    The 50 titles will be selected by the California Open Education Resources Council. The group will pick the textbooks from public, post-secondary classes, then collect bids for the creation of those materials as digital books in 2013. The law requires that the digital titles be protected under Creative Commons licenses, which means they can be accessed and used by teachers or students outside of California. The state's public universities have produced some impressive feats of science and ingenuity, so this push for digital textbooks will be watched closely by other educators.

    It was a

    Read More »from California governor signs bills to make textbooks lighter on wallets and backpacks
  • You won't believe what this 24-year-old accidentally told his pre-pubescent students

    We've all sent a text message to the wrong person at some point in our lives. Sometimes, it can be very embarrassing. But when 24-year-old swimming coach Craig Evans accidentally sent a sexually explicit message to his entire BlackBerry address book — including some underaged girls he taught — he wasn't just shamed, he was jailed.

    It was the ultimate texting faux pas. Evans, as it turns out, was trying to entice his girlfriend via text message, asking if she was interested in "skin on skin" sex. That's not a crime, but sending that same text to 13- and 14-year-old girls is. He was arrested in the U.K. for the criminal mass text on charges of "causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activities," and ultimately sentenced to 18 months in jail.

    If you think that sentence seems harsh for an unwitting mistake, it turns out that a British judge agrees. Just this week, Lord Justice Elias ruled that "Messages... were sent to every single contact in his phone, including members of his

    Read More »from Accidental text message lands a swimming coach behind bars
  • Get fishy with it at Subsix

    There's so much to do if you go on vacation to the Maldives. You could work on your tan at the beautiful beaches, go swimming in the clear blue waters, or get hammered at what is being billed as the world's first underwater bar and nightclub. Welcome to Subsix, located less than a mile off the shores of the Niyama resort and nearly 20 feet underwater.

    According to its website, the recently opened Subsix boasts international DJs and floor-to-ceiling glass walls on three sides for a spectacular view of marine life. It'd certainly be a pricey experience for someone living stateside, but maybe Dubai is a cheaper choice for your underwater desires? The Discus hotel under construction there would let you sleep in luxury in a building submerged more than 30 feet below the sea. Or, for the truly cheap alternative, check out some locations on Climate Central's interactive map of places that will be underwater in 20 years and set up shop there.

    This article was written by Anna Washenko and

    Read More »from Check out the coolest new place to have a cocktail: underwater
  • Apple's newest gadgets sip electricity; your TV is a power hog

    There's one inescapable truth about our gadget-filled culture — all that tech, from iPhone to iPad to big-screen TV, has to be plugged into an electrical outlet at some point. And while feeding 1980s-era electronic devices battery after battery was an exorbitantly costly endeavor, Apple and friends have made strides to make sure that unlike some home energy hogs, our newest batch of electronics barely use electricity at all.

    Research firm Opower took a look at today's most popular devices from the Apple iPhone 5 to the Samsung Galaxy S III, measuring exactly how much juice they sip from outlets. Here, the iPhone 5 beats out the Galaxy S — the former will cost you only 41 cents per year worth of electricity, while the latter will set you back 53 cents. The older iPhone 4 cost only $0.38 per year to charge, while a new iPad requires $1.36 to keep powered.

    Other household devices eat up a lot more energy. It's estimated that charging a laptop will cost you about $8.31 per year; a

    Read More »from Sticker Shock: How much it costs to charge your favorite electronics
  • Would Steve Jobs have written this letter, had he been in charge?

    Well, this is certainly... odd. Apple CEO Tim Cook took to his company's website earlier today, posting a letter apologizing for the now-infamous Maps debacle, suggesting that upset iPhone owners try other mapping applications such as the web version of Google Maps.

    Given Apple's notorious hatred for all things Google — or, at least, former CEO Steve Jobs' hatred — a letter suggesting their customers try a solution from Apple's number one competitor is somewhat surprising. Then again, just as surprising is the fact that Cook feels it necessary to apologize for Maps, one of the major apps that defines iOS 6. Read the full text of the letter is below, and then decide for yourself: Would Steve Jobs had written this letter if he was still alive?

    "At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused

    Read More »from Apple CEO apologizes for Maps, recommends you use Google instead
  • One Momento is an interesting social experiment in what's truly important in life

    There are a lot of terrific camera apps out there. Most people prefer Instagram for its filters and ability to share your photos with others, while some prefer the more powerful set of tools Snapseed offers. One of the newest camera apps for your iPhone is One Memento, a curious "photography experiment" that allows you the ability to take just one single photograph.

    Once you've signed in to the app through Twitter, you can flick your fingers to ceremoniously break the app's seal and take one — and only one — photograph. Once the picture is taken and edited using the supplied filters, the app assigns your memento a number, and uploads it to a searchable database. Even if you're not interested in taking a photo to share, you can still look through the gallery of what appear to be some very impressive pictures. You can choose to like a photo, or share it with your friends.

    We're somewhat intrigued by what some of the One Memento users have shared thus far. For Memento #1375, for example,

    Read More »from New art-house app lets you take just one picture, ever
  • House Rep. Zoe Lofgren wants to make sure SOPA never happens again

    Remember that one time when our internet freedom was about to be severely stifled by the government, but then pretty much the entire internet rallied against it? House Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) remembers, and she wants to make sure the government will never create a law that will interfere with a free internet again.

    The Global Free Internet Act of 2012 is a bill introduced last Friday by Lofgren that would create a task force to protect the internet-savvy from the people in charge who are not so internet-savvy.

    Last year's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) aimed to put a stop to copyright infringement on the internet, but at the cost of restructuring the way the internet works by allowing the government to enforce strict penalties for what they considered violations such as movie and music streaming. "The Internet is a thriving and vibrant engine for cultural and economic growth because it empowers people to connect and share information globally with limited restrictions," Lofgren

    Read More »from Congresswoman wants to protect you from silly internet laws
  • Interesting enough, there may be a benefit to having a little bit of man in your head

    We already know that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but there are a lot of similarities between the sexes, too. Earlier in the year, we learned that women are affected by testosterone similar to how men are: It makes them egotistical jerks that don't want to cooperate with each other. Now, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have made a startling discovery: Most mature womens' brains are filled with male DNA left over from childbirth.

    Scientists studied the brains of a number of women, aged between 32 and 101. Approximately 63% of test subjects had male DNA in their brains, a phenomenon termed "male microchimerism." The results support the theory that fetal cells can cross the blood-brain barrier.

    It was also discovered that women with an increased prevalence of male DNA in their brains are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. Due to the small number of subjects present in the study, however, more research is needed to confirm whether having a

    Read More »from Study: Female brains commonly flooded with male DNA
  • Facebook, Social Media, Social Networking, Internet, Gifts, Shopping

    Most of us who have Facebook accounts are no strangers to wishing our friends a "happy birthday" on the site — after all, since the creepily omniscient site tells you who's celebrating what, it really is the least we can do. But if a simple birthday or congratulations message is no longer enough, Facebook is launching Facebook Gifts, a new service where you can send a friend a present almost as easily as clicking Like.

    When a friend of yours is celebrating a birthday, marriage, engagement, or any other celebratory life event, a new gift icon will appear next to their name in the right-hand notification corner of your screen. Clicking that icon will bring up a menu of fun gift items, ranging from delicious edibles to fun toys — you can even buy a Starbucks gift card. It may be the perfect way to reward the two or three Facebook friends you have left who don't drive you crazy with their updates.

    If you haven't seen the new icon show up yet, it's on its way — Facebook has begun (slowly)

    Read More »from Facebook gets generous with new Facebook Gifts feature
  • You've got hundreds of thousands of programs to choose from on either platform

    The war between Apple and Android wages on, and now the battlefield is the online app market. Google Play, the marketplace for Android devices, has always trailed the App Store in number of offerings, even though it launched just three months after the Apple resource. The App Store has 700,000 products up for sale, according to Apple's iPhone 5 presentation on September 12. But Google Play is nearing that total with 675,000 apps available. The platform also passed 25 billion downloads yesterday and held a major sale in honor of the milestone, with several top apps still available for just 25 cents.

    While the number of available apps for each operating system is drawing even, there are still major differences in how each store works. Apple requires an approval process before an app can go up for sale on iTunes, but Google Play has no such vetting procedure. There's an up and a down side to that. It means that Apple went without any spam appearing on its store for five years, and the

    Read More »from Google Play gaining on iTunes App Store in race for most apps available

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