Sam’s Club, the warehouse chain owned by Walmart, is unveiling credit cards with chip-enabled safety technology. In fact, they’re declaring themselves the first mass retailer to do so in the U.S. The cards will be co-branded with MasterCard.
Chip and PIN technology is more secure than the magnetic strip on the back of many cards. Target learned that the hard way when it was hacked last year.
Carl Howe, vice president of research and data sciences at Yankee Group, says the biggest obstacle to adopting chip-enabled technology in the U.S. has been cost, including the price tag for overhauling all those point of sale devices where we swipe our cards now.
“Those are expensive devices -- a few thousand dollars each -- and they have a lot of them,” he says. “And there’s all the backend programming that’s required for it too. So this is not a small move, it takes a lot of infrastructure to make this work.”
Still, credit card companies want all retailers to follow Sam’s Club’s lead and adopt the technology by late 2015.
There is a perception that Americans would rather play slot machines and watch car racing because those things are more relatable than horses. NPR's Laurel Dalrymple doesn't think that is true.
Finding and paying for a psychologist or psychiatrist can be difficult at any age. But young adults just making their way in the world face particular challenges.
Douglas Kiang was tired of having the same types of students in his computer-science class year after year: socially awkward boys.
"I used to only get one or two girls who'd take course," said Kiang, who teaches computer science at Punahou School on Oahu.
So Kiang took a page from his wife’s teaching manual--she’s a 6th-grade teacher--and gave something called interactive fiction a try.
Think of the famous "Choose Your Own Adventure" book series, where the reader decides what the protagonist does next, jumping to a new page with each decision.
In online interactive fiction, readers must tell the computer program what they want to do next. There are common commands that work in most programs, like “put,” “feel,” “take” and “open,” as well as custom commands for different stories.
What does interactive fiction have to do with coding? Everything, says Kiang, who has a Master's Degree in Technology, Innovation, and Education from Harvard.
"One of the core concepts we try to teach is abstraction -- the idea that you take a large idea and break it down into smaller pieces," Kiang said.
To create a story in interactive fiction, you have to figure out how to give the reader a bunch of understandable decisions to make that will allow her to navigate through the story and understand it.
The same thought process applies to coding. Say you are building an app to play blackjack: you would need to figure out how to create the card, how to allow the user to hit or stand, how to deal the cards, and a bunch of other tasks.
Kiang has had success with the approach. Students who have started with interactive fiction more easily pick up actual coding languages, he says.
For technophobes, interactive fiction also has the benefit of being surprisingly low-tech. It’s nothing but text. You can see (and play) one of Kiang's student's stories below (hint: try walking south, east or west to start with).
On the anniversary of the massacre that broke up pro-democracy protests, China is quashing attempts to mention the fateful date, with heavy security and online monitoring.