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Oracle Academy backs Bloodhound educational drive

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The Bloodhound Project has received a boost for its educational programme, geared to interest school children in science and maths.

The Bloodhound Project, which will see an attempt made on the world landspeed record at Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape, has received a major boost for its educational programme, geared to interest school children in science and maths. The aim of the programme, to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, has resonated strongly with software giant Oracle, which is already the digital partner to the project.

At the Oracle Open World conference in San Francisco this week, Oracle president of product development Thomas Kurian announced that the Oracle Academy will join forces with Bloodhound SSC Education, a non-profit organisation established by the Bloodhound Project. The collaboration connects Oracle Academy’s computer science curriculum with the technology behind the Bloodhound supersonic car project, which aims to smash the 1,000 mph world land speed record.

Earlier this year, Oracle announced that the Bloodhound Project had selected Oracle Cloud to collect, analyze, and broadcast data from more than 500 real-time sensors installed on the Bloodhound Supersonic Car to classrooms around the world. This information gives students a detailed look at how technology is rocketing the world’s fastest land vehicle towards 1,000 mph, as well as providing Bloodhound engineers with valuable data to continually optimize the supersonic car’s performance.

At Oracle Open World, Richard Noble, director of the the Bloodhound Project, told the audience during a keynote session on Tuesday morning that the educational project had been partly motivated by the success of the Apollo manned space program in the USA in inspiring a generation of scientists.

Oracle Academy and the Bloodhound Education Programme will team up to make available two projects designed to help students build engineering knowledge, data analysis, and Java programming skills. The projects will leverage Oracle Academy’s Alice and Greenfoot workshops, introducing new content and data from the Bloodhound Project.

The Alice-based project challenges students to create an animated virtual version of the Bloodhound team’s desert camp. In the Greenfoot-based project, students learn how to adjust engineering variables of the car design and test their impact on speed. The Bloodhound-themed Oracle Academy projects will be available to classrooms and computing clubs in120 countries.

“Students still need a strong base in maths and physics, but this is a digital world and it’s equally important that they develop a taste for computer skills if they are to thrive in the modern workforce,” said Chris Fairhead, Chairman of the Bloodhound Education Programme. “Through our alliance with Oracle Academy, we have added this crucial piece of the puzzle to our education programme and are already seeing a great deal of interest from the teachers and schools we work with.”

Over the next three years, Oracle Academy will train 150 of Bloodhound’s volunteer teachers on Alice and Greenfoot, enabling them to effectively integrate these learning tools into STEM curricula and help students build coding skills. These resources and trainings will also be freely available to teachers worldwide, as part of Oracle Academy’s mission is to advance computer science education globally.

“At Oracle Academy, we are thrilled to team with the Bloodhound Education Programme and bring the excitement of the Bloodhound supersonic car to the 3.5 million students we reach yearly,” said Alison Derbenwick Miller, Oracle Academy Vice President. “We look forward to furthering our collaboration with the Bloodhound Education Programme, and advancing our commitment to prepare students for college and career-readiness in the 21st century.”

Project Bloodhound

The Bloodhound Project is an international education initiative focussed around a 1,000mph (1,609kmh) World Land Speed Record. The primary aim is to inspire the next generation of scientist and engineers by showcasing STEM subjects (science, technology engineering and mathematics) in the most exciting way possible.

At full speed, Bloodhound SSC will cover a mile (1.6km) in 3.6 seconds – that’s 4.5 football pitches laid end to end per second or 300m in the blink of an eye.

The world land speed record of 763mph (1228km/h) is held by Thrust SSC, a UK team led by Bloodhound’s Project Director Richard Noble and driven by Andy Green.

65% of students engaged by the Bloodhound Education Programme would now consider engineering or science as a vocation (sample size: 1,804).

Bloodhound’s education team have created over 1,000 pieces of free curriculum ready teaching resource.

The Model Rocket Car Challenge, supported by Guinness World Records, has seen students build model cars capable initially of speeds of 88mph, which then rose to 210mph and now 553mph (889km/h), a record held by Joseph Whitaker Young Engineers Club.

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Smash hits the
Nintendo Switch

Super Smash Bros. delivers what the fans wanted in the latest “Ultimate” instalment, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the latest addition to the popular Nintendo Smash series, has landed on the Nintendo Switch with a bang, selling 5-million copies in the first week of its release. The game has been long-anticipated since the console’s release, as many fans consider iy to be a Nintendo staple. And the wait was well worth it.

It features 74 playable fighters, 108 stages, almost 1300 Spirit characters to collect while playing, and a single-player Adventure mode that took about three days (or 28 hours) of gameplay to complete. The game offers far more gameplay than its predecessors, making it the Smash game that gives its players the best bang for their buck.

For those new to the game, the goal is to fight opponents and build up their damage score (draining their health) to knock them off the stage eventually. This makes the game seem chaotic, as many players jump around the platforms as if they were on quicksand, in order to avoid being hit by the other players.

It also services two kinds of players: the competitive and the casual.

Competitive players can be matched on the online service by skill ranking to enjoy playing with similarly high-skilled opponents. This is especially important in e-sports training for the game, and for players wanting to master combos against other human players. The casual gamer is also catered for, with eight-player chaos and button-mashing to see who comes out luckiest. This segment is also important for those wanting to learn how to play.

Training mode is also a place to go for those learning to play. It offers “CPU” players that are graded by intensity to train as a single player to learn a character’s moves, combos and general fighting style. More challenging CPU players can also be used by competitive players to train when there isn’t a Wi-Fi connection available.

Direct Play features in this game, allowing two players with two Switch consoles to play against each other over a direct connection – no Wi-Fi needed. This is especially useful to those who want to have a social gaming element on the go, similar to that of the cable connector of the Gameboy.

Click here to read Bryan Turner review of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

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Win Funko Fortnite in Vinyl

Gadget and Gammatek have nine Funko Fortnite figurines to give away.

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A Funko Pop figurine based on a character set is indicative of reaching the heights of pop culture. It is no surprise, then, that the world’s biggest online game, Fortnite, has its own line of Funko Pop figurines. The Funkos are modeled on the characters in game, including Drift, Ragnarok, Dark Vanguard, Volar, Tracera Ops, and Sparkle Specialist.

Now, local Funko distributor Gammatek has released the Fortnite figurines in South Africa. To celebrate, Gadget and Gammatek are giving away a set of three Funko Fortnite figurines to each of three readers (9 figurines in total). To enter, first click on your favourite Funko Pop on the next page and post the Tweet that appears. Then, follow Gadget on Twitter.

You can put the tweet in your own words, but entries must have the competition’s hashtag (#FunkoFortnite) and mention @GadgetZA to be considered valid.

Click here to select the Funko Fortnite character you want to tweet.

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