• In October, another premier world sports event reached its climax, with one team left standing, rewarded for months of grueling practices, to the cheers of adoring, frenzied fans. The "world series" of professional team computer games was settled on a stage in a packed, 40,000-seat stadium in Seoul before three gigantic TV screens and an Internet audience of millions. The powerhouse Samsung White team out-moused and -keyboarded the Chinese champions at "League of Legends" (which 27 million gamers worldwide play every day), using its fantasy characters to destroy opponents' bases. The winning team took home $1 million of corporate money, but future earnings should escalate when idolized world-class players unionize and swing merchandising endorsement deals. [New York Times, 10-19-2014; Playboy, November 2014]
• More than 6 million students have downloaded the new iPhone app PhotoMath to solve Algebra I and Algebra II problems by pointing the phone's camera at a printed equation. The answer, and the explanation, quickly appear on a screen, as a teaching tool -- or for the students to show "their" work if PhotoMath is used on exam questions. The Croatia-based developer told the Quartz website in October that it is working on upgrades for higher-level math equations (though no relief is in sight for those chronically pesky "word problems"). Meanwhile, the debate has been triggered over whether PhotoMath is a dynamic technological advance in education -- or a cheating-enabler. [Quartz, 10-31-2014; CultofMac.com, 11-7-2014]
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