Living Today: Issues of modern living

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International  |  July 17, 2002 at 4:45 AM
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STIFFER PENALTIES PROPOSED FOR HACKERS

Malicious computer hackers could soon face life in prison for some computer crimes, according to a bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, The British Broadcasting Corp. reports.

The Cyber Security Enhancement Act, which passed by a huge majority in the House, also rewrites the rules on surveillance and would allow police to install wiretaps without prior court approval if the attack is thought to be a threat to national security or is "ongoing."

Civil liberty groups criticize the legislation and say it tramples on rights of privacy. "A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb," says Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, a bill sponsors.

The bill also obliges net service providers to tip off police if they notice any suspicious activity on their network.


TEENS AT GREATEST RISK FOR CRIME

Teens are twice as likely as any other age group to be victims of violent crime and 1 in 5 report being the victim of a violent crime, according to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

The report, "Our Vulnerable Teenagers: Their Victimization, Its Consequences, and Directions for Prevention and Intervention," says the single greatest factor in predicting teen criminal behavior was not teenage pregnancy, drug use or truancy -- but whether they had been a victim of crime.

American teens, ages 12-19, who make up about 14 percent of the general population, represent 25 percent of victims of violent crime.

The reports says teen victimization may negatively influence school performance and physical and mental health, and lead to substance abuse and delinquent behavior.


CHEAP PORTABLE X-RAYS

Cheap, portable X-ray sources using beams of electrons emitted from tiny filaments of pure carbon soon could replace the cumbersome, fragile devices currently used to take the images, according to the journal Nature. The new device works at much lower temperatures and consumes less power so it may be cheaper and last longer.

Developed by Otto Zhou of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the X-ray source uses electrons that an electric field draws out of microscopic tubes of carbon, called carbon nanotubes.

When the disc is negatively charged, a positively charged metal mesh just above it can suck electrons from the nanotubes' tips. These electrons then are drawn toward a positively charged copper plate a short distance away. When the electrons hit the copper, it emits X-rays.


NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S SEWING MACHINE

Bernina of America, one of the world's oldest sewing machine companies, has burst the seams of the sewing industry with its new model -- the only sewing machine that has the sewing and embroidery system powered by Microsoft Windows CE and access to the Internet.

"The Artista 200E is the first authentic sewing computer," says Martin Favre, president of Bernina of America.

The customizable Artista 200E offers more than 850 stitches, 16-directional sewing capabilities, a PCMCIA slot that allows sewers to download designs from embroidery cards and a link to Internet sites.

Embroidery motifs from built-in libraries, CD-ROMs, Bernina Studio Embroidery Cards or the Internet are offered or sewers can create designs with Bernina's exclusive Artista software.

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