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Watercooler Stories

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International

HARSH SENTENCES DON'T DETER CRIME

Harsher sentences do not deter people from committing crimes, according to University of Toronto criminologists.

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University of Toronto Professor Anthony Doob studied the sentences in the United States, Canada, England and Australia over the past 30 years and found the majority of studies indicate harsher sentences do not reduce crime.

"It's not the penalty that causes people to pause before they commit a crime; it's the likelihood of being apprehended," says Doob.

Doob suggests more resources are needed for social and educational programs for children and youth at various stages in their lives.


VIRTUAL STUNTMEN ADD FEATS TO MOVIES

Soon virtual stuntmen could be carrying out physical feats too dangerous for people.

The simulation system already is being used to create stunts for the forthcoming movie "Troy."

Often the death-defying stunts seen in action movies are created using motion-capture of real people or the result of painstaking frame-by-frame animation, the BBC reports.

But Natural Motion, in Oxford, England, has found a way to speed up this process and give movie makers a way of creating stunts or action sequences that would be impossible or potentially fatal for real stuntmen to perform.

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SPRINT ADDS GAMEPAD

Sprint PCS has launched a gadget it says will convert cell phones into wireless gaming consoles.

The Game Pad game controller works with Samsung A600 handsets. The phone slides into the Game Pad, allowing people to play using its key-press features.

The company said the $40 device will be available in mid-August, CNET News reports.

"Customers can do more with their phones than just make clear calls, and we have seen evidence of this with PCS games," John Garcia, vice president of Sprint's PCS division, says in a statement.

The wireless company, based in Westwood, Kan., says its customers have purchased more than 2 million games since the launch of PCS Vision phones last August.


DASCHLE WRITES BLOG

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., will post a daily diary on his official Web site as he drives around South Dakota.

His diary is modeled on the growing phenomenon of the online journals known as Weblogs, or blogs for short, reports the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D.

"At the end of the day, wherever I am, I can just type up some thoughts and tell stories about things that happened," Daschle says. "I'm always up for trying something new."

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For years, Daschle has made a point of visiting all of South Dakota's 66 counties annually, stopping through towns and chatting with constituents in courthouses and steakhouses.

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