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Computer science gets a boost

Mon., April 17, 2006

With all the recent talk about improving math and basic science education to keep the United States competitive, Chris Stephenson worries that a third piece of the educational picture is being forgotten: computer science.

Now Stephenson, executive director of the Computer Science Teachers Association, is hoping to overcome that somewhat by giving away free teaching resources for use in kindergarten through 12th-grade computer classes.

In conjunction with IBM Corp., the group has developed and tested in the field lesson plans and other materials that help educators teach such important skills as Web design and Java programming.

The project was funded by $75,000 from IBM, which also contributed three of the six people who developed the teaching resources. The material is available at and

A breakthrough for military

Carnegie Mellon University is about to unveil a new unmanned ground combat vehicle commissioned by the U.S. military.

“Crusher,” a 6.5-ton, six-wheeled robotic vehicle designed to negotiate harsh terrain, will be presented along with its predecessor, “Spinner,” at Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center on April 28, spokeswoman Anne Watzman said.

Crusher, funded by the Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is one of many robotic products being developed nationwide to cut the risk of casualties.

China Internet fraud laws weak

Chinese police complain they have few legal tools to prosecute ballooning Internet fraud, despite the country’s fierce reputation for strictly controlling online content.

Officers investigated 20,000 allegations of Internet fraud last year, but relatively few resulted in prosecutions because China’s laws don’t sufficiently address cybercrime, officials said in comments reprinted Monday by the Xinhua News Agency.

Of the 11,521 cases of alleged Internet crime brought before courts between 1997 and 2005, just 14 resulted in criminal convictions, Li Jingjing of the ministry’s Bureau of Security Solutions was quoted as saying. Others resulted merely in administrative punishments such as having business licenses withdrawn, Li said.


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