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Monday, August 25, 2003

PCs to predict crime

A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the USA has developed a computer program to predict crime, British science journal New Scientist reported. The team, headed by information systems expert Wilpen Gorr, used a database of 6 million crimes recorded over a decade in three large cities on the US East Coast. According to the report, the new program differs from typical police "crime maps" in that it not only locates high-crime areas, but also identifies broad trends and uses minor crimes such as vandalism as leading indicators for more serious crimes such as burglary. In recent tests, the program was able to predict month-to-month crime rates with margins of error of between 10 to 50 per cent depending on the stability of the leading indicators, the researchers said. A final test of the program is planned before September and a version for actual police use is hoped for by year’s end.


Remember those classroom taunts of ‘fatso,’ ‘elephant ears’ or worse? Imagine those taunts being circulated around cyberspace for thousands to see. Children in Australia are taking schoolyard bullying to new, hi-tech levels, with cellphone text messages and e-mails replacing the traditional note passing and name-calling, a parents group said. Cyberbullying can be just as hurtful, allowing children to circulate cruel rumours about their victims more widely than ever, said Sharryn Brownlee, president of the New South Wales state Parent and Citizens Federation. "The days of the nasty scribbled note could be over," she said. "(Cyberbullying) is prevalent because it’s fairly repetitive, because it’s so easy with new technology." After surveying 40 classrooms across Australia’s most populous state, the federation found that while bullying was more common in affluent areas or at schools where the students had access to cellphones and computers, it was on the rise everywhere.

Anti-virus virus

A French computer security company said that a remarkable kind of virus was spreading around the Internet which zaps a virus that last week disabled hundreds of thousands of machines. The new virus, called Welchia, attacks Lovsan, a version of the Blaster virus which exploits a loophole in Microsoft’s Windows operating system, according to F-Secure France. Like Lovsan, Welchia enters a vulnerable computer that is hooked up to the Internet, F-Secure’s managing director, Alexandre Durante, said. "It then deactivates the A version of Lovsan, thus disinfecting the machine. It installs Microsoft’s software "patch" to close the loophole exploited by Lovsan and then self-destructs when these tasks have been carried out."

WPS to replace MS in China

In an attempt to end the monopoly of global software giant Microsoft, major Chinese ministries today started upgrading its domestic software. Fifteen Chinese ministries, including ministry of commerce, ministry of foreign affairs and ministry of state security, will be the first users of the new edition of WPS office software, the leading Chinese newspaper, People’s Daily, reported. An official of the state assets supervision and administration commission, Fei Lin, told the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece, that his experience indicated the WPS outperformed overseas-made office software in document typesetting. The government began to encourage the use of locally produced software last year in a bid to support the local software sector and protect state information security.