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Publication: Coffee Break
Wikipedia blamed for test score drop

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   THE COFFEE BREAK - Tuesday, June 24, 2008             

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A new brand of BB and pellet guns is prompting renewed calls 
for restrictions because they look so much like deadly
firearms, officials say. 

Critics point to cases in Maryland, Florida, Pennsylvania 
and Arkansas, where young people with imitation guns were
killed by police who assumed they were armed, The Washington
Post reported Sunday.

While some parents say so-called airsoft guns are safe when
used with safety goggles and supervision, critics say the
devices look like the real thing, which endangers the user
and others who might believe the person is actually armed.

"I'm not talking about the question 'Should kids play with 
guns?' The issue is why you would make the guns so realistic
that even a trained policeman can mistake the gun for a 
real gun,"  said Stephen Teret, founding director of the 
Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

Some jurisdictions have banned the look-alikes.  "A lot
of these young people were bringing them to school, and
some of these look more like a real gun than a real gun," 
said Police Chief David Bishop of Beaverton, Ore., where
replicas were banned in public in March 2007.

Should there be concerns over look-alike guns?

P.S. You can discuss this issue or any other topic in
the Coffee Break, forum. Check it out here...


See you at the water cooler,

Email Jeanie


          Wikipedia blamed for test score drop
The Scottish Parent Teacher Council blames students' reliance
on Wikipedia and similar online sources for a drop in 
examination scores.  Eleanor Coner, the information officer, 
told The Scotsman that students are good at working with
computers but "rubbish" at doing research. She said they
pick up information online and pass it off as their own
work.  "It's dangerous when the Internet is littered with 
opinion and inaccurate information which could be taken as
fact," she added. The percentage of students passing the
high school test dropped for the first time in four years
this year. Most Wikipedia articles can be edited by anyone 
and political entries especially are subject to 
self-inflation by the subjects or vandalism by opponents. 
At one point, the Wikipedia entry on former British Prime 
Minister Tony Blair included an obscene description of his
relationship with U.S. President George Bush.  While
Wikipedia says it has taken steps to improve its accuracy
and deal with vandalism, the online encyclopedia warns 
that errors are especially likely in less-read entries.


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           Will beavers bring tourists to Scotland?
Animal advocate groups predict that beavers will be a major 
draw for tourists if the animals become re-established in 
Scotland.  Beavers, once prized for their fur, have not
lived in the wild in Scotland for four centuries. They are
to be re-introduced next year with beavers imported from 
Norway.  An Oxford University study estimated that tourists
drawn by beavers would spent 2 million pounds ($4 million) 
annually, The Scotsman reported. The study was commissioned
by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological
Society, which are the leading agencies in the
reintroduction.  The study foresaw minimal economic damage.
In other countries, re-introduced beavers have consumed 
crops, drowned fields with their dams and killed trees.
Jeremy Usher Smith of Wild Scotland said that beavers are 
ideal animals for eco-tourism. Families of up to eight
live in large lodges and build dams, making them easy to
find.  Up to four families of beavers are to be released
in Knapdale Forest in Argyll.


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             Youngsters compete in Soapbox Derby
Sixty young drivers competed during the weekend in an old
Ohio tradition, the Cincinnati Soapbox Derby.  Contestants
and their entourages began arriving as early as 7:30 a.m.,
two hours before the practice runs and three hours before 
the first trial heats, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
The first Cincinnati Derby was held in 1934 and it 
remained an annual fixture until 1978. The event was
revived in 2006.  "That first year we had 25 cars. Last 
year we had 27, this year we had 64 until this morning,
but we had four scratches, so now it's 60, more than double
last year," said Doug Newberry, president of Cincinnati 
Soapbox Derby and a driving force behind its comeback.
Children 8 to 13 compete in the Stock race where car and 
driver can weigh no more than 200 pounds. Contestants 
10 to 17 are eligible for SuperStock, where the maximum
weight is 300.  The sport is now completely co-ed, and
Newberry had two daughters competing along with his son.
Winners get to go to Akron for the National Finals next
month. There's also the Cincinnati Mayor's Cup Challenge,
with a $5,000 prize.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Reader Comments ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
What are your thoughts on this teen pact for motherhood?

"What ever happened to family values?  Having a child out
of wedlock is immoral.  Also, the over population of the 
world means nothing to these ignorant girls?"

"Where are these girls parents?  These girls are lacking
suppression and morals."

"If this story is true it is very sad."

Questions? Comments? Email us at: mailto:coffee@gophercentral.com
Email your comments
Copyright 2008 by NextEra Media. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International 

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