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things that just are

Monday, April 24, 2006

Surfing at Work: It's Okay

From the WSJ's Evening Wrap:
Is surfing the Web the same thing as reading the newspaper or talking on the telephone? According to John Spooner, an administrative law judge in New York, it is indeed. In recommending only a light punishment for a city worker accused of disregarding warnings to stay off the Internet while at work, the judge wrote that "It should be observed that the Internet has become the modern equivalent of a telephone or a daily newspaper, providing a combination of communication and information that most employees use as frequently in their personal lives as for their work.''

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

And You Thought Your Cell Phone Company Was Screwing You

From Yahoo ! News: Man Gets $218 Trillion Phone Bill

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A Malaysian man said he nearly fainted when he recieved a $218 trillion phone bill and was ordered to pay up within 10 days or face prosecution, a newspaper reported Monday.

Yahaya Wahab said he disconnected his late father's phone line in January after he died and settled the 84 ringgit ($23) bill, the New Straits Times reported.

But Telekom Malaysia later sent him a 806,400,000,000,000.01 ringgit ($218 trillion) bill for recent telephone calls along with orders to settle within 10 days or face legal proceedings, the newspaper reported.

It wasn't clear whether the bill was a mistake, or if Yahaya's father's phone line was used illegally after after his death.

'If the company wants to seek legal action as mentioned in the letter, I'm ready to face it,' the paper quoted Yahaya as saying. 'In fact, I can't wait to face it,' he said.

Yahaya, from northern Kedah state, received a notice from the company's debt-collection agency in early April, the paper said. Yahaya said he nearly fainted when he saw the new bill.

Government-linked Telekom Malaysia Bhd. is the country's largest telecommunications company.

A company official, who declined to be identified as she was not authorized to speak to the media, said Telekom Malaysia was aware of Yahaya's case and would address it. She did not provide further details.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Clock Watching
From the WSJ Evening Wrap:
"If you happen to be awake at 1:02:03 a.m. ET on Wednesday, April 5, you might want to reflect on how rare that particular moment is. Or you might just want to get some sleep. On some digital clocks in the U.S., that precise second will be reflected as 01-02-03-04-05-06, something that doesn't happen all that often. If you want to celebrate the moment at a more reasonable hour, you can use Universal Time; 1:02 a.m. Universal Time comes at 9:02 p.m. ET. In any event, numerologists aren't getting worked up about this moment, noting that the year is really 2006, not '06,' throwing off the neat progression of numbers."

Monday, April 03, 2006

BBQ Not So Good

Barbecue meats linked with prostate cancer
From Yahoo! Health

A compound formed when meat is charred at high temperatures -- as in barbecue -- encourages the growth of prostate cancer in rats, researchers reported on Sunday.

Their study, presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, may help explain the link between eating meat and a higher risk of prostate cancer.

It also fits in with other studies suggesting that cooking meat until it chars might cause cancer. The compound, called PhIP, is formed when meat is cooked at very high temperatures, Dr. Angelo De Marzo and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reported. It appears to both initiate and promote the growth of prostate cancer in rats, they said.

"We stumbled across a new potential interaction between ingestion of cooked meat in the diet and cancer in the rat," De Marzo said in a statement.

"For humans, the biggest problem is that it's extremely difficult to tell how much PhIP you've ingested, since different amounts are formed depending on cooking conditions."

For the study, Yatsutomo Nakai and other members of De Marzo's team mixed PhIP into food given to rats for up to eight weeks, then studied the animals' prostates, intestines and spleens. They found genetic mutations in all the organs after four weeks.