America’s Best Restroom Award

After almost a year of nominations and online voting, the American people have spoken and declared their choice for the 2001 America’s Best Restroom Award. The contest and the awards are sponsored by the sanis brand of hygiene and well-being services.

So where is America’s best public restroom? In the heart of the country, on a college campus, amid the storied halls of a famous institution. Call it the luck of the Irish, but a facility at the University of Notre Dame was the voters’ choice in 2001.

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‘Simputer’ – Simple, Inexpensive, Multilingual Computer

A low-cost handheld computer developed by seven Indian engineers to take the Internet to rural masses will start rolling out in May, the head of a firm pioneering the project said.

The “Simputer,” short for Simple, Inexpensive, Multilingual, is championed by its followers as a friend of the poor, but some of its supporters add that its features match cool and trendy handhelds like those built by Palm Inc. Cost $250

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Fuel Cells For Your Car

As the U.S. Congress debates future energy policy, fuel cells, which convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, are at the center of a new initiative from the U.S. secretary of energy, Spencer Abraham.

Dubbed the “Freedom Car” initiative, the plan will fund research and development of fuel cell-powered cars in collaboration with U.S. automakers and is designed to reduce America’s dependency on foreign oil.

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An Inventors’ Boot Camp

Denver Business Journal reports, “Inventors face a tough road trying to turn a profit, and the DaVinci Institute is trying to help them by using military-style tactics. With the goal of breaking down inventors’ false hopes in the morning and building up realistic ones in the afternoon, the institute will host its first “Inventors’ Boot Camp” on March 9.

“We’re dumping a lot into one seminar in one day,” said Thomas Frey, DaVinci executive director. “I think of the ruggedness of boot camp — it will be emotionally draining, but it will be emotionally stimulating.”

Frey said the workshop will be a very realistic portrayal of the inventing process.
“We’re trying to give people the straight scoop,” Frey said. “This is not a get-rich-quick theme.”

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Rubber Concrete

RubCon is an advanced polymer concrete that uses polybutadiene — a polymer from the liquid rubber family — as the binding material for the various aggregates to form what is essentially rubber concrete. RubCon contains no cement as a binder so that RubCon has elastic properties and it is extremely resistant to aggressive chemicals, highly repellant to water and has a remarkable compression strength.
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New Explosives Detection Technology

Eurotech Ltd announced its Acoustic Core(TM) technology for explosives detection in the Homeland Security effort.

The technology is capable of computerized automatic screening of containers,vehicles and humans for a broad range of illicit materials at high rates of speed, with low false alarm rates utilizing safe for human exposure low frequency acoustic energy. This makes the technology ideal for situations where large volumes of containers or humans need to be screened quickly and accurately.
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Cloned Mice Likely to Get Really Fat

Researchers have reported cases of abnormally large cloned animals, but new work has produced the first systematic examination of a large number of animals to encounter the problem. One group of cloned mice, described in last week’s issue of the journal Nature Medicine, had insulin abnormalities, higher levels of body fat, and weighed an average 72 percent more than normal.
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‘Extreme Microbes’ Thrive Under Extreme Conditions

Carnegie Institution microbiologist Anurag Sharma reported that his group had bacteria colonies living under 17,000 times Earth’s sea level pressure. University of Southern California biologist Kenneth Nealson told the Associated Press the announcement “knocked my socks off.”

These tough little organisms are expanding our accepted ideas of where life can exist.

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Japan’s ‘Shadow Man’ Called In To Solve Problems

In Japan, wakaresaseya is a term that translates loosely as “the breaker-upper” or “the separator.” Operating as an unusual offshoot of the detective business, he will – for the right price – end an affair, destroy a marriage, or break off an engagement. Parents who don’t like the person their child is dating, spouses who tire of marriage, or lovers who want to best a rival are all potential clients.

Corporations, too, have increasingly turned to these shadowy businessmen as a means of firing someone without a face-to-face encounter. Even TV has gotten in on the act, with a sitcom depicting fictional cases of the shadow men at work.

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Online Privacy Is Dead – Now What?

Your name, address, phone number and Social Security (web sites) number all are items found on your driver’s license — and on the Web.

Rapid commercialization of the Internet has fed a demand for more and more personal information about Internet users.

With personal privacy already in jeopardy, the terrorist attacks of September 11th opened the door wide to government snooping as well. In effect, maintaining personal privacy on the Internet now seems almost impossible.

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