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Submission + - Physicians Urge Choke Warnings, Redesigned Hot Dog 2

Ponca City, We love you writes: "In 2001, about 17,500 children 14 and younger were treated in emergency departments for choking, and 60 percent of the episodes were caused by food with children under 4 because when young children chew foods like peanuts, raw carrots and popcorn, some is ground down and some is not, and they tend to swallow unchewed bits of food that can block the airway or be inhaled into the bronchial tubes and lungs. Now the NY Times reports that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the nation’s leading pediatricians’ group, wants the Food and Drug Administration to require warning labels on foods that are known choking hazards, and to evaluate and monitor food for safety. “You have a SuperBall that by government regulation has to carry warnings telling people it’s a risk to young children and you can’t market it to them, yet you can have the same identical shape and size gumball and there are no restrictions or requirements,” said Dr. Gary Smith. At the same time, the academy is urging manufacturers to redesign some of the most dangerous foods — especially the hot dog, a leading choking hazard that according to one study caused,17% of food-related choking deaths. Food designer Eugene D. Gagliardi Jr., who invented Steak-umms and popcorn chicken, has come up with a new hot dog that is soon to be marketed on the East Coast. It looks the same in the package, but has eight deep slits that open when cooked, causing it to break apart into small pieces when eaten. "I think that the entrepreneur who comes up with the first safety dog is going to find parents across this country lining up to buy that product," says Smith. "It's an opportunity, not a burden.""

Submission + - Principal urges parents to ban social networks. (networkworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A story of another clueless administrator trying to control what students do outside of class. Anthony Orsini, principal at the Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, N.J., does not seem to be a reasonable person. From an e-mail sent to parents:

"It is time for every single member of the BF Community to take a stand! There is absolutely no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site! ... Let me repeat that — there is absolutely, positively no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site! None."


Submission + - Man builds San Francisco with 100,000 toothpicks (wired.co.uk)

Lanxon writes: In 1977, Scott Weaver decided to replicate the Golden Gate Bridge with toothpicks and glue. When the 17-year-old finished that project, he just kept going, and his hobby became an all-consuming quest to, as he puts it, "blow people's minds" with toothpicks. Mission accomplished, then. Ripley's Believe It or Not offered Weaver $40,000 for his 100,000-toothpick town, but he turned it down without hesitation. "Other than my wife and my son, this is the most important thing in my life," he says. "I just regret that my mother wasn't able to see it while she was alive."

Comment What the US Federal government gets for $1M/yr (Score 1) 113

A web page with a form. One poor nerd to sit in a dimly lit cubicle feebly attempting to respond to the 35,000 submitted forms per day, the IT infrastructure to support him (an exchange cluster, an AD + file&print server and bandwidth, a leased pair of IIS servers backed by a two-node MS-SQL Server server cluster). A filing cabinet he steals office supplies from every day.

A "consultant" in Bangalore that sets up said single web page ready to exploit with various viruses.

It does not even begin to pay for serving the inevitable FOIA requests submitted the nerds who thought their submitted forms might actually reach someone useful and irate they've received no response.

All that, and some mentions in the press for "trying" to preserve US manned spaceflight when we all know it's over. What a deal.


Submission + - USPTO's 1-Click Indecisiveness Enters 5th Year

theodp writes: When it comes to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' 1-Click patent, the USPTO is an agency that just can't say no. Or yes. It's now been 4+ years since actor Peter Calveley submitted prior art that triggered a USPTO reexamination of the 1-Click patent. Still no 'final answer' from the USPTO, although an Examiner recently issued yet another Final Rejection of 1-Click related claims (pdf), admonishing Amazon for making him 'sift through hundreds of submitted references to identify what applicant allegedly has already submitted,' which he complained is 'adding an undue burden' to his workload. Looks like Bezos' 2000 pledge of 'less work for the overworked Patent and Trademark Office' isn't working out so well in practice. Not too surprising — after all, Amazon did inform Congress that it 'has modified its specific [patent] reform proposals from the year 2000.'

Submission + - Music while programming 6

BubbaDoom writes: In our cublicle-ville, we have programmers intermixed with accounting, customer support and marketing. As a programmer, it is our habit to put on our headphones and listen to our portable music players to drown out all of the noise from everyone else. The boss recently sent an email just to the programmers demanding that we do not use our music players at work because he thinks it distracts us from our jobs and causes us to make mistakes. Of course we've explained to him that the prattle from the other people is much much more distracting but he insists his policy is the right one. What is the /. community's experience with music at work for programmers?

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I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.