Watercooler Stories

Oct. 26, 2001 at 1:21 AM
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It took what the Miami Herald calls "more than a year of wrangling" for the Miami-Dade School Board to set up an ethics panel. The publication says that the panel was established in an effort to "restore public confidence" in South Florida.

The commission, though, is practically toothless. It will serve only as a kind of advisory board. The state legislature could, though, make the group an effective tool for change were it to change the mandate of such groups during its next session.

The seven-member panel includes two former jurists and two ethics professors.


As winter creeps into the northern tier of states and people in those regions start taking their cold weather gear out of storage, a sports-medicine group is warning of the increasing number of wrist injuries suffered as the snowboarding craze increases.

Doctors at a medical center in Vail, Colo. -- in the heart of ski and snowboarding country -- say that they have studied more than 3,000 wrist injuries in the past few years and find that the majority resulted when snowboarders lost control and braced themselves as they collided with the ground.

Published reports indicate that worse still is the finding that more than 78 percent of the wrist injuries resulting from those accidents were fractures.


In recent years American cyclist Lance Armstrong has brought glory to the States and embarrassment to the French because of his runaway wins of the Tour de France bicycle race. Now the organizers are changing the rules to make it less likely that someone like Armstrong will runaway with another race, at least not by the an extreme margin.

Just as the great horse Secretariat won the Derby by such a margin that the other horses in the field were not even in the same camera shot, Armstrong has managed to consistently pull away on the course's mountain stretches.

The organizers of the event now say they have changed the racecourse to its shortest length in recent memory, just over 2,000 miles. That cuts nearly 200 miles from the traditional course.


Taking your blood sugar level is the bane of many people with Type 2 diabetes. Pricking a finger -- often up to three times a day or more -- is not only painful, but the tiny cuts take time to heal and can often interfere with typing.

New technology, though, is making it possible for accurate measurements to be taken with less blood being drawn.

Some of the new machines use a special test strip that has capillary action, helping to draw the blood from the pinprick site without the user having to "milk" his finger.

By the way, the latest device, just being released, is a tester that looks like a wristwatch and is able to measure blood sugar without pricking the skin. It uses tiny electronic impulses. All of the new devices keep a time-and-date log of testing and the results.

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