Watercooler Stories

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  Dec. 11, 2001 at 12:02 PM
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A new comprehensive study released Monday by the Department of Defense shows that veterans of the Gulf War are much more likely to develop the crippling Lou Gehrig's disease than those in the general population. The agency says that more than 2.5 million military personnel were included in the canvass, the largest study of its kind ever undertaken.

One Pentagon official, in commenting on the report, noted that there is a growing realization that serving in the Gulf War may have had more of a deleterious effect on GIs than first thought.

Meanwhile, published reports indicate that many private practice physicians -- including Dr. Robert Haley, a University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center doctor who has long warned of effects such as brain damage to vets -- are glad that the new information has been officially released. The new findings bear up much of what has been speculated outside of government circles for years.


Today's younger generation is not aware of the constant call to buy War Bonds during the long Second World War. It was impossible to listen to radio without hearing pitches to buy the bonds. The Treasury Department even enlisted stars such as Lionel Barrymore to participate in theatrical performances in which the importance of buying bonds was stressed. At one point, near the end of the war, Americans were being urged to spend one-tenth of their income on bonds.

Now, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks Treasury has, at the urging of Congress, quickly printed a new series of what it's calling Patriot Bonds. The department says that Series EE Savings Bonds -- a long-time holiday gift item for young people -- has been renamed with the "Patriot" moniker.

The bonds continue to be sold at financial institutions and are available through automatic withdrawal at many companies. As the old spots for the Payroll Savings Plan used to say: "You never see the money, so you don't miss it."


A court in Israel is about to ponder the fate of four teenagers who have admitted putting together that "Goner" virus that may have caused more than $5 million damage to computers around the world. Published reports indicate that the quartet of hackers, 15- and 16-year-old students, worked out the complicated virus that infected computers' mail processors, then replicated itself and sent itself to people on server lists without computer owners being aware of what happened.

Many people who did not have virus-filters in their PCs were stuck with crashed programs and the inability to do word processing.

There is a law covering that kind of crime in Israel but because those charged are juveniles they could get light sentences even though they did worldwide damage.


When the Pentagon was built in the 1940s a lot of limestone was shipped from quarries in southern Indiana to Arlington, Va., for the project. Now the Department of Defense has contacted the original suppliers to send more stone for the rebuilding of the terror-damaged wing of the five-sided mega-building.

The Herald-Times newspaper says that two Hoosier companies have teamed up to provide tons of new stone to reface the building after structural repairs are made. One of the contractors, Bybee Stone, in addition to providing facing for the Pentagon has provided much of the materials in past years for such buildings as the Capitol and the National Cathedral.

One executive of the other company, Independent Limestone, told the publication that it's a tragedy that the building was attacked, but his company was happy to help "put it back together as it once was."

Topics: Robert Haley
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