Efforts by White House reporters to extract the brand name of the pretzels that caused President Bush to faint last weekend have been fruitless. Spokesman Ari Fleischer said a decision had been made early on not to release the name of the company that made the twisted snack.
(From UPI Capital Comment)
THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
It would seem out of character for Britney Spears to get married, but that's the word from People magazine. It reports she will tie the knot with long-time beau Justin Timberlake of the Backstreet Boys at a time yet to be announced.
Spears made the announcement to the assembled media at an international music and film festival in France. She and Timberlake are both 20. They met on the set of the new "Mickey Mouse Club" show when they were 11.
NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS
In "Mission Impossible," Jim Phelps was told that his secret messages would self-destruct in seconds after he heard them. The owners of stolen laptops doubtless wish the same fate on their purloined machines, so scientists at the University of California in San Diego have developed a technique to explode silicon chips with an electrical signal.
Michael Sailor and a team of research colleagues have found that applying gadolinium nitrate to a silicon chip when stimulated with an electrical charge created a bang that destroyed transistor circuitry.
"You would need only a tiny quantity of the chemical to do irreparable damage to delicate transistors, so it would be cheap and easy to add when the chips are being made," said Sailor.
The researchers say their method could be used to fry circuitry from falling into the wrong hands, such as last year's U.S. spy plane debacle with China. Expect the Pentagon to catch the first flight to San Diego.
(From UPI Hears)
TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING
CBS is planning a four-hour miniseries on the life of Adolf Hitler.
It will be based on English historian Ian Kershaw's best-selling tome "Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris." The miniseries will stress Hitler's childhood, youth and early years as dictator-in-the-making. The script of the as-yet-untitled project is being written by G. Ross Parker for Alliance Atlantis, with that organization's Peter Sussman and Ed Gernon as producers.
The producers have said they will not attempt to make a sympathetic character of Hitler, and that their depiction of Hitler will not be heavy-handed in regard to his depraved intentions for mankind. They're aiming for a historically accurate portrait of Hitler rather than a sensational account.
Said producer Gernon, "We are telling the story of an antihero, and he is the main character of the film."
AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY
The fifth patient to receive a totally self-contained artificial heart is doing so well that he's gone to the movies, attended church and even visited a few of his neighbors.
Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia says James Quinn was released from the hospital Jan. 14 and is now living in a nearby hotel. Before he received the AbioCor artificial heart on Nov. 5, he had so little energy he could not bathe himself or eat on his own.
Dr. Louis Samuels, surgical director of the cardiac transplant team at MCP Hahnemann University, told a news conference Tuesday that as Quinn became stronger, the walls of his hospital room began closing in on him. After a while, trips to the hospital lobby and cafeteria just didn't cut it any more. Even the slight stroke he suffered Dec. 31 did little to slow his progress, and in fact has resulted in increased appetite, which has further speeded recovery.
Two other recipients of the AbioCor artificial heart also are reported making progress. Tom Christerson is out of the intensive care unit at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky., but still in the hospital's telemetry monitoring unit. Bobby Harrison is at the Texas Heart Institute and St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston.
Three other patients have died, one of them on the operating table.