THE GEEK OLYMPICS
It's a different sort of March madness: a field of 64 teams from 27 countries will meet Wednesday in Honolulu for what IBM calls the "Geek Olympics."
The 2002 World Finals of the Association of Computing Machinery's competition for computer-programming students is more than just a place for big-brained techies to show off their skills, the event's sponsors say. William Poucher, the ACM's executive director, told the San Jose Mercury-News: "We've got to shine the spotlight on the next generation of leaders. We want to focus on the importance of young men and women getting jobs but creating jobs as well."
IBM, which sponsors the event, sees it as a recruiting opportunity. "Teamwork and communication are extremely important in a work environment," said Gabby Silberman, who heads IBM's sponsorship of the competition. "We also want someone who has the right instincts."
(Thanks to UPI's Joe Warminsky in Washington)
ROCKERS GO GREEN
R.E.M. is going to bat for the nation's forests. In public service announcements sponsored by The Paper Campaign, frontman Michael Stipe urges people to "insist that the paper you use is tree-free."
All three R.E.M. members -- Stipe, Mike Mills and Peter Buck -- are featured in the campaign, which was unveiled Monday night at the Vanity Fair "Rock the Casbah" pre-Oscar party in Hollywood benefiting the Environmental Media Association. The goal is to change the way paper is made in the United States.
"The perception is that third-world countries are the only places being wiped out ... what people don't realize is that the forests being most devastated are in our back yard -- the American South," said Mills.
"Market campaigns, like the one being led by the Dogwood Alliance and ForestEthics, are the most effective way to cut to the chase and protect our forests," added Buck.
ForestEthics officials said despite the fact that nine out of 10 Americans favor the protection of wilderness and open spaces, including forests, Staples' largest selling copy paper -- the redbox store brand -- is made 100 percent from trees, with zero percent recycled content.
Said Stipe, "With a scandal like Enron, when you see how in bed corporations are with the Federal government, it makes sense to hold their feet to the fire and demand accountability."
(Web site: ThePaperCampaign.com)
THE THONG BIKINIS THEY WERE WEARING DIDN'T HURT, EITHER
Lacing women's perfume with a synthetic pheromone appears to increase a women's sexual attractiveness to men.
That's according to a study by researchers at San Francisco State University in California, who tested the effects of pheromones on the two sexes to see if this odorless body chemical made a difference in the sexual behavior of men and women.
The women test subjects ranged in ages from 18 to 49 and came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. They were told to choose from a group of identical vials, some containing pheromones and some placebos. Nineteen women ended up unknowingly taking the pheromones.
The 14-week study conducted in 2000 showed of the 36 females tested, nearly three-quarters of those wearing their regular perfume -- laced with pheromone -- experienced an increase in three or more of these social and sexual behaviors: frequency in kissing, sleeping next to a partner, affectionate petting, formal dating and sexual intercourse.
On the other end of the spectrum, researchers report less than one-quarter of the women who had a placebo added to their perfume saw an increase in these types of social and sexual activities.
Pheromones are chemical substances believed produced by glands in the underarm and the bacteria that reside there. Numerous organisms use pheromones to communicate between the two sexes. The same appears to be true among humans, researchers said.
REASONS TO CELEBRATE TODAY:
WEDNESDAY: Spring begins today at 2:16 p.m. EST in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Great American Meatout is today, asking people to kick the meat habit at least for the day. (Web site: meatout.com)
This is National Agriculture Day. (Web site: agday.org)
It's Proposal Day, encouraging single adults seeking marriage to propose marriage to their true love today.
Japan celebrates the arrival of spring with Vernal Equinox Day.
And this is Independence Day in Tunisia.
(Thanks to Chase's 2002 Calendar of Events)
BY THE WAY...
What's a "Skinner box"?
A "Skinner box" refers to an enclosed experimental environment, as developed by American psychologist B.F. Skinner, born on this date in 1904.