Watercooler Stories

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  Aug. 7, 2002 at 9:00 PM
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Before the invention of the reliable small electric motor a lot of inventions were not possible ... the kitchen mixer or the blender, for example. Another great invention that profited by the coming of the hand-sized electric motor was the famous Skilsaw. That circular saw that revolutionized carpentry is celebrating its 77th anniversary. And, since the original name of the saw was the "No. 77," the makers of its present-day descendants say this is a great time to celebrate.

To celebrate, the manufacturer has produced a limited number of working replicas of the original old No. 77, which was the first small-motor, worm-drive, hand-held carpenter's saw.

The company tells United Press International that although the units are fully workable, it is likely that they will become collectors items and never used on the job. The new look-alikes will be painted with a red, white and blue motif.


The folks at Virgin Atlantic have put into service what is being heralded as the world's longest commercial passenger plane. The massive aircraft, an Airbus A-340/600, is nearly 250 feet long, more than 15 feet longer than the current record-holder.

Virgin purchased 10 of the planes at a total cost of nearly $2 billion. The other nine will be added to its fleet in the next four years, as they roll off the European assembly line.

The airline says the new planes are being outfitted with the largest array of on-board electronic entertainment ever offered in the air. Passengers will have access to about 300 hours of on-demand video programming.

The carrier is the brainchild of Britain's Sir Richard Branson.


The Ben and Jerry's ice cream people in Vermont say they are taking part in a massive project to try to cut down on greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, particularly the presence of CO2. The company says that it is purchasing a new wind turbine on the rolling grasslands of South Dakota. The electricity-generating turbine will produce as much power as a conventional generating station, but will not pump into the atmosphere the 5,000 tons of CO2 yearly that would be put into the air by a fossil-fueled electrical generating station.

The company, famous for its upscale gourmet frozen products and its often kinky product names, says it hopes to offset its own emission from ice cream plants by the use of the machine in the Dakotas ... at least making the score even.

The South Dakota wind turbine project is the first to be run by an American Indian tribe.

By the way, when Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice Cream became so popular it could not make it fast enough at its single plant in Vermont. It contracted with another gourmet ice cream company to make the product in Indiana. But since its packages say that Vermont cream is used, Ben and Jerry's had to truck milk and cream from Vermont to Indiana until it could expand its own ice cream-making facilities.


The national lumber and hardware chain Home Depot says it will contribute $1.2 million to a Florida university to help train young students in the world of business. The company says it will make a $600,000 donation to Florida Atlantic University to support a new area of business studies.

In addition to the one-time, up-front grant, the school will receive two more donations of $300,000 each over the next three years.

The company's CEO, Bruce Nelson, made the announcement at the school. He noted that small business owners are extremely important to the success of his company. Nelson also says that having a better working relationship with up and coming business people will help his company better understand the needs of small business.

Home Depot is based in Delray Beach, Fla.

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