HIGH SCHOOLERS ASSEMBLE COMPUTERS
In an effort to have every classroom in Mississippi have a computer with Internet access, high school students learned to assemble computers themselves, The New York Times reports.
With the help of a $4.4 million grant by the Mississippi Development Authority, used mostly to buy components, teams of students began building computers in July.
Much of the work involved correctly connecting and inserting 10 major components, including the main circuit board, into a computer case.
Computer kits, which include fully assembled 15-inch monitors, cost the organizers $685 a piece, roughly half what the state paid vendors. Many of the students will become certified computer technicians.
While many do not get off the couch and do at least 30 minutes of exercise, some are pursuing "extreme exercise."
A survey of 45,000 fitness instructors, by the American Council on Exercise, shows extreme fitness exercise classes, which prepare people for marathons, extreme cycling and mountain climbing, are expected to be among the five most requested activities at health clubs in 2003.
"Extreme fitness activities are at the top of emerging trends. More people are exercising with a focus on enhancing their physical performance capabilities," Cedric Bryant, an exercise physiologist, tells USA Today.
Only 30 years ago, most people regarded marathon running as an Olympic event. By 2000 the number of runners had risen to 451,000.
VOLUNTEERING VIA THE INTERNET
This holiday season, President George W. Bush is urging Americans to volunteer to help someone less fortunate.
VolunteerMatch, a nonprofit Web service, makes it easy for anyone to find and get involved with volunteer opportunities throughout the United States.
Potential volunteers enter their ZIP code on the volunteer home page at volunteermatch.org to receive an up-to-date listing of local volunteer opportunities.
Volunteers can specify an interest, such as helping children, the homeless or the environment.
AMERICANS LOYAL TO PENNY
Americans' loyalty to the penny is extremely strong, according to a report by the General Accounting Office.
We're pleased to see the GAO confirm what we've been saying about the penny's popularity," says Mark W. Weller, executive director, of Americans for Common Cents, a group that includes more than 50 organizations that support continued production of the penny.
According to the study, 64 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Mint should continue to produce the 1 cent coin. Two-thirds of Americans oppose replacing the dollar bill with the dollar coin, not surprising after the failure of the Susan B. Anthony coin and the Sacagawea dollar coin.
Weller says 56 percent are opposed to rounding cash transactions -- the alternative to the penny.