Of Human Interest: News-lite

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International   |   April 14, 2003 at 4:30 AM
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The Purdue University Theta Tau/Phi Sigma Rho team crushed a can and its competition at the 15th annual national Rube Goldberg Machine Contest held at Purdue University in West Lafayette.

Purdue's sports-themed machine used no electrical devices, but relied on different balls to trigger the 34 steps to crush a can and place it in a recycling bin.

The contest honors the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical, complicated machines to perform simple tasks.

The student-built machines are judged on completion of the task, creativity, the number of steps involved and how well they embrace the Rube Goldberg spirit.


Although ATMs are convenient, they have taken away from personal interaction during bank transactions, according to a study published in the International Journal of Service Industry Marketing.

However, researchers at Kansas State University say consumers still feel as though they have relational benefits with self-service technology, much as they do when doing business with a human.

According to Kevin Gwinner, the study shows that the attributes of self-service technology, such as the Internet, kiosks and ATMS, are indirectly linked to a customer's satisfaction and loyalty.

"Our research verified that relationship benefits still existed even when humans weren't present on the firm's side of the transaction," Gwinner says.


Ty, the company that makes Beanie Babies, says it will support America¹s men and women in uniform by donating 100 percent of the profits from the sales of its new HERO Beanie Baby to the United Service Organizations.

HERO, available nationwide beginning the week of April 21st, is a brown Beanie Baby bear, with a camouflage body and an American flag embroidered on one arm.

Ty has created numerous Beanie Babies to raise funds for causes including: "America" the bear, to benefit the American Red Cross in response to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001; "Princess" the bear, for Diana, Princess of Wales Foundation; and "Ariel" the bear, for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Ty recently released, Peace, a powder blue bear, which features a red, white and blue peace symbol on its chest.


Since 1996, Playboy TV has tried to ease the nation's emotional burden at tax time by offering much needed stress relief.

Playboy claims belt and purse string tightening can only last for so long before it becomes unhealthy.

Therefore on April 15, Playboy TV's line-up of entertaining and seductive adult programming is available for under $1 dollar.

"We'll have a live broadcast from Playboy TV studios on Tax Day that'll feature the very best of our original programs and adult feature films for everyone who orders on April 15," "Night Calls" and Playboy Radio co-host Tiffany Granath, says in a statement.

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