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Watercooler Stories

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International

CHILDREN'S FOOD MAY NOT BE HEALTHY

The Consumers' Association says many well-known children's foods are "high in fats, sugar and salt," and in some cases higher than in similar foods marketed to adults.

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The British group asked nutritionist Dr. Helen Crawley to analyze two daily menus of foods marketed to children, the London Telegraph reports.

Either diet on a regular basis would be damaging to a child's health, and could increase the risk of gaining weight, tooth decay, diabetes, cancers and heart disease in later life, according to Crawley.


SIGNAL LEAKAGE TO GET WORSE

It is called "signal leakage" and it ranges from the mundane -- like TV static when the vacuum cleaner runs -- to the serious -- pilots unable to hear air traffic controllers because a baby is crying on a baby monitor.

The Federal Communications Commission, which polices U.S. airwaves, has seen the number of complaints about interference jump from almost none in the 1970s to having to boost its engineering staff by 15 percent, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The problem was underscored five years ago in Dallas, shortly after the nation's first digital television station began operations.

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As soon as WFAA-TV went on the air about 60 wireless heart monitors at Baylor University Medical Center went nutty.


HOLIDAY BARGAINS NOT EXPECTED

Holiday shoppers may not find blockbuster bargains at the malls this Christmas season, says marketing professor Michael Smith, a retailing analyst with Temple's Fox School of Business.

"It's not going to be a consumer heaven this year," says Smith. "There simply won't be those huge deals consumers may be counting on."

Major retailers have conservatively stocked their shelves, he points out, since most were faced with placing holiday orders at the same time as the outbreak of the war in Iraq in March.

"The uncertainty of the war's impact on an already shaky economy has affected both retailers' and consumers' confidence."


WORK OF ART HANDBAGS

Some women call their handbags a work of art, but a Suki Sak really is a work of wearable art.

Artist Suki Willoughby first conceived the idea of showcasing her paintings on handbags in 2002.

Commissions can be ordered by providing Suki with a photograph that she will reproduce as a painting to appear on a purse the size of a change purse to a tote bag.

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The oil painting is treated and made highly durable.

Once the materials for the purse are created and selected, a master seamstress assembles the finished product.

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